From the 17th-21st December last year – the final week of Advent – the brothers gathered around the crib at Troussures in a sign that it is Christ who unites them. Each glimpsed that they are the bearers, in their respective priories, of the ‘charisms’ needed for their missions: charisms which are to be at work too both in the brothers’ personal lives, and in community.
The brothers were first given an overview of the life of the Community and the Vicariate through reports from each priory. The Vicariate could be characterised by the apostolic dynamism of these priories. The brothers’ deep innovation is evident in vastly different domains: from a parish renewal scheme being implemented by dozens of fraternities in Boulogne, to the introduction of the ‘Sophia Programme’ formation programme in Troussures, or courses in ‘integral ecology’ in Notre-Dame du Chêne. There is diversity, too, in the work being carried out by individual brothers who stage musicals which gather audiences of thousands, who offer pastoral support to transgender people, who facilitate meetings for couples in ‘fraternities’ of St Jean, the list goes on…
Following this, reports were heard from Br Thomas, Br François-Frédéric, and Br Geoffroy-Marie. Then from Lector Br Christophe, Vicariate Bursar Br Benoît-Etienne, Br Pierre-Vianney for the Pastoral Office for Young People, and Br Jean-Yves for Communications.
Wednesday was dedicated to theological reflection on the ways in which we might understand Pope Francis’ vision for the Church, with Br Denis. Practical workshops helped the brothers to highlight their own understanding of both the Universal and the local Church. Particular attention was paid in the latter to poverty, to preaching, and to the brothers’ missionary activities in the Vicariate seen as a ‘local church’.
The brothers expressed their expectations and needs with regards old age and dependency.
On several occasions, they were able to once again consider the recent evolution of the Community in light of Fr Philippe’s personal history.
Br Gabriel L, Br Jean-Pierre-Marie, and Br Sébastien-Marie have been elected to the 2019 General Chapter. Br Basile and Br Jean-Marie-Luc will serve as deputies.