The 24th Provincial Chapter of the Province of Saint Ann took place at the Bethany Center in Lutz, Florida, from Monday, November 9, through Friday, November 14, 2014. Religious from throughout the USA came together to spend time in prayer, dialogue, and discernment around the theme The Joy of Eucharistic Evangelizing.
Father Norman Pelletier SSS, Provincial Superior, opened the chapter and said, “Our Provincial Chapter has many weighty issues to ponder, some too complex to resolve immediately; nonetheless, a clear direction can be given to our leadership for the next four years. This is a vital responsibility and a challenge that we cannot avoid. Let us do so with serenity and with the assurance that the Sprit will guide us in our conversations.”
“Let us not cease praying to Saint Peter Julian Eymard that he may assist us in our discernment of what God wants of us. Lastly, let us be gentle with one another, for we have been given a great gift for which we are only the privileged stewards.”
Each morning began with the Liturgy of the Hours and shared prayer in the presence of the Eucharist. Each day’s deliberations ended with the celebration of Mass, a relaxing dinner, and a free evening. The retreat center’s property lent itself to leisurely walks around the lakes and spontaneous gatherings on porches and in the gathering spaces of the “cottages” that housed the chapter members.
Much of the work of the chapter centered on Mission, Properties, and Elder Care. Prior to arriving in Florida, each Blessed Sacrament Community was asked to read various reports on the topics and to begin surfacing ideas.
On Thursday, elections for new province leadership occupied the morning hours and were followed by another day-and-a-half of discussions.
Elected to leadership positions were, Father Anthony Schueller SSS (Provincial Superior), Father John Keenan SSS (Vicar Provincial), Father Robert Stark SSS (Provincial Treasurer), Father William Fickel SSS (Consultor), and Father John Christman SSS (Consultor). Their term is for four years.
Provincial Chapter XXIV concluded late Friday afternoon with a festive Mass, during which Father Joseph Binh SSS, who represented the Superior General in Rome, installed the new Provincial Superior and Council. He prayed: “Let your Spirit uphold them always as they take up their new responsibility among their brothers in the Province of Saint Ann. May the prayers and example of a Eucharistic life as lived by our Holy Founder, Saint Peter Julian Eymard, be with them always.”
The installation liturgy included more than 50 associates, Life in the Eucharist (LITE) team members, and friends of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament from Saint Vincent de Paul Church in Holiday, Florida, Saint Stephen Church in Winter Springs, Florida, and Saint Margaret Mary Church in Winter Park, Florida, who swelled the ranks of the religious and added to the joy of the occasion.
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