After Bagamoyo 2012

Handover At The Generalate

From 12th to 19th September 2012, The Generalate witnessed an orderly handover to the new Superior General and his Council.

The new Superior General, Fr. John Fogarty and the members of his Council were warmly welcomed at the Generalate in Rome on Tuesday, 12th September during a Mass of Welcome celebrated in English at 11.00 a.m. in the Chapel of the Generalate. Fr. John Kwofie, outgoing First Assistant General, presided at this Mass as the delegate of Fr. Jean-Paul Hoch, outgoing Superior General.

After the Introductory Rites, the principal celebrant, Fr. John Kwofie, invited the new Superior General and his team to each light a candle and to place it around the central candle as a sign of welcome to the light of the Holy Spirit who will enlighten them all during the coming eight years in their service of the Congregation. The chapel was decorated with two large portraits of our founders placed near the ambo and the altar, Claude Poullart des Places on one side, and Francis Libermann on the other.

Taking his inspiration from the specially-chosen readings, John Kwofie recalled that in the course of a very similar celebration eight years earlier, Fr. Jean-Paul Hoch and his Council experienced similar emotions. They had just been elected at the General Chapter of Torre D’Aguilha in 2004. That Chapter mandated them to animate the religious and missionary life of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit. The Councillors all came from different countries, with some of them knowing each other better than others but “all called to work together”.

Fr. John Kwofie then emphasised the fact that the new Council coming from the first General Chapter to be held on African soil, at Bagamoyo in Tanzania, had been mandated to animate the life of the Congregation. He encouraged them to “work for the good of all”. Before the conclusion of this Mass of Welcome, the new Council prayed and all the concelebrants laid their hands on them.

The morning of 12th September had commenced at 9.35 a.m. in the Room of the Martyrs with a private work session involving both the outgoing and incoming General Councils. According to the report which has reached our desk, Fr. Roland Rivard proceeded with the programme for the week that would be devoted to the handover. Then Fr. Christian Berton gave a general introduction to the work of the General Council (organisation, work practices, internal structure and observations from the Secretary General.)

Exchange of Portfolios and Sending on Mission

The tasks of information meetings and the handing on of portfolios alternated with each other during the days that followed. The new General Councillors became acquainted with their respective offices and with the services which they will be expected to render to the Congregation, in accordance with the recommendations of the Bagamoyo Chapter 2012.

The handover from the former General Council to the new one ended on 19th September 2012. The Superior General, Fr. John Fogarty, presided at the Eucharist celebrated in English at 11.30 a.m. This was a Mass to send the former councillors on mission.

During this celebration, Fr. John Fogarty paid tribute to Fr. John-Paul Hoch and his team for “the great work” which they had accomplished and “the many sacrifices which they accepted during the eight years of their administration”. A lighted candle was given to each one and the entire Generalate community prayed for them. Then Fr. Fogarty blessed them as a sign of their being sent on mission.

The barbecue which had been planned for the afternoon could not take place due to rain that was even heavier than that predicted by the weather forecast!

Gaston Temgoua, Rome.


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