Acts of the Thirty-Fourth Provincial Chapter
of the Province of St. Paul of the Cross
Held in the Retreat of the Immaculate Conception, Jamaica, New York.
From July 9th to July 13th, 1962.
Every Provincial Chapter, by its very nature and function, is a very important event in the life of the province. The Thirty-fourth Provincial Chapter of this province, however, had a significance and importance all its own. It brought to the members of the province the opportunity of having a greater part than ever before in the choosing of superiors and the enacting of legislation. And for this reason, it was eagerly awaited, and the greatest results were expected of it. It brought together as Capitular Fathers not only the canonical superiors but also the sixteen delegates chosen by the popular vote of the entire province.
In accordance with the instructions sent out by Father Provincial, Canisius of Our Mother of Holy Hope, in his letter of convocation of March 7, 1962, the Fathers enjoying the right of suffrage gathered at our monastery in Jamaica, New York, on the afternoon and evening of July 8. At eight twenty-five, all were assembled at evening sentiment, and Most Reverend Father General, Malcolm of Mary, urged upon the religious serious prayers for the success of the Chapter and a spirit of dedication in fulfilling its duties. Then, all went to the monastery chapel for the recitation of the prescribed Chapter prayers and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
The first preliminary session of the Chapter was opened by Father General at nine o’clock on Monday morning. It was held, as were all the sessions, in the recreation room of the retreat house. After the delegates had been ranged in order of seniority around the long table, all knelt and recited together the “Veni Creator” and the prayers to our special patrons.
Father General then addressed the Fathers and reminded them of the differences that set this Chapter apart from any of the Provincial Chapters they might have attended in the past. He reminded them of the points of difference: the presence of elected delegates, the elimination of the “discussion of merits,” the presenting of a list of candidates for the office of Provincial, the election of a delegate for the General Chapter together with an alternate, the elimination of the election of Rectors and a Master of Novices by the Chapter, and the difference in the majority of votes now required for canonical election. He then enlarged on the implications of these changes. He pointed out the advantages arising from the presence of delegates at the Provincial Chapter. If wisely chosen, the delegates can afford representation to different age groups, different occupations within the province, and different currents of thought—and all this should enrich the decisions of the Chapter. The presence of elected delegates is good psychologically for the province, giving to all the religious a sense of participating, even though indirectly, in the work of the Chapter. However, as Father General pointed out, any system, whatever its merits, is not infallibly sure of success; it would be excessive optimism to expect that the new procedure would remedy all that was imperfect in the former system. We can hope for improvement, but we will hardly attain perfection. The new system is more democratic, but even democracy can have very real, and at times very great, limitations. Because of the human factor involved, the new composition of our Provincial Chapter gives the hope of greater success, but it does not automatically guarantee the attainment of that hope. Delegates are as human and as fallible as their superiors. Success will be determined, not by the mere fact of who are present at a Chapter, but by how well they make use of their talents and opportunities, how well they fulfill the task entrusted to them. Father General pointed out: “The present Chapter can suffer any of the limitations that were present in any previous Chapter. It is you, not the system, that count most. Using your intelligence vigorously or flabbily, using your moral faculties honestly or deviously—this will determine success or failure. And this is your responsibility.”
Father General next referred to the absence of the discussio meritorum in this and in all subsequent Chapters. He remarked that this change will be lamented by few, since it was a long and tedious ordeal with dubious benefits. He then raised the question which was in the minds of at least some of the Capitulars: How are we to know the suitability of the various possible candidates? The answer is that if we do not at present have this knowledge, we can and should acquire it by seeking information from those who are qualified to give a fair appraisal. He reminded the Fathers that they are allowed to exchange opinions regarding the suitability of candidates, to ask advice. However, he recalled the strictures of canon law with regard to soliciting votes either for oneself or for another. This is condemned, but the free exchange of ideas is encouraged in this matter.
With regard to the submitting of a list of candidates for the office of Provincial, Father General pointed out the advantages and disadvantages of this arrangement. This provision is approved by the Sacred Congregation of Religious as a means of helping the electors to agree on a choice. However, he recognized that it would be quite possible for the General Curia to omit worthy and suitable candidates from their list, and so the Chapter—with the consent of Father General—is free to choose someone not on the official list. The General is not obliged to allow this choice of the Chapter. But in the present instance, Father General said that his list would not be definitive and, if the Chapter chose someone not on the list, he would give his favorable consideration to its choice.
Concerning the choice of a delegate to the General Chapter, Father General pointed out the reasons for the limitation of the number of those attending the Chapter and urged that the one chosen for this task be some one who really represents the province, some one who is able and willing to point out to the Chapter the mind of the province.
Father General also spoke of the advantage of the local Superiors and Master of Novices being chosen by the Provincial Curia instead of by the Chapter. This system should help to put a Superior in the particular assignment best adapted to his temperament, talents, and experience. Houses of formation, especially, need a Rector who can understand and fulfill their special needs. The Provincial Curia should be able to make the proper assignments effectively and calmly, after the arduous work of the Chapter has been completed.
In conclusion, Father General reviewed the majority of votes needed for election to the office of Provincial and that needed for election as Consultor or Delegate to the General Chapter. The prescriptions of the revised Rule are different from our previous practice but are in accord with the general laws of the Church governing elections.
Father General now read the list of candidates approved by the General Curia for the office of the Provincial.
The Fathers were then reminded by Father General that Father Marcellus White, Religious Superior of our missions in the Philippines, and Father William Whelan, Religious Superior of our Jamaica missions, had been invited to submit a report of their work to the Provincial Chapter. He proposed that they be invited to address the Chapter at once, since their words might suggest agenda for the Chapter. He further proposed that they be invited to remain afterward in the Chapter room to hear the discussions and the viewpoints of the province. They would not, however, be present for the elections. By a show of hands, the Capitular Fathers voted unanimously in favor of this proposal of Father General.
Before proceedng further, the Chapter chose a custos of the Chapter room. Father Justin Mulcahy was proposed for this office and unanimously elected. Father was called to the Chapter room, agreed to the choice of the Capitulars, and took the oath de secreto servando.
Following the suggestion of Father General, Father Rupert Langenstein was chosen temporary secretary of the Chapter.
The Fathers who were superiors of houses were now called upon to read the financial reports covering their administration during the previous three years. The report for the Florida monastery was read by Father Provincial Econome.
After the reading of the financial reports, Father Provincial submitted his report on the state of the province. He expressed the gratitude of the Capitulars toward Father General for the contribution he has made to this province by his wisdom, experience, and moderation. He also expressed the thanks of all to Father Theodore, General Consultor, for his unfailing attention to our problems and needs. Finally, he spoke of his own gratification and that of the province that the Chapter would be aided so much by the experience and deliberations of the delegates to the Chapter.
Father Provincial next reviewed the recommendations of the previous Provincial Chapter and explained why action had to be delayed regarding some of them—such as the revision of the students’ Directorium, the building of a retreat house at Riverdale, and the establishing of a new foundation in Canada.
Father Provincial commended the self-sacrificing work of our Fathers in North Carolina, giving a picture of their missionary activities over the years and explaining the reasons for currently turning over these missions to the diocese of Raleigh, where the local bishop is now ready to staff them with diocesan priests. He also summed up the accomplishments and the prospects of our mission to the Negroes in Atlanta, Georgia. During the past seven years, the number of Catholics in our present parish has increased from 183 to 1,024.
The growth and present status of the work in Mexico was reviewed briefly. The missionary labors of our priests and Brothers in the Philippines and West Indies were not included in Father Provincial’s report, since a personal report was to follow by the superiors of these missions.
A summary of the building operations in the province for the past three years was then submitted. These included the new monastery and retreat house in North Palm Beach, a monastery and church in Atlanta, and the building of a new retreat house and the renovation of the old one at St. Paul’s Monastery in Pittsburgh.
The background of the new Preparatory Seminary in process of construction at Hartford was reviewed by Father Provincial and the reasons for settling the problem in this particular way. Plans for our new foundation in Shrewsbury were outlined, and hopes for speedily bringing these plans to fulfillment were expressed.
Father Provincial then gave a brief picture of the work and problems of The Sign magazine and of the Mission Department. He reported that, in spite of various difficulties, both were doing outstanding work in their respective fields and together were making an invaluable contribution not only to the prestige but also to the financial soundness of the province. Noting that the Catholic press is basically an extension of the Catholic pulpit, Father Provincial praised The Sign magazine for establishing the apostolate of the press as an eminent part of our Passionist vocation.
In reporting on the present condition of our vocational program, Father Provincial asked Father Rupert to read an analysis of this situation which had been drawn up by Father James Verity, General Vocational Director. It was most reassuring to the Capitulars to hear of the great accomplishments, and even greater prospects, of this program and to realize what confidence we can have of a steady supply of sound, well-examined vocational prospects for the Priesthood and Brotherhood.
The next item on Father Provincial’s report concerned our preaching of missions and retreats. He reported the success of the program of soliciting missions in various dioceses and the constant growth of our preaching work, especially in the field of retreats to the clergy and religious.
The work of “The Hour of the Crucified” was generously and deservedly praised by Father Provincial, and its planned removal to a building of its own within the year was commended as a steppingstone to even greater accomplishments.
Finally, Father Provincial summed up in a general way the financial status of the province and assured the Fathers that despite our very extensive building operations, the affairs of the province are in very sound condition. In conclusion, Father Provincial thanked “The Sign magazine, the Mission Department, the Mission Co-operative, and all the Superiors who have helped us to carry successfully the financial burdens of the province during these past three years.”
Father William Whelan, Superior of our missions in the West Indies, was now called upon to submit his report on the men and missions under his charge. Father William began by expressing his gratitude, and that of his fellow missionaries, for having the opportunity of his being present at the Provincial Chapter. He remarked that while our foreign missionaries know they are far from being a “forgotten legion,” yet they have found this expression of interest and concern most reassuring. He then reviewed briefly the status of our Jamaica missions and pointed out that, despite our small numbers, we are about one-seventh of the clergy of the Kingston diocese. Father William spoke of the physical setup and the prospects of each of our mission stations and the challenge that faces each of the missionaries. He specified the main obstacles to the Church in Jamaica as illegitimacy and concubinage, religious indifference, and superstition and gave examples of how these are frequently encountered and handled. He outlined the growth that has been made since the coming of our Fathers to Jamaica and the well-founded hope that religious education and better economic prospects will help the Church greatly in fulfilling its mission. Father William concluded by expressing his deep thanks to the Superiors and Religious of the province who have so generously supported the work of his missionaries by “personnel, finances, fraternal interest, and encouragement.”
Father General then expressed the gratitude of the Capitular Fathers for the clear insight into the work and problems of the missions presented by Father William. He spoke of his gratification at hearing of the high caliber of the men entrusted with this all important work and urged that these standards be maintained always. He gave instances where the sending of less desirable men has proved disastrous to missionary enterprises and expressed the hope that the work of our missions would never be entrusted to any save men of deepest apostolic zeal.
The committees to consider and report on proposed legislation were now appointed by Father General. He reminded the Fathers of the norms that should regulate their decisions regarding the agenda: They should eliminate any matter already legislated for by canon law, the Holy Rule, the Regulations, or by General Chapter decrees and also anything contrary to the above. And he reminded them that the reason for a decree is not ordinarily incorporated in the decree itself, although this may sometimes be done for sufficient reason. After these instructions, Father General called a recess until three o’clock on Monday afternoon.
When the Capitular Fathers reassembled for the second preliminary session, all were asked individually if they had any further proposals to add to the agenda. Seven proposals were submitted and were referred to the proper committees for consideration.
Father Marcellus White, Superior of our Religious in the Philippines, was now invited to address the Chapter. He began by recalling the highlights of the past three years work in the Philippines. First, the canonical visit of Father Provincial to each of our mission stations. Father Marcellus warmly commended “his intense interest in our work, his generous and understanding assistance to the work, his fatherly and thoughtful advice to each and all of us.” Second, the wonderful recognition given by the Holy See to the work of our Fathers, shown by granting us our own prelature and our own bishop. Third, the visit to the missions in April of this present year, of Father Theodore Foley, General Consultor, a visit which made the missionaries realize “the interest and love of the Congregation for the religious and their work.”
The material growth of the diocese was then detailed by Father Marcellus: three new churches built, three rectories completed and occupied, an existing house renovated to serve as a seminary, the cathedral enlarged and façaded, two churches rebuilt, several pieces of land purchased for future development. Parallel with this material growth has been outstanding spiritual progress. During the past year, more than a quarter of a million Communions were distributed within our prelature. With travel so difficult and many congregations so small, these figures have a special significance and represent far more than the ordinary amount of priestly labor.
Father Marcellus spoke glowingly of the present and past accomplishments within our jurisdiction in the Philippines, but he made it very clear that there still remains very much to be done. We now have eleven parishes. If we had the men to staff them, we could have twenty-two. At present, despite the heroic efforts of our Fathers, we are reaching only eighty to ninety thousand people. Yet, there are three times that number committed to us, and it must be our goal to reach them as soon as possible. Father Marcellus expressed the deep gratitude of the missionaries and the people in the Philippines for all that has been done by the province, and he concluded by expressing confidence that the province will continue its generous support and that God will abundantly bless all of us for the great good that is being accomplished.
After the completion of his formal discourse, Father Marcellus made himself available to answer the various questions submitted by the Fathers concerning the details of life in the missions and the possibilities of the various phases of this apostolate. Father General then recessed the Chapter until the following morning, to allow the committees time to discuss the agenda committed to them and to prepare the proposals to be submitted to the vote of the Chapter.
The third preliminary session was opened at eight-thirty on Tuesday morning, with the customary prayers recited by Father General. This session, as well as the afternoon session, was devoted entirely to a general consideration of the reports on the agenda as submitted by the respective committees. Many of the decrees, especially those which had been enacted by previous Provincial Chapters, found quick and unanimous acceptance. However, in the consideration of a number of decrees both old and new, there was long and thorough discussion. It was here particularly that the unique make-up of this Chapter showed its value: the various viewpoints of many Passionists intensely interested in the welfare of the Congregation, alert to its many needs, and all deeply loyal to its traditions. At the conclusion of the discussions, there was not, necessarily, unanimity of viewpoint, but there was the definite conviction that the matter had been thoroughly examined and all its facets explored.
On Tuesday evening at seven-thirty, the Capitular Fathers and the community of Immaculate Conception Monastery assembled for the closing of the triduum of preparatory prayers and also the customary discourse on the qualities of a good superior. This talk was delivered by Very Reverend Owen Lynch, Rector of the monastery. Father Owen portrayed the good superior as having a twofold goal to attain the individual good of the religious and the common good of the whole community. He showed how the good superior, whether he be General, Provincial, or Rector, must truly represent Christ in his approach to the Congregation, the province, or the community entrusted to his care. He pointed out how his possession and practice of the theological virtues in an eminent degree will aid him to accomplish these lofty goals. He reminded the Fathers of the influences from within himself and from those around him that will oppose his efforts to be all that a superior should be and how, with God’s grace, he can succeed in spite of all that would thwart his efforts. He must make use of many methods if his requests, his admonitions, and his advice are to have their true effect. Sometimes he must bear in patience what he cannot successfully correct at the present moment; sometimes he must be passive even when it requires heroic patience to be so. Father Owen summed up the work of a good superior as the practice of Christlike charity by one who is truly a good shepherd. He recalled the qualities enumerated by St. Paul as characteristic of charity and showed how admirably and how necessarily these must be integrated into the life of a good and successful superior.
Father Owen proceeded to show how the common good must also be the concern of the good superior. “The moral person is very important and, analogically, must be treated as the individual human person. Just as the individual has responsibilities, so too has the moral person. If the moral body of a monastery or province is to exercise its personality in terms of the apostolate, then it must be cared for with all the diligence and love of an individual soul. It must be impregnated with the spirit of faith, motivated by charity, and bound together in hope. The efficiency and the effectiveness of the province will depend a great deal upon the spirit of its leaders. It they project the spirit of faith, hope, and charity, much good will ensue to the whole Congregation and to the Mystical Body of Christ.” This is something that we can accomplish, this is something that we will accomplish, if we approach the work of the Chapter with the Passion of Christ always in our hearts.
ELECTION OF SUPERIORS
At six-thirty on Wednesday morning, a solemn Mass of petition to the Holy Spirit was offered in the monastery choir by Father General. He was assisted by Fathers Rupert and Luke, as deacon and subdeacon respectively. Father Martin Joseph acted as master of ceremonies. Father Flavian was thurifer, and Fathers Gerard Anthony and Wilfred were acolytes.
At eight-thirty, the Capitular Fathers and the community gathered in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of the monastery for the formal procession to the Chapter room. Father General, vested in surplice and stole and carrying a large crucifix, intoned the “Vexilla Regis,” which was taken up and chanted by all. Having finished the hymn, together with the versicle and prayers, Father President dismissed all except the electors: “Abeant ceteri omnes et consistant electores.”
Father General now addressed the Fathers, pointing out the nature and the seriousness of the task confronting them. This is a time for each of us, he said, to realize what the Church and the Congregation mean to us and the nature of our responsibility to them. That relationship leaves no room for ambition, whether for ourselves or for others. To the extent that we put ourselves before what Christ intended us to be and what St. Paul of the Cross intended in founding the Congregation, we make the Church less, we make the Congregation fail in its purpose. Each of us knows and realizes this so well, but who of us does not need to be reminded at times of these basic truths? We will choose the future superiors of this province, but in fulfilling that duty, we must strive to be truly objective. To have friends, to have preferences, is the most natural and human thing in the world. But we must realize that what attracts us to a person and makes him a friend does not necessarily endow him with the gift of governing. Good, sound government is what the province needs, and we must try to estimate objectively the qualities of each of those we might consider for office. We may not make friendship alone the basis of our decisions.
During these past weeks and months, he continued, but especially during these past days, we have been appraising one another. In considering one another, our thought has been: What are his qualities? What are his virtues? How well is he fitted to the good government of the province? We are not choosing a preacher. We are not choosing a spiritual director. Leadership, prudence, sound judgment, virtue—these are the qualities we are seeking. The man we seek should be virtuous to a notable degree, but he need not necessarily be the most virtuous amongst us. He must appreciate spiritual values in his own life, as well as in the life of the province. He must have reasonableness about material things, good judgment, a paternal spirit in the best sense of the word. He must not be weak, but neither should he be excessively strict. He must have qualities which it is difficult to find combined in one person. We are not bound to find a perfect man but we should not be content unless we find one who has these qualities to a sufficient degree and will use them for the good of the province and the Church.
“When we came to the religious life, our thought was to leave all and follow Christ. That is always a challenge to the young and generous. It is also the challenge offered to each of us right here and now. We came into this room to perform a duty of the utmost importance to the province. In fulfilling that work, we must leave behind all selfishness, all purely human considerations. Every member in the province will be affected by what we do today. I exhort you to vote, not with your heart, but with your head, not with your emotions, but with your intellect.”
At the conclusion of Father General’s address, the Secretary called the roll of the Capitular Fathers, to which each answered “Adsum.”
At this point, Father Ernest Welch requested permission from Father General to address the Chapter. He asked the Fathers to allow him to renounce his passive voice, because of the general condition of his health, which would not allow him to fulfill the office of higher superior.
Then Father General, according to the prescribed formula, asked the Capitular Fathers whether the Chapter was legitimately convoked, so that they might proceed to the canonical elections. Having received an affirmative answer, he declared the Chapter to be canonically assembled in the name of the Lord, and the formal sessions could now take place. The usual absolution was conferred upon the Capitulars by Father General, and he in turn received absolution from Father Provincial.
Father Provincial and his Consultors now deposited their seals of office upon the altar, which had been prepared in the Chapter room, as a renunciation of their office.
A permanent secretary to the Chapter was chosen, Father Rupert being elected to this office. By secret ballot, Fathers Augustine Paul and Fidelis were chosen scrutineers, and, together with the President of the Chapter, they took the oath to fulfill faithfully their office. Then all the Capitulars took the oath to elect as Provincial him who they judged should be elected. Father General explained the system of using the ballots that had been prepared, and the formal voting began.
On the twelfth ballot, Father Gerard Rooney was elected Provincial. Father Gerard told the Fathers of his sense of surprise, together with the other feelings and emotions that overwhelmed him at this great honor and responsibility, but agreed to accept it as God’s will in his regard. The community of Immaculate Conception Monastery was now called to the Chapter room, the election was formally announced to them, and the Capitulars and other brethren made their act of obedience to Father Provincial, conveying also their congratulations and best wishes. All then went to the choir, where Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament was given and the “Te Deum” was sung.
Balloting for the remaining offices was resumed at three o’clock in the afternoon. On the fourth ballot, Father Canisius Hazlett was elected first Consultor. Thanking the Fathers for their confidence and assuring Father Provincial of his wholehearted co-operation, Father Canisius accepted the office. On the fourth ballot, Father Rupert Langenstein was elected second Consultor. He expressed to the Fathers his gratitude and his willing acceptance of whatever duties Father Provincial might assign to him. On the fourth ballot, Father Owen Lynch was elected third Provincial Consultor. He graciously acceded to the wishes of the Chapter and assured the Fathers of his generous dedication to his tasks. On the third ballot, Father Stephen Paul Kenny was chosen fourth Consultor. He, too, expressed his gratitude to the Fathers and his determination to fulfill the office to the best of his abilities and strength.
The delegate to the General Chapter was next chosen. On the fifth ballot, Father Owen Doyle was chosen to this task. (Father Leander Delli Veneri, after the second ballot, had asked to renounce his passive voice.) The final election was to the office of alternate delegate to the General Chapter. On the third ballot, Father Luke Missett was elected. This concluded the sixth session of the Chapter.
On Thursday morning at eight-thirty, the Capitulars once more assembled in the Chapter room. As the first order of business, Father General explained the duties and status of the third and fourth Consultors of the province, since these are new offices, and some uncertainty had existed on various points. The heads of the various committees were now called upon to submit their final report on the matters on the agenda. The entire morning and afternoon sessions were devoted to discussion of these reports. Several matters that had been proposed to the Chapter by various members of the province were found to be more in the nature of topics for discussion than subjects for legislation. Some of the discussions, which were continued for the best part of an hour, were deeply inspirational and instructive and constituted one of the most worthwhile features of the Chapter. Toward the end of the afternoon session, Father Luke Missett renounced his active voice so that he might go to the bedside of his brother, who was in a dying condition.
The final session of the Chapter was opened on Friday morning at eight-thirty. All of the reports had been carefully analyzed, the recommendations had been sifted from the formal decrees, and the legislative part of the Chapter took place. The following decrees were issued, subject to the approval of the General Curia. This approval was given at Rome on August 4.
DECREES OF THIRTY-FOURTH PROVINCIAL CHAPTER
1. The following Provincial Chapter Decrees constitute the particular legislation of the Province of St. Paul of the Cross. All other existing decrees are hereby abrogated.
2. Our Holy Rule, the Regulations, and the Provincial Chapter Decrees shall be read publicly in the refectory at the noonday meal on Wednesdays and Fridays. The Mission Directorium shall be read in the refectory at the beginning of each year.
3. The summer season mentioned in Paragraph 231 of our Holy Rule shall be effective in the Province from June 1 until September 1, inclusive.
4. Ordinary dispensations from the religious observance by reason of activities other than those for which dispensations are granted by the Rules and Regulations shall be designated by the Provincial Curia. Further dispensations must be requested toties quoties from the local Superior.
5. The Forty Hours devotion is a community exercise, and all the religious of the retreat shall follow the horarium drawn up by the local Superior.
6. One entire day in each month shall be spent in the retreat as a day of recollection by each of our Fathers assigned by the Provincial to parochial work. The same regulation applies to the Fathers of The Sign staff and to chaplains of institutions.
7. The national holidays July Fourth and Thanksgiving Day shall be observed as Gaudeamus days in all retreats of the province.
8. Discourses during the annual retreat shall not occupy more than half an hour. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament shall follow the evening discourse.
9. A low Mass shall be celebrated in each retreat when the word is received of the death of the parents of the religious of the province.
10. The oath De Secreto Servando shall be taken in all chapters wherein there is to be discussion of the character of any individual.
11. Priests not ordained at least five years are forbidden the use of spirituous liquors at home or abroad; the same prohibition applies to Brothers until nine years after final profession. The local Superior shall deny to all priests ordained after 1953 and all Brothers first professed after 1947 the daily use of spirituous liquors.
12. The Provincial shall defray the expenses of religious who must remain indefinitely in hospitals, institutions, etc.
13. Copyrights on publications by our religious belong to the province and shall be kept in the Provincial archives. Royalties received by our religious from publishing concerns shall be remitted to the Provincial.
14. When a religious is transferred from one retreat to another, the Rector of the retreat the religious is leaving must provide the said religious with all he may need at the time and may be permitted to have in accordance with the common life. If this prescription has not been complied with, the Rector of the retreat to which the religious has been transferred shall make due provision at the expense of the former retreat, but he must do so within a month following the date of transfer and only after he has referred the matter to the former Rector. This disposition includes dental work and urgent medical care. In doubtful cases, the Provincial shall decide who is responsible for the expense.
15. An exact record of Benefactores Insignes must be kept in each house. This record must include the names and addresses of the benefactors, the nature of the gifts, and any other item of importance in connection with the benefaction. Said record must be submitted for inspection at the time of canonical visitation.
16. Branches of the Benefactors Society shall be established in all our houses. The Society shall be under the supervision of the Provincial and shall be subject to his regulations. Holy Mass shall be offered daily for the members of the Society, in St. Michael’s Retreat, Union City, New Jersey. High Mass shall continue to be offered for living members of the Benefactors Society on the days which were suppressed as second-class feasts by the Thirty-seventh General Chapter. Permission having already been obtained from the General Curia, these high Masses will substitute for the monthly Mass specified in the Ordo. A uniform certificate approved by the Provincial shall be used, and a careful record of membership shall be kept on file in each house.
17. The Provincial shall provide a new breviary for the religious at the time of ordination.
18. Without first obtaining the authorization of the Provincial Curia, a local Superior may not assume the permanent obligation of supplying a chaplain for an institution.
19. Our students shall not wear the Roman collar until they are priests. (This will not apply to those already wearing the Roman collar.)
20. Our students are forbidden to smoke until the beginning of their theological course, and thereafter they may smoke only rarely and with permission of Father Rector.
21. The philosophy course for the students shall extend over a period of three years.
22. The use of a radio may not be permitted for the students without the authorization of the local Superior.
23. The Director of Students shall hold public conferences for the students regularly. These conferences shall take place on the mornings of Sundays or first-class feasts or on the evenings of Saturday or Sunday.
24. In conformity with the prescriptions of Canon 630, paragraph 4, pastors are subject to the vigilance of the local Superior and the Provincial in acts of administration. In order to safeguard the interests of the community, whenever parochial expenditures require the authorization of the local Ordinary, the pastor must first acquaint the local Superior of his plans and then propose the matter to the Provincial.
25. Each year, in all our churches and in the churches indefinitely committed to our care, a collection shall be taken up for the support of the young men studying for the Passionist priesthood.
26. For the sake of spiritual formation, our Brothers are ordinarily to remain in the status of junior Brothers for a period of time comparable to that of our students. They should not be transferred from the monastery where special training is being provided until after final profession. Provision may also be made to offer advanced technical training after final profession.
27. When the Brothers do the laundry, they shall be excused from nocturnal Matins should it be scheduled for that night.
28. Our religious may not join fraternal organizations without the approval of the Provincial; nor may our religious accept any office or position outside the community without similar approval.
29. Former members of the province who have been assigned by Most Reverend Father General to the German foundation shall be given the suffrages accorded members of the province.
30. Visiting religious, as well as those who by reason of their position follow a mitigated observance, must take meals with the community.
31. At least three months before the Provincial Chapter, the Father Provincial shall send a circular letter to all the houses of the province inviting the religious to submit to the Provincial Curia, either directly or through the local Superiors, such propositions as they deem worthy of consideration by the Chapter.
32. The habitual use of borrowed cars by individual religious, even though employed in fulfilling assignments or services for the community, is an abuse against the common life.
33. In conformity with Decree 13 of the Thirty-sixth General Chapter, the benedicite on leaving the Provincial house or returning to it is to be asked only of the local Superior.
34. Our Brothers shall wear the Christian-Brother type collar. Brothers professed later than 1940 shall not wear the Roman collar.
35. The Directorium for Students and Junior Brothers is the official and authoritative rule of conduct, discipline, and external direction for the students and junior Brothers.
36. Retreat Directors are to encourage, foster, and promote closed retreats for high school students in our retreat houses. Local Superiors should supply such added assistance as may be required to assure their proper supervision and success.
37. While the contribution of laymen in the promotion of laymen’s retreats is indispensable, yet complete control of the laymen’s retreat movement should be held by the Rector and the Retreat Director. All ordinary and extraordinary income shall be controlled by Father Rector. All special funds of whatever kind of purpose require the approval of Father Provincial and must be in a joint bank account, requiring the signatures of the local Rector and Retreat Director.
38. Our priests may celebrate their golden jubilee of profession, as well as silver, golden, and diamond jubilees of ordination, and our Brothers may celebrate only silver, golden, and diamond jubilees of profession. The official celebration is to be held in only one monastery and church. Also, the written permission of Father Provincial is required for the collecting and spending of jubilee funds, which must be kept on deposit with Father Rector.
39. Although the practice of preaching at the funerals of our religious has been discontinued, nevertheless a simple biographical sketch should be sent out to all the houses of the province.
40. No local news releases or financial appeals should be made without the knowledge and consent of the local Superior. All other news releases and financial appeals must have the permission of Father Provincial.
41. A full time Vocational Director is to be appointed for each monastery. He is to have the proper equipment for his work, the reasonable use of the facilities of the monastery and retreat house, and the full co-operation of all the members of the community. While he is not to be hampered in the pursuit of his assignment, nevertheless he is subject to the jurisdiction of the local Superior. Each Vocational Director is to offer one Mass every week for vocations.
42. A pension plan for our employees shall be put into effect in all the houses of the province. The Chapter proposes that it be left to the Provincial with his Council to formulate a plan that would be most practical for our needs.
43. In accordance with the prescriptions of Paragraph 12 of the revised Holy Rule, the religious of this province may wear the undergarments in common use in this country and these shall be personal to each religious. The local Superior shall provide for those who prefer the traditional garments.
44. In accordance with the prescriptions of Paragraph 144 of the revised Holy Rule, the present horarium is approved on an experimental basis.
45. The practice shall be retained of each priest offering three Masses at the death of each religious of the province.
46. Since the questionnaire sent to the missionaries shows that it is the almost unanimous desire of the missionaries of the province to have an advisory board, a permanent board shall be established. This advisory board will meet with the members of the full Provincial Council at least once a year to advise them on mission personnel and matters pertaining to missions and retreats.
A commission shall be appointed to make a study of our Mission Directorium in order to increase the efficiency of our missionary apostolate.
47. Our Rectors, especially in house of formation shall find ways to put into effect the directions of our Ordo regarding the celebration of Candlemas Day and Ash Wednesday.
In addition to the above decrees, the following recommendations were also approved by the Chapter:
1. The Chapter recommends that existing dispensations for those in special assignments, such as parish work, should be reappraised and the dispensations granted and the norms to be followed should be codified.
2. The Chapter recommends that on the occasion of the death of one of our religious or his parent, the charity traditional on such occasions be maintained and, where possible, a representative or even a delegation be sent to attend the funeral, considering the time of the funeral and the distance involved.
3. Although the title of “Confrater” now given to our students is specified in the present Regulations, the Chapter recommends to the Provincial Curia that when the new Regulations are submitted for study, this title be changed if possible to “Frater,” which is more traditional in religious institutes.
4. The Chapter, taking cognizance of the ecumenical movement, commends the work done for non-Catholics in some of our monasteries and recommends that courses of instruction for non-Catholics be instituted in all our monasteries. It also recommends that closed retreats for non-Catholics be held occasionally in our retreat houses. Since there is no longer any call for non-Catholic missions such as were formerly conducted in the province, we should consider the other means available to us for furthering Church unity.
5. The Chapter recommends that each of our priests be granted an annual vacation of three weeks which includes two Sundays.
6. The Chapter recommends that the Provincial Council request authorization from the General Curia to make experimental changes in the present Mission Directorium, as suggested by the Commission.
7. Recalling the great success achieved by the refresher course in preaching, in its original form, the Chapter recommends that this method be restored and that a one-week refresher course in sermon form and delivery be held in each monastery, conducted in accordance with Chapter XXV, No. 199 of the Holy Rule.
8. In view of the unexcelled opportunities offered by the communicating arts for the fulfillment of our fourth vow, the Chapter recommends that some priests be assigned to pursue courses in television, radio, and the apostolate of the written word.
9. The Chapter recommends that the late Mass during annual retreat be a full dialogue Mass and that the community actively participate in it.
Besides the decrees and recommendations and the matters which were rejected as being covered by existing law or contrary to higher legislation, the Chapter voted to include in the Acts of the Chapter some of the items that were considered by the Chapter.
The Chapter was asked to discuss several points in reference to the daily horarium, the relationship between our monastic observance and our apostolates, and whether the revised Rule, with its stated purpose of bringing about a better common life, is effecting the same. Through the reports of several Superiors and delegates, it is evident that our new horarium, for the most part, is effecting a better common life. Older religious, the sick, and those in special works find it more conducive to their keeping it.
Very prolonged discussion was given to the question of whether “there is a need to establish more certain objective norms in regard to the nature of our proper spirituality in relation to the role which our Congregation is to play in the life of the Church today.” It was noted that much work has already been done, and more work is being planned, in studying the theological and historical roots of our Congregation. Commissions have already been established in Rome for this purpose. Meanwhile, we have at hand our Rule and our Regulations, officially approved by the Church; the Code of Canon Law, with numerous commentaries, especially “De Religiosis”; commentaries and monographs on the life and teaching of our Holy Founder; the Acta, official publication of the Congregation. If these are more thoroughly known and discussed, great progress can be made in this vital area of life and apostolate. Most Reverend Father General concluded the discussion with an account of the difficulties experienced in every religious community, even in the Church herself, in determining what is one’s proper spirit. With an impressive list of facts, he made known how highly respected our Congregation is before the Holy See for having such a distinctive and thriving spirit. He pointed out how skilled historians among us are amassing and evaluating much information that can further that spirit. Father General rejected any attitude that implies that we are declining and urged all to dissipate such notions, since it is not the truth. He concluded by noting that even with this to our credit, we can never reach that stage where we can claim that we have fully achieved all of our ideals.
The question of the possibility and desirability of dividing the province was discussed by the Capitulars, apropos of a suggestion to this effect that was on the agenda. After a thorough discussion of the factors involved, it was the unanimous consensus of the Fathers that the present status of the personnel of the province would make any division unthinkable for many years to come. However, it was the feeling of some that long-range consideration be given to this matter, especially as regards establishing new foundations.
The range of outside activities compatible with the work of a Lector was considered by the Chapter. It was the agreed opinion of the Fathers that where no conflict is allowed to develop with a Lector’s primary duties, such apostolic efforts are worthy of deep commendation.
The liturgical observance of Candlemas and Ash Wednesday was discussed from many angles as a prelude to the decree formulated above. It was the mind of the Chapter that where a parish or other local circumstance would require the blessing of ashes or candles earlier than the solemn ceremony, a simple blessing be used to supply this need. The solemn observance could be held in the choir during morning prayer, and if necessary, the Superior could dispense Lauds and Prime. It was also proposed, as a possibility, that the solemn blessing be observed in church at a later hour and evening prayer be dispensed as is done on similar occasions.
The holding of a special and separate retreat each year for priests, students, and Brothers was proposed to the Chapter. The matter was thoroughly considered, and after prolonged and careful discussion of the advantages and disadvantages involved in such separate retreats, it was recommended that our method be preserved, as maintaining and fostering our traditional Passionist family spirit.
The appointment of a special conference master in each house was proposed and duly considered. The various factors involved were thoroughly discussed, and the matter was judged to be adequately covered by existing legislation (Rule, paragraph 298).
CLOSING OF CHAPTER
The possibility of making greater use of the advantages inherent in more frequent examens was discussed by the Chapter. The final decision was that this matter is already legislated for in Paragraph 298 of the revised Rule.
It was the mind of the Capitular Fathers that it would be well to review periodically the financial arrangements between our monasteries and parishes, for example every six years. It was felt that this matter could be best handled by the Provincial Council and Provincial Econome, paying due regard to diocesan statutes governing this matter, where such exist.
After all the above matters had been thoroughly discussed and the legislation voted upon, the Acts of the Chapter were read by the Secretary. They were approved as read, apart from a few minor emendations.
Father Gerard, the new Provincial, now thanked Father General for his guidance of the work of the Chapter, a guidance clearly marked by wisdom, patience, and kindness. The Capitular Fathers enthusiastically seconded his words of appreciation. In reply, Father General thanked the Fathers for the deep and characteristic charity they had shown him during the days of the Chapter. He commended the Fathers for the quality of their discussions of the issues proposed, the obvious love of the Order that was manifested by all, and the deep concern for the welfare of the province. He saw these traits as manifestations of true spiritual health and vitality. He congratulated the Capitulars on the spirit in which they had approached their work and expressed his pleasure that this new type of Chapter had so well fulfilled the high expectations which had been held for it. He concluded by saying that his official contact with the province had begun at a former Chapter held in Jamaica, and this present Chapter held at the same Monastery had proven a satisfying climax to his long association with the members of the province.
Father Theodore briefly addressed the Chapter, thanking them for the kindness and consideration shown him during his present visit, as well as during the previous years.
Father General, on behalf of the Chapter, thanked the custos and the secretary for their contribution to the work of the previous week.
The Fathers were now asked individually whether there were any further matters that they wished to propose for the consideration of the Chapter. All replied in the negative, and Father President officially declared the Chapter to be canonically closed. All the Fathers now signed the Acts of the Chapter. This final meeting was adjourned with a prayer of gratitude to God for His help and guidance during these weighty deliberations and the good success that had attended them.
Rupert of the Sacred Heart
The Acts of the Chapter were signed by:
Malcolm a Maria, Praespositus Generalis et Praeses
Canisius a Matre Sanctae Spei, Praepositus Provincialis
Rupertus a Sacratissimo Corde, Consultor Primus
Lucas a Virgine Perdolente, Consultor Secundus
Martinus Joseph ab Immac. Corde Mariae, Rector
Gerardus Antonius a Cordibus Immaculatis Jesu et Mariae, Rector
Joannes Chrysostomus a Sancta Maria, Rector
Gualterus a Sancta Patritio, Rector
Wilfridus a Domina Nostra a Monte Carmelo, Rector
Matthaeus a Matre Nostra de Succursu Perpetuo, Rector
Augustinus Paulus a Matre Immaculata Nostra, Rector
Aloisius a Sancta Familia, Rector
Audoenus a Sancta Familia, Rector
Caspar a Corde Immaculato Mariae, Rector
Josephus Cuthbertus a Maria Immaculata, Rector
Gregorius a Jesu Infante, Magister Novitiorum
Aquinas a Matre Dei, Oeconomus
Audoenus a Sancta Anna, Delegatus
Radulphus a Virgine Perdolente, Delegatus
Berchmans a Corde Immaculato Mariae, Delegatus
Gerardus a Jesu Infante, Delegatus
Damianus a Regina Martyrum, Delegatus
Thomas a Sacro Corde, Delegatus
Stephanus Paulus a Matre Dolorosa, Delegatus
Hieronymus a Domina Nostra de Perpetuo Succursu, Delegatus
Ernestus a Cruce, Delegatus
Gilbertus a Passione, Delegatus
Josephus Leo a Pret. Sanguine, Delegatus
Ricardus a Jesu Crucifixo, Delegatus
Fidelis a Conceptione Immaculata, Delegatus
Leander a Jesu et Maria, Delegatus
Nicolaus a Matre Dolorosa, Delegatus
Flavianus a Spiritu Sancto, Delegatus
Changes in Provincial Chapters including the elected delegates who are first seen in this 1962 Chapter, are from the revised Rules and Constitutions of the Congregation, promulgated in November 1959.
The above names are in Latin; their names in English including last names are:
Malcolm LaVelle, General
Canisius Hazlett, Provincial
Rupert Langenstein First Consultor
Luke Missett, Second Consultor
Martin Joseph Tooker
Gerard Anthony Orlando
John Chrysostome Ryan
Augustine Paul Hennessy
Owen [Audoenus] Mary Lynch
Joseph Cuthbert McGreevy
Gregory Flynn, Novice Master
Aquinas Sweeney, Econome
Owen [Audoenus] Doyle
Stephen Paul Kenny
Jerome [Hieronymus] O’Grady
Joseph Leo Flynn
Leander Delli Veneri