Acts of the Thirty-Third Provincial Chapter
of the Province of St. Paul of the Cross
Held in the Retreat of St. Gabriel, Brighton, Mass.
From July 6th to July 11th, 1959.
Letter of Convocation
Remote preparation for the Thirty-third Provincial Chapter of the Province of St. Paul of the Cross was made as early as January 11, 1959. On that date, Very Reverend Father Provincial, Ernest of the Cross, addressed a Circular Letter to all the religious of the Province, inviting them to submit any suggestions they might deem opportune for consideration by the coming Chapter. Father Provincial set April 30th as the dead-line for the submitting of these proposals.
The Convocation of the Provincial Chapter was formally announced by Father Provincial on March 29th. He directed the Capitular Fathers to be present at St. Gabriel’s Monastery in Boston on the evening of July 5th. And he announced the welcome news that Most Reverend Father Malcolm, General Superior, would preside at the Chapter. Once again, Father Provincial invited all of the religious to send to the Provincial Office any proposals they might wish the Chapter to consider, and he urged all to take a personal interest in this matter of such grave importance to the welfare of the Province. He asked the religious to pray that God’s guidance would be with the Capitular Fathers in their task of enacting new legislation and of choosing the new Superiors of the Province; and specified the prayers to be offered in each retreat for this intention. In conclusion, Father Provincial thanked all the religious of the Province for their cooperation during his term as Provincial, asking the prayers of the brethren, and assuring them of his own continued prayers and Masses offered for them.
With the permission of Most Reverend Father General, the week of June 1st was designated by Father Provincial for a meeting of the Capitular Fathers for a preliminary discussion of the proposed legislation and recommendations submitted by the brethren. This meeting was duly held at Shelter Island, with Very Reverend Theodore of Mary Immaculate presiding. Committees were chosen by Father Provincial to consider and report on the various propositions that had been sent in.
On the morning of July 6th at nine o’clock, the First Session of the Provincial Chapter was convened at St. Gabriel’s Monastery, with Most Reverend Father General presiding. All those enjoying the right of suffrage were in attendance—V. Reverend Father Theodore, General Consultor, Father Provincial and his Consultors, the Rectors of the canonical houses, and the Master of Novices. The prescribed opening prayers were recited by the Capitulars, invoking the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the intercession of our special patrons and saints. Father General then addressed the Chapter, key-noting the spirit that should animate the Fathers in all their discussions and actions. He remarked that on the occasion of previous Provincial Chapters he has pointed out often and fully the ideals and principles that must animate the Capitular Fathers if they are to fulfill the great task and responsibility entrusted to them. However, he recognized the value and even the necessity of a few words of reminder and emphasis on this point. Father General then discussed in some detail the spirit of Responsibility, of Unselfishness, of Sincerity and of Faith which each Capitular must bring to the work of the Chapter. Not all have the same contribution to make, but each can offer something which is specifically his own, something which will complement what all of the others have to give. Father General pointed out the serious responsibility binding each Capitular. This responsibility is a personal thing—binding us in the sight of God, Who judge us not only for our actions but for our omissions, and even for our motives. It is also a collective responsibility—obliging us to do what is best for the welfare of the Church and for the highest interests of our Congregation. Neither the superiors elected nor the legislation enacted can hope to win the approbation of every single individual, but if these tasks are well performed the Province as a whole will approve and cooperate with the work of the Chapter. Father General urged a spirit of unselfishness in all that will be said or done in the course of the Chapter, putting God’s interest and the welfare of the Province ahead of any personal considerations and motivations. He inculcated a spirit of sincerity and faith, so that we will work not only for God, but with God. God will not force us, but He will guide us. If we are to have God’s guidance we must try to deserve it—and also to follow it when it has been offered.
Father General’s introductory words being concluded, the Capitular Fathers were ready for the formal work of the Chapter. Father Eugene of the Cross was nominated as Guardian of the Chapter Room, and by a secret ballot was unanimously approved. Father Eugene was called to the Chapter Room and was given the customary oath of secrecy. The office of temporary Secretary of the Chapter was next considered, and this task was assigned to Father Rupert of the Sacred Heart. Next, the Rectors of the respective Monasteries, in order of seniority, read the reports of their administration.
After the financial reports of the various Monasteries had been read and approved, Father Provincial submitted his report on the general state of the Province. First, he reported to the Capitulars as to what had been accomplished regarding the recommendations of the past Provincial Chapter. In accordance with these recommendations—a) a course in Passiology has been introduced into the Refresher Course; b) a Charter has been obtained from the Board of Regents in Albany permitting us to grant the degree of Bachelor of Arts to our students at the conclusion of their philosophy course at the Jamaica Monastery; c) a full-time General Vocational Director for the Province has been appointed; d) the book on the liturgy by Adrian Fortescue and Rev. J. O’Connell has been approved for official use throughout the Province; e) the Superiors of the Province, after hearing all the pros and cons from our insurance brokers, have voted against any pension plan or hospitalization insurance.
Father Provincial then presented a summary of our home and foreign missionary activities. He gave a brief history of the origin and development, the accomplishments and the possibilities of our North Carolina missions. He pointed out the special difficulties besetting our missionaries in North Carolina, and commended their persevering zeal. The story of our Atlanta foundation was next presented, and the most encouraging prospects which it offers for the apostolic labors of our Fathers.
Next, a report on our mission in Jamaica, West Indies, was given by Father Provincial. This was in the form of a brief but thorough analysis submitted by Very Reverend Father William of Mary Immaculate, Superior of our Jamaica mission. There are eighty-eight priests in the diocese, of whom ten are Passionists. There are two hundred and twelve Sisters of various religious Congregations, and to them is committed the educational work of the diocese plus the care of a hospital and a leprosarium. The territory assigned to our Fathers covers an area of 818 square miles, with an estimated population of 200,000 of whom about 3,000 are Catholics. During the four years that our missionaries have labored in this region, 559 adults were received into the church; and Sunday Mass attendance in the missions has more than doubled. School attendance also has nearly doubled. Suitable buildings to serve as churches, schools, and priests’ residences are gradually being provided. Father William concludes his report by saying: “The Fathers on the mission have worked hard in a generous and self-sacrificing spirit. They are devoted to their mission and deserve sincere commendation. The spirit amongst the people as a whole is deeply Protestant, coupled with superstition among the ignorant. Religious indifference is prevalent insofar as they are willing to be baptized in any church, as long as they are baptized. Kindness and charity on the part of the missionaries have done much to break down prejudice against Roman Catholicism. There is much to be done, but hope exists for the future, and the steady flow of converts is encouraging. Missionaries who can look back fifteen years on the Jamaica mission are amazed at the progress made in that time. For the last four years, the Passionists have shared in that progress. For this, we are of course, indebted to Father Provincial and the Province for the generous assistance, cooperation and encouragement we have received. To Father Provincial and the Venerable Capitulars therefore, we wish to express our sincere gratitude.”
The next report submitted by Father Provincial concerned our Philippine missions. It too is a very encouraging and inspiring picture of hard work, self-sacrifice and missionary accomplishment. Fifteen Fathers and one Brother are at present engaged in this work. Here, it is more a task of preserving the faith than of spreading the faith. Out of 275,000 Filipinos on Southern Cotabato, at least ninety percent are Catholics. However, due to a long perduring lack of priests, most of these people have little more than the barest rudiments of the faith. Bishop Mongeau, Bishop of the Diocese, has established a system of schools which offers wonderful promise for the future in the matter of religious instruction. Much has been accomplished during the fifteen months that our Fathers have labored in this mission field, but as Father Quentin, Local Superior, points out: “If these people are to be saved for our Holy Religion, then the establishing of new parishes, schools, with the needed conventos, churches, school buildings, catechist schools and seminary must go on more quickly.” The future of our mission work in the Philippines is most promising, especially in the critical field of native vocations which is the true and lasting answer to the needs of this mission territory. Father Quentin sums up the present situation in these words: “We have one lad studying for the secular priesthood this year. He will be sent to the Metropolitan Seminary at Cagayan de Oro. Some twenty wanted to be Passionists. We started a Latin School for them during the summer vacation. Six of them stuck it out. Arrangements have been made for these six to continue their general education (two in high school, four in college) and a few times a week to continue with their Latin. Thus we shall have them under observation and after a few years be able to judge their fitness for the Passionist life.” In conclusion, Father Quentin thanked the Province for its deep interest and generous support, and pledged the whole-hearted dedication of himself and his fellow-laborers to this work entrusted to them.
Father Provincial next reported on the parish in Mexico City entrusted to two of our Fathers. It is made up of five hundred and twenty-five English speaking families, and shows promise of further growth. To date, there have been two hundred adult converts; and this year there will be a Confirmation class of two hundred.
Next, Father Provincial reported on the status of` our new foundation in Florida. Thirty acres of land have been purchased bordering on Lake Worth. At present, plans have been made for the construction of a monastery, with a retreat house to follow in a year or two. There is a critical shortage of diocesan priests in Florida, and the Bishop counts on us to supply extraordinary help for the course of the emergency, without prejudice to our Rule and our status as religious.
The contribution of the Sign magazine to our Passionist apostolate was next discussed by Father Provincial. In spite of many obstacles, it has been able to increase its circulation. The high quality of its contents have been recognized by all. Its financial aid to our home and foreign missions has been of incalculable importance to all of us.
The continued growth of “The Hour of the Crucified” radio program was next outlined by Father Provincial. The self-sacrifice and dedication of the priests assigned to this work together with the generous cooperation of the Province as a whole has accomplished tremendous results and promises even greater advances in the future. Since 1957, there has also been a weekly telecast of the Mass which is carried over several channels in the New England area. Participation of the secular clergy and members of other religious communities in this program have won for it an even greater popularity and acceptance than it might otherwise have enjoyed.
Father Provincial reminded us that since the National Congress of the Confraternity of the Passion held in Hartford in 1955, a Regional Congress has been held each year at one of the Monasteries. These have not equalled the National Congress in scope or attendance, but they have done much to extend the work of the Confraternity and promote devotion to the Passion of Christ.
The Provincial report was concluded with a statistical analysis of the personnel of the Province and the various works of the ministry carried out during the past three years. Father Provincial remarked: “It is an excellent tribute to our missionaries, retreat masters, and retreat directors that there are more and more demands for their services. Since the last Provincial Chapter, we preached 1,265 missions, 2,276 retreats, 537 novenas and 313 tridua. Also, during the past three years, 75,669 laymen and 3,661 priests made retreats in our houses.” The vocational problem which has caused much concern in the past, now seems in process of solution—and with the new vocational program to be authorized by the present Provincial Chapter still greater results can be expected. In conclusion, Father Provincial outlined the financial condition of the Province, and showed that despite the many building projects and commitments of the past three years, the financial status of the Province is very sound.
After Father Provincial had concluded his report, Father General offered the Capitulars the opportunity to submit any proposals they might have over and above those already presented for the consideration of the Chapter. A few proposals were offered, and added to the agenda of the Chapter.
Father General announced that the time had now come for the consideration of the merits of those eligible for canonical office. He outlined the serious obligation and also the scope of the oath of secrecy which would be taken by all of the Capitulars. Then, he recalled the spirit which should guide each in the consideration of the religious eligible for canonical office. There must be a spirit of sincerity free from human respect and from all self-seeking. There must also be a spirit of truest and deepest charity. In speaking of human limitations, we must ever be aware of our own shortcomings. Yet, the good of the Province and the importance of its work must ever be borne in mind, and charity to the individual must not blind us to the charity which we owe to the Province and all of its members. Father General recalled the prescriptions of Canon Law regarding the restrictions that must be borne in mind in formal and informal discussion of qualifications for office. The Capitular Fathers now faced the crucifix, and took the prescribed oath of secrecy.
At the conclusion of this ceremony, Father General recessed the Chapter until the afternoon.
SECOND TO FIFTH SESSIONS
The Second, Third, Fourth and part of the Fifth Sessions were devoted to the discussion of the merits of those eligible for canonical office. At the beginning of the discussions, Father Carrol of Mary Immaculate requested of Father President permission to address the Capitular Fathers. Permission having been granted, Father Carrol said: “My dear Fathers, I have held office in the Province for many years. I would like to express my deep gratitude for the confidence the Province has reposed in me and for the opportunities I have had to serve the Province. I now renounce my passive voice and respectfully ask the Capitular Fathers not to consider me for any canonical office. Should I be elected to any canonical office, I would not accept it.”
At the completion of the discussions of merit, Father General called for a report from the various committees regarding proposed decrees and recommendations of the Chapter. Since most of these matters had been thoroughly discussed in the preliminary meeting of the Superiors at Shelter Island, the present considerations were concerned mostly with precision and clarity in formulating the prescriptions of the Chapter, as well as a more mature consideration of the implications and application each decree.
The Sixth Session of the Chapter was immediately preceded by the customary address in choir on the qualifications of a good Passionist Superior. This discourse was delivered by V. Reverend Father Luke of the Sorrowful Virgin, Rector of Our Lady of Sorrows Monastery in Springfield. Father Luke chose the theme of his sermon from an incident in the life of Pope John XXIII when he was Papal Nuncio to France. On a certain occasion, the future Pontiff said of himself: “My role in France is that of St. Joseph—to be a guardian over our Lord and to protect Him with discretion.” Father Luke took these words as the expression of the function of all ecclesiastical superiors, and in particular our own Passionist Superiors. He traced step by step the workings of this virtue in the life and work of every worthy Superior. The very nature of Discretion makes obvious its vital necessity in the life of the religious Superior; and the words of the saints, especially those entrusted with the duties of superiorship, confirm this over and over. Discretion must determine what a Superior says, as well as how and when he says it. But “nowhere is the discretion of the Superior more in evidence than in his surveillance over dispensations from the common life. Here he must tread a careful path between rigor and remissness. He must have a clear advertance to the difference between means and the end.”
“It is easy for a Superior to have pity for himself. It is much harder for him to have compassion on the weaknesses of those who must listen to his guidance and hear in his words the voice of Christ Himself. Yet the fraternal pity or the compassion of a Superior must not be allowed to harden against the subjects who balk at accepting his leadership or scheme ways to circumvent his legislation. A discreet ruler like Paul of the Cross might tell the Superiors among his sons that they should, with all prudence and charity, regulate their conduct in keeping with obedience which crucifies us. However, immediately, as is evident from the Rule of 1731, he is quick to add that the spirit is indeed willing but the flesh is weak… The men we elect to fortify themselves with the authority of Christ must be courageous enough to correct delinquencies which imperil our way of life; they must be compassionate enough to make such corrections without crushing the delinquents whose spirit is willing but whose flesh is weak.
“We must choose Superiors who will count themselves blessed in reserving spiritual matters to themselves, content to let material affairs in the hands of men with useful but lesser talents. Wise discretion is surely needed to safeguard the precious legacy of a holy rule, to keep a spiritual vision from becoming blurred by unconscious secularism, to promote peace among brethren, to engender mutual respect among men with diversified graces, difference of function, and varied enjoyment of recognized success. This is a work for Solomon, yet the ordinary Superior is asked by Mother Church to pursue the achievement of it.
“No man can offer discreet leadership to a community unless he has personally discovered the secret for preserving his own serenity of conscience. He must be the architect of well-ordered love in his own heart before he can hope to communicate his inner peace to others. If he hopes to create an atmosphere wherein genuine yearning for perfection will thrive, he must himself be secure against the allure of the world and must humbly submerge his own glory out of deference to the glory of God.
“In our work of choosing the Superiors of the Province, we must have before our minds the image of that incomparable master of discretion, Paul of the Cross. Counsellor to Popes and Cardinals yet at home with bandits and peasants; General of the Order yet humble enough to accept advice from an infant in the crib if he could find it there; a rigorous ascetic yet human enough to buy pure chocolate for John Baptist and to prescribe a bit of tobacco for a novice, Brother Joseph; a solicitous Father, concerned about all genuine needs of his sons, yet really worried when one devotee of comfortable living could joke too complacently about his self-indulgence—here is a man of consummate Discretion. He was magnanimous in his awareness of speaking in the name of God; yet he was lowly in his own estimation because he admitted that there were seeds of self-destruction lying dormant in his own heart… May the Crucified Christ, whom Paul loved so dearly, give us, in His Mercy, spiritual leaders formed in the likeness of their Father.”
Immediately following this eloquent discourse, the Capitulars returned to the Chapter Room to continue their consideration and discussion of the various Decrees and Recommendations. The Sixth Session was recessed shortly after six o’clock.
The Seventh Session of the Capitular Fathers was preceded by the customary Solemn Mass of the Holy Spirit. This was offered at seven o’clock on Thursday morning in the Monastery choir by V. Rev. Father Theodore of Mary Immaculate, General Consultor. Father Ernest of the Cross and Father Joseph Cuthbert of Mary immaculate assisted Father Consultor as Deacon and Subdeacon respectively. V. Rev. Father Carrol of Mary Immaculate was Master of Ceremonies. Most Reverend Father General, as well as the other Capitulars and the Community of St. Gabriel’s assisted at the Mass.
At eight-thirty, the Capitular Fathers and the religious Community once more assembled in Choir. The “Vexilla Regis” was intoned and a solemn procession was made to the Chapter Room. Father General led the procession carrying a crucifix, and was followed by the Capitulars and the Community. Inside the Chapter Room, Father General dismissed all except those having the right of suffrage. “Abeant ceteri omnes et consistant electores.” The customary prayers prescribed by the ritual were then recited by the Capitular Fathers.
As an immediate preliminary to the election of Superiors, Father General gave a few final directives on this all-important matter. He recalled the picture of the ideal Passionist Superior as drawn for us by Father Luke in his discourse of the previous afternoon, and urged us to keep that ideal before us in making our choice of the future Superiors of the Province. He assured us of his gratification at the manner in which all the previous work of the Chapter had been conducted, and his complete confidence that in the elections themselves the one and only norm guiding us would be our loyalty to God and to the entire Province. With these words of exhortation and trust, Father General urged us to proceed to the choice of Superiors.
The “Veni Creator” was now intoned, and this final plea for the guidance of the Holy Spirit was chanted by all of the Capitulars. Then, at the direction of Father General, the temporary Secretary called the roll of those entitled to participate in the elections and the office giving them this right. The following names were called, and the Fathers individually signified their presence:
Most Reverend Malcolm of Mary, Superior General
Very Reverend Theodore of Mary Immaculate, General Consultor
Very Reverend Ernest of the Cross, Provincial Superior
Very Reverend Joseph Cuthbert of Mary Immaculate, First Consultor
Very Reverend Carrol of Mary Immaculate, Second Consultor
Very Reverend Martin Joseph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Rector of St. Paul’s Retreat
Very Reverend Walter of St. Patrick, Rector of St. Mary’s Retreat
Very Reverend Caspar of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Rector of St. Michael’s Retreat
Very Reverend Owen Mary of the Holy Family, Rector of St. Joseph’s Retreat
Very Reverend Rupert of the Sacred Heart, Rector of St. Ann’s Retreat
Very Reverend Canisius of Our Mother of Holy Hope, Rector of St. Gabriel’s Retreat
Very Reverend Boniface of the Most Precious Blood, Rector of Holy Cross Retreat
Very Reverend Luke of the Sorrowful Virgin, Rector of Our Mother of Sorrows Retreat
Very Reverend Felix of Our Mother of Sorrows, Rector of Immaculate Conception Retreat
Very Reverend Aloysius of the Holy Family, Rector of Holy Family Retreat
Very Reverend Connell of St. Ann, Rector of St. Gabriel’s Retreat, (Toronto, Canada)
Very Reverend Gregory of the Infant Jesus, Master of Novices
Father General now asked of the Capitulars whether in their estimation the Chapter was legitimately convoked. Having received a unanimous affirmative response, he declared the Chapter to be formally convened in the name of the Lord.
The prescribed acts of humility were next performed. Then, Father President imparted the absolution from censures “ad cautelam”, and received the absolution from Father Provincial. The Capitulars now proceeded in order of seniority to signify the yielding of their respective offices by depositing their “Litterae Patentes” and seals of office upon the temporary altar which had been erected in the Chapter Room. The Permanent Secretary of the Chapter was now chosen, Father Rupert of the Sacred Heart being selected for this office. Also, by secret ballot, Father Connell of St. Ann and Father Gregory of the Infant Jesus were chosen as Scrutineers.
The Capitulars now faced the crucifix and, led by Father General, took the customary oath by which they promised to elect him whom, before God, they judged should be elected to the office of Provincial. Ballotting was then begun for the office of Provincial Superior. On the seventh scrutiny, V. Rev. Father Canisius of Our Lady of Holy Hope was elected to this office. Father Canisius recognized the magnitude and difficulties of the task entrusted to him, but dedicating himself and his work to Our Lady of Holy Hope whose feast was celebrated that day, humbly accepted the office.
The community was summoned to the Chapter Room, and the result of the election was made known. After Father Provincial had received the congratulations and the customary pledge of obedience from the brethren, all went to the choir for the “Te Deum” and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Father Provincial was celebrant, assisted by Fathers Joseph Cuthbert and Carrol. After a brief intermission, the Capitular Fathers returned to the Chapter Room to continue the ballotting. On the fifth scrutiny, Father Rupert of the Sacred Heart was elected to the office of First Provincial Consultor. Father Rupert thanked the Capitular Fathers for their confidence, promised his full cooperation with Father Provincial and his whole-hearted dedication to the task entrusted to him, and accepted the office.
On the eleventh ballot, Father Luke of the Sorrowful Virgin was chosen to the office of Second Provincial Consultor. Father Luke expressed his gratitude to the Capitular Fathers, and promised his sincerest efforts to fulfill the responsibilities entrusted to him. The community of St. Gabriel’s was once again summoned to the Chapter Room, and the elections to these two offices made known to them. Father General then announced that the rest of the day would be free, and recessed the Chapter until nine o’clock the following morning.
EIGHTH, NINTH AND TENTH SESSIONS
The Eighth Session was called together at nine o’clock on Friday morning. Father General announced that the office of Master of Novices would be the first to be filled. Then, he called for discussion of the sequence to be followed in the election to the rectorships of the various monasteries. The decision of the Fathers was to follow the same order that had been observed in the previous Provincial Chapter. On the first ballot taken for the office of Master of Novices, Father Gregory of the Infant Jesus was reelected. Father Gregory thanked the Fathers and promised to labor even more faithfully than in the past.
Election to the rectorship of Holy Cross Seminary was next in order of procedure. On the fourth ballot, Father Augustine Paul of Our Immaculate Mother was elected. Father was reached by phone, and with some hesitation acceded to the will of the Chapter, promising to give his best efforts to this vital work of the Congregation.
The next superiorship to be filled was that of St. Paul’s Novitiate in Pittsburgh. On the sixth ballot, Father Martin Joseph, the present Rector, was reelected to office. Father thanked the Capitulars for their trust in him, and promised to give his best efforts to justify that confidence.
A rector for St. Michael’s Monastery in Union City was next chosen. On the sixth scrutiny, Father John Chrysostom of Holy Mary, Vicar of St. Gabriel’s Monastery, was elected to this office. Father was called to the Chapter Room and humbly accepted the responsibility assigned to him.
The next ballotting was for the rectorship of Immaculate Conception Monastery in Jamaica, Long Island. Father Owen Mary of the Holy Family was elected to this office on the third ballot. Father assured the Chapter that he realized the responsibilities involved in this office especially as regards the educational developments inaugurated by the previous Provincial Curia and local Rector. He promised to do his best to implement all that had been begun, and to discharge faithfully the duties of his rectorship.
On the sixth ballot, Father Joseph Cuthbert of Mary Immaculate was chosen rector of St. Gabriel’s Monastery in Toronto. Father acceded to the will of the Capitulars, and said: “In accepting this office I do so because I believe it is God’s will. Thank you.”
The rectorship of St. Ann’s Monastery in Scranton was next to be filled. On the fifth scrutiny, Father Matthew of Our Mother of Perpetual Help was elected to this office. Father was reached by phone and willingly acceded to the request of the Capitular Fathers, promising to fulfill with God’s help all that his office might require of him.
Next to be elected was a rector for St. Gabriel’s Monastery in Brighton. On the sixth ballot, Father Wilfred of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel was chosen. Father Wilfred was reached by telephone and assured the Fathers that he would discharge the duties of his new office to the best of his ability.
The next rectorship to be considered was that of Holy Family Monastery in Hartford. On the third ballot, Father Caspar of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was elected to this office. Father Caspar graciously thanked the Capitular Fathers for their consideration, and accepted the responsibilities entrusted to him.
Next in order of procedure was election to the rectorship of Our Lady of Sorrows Monastery in Springfield. Ballotting was begun, but since it was almost time for the evening meal, this ballotting was interrupted after a few scrutinies, and the session was recessed until seven-fiften in the evening.
The Tenth Session completed the previous work of electing Superiors. On the eighth ballot, Father Aloysius of the Holy Family was elected rector of Our Lady of Sorrows Monastery, and humbly promised to fulfill his duties to the best of his ability.
The next election was for the rectorship of St. Joseph’s Monastery in Baltimore. On the seventeenth ballot, Father John Mark of the Heart of Mary was elected rector of this retreat. Father was reached by telephone, and after some discussion and consideration, asked the Fathers to be excused from accepting the office. The Chapter acceded to his request. On the sixth ballot, Father Walter of St. Patrick was elected to the rectorship of St. Joseph’s, and graciously accepted the task assigned to him.
The final election was that of rector of St. Mary’s Monastery in Dunkirk. On the sixth scrutiny, Father Gerard Anthony of the Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary was chosen. Reached by telephone, Father Gerard Anthony thanked the Fathers for their confidence and promised to fulfill his office to the very best of his ability.
It was after ten o’clock when the ballotting was completed, but the community of St. Gabriel’s was awaiting the results. Father Eugene, Custodian of the Chapter Room, summoned them, and Father Connell of St. Ann read the list of the elected.
The meeting of the Capitular Fathers was now adjourned until nine o’clock on Saturday morning.
The closing Session of the Thirty-third Provincial Chapter was held on Saturday morning. A secret vote was taken on each proposed decree.
The Acts of the Chapter were read by the Secretary and approved as read.
As a result of the reports submitted by the various Capitular committees, the Venerable Chapter presents the following Recommendations and Decrees:
1. The Venerable Chapter recommends the Provincial Curia to appoint a committee to revise the Directoria for Directors and Students, so as to bring them into conformity with the revised Rule and Ratio Studiorum.
2. The Venerable Chapter recommends the establishment, if practicable, of a Monastery and Retreat House at Riverdale, New York, and a new foundation in Canada.
3. The Venerable Chapter requests that the Provincial Curia petition the General Curia for permission to use ad experimentum an organ accompaniment for the choral chant, and to have religious appointed to intone the psalms.
4. The Venerble Chapter recommends that upon receiving the announcement of the newly elected Rector, the Locum Tenens of each monastery shall promptly notify the Ordinary of the Diocese.
1. The Venerable Chapter decrees that we continue to offer High Mass for members of our Benefactors Society on the days which were suppressed as Second Class Feasts by the Thirty-seventh General Chapter.
2. The Venerable Chapter decrees that Decree No. 29 in the Previous Elenchus (1956) be supplemented as follows:
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. The Venerable Chapter further decrees that there be established at another Monastery a center where our Brothers may receive advanced technical training after Final Profession.
3. The Venerable Chapter decrees that the practice of preaching at the funerals of our religious be discontinued. However, let a simple biographical sketch be sent to the various Superiors and Monasteries.
4. The Venerable Chapter decrees that those engaged in parochial work, laymen’s retreats and chaplaincies will not remain in these offices more than six years in any specific place, unless in the judgment of the Provincial Curia particular conditions and circumstances require otherwise.
5. The Venerable Chapter decrees that Decree No. 3 in the Previous Elenchus is amended to read as follows: The Summer Horarium will extend from the day in June on which the Students start their review until the first of September.
6. The Venerable Chapter decrees that the Local Superior deny to all priests ordained after 1953 and all Brothers professed after the same year daily use of spirituous liquors.
7. The Venerable Chapter decrees that 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.
8. The Venerable Chapter decrees that 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 cooperation 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.
9. The Venerable Chapter decrees that Decree No. 37 in the previous Elenchus, regarding television, has been superseded by legislation of the Holy See.
10. The Venerable Chapter decrees that the horarium approved by the General Curia will remain in effect until the formal promulgation of the revised Rule and the Ratio Studiorum. Decrees No. 19 and No. 34 in the previous Elenchus are hereby suppressed.
At the concluding Session, the Venerable Chapter expressed its commendation of the members of the Province for their fine spirit of dedication to our Passionist life and work. Modern conditions have broadened the scope of our assignments both inside and outside the Monastery, yet the priests, students and brothers have adapted themselves with generous self-sacrifice to all that has been asked of them, and have reflected great credit upon themselves and the Congregation. Appreciation, was also expressed to the outgoing Curia and Rectors for their splendid contribution to the welfare of the Province and of the particular communities during their term of office.
Father Ernest of the Cross now addressed Very Reverend Father Theodore, Visitor of the Province and General Consultor in these words: “I wish to thank Father Theodore in my own name and in the name of all the members of the Province for the patience, prudence and charity extended to all of us while conducting the Canonical Visitation of the Province. We all realize the primary purpose of the Canonical Visitation is to promote the common good of the Congregation and to keep the members of the Congregation faithful to the end for which it was instituted. How well and efficiently Father Theodore carried out his assignment is common knowledge throughout the Province. Therefore, I assure Father Theodore we are all grateful for his efforts to help each individual and to promote the common good during the time of Visitation and this Provincial Chapter.”
Then, Father Ernest addressed Father General, President of the Chapter: “Before the closing formalities of this Thirty-third Provincial Chapter of the Province of St. Paul of the Cross, I feel confident l am expressing not only my own sentiments, but those of all the Capitular Fathers when I tell you, Father General, that we are deeply grateful for the contribution you have made to the progress of this Province. This is the first time that our highest superior has found it possible to preside personally at four consecutive Provincial Chapters. Having conducted the canonical visitation of this Province during your first term of office, and being acquainted with our American personnel, customs and problems better than any of your predecessors, you were in a better position to fulfill the grave responsibility imposed upon you by your office as General of the Congregation and President of this Chapter. We want you to know that we feel you have carried out your difficult assignment with prudence, justice and charity. So, we pledge you our grateful cooperation and our prayers that God may bless you with the health and grace necessary to continue promoting the best interests of our Congregation in the future as in the past.”
Father General then expressed his deep appreciation to Father Theodore for having conducted the arduous work of the Visitation of the Province, and having performed it so efficiently and so well. He thanked all of the Fathers for their fine cooperation during their term of office and in a special way during the time of the Provincial Chapter. He expressed his lasting gratitude to the two Provincials who have ruled the Province during his term of office—Father Carrol and Father Ernest. He paid special tribute to their prudence, generosity and good judgment which have made his own tasks so much lighter. He expressed the confidence that Father Canisius will continue that same tradition, and that the prudence and good practical judgment of our new Provincial will contribute much to the lasting welfare of the Province.
In conclusion, Father General thanked the Superiors and Subjects of the Community of St. Gabriel’s for their kindnesses and courtesies shown to him and to the other Capitulars in the course of the Chapter. Then, he reported that the committee appointed in the first Session to examine the financial reports found them in good order. He asked if there were any other matters which should be considered or discussed before the Chapter would be brought to a close. When all had replied negatively, Father President declared the formal closing of the Thirty-third Provincial Chapter of the Province of St. Paul of the Cross.
Father Eugene of the Cross, Custodian of the Chapter Room, was summoned and all of the Capitulars expressed their appreciation for the efficient and courteous manner in which he had discharged his duties.
The Acts of the Thirty-third Provincial Chapter were now signed by each of the Capitular Fathers. Father General confirmed the Decrees which had been made, and also confirmed the election of the respective Rectors and the Master of Novices. This final Session was brought to a close with the customary prayers.
The following signatures were appended to the Acts of the Thirty-third Provincial Chapter:
Malcolm of Mary, Superior General and President
Theodore of Mary Immaculate, 4th Consultor General
Ernest of the Cross, Provincial
Joseph Cuthbert of Mary Immaculate, First Consultor
Carrol of Mary Immaculate, Second Consultor
Martin Joseph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Rector of St. Paul’s Monastery
Walter of St. Patrick, Rector of St. Mary’s Monastery
Caspar of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Rector of St. Michael’s Monastery
Owen of the Holy Family, Rector of St. Joseph’s Monastery
Rupert of the Sacred Heart, Rector of St. Ann’s Monastery
Canisius of Our Mother of Holy Hope, Rector of St. Gabriel’s Monastery
Boniface of the Most Precious Blood, Rector of Holy Cross Monastery
Luke of the Sorrowful Virgin, Rector of our Mother of Sorrows Monastery
Felix of the Sorrowful Mother, Rector of Immaculate Conception Monastery
Aloysius of the Holy Family, Rector of Holy Family Monastery
Connell of St. Ann, Rector of St. Gabriel’s Monastery, Toronto, Canada.
Gregory of the Child Jesus, Master of Novices.
Rupert of the Sacred Heart,
St. Gabriel’s Retreat,
July 11, 1959.