Today, we celebrated the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth. Today also marked the fifth anniversary of the beatification of Blessed Mother Esperanza of Jesus, the foundress of the Merciful Love family, which is hosting the Chapter here in Collevalenza, Italy.
Today’s Mass was presided over by Friar James McCURRY, the Minister Provincial of the Province of Our Lady of the Angels in the USA. Friar Jude WINKLER gave the homily; in it, he highlighted Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant. Mary brings God’s mercy to the world through her Son, Jesus. We must pray to Mary our Mother to help us lead our lives and to bring us God’s mercy during these difficult times.
The Capitulars started work in the Aula by congratulating Friar Leo PAYYAPPILLY, the Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe in India on his 46th birthday. They also congratulated Friar Stanisław STROJECKI for his 39th anniversary of priesthood and they offered best wishes to the Province of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe in Brazil on the 16th anniversary of its founding.
Today’s voting concerned Chapter VI of the General Statutes: “The Government of the Order”. The discussion focused mostly on the norms for the General, Provincial and Custodial Chapter, in particular, on how those with voting rights should be chosen.
There was a great deal of debate on the subject of the canonical visitation. More specifically, the Capitulars asked that the Minister General or his delegate visit the Provinces at least once every four years. They asked that he make an evaluation one year after his visitation, to confirm that observations and requests have been addressed.
Once the voting on the Statutes was completed, alternative texts and iuxta modi were discussed. A text on the conditions necessary to establish a Provincial Custody was presented for discussion. The Capitulars decided the prospective Custody must have at least four friaries and fifteen solemnly professed members. At the same time, the Capitulars approved a norm calling for the juridical redefinition of a Provincial Custody, if it should have less than four friaries and fifteen solemnly professed members.
The day ended with a Marian prayer in the crypt of the Shrine of Divine Mercy. The Capitulars wanted to rededicate our fraternities and all the peoples of the world to Mary, Mother of God and our Mother.
Friar Aurelio ERCOLI, Chronicler
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation. The readings are rich and provide so much information upon which we could meditate. I would like to take only one line from the Gospel, the story of the Visitation, for the source of our meditation.
At the end of the Gospel passage, we hear that Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months and then went home. In the next verse that is not part of today’s Gospel, we hear about the birth of John the Baptist. It almost seems as if Mary went home before John was born. Why does Luke state it that way?
Traditionally, we holy that the visitation occurred at Ein Kerem just outside of Jerusalem. Across the valley is the village of Abu Gosh. This is the village where David left the Ark of the Covenant when one of his soldiers was struck dead for touching the Ark. He left it there for three months.
In a subtle way, Luke is telling us that Mary is the new Ark of the Covenant. As God appeared over the Ark to manifest his presence to the people, so Jesus, the Son of God, would come from Mary.
St. Francis reminds us that we all must be like Mary, bearing the presence of Christ to the world. We, too, must be like the Ark which holds and manifest what is most precious, the Son of God and the Son of Mary, Jesus, our Lord and our All.