Brother Superior and the General Council gathered in Rome in the week beginning May 13th after a very successful meeting with the Brother Visitors of RELAL in Guadalajara, Mexico, hosted with exquisite hospitality by the District of North Mexico. The return to Rome coincided with the week of celebrations in honour of the Founder's tercentenary which included the workshop on Creative Fidelity in which 23 Lasallians explored the nature of fidelity to their particular Lasallian vocation and culminated in a public commitment to their vocation in the context of the celebratory Mass on May 15th. That Mass, presided over by the Ethiopian Cardinal Archbishop of Addis Ababa, Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, and attended by Lasallians representing the world-wide Institute, was a wonderfully joyous occasion superbly animated by the choir and musicians of the College of San Giuseppe di Roma with youthful exuberance. The following day, in the presence of a sizable group of school children from our Roman Schools, there was a special Lasallian audience with Pope Francis in the Vatican in which Brother Superior, in the tradition of St La Salle, pledged the loyalty of the Lasallian Family to the Bishop of Rome and the Institute's commitment to "the educational needs of those whose dignity and basic rights are not recognized." In his response, the Pope urged the Institute to "deepen and imitate the Founder's passion for the least and the lost" and to be protagonists of a "culture of the resurrection" in those contexts where "the culture of death prevails".
The Plenary Session of the General Council, which occurs three times a year and is an opportunity for reviewing and reflecting on the international Institute, began in the following week. Unfortunately, Brother Superior had to return to the States for brief, ongoing medical treatment while Brother Gustavo was unable to join the start of our session as he recovered from prostate surgery in his native Mexico. We were delighted to welcome him back in Rome during the third week of our session. An integral part of the normal Plenary Session is a couple of days of recollection and reflection and this time it took place in a beautiful retreat centre in Torricella, a hill-side town about an hour's drive north of Rome. As usual, our reflection also included discussion on our leadership priorities for the remainder of our mandate. Brother Rafa had to return early to animate a session on Charismatic Families for which he is the Lasallian coordinator.