Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 marked the official Opening Day of the Twenty-Eight Congregation Chapter of the Presentation Brothers at the Villa Palazzola, Rocca di Papa, Italy. The Chapter delegates, guests, friends, religious from others congregations in Rome gathered in the beautiful chapel of Villa Palazzola to celebrate the Opening Mass of the Chapter. The chief celebrant was Father Jim Corkery SJ, professor at the Gregorian University in Rome. He was assisted by concelebrants, Monsignor Ciarán O’Carroll, Rector of the Irish College and Monsignor Philip Whitmore, Rector of the Venerable English College.
Brother Martin welcomes Guests
The Chapter was honoured by the presence of the Irish Ambassador to the Holy See, Her Excellency Emma Madigan who was welcomed by Brother Martin Kenneally, Congregation Leader, to the Opening Mass. Speaking in Irish, he expressed his appreciation of the Ambassador’s presence at the Mass and with the Brothers. Brother Martin also noted that the presence of religious from other congregations, and, in particular, the Presentation Sisters and the Christian Brothers, expressed their solidarity with the Presentation Brothers at this important moment in the life of the Congregation. He spoke warmly of the friendship of Fr Jim Corkery SJ with the Brothers over the years and of his significant contribution to the wider Church in his current role at the Gregorian University. Brother Martin noted this connection with the See of Peter in his welcome to the rectors of the Irish and English colleges, themselves representatives of a deep, historical and well-respected resource for the faith of the Irish and British churches.
Homily at the Mass
In his homily, Fr Jim Corkery, spoke on the theme of beauty as a manifestation of God’s glory in the world. He perceived n the work of the Brothers throughout the world and, in particular, of the Chapter itself, as a witness to the glory of the Crucified Christ made manifest through works of mercy, compassion and service. Echoing the theme of the Chapter, he referred to the Chapter as a moment of graced leadership bearing witness to the compassionate Christ in an evolving world, at a time of chaos and uncertainty. He drew attention to the Report to the Chapter in which the Congregation Leadership offered the insight the Christ had journeyed with the Brothers over the past six years and would continue to be present with them as pilgrim Brothers for the world. Christ was, Christ is, and Christ will be. Because Christ remains, Fr Jim said, beauty remains. This is the beauty of a God who enters into the suffering of God’s people and journeys with them. Bearing witness to this presence is the mission of the Presentation Brothers as pilgrim Brothers for our world today.
Presentation to the Irish Ambassador
Following lunch in the refectory, Brother Martin presented the Irish Ambassador, Emma Madigan, with a special commemorative medal as a mark of the Chapter’s appreciation of her presence at the Chapter.