(La version française suivra)
The new council met in Montréal on December 14. The location was chosen because the council needed to be updated on the finances and investments of the Region. We began the meeting by appointing Maurice Légaré – I should say “re-appointing” him – as Regional Bursar. He has been our bursar since 2002, a long stretch. Maurice had arranged that we meet with our accountant and our financial advisor so that the new members of the council could have an insight into the finances of the Region. The investment councilor of Lefebvre-Gervais assured us that the increase in our investments this year was 2.48%, hence better than the markets which are in negative territory.
At the meeting we also touched on the following points:
- Council met for more than an hour with Fr. Claude Bédard to receive an update on the house and its pastoral projects. Fr. Louis Marie Butari was going to leave the next day to return to the Congo in order to get a visa as a pastoral worker for Canada. It is hoped that he will return and join Fr. Engelber at the parish unit of Antoine Marie Claret, les Martyrs canadienne and La Visitation, all in the north end of Montréal. Claude also talked about his dream of welcoming a small community of Cameroonian sisters at Maison Dehon to assist with the outreach program of the parish.
- The Montréal community, in conjunction with the parish, will be welcoming a Syrian refugee family. The Region has accepted to help the family financially. Much of the work of preparing for the refugees was undertaking by the parish.
- Fr. Claude also talked about the elder care that Fr. Walter van As is receiving so that he can stay in the community. A health worker comes to the community house at least four times a day to assist Fr. Walter in taking care of his daily needs.
With the establishment of a finance committee, headed by James Casper and assisted by Paul Tennyson, the council will ask for advice regarding a number of Congregational projects. Fr. Zenon , the Provincial of RDC, has requested the financial help of the Region in covering some of the formation costs. The financial committee will be asked to look into aiding the province in covering some of the costs of the scholasticate in Ngoya, Cameroon, where RDC has been sending a number of its students. We have also put forward to the RDC the possibility of sending a doctoral student to enter into the Conflict Studies Program at Saint Paul University. It was felt that in this way the Region might be of some assistance to the Congolese Province in the turbulent political situation of the RDC.
The council also accorded $10,000 to St. Thomas More parish in Scarborough in order to make it possible for the 22 young people to attend the World Youth Day meeting in Stadniki and Krakow.
Council also had a lengthy discussion regarding the vocation ministry in the Region. In general the need for recruitment is accepted by the members, when they were polled. But it seemed necessary to connect it with youth work in general. Council realized that the decision of the last Chapter to have at least a half-time position for the vocational ministry had not yet been fulfilled. The topic will remain on the agenda of council for the time being.
Council also discussed at length our communications policy. It was felt that a regular communication with the members of the Region was important. It was proposed to set up a sort of blog with regular items from the different communities, a communication from the Regional Superior and a regular update from the items of the Regional Council. This blog is a sample of what we are thinking of setting up for the time being. We welcome comments and input from the members.