January 20, 2019
Hello from Oakland. This past week the chapter settled into a routine. We elected a new Provincial, Fr. Christopher Fadok, OP, a wonderful friar who will serve us well for the next four years. We then elected six friars as “diffinitors” (Latin for “one who defines” legislation), who work closely with the Provincial during the chapter. The diffinitorium, i.e., the Provincial and diffinitors, guide the rest of the chapter, and will remain on site when the rest of the capitulars have finished their work. The diffinitorium reviews the legislation of the chapter and can add their own legislation, but cannot legislate what has been rejected by the body of the capitulars. They also can introduce new legislation, and make assignments and certain appointments. I was elected to the diffinitorium, so this will delay my return.
After electing the diffinitorium, we elected four other friars who, with the diffinitors, will meet four times a year as a Council to discuss issues with the Provincial. That means I will have a few trips to the Bay Area for the next four years.
After these elections, we selected friars to attend the next two General Chapters, which are meetings of friars from all over the world. The next Chapter will be the month of July, in Viet Nam.
The diffinitorium divided suggestions for legislation among four commissions according to the four divisions of our Constitutions: On the Following of Christ, Formation, Government, and Economics. I am on the Government commission and its secretary. This past week we spent time alternating between commission work and plenary meetings to approve new legislation. This is the meat of the Chapter’s work. We have Sunday off, and work the other six days, with the diffinitorium meeting in the evenings. Keep praying for us – it’s working!