Glenmary Elects New Leadership, Completes 15th General Chapter

Brother David Henley, Vocation DirectorJune 2011

"Alive with the fire of the Holy Spirit, the Glenmary Home Missioners go out to rural and small-town U.S.A., where the Catholic Church is not yet effectively present, proclaiming and witnessing to the Good News of Jesus Christ and the power of God's love, mercy and justice transforming the world!"

—Glenmary's Mission Statement from the 1985 General Chapter

Glenmary's 15th General Chapter was held June 6-17, 2011. The general chapter meeting is part of the legislative branch of government of our religious society. It occurs every four years in order for us to gather as a whole—Glenmarians, students and lay coworkers—and discuss the needs of the missions and the society. During this time, we also elected a new leadership team for Glenmary—a president and two vice presidents.

Other communities might use the terms superior general and vicar general, but since we are a community founded in the United States to serve U.S. missions, we have chosen to use terms that reflect our culture. Our outgoing president, Father Dan Dorsey, who has served two terms in this position, will become our novice director and teach students in this important second year of their formation.

Our election process started on June 6 with a three-day retreat led by Father Paul Prabell, a diocesan priest from Morehead, Ky. He guided us through many reflections on what it means to be a missioner and gave us ample time to listen to the movement of the Spirit as we prepared for the elections. After the retreat ended, we had two days of discussions followed by the elections of our new Executive Council.

I am excited that we have elected Father Chet Artysiewicz to become the seventh president of Glenmary Home Missioners. Father Neil Pezzulo and Brother Jack Henn were elected to the positions of first vice president and second vice president, respectively. We believe and trust that the Holy Spirit guided us in our decisions, and we pray for these men whose leadership will inspire us the next four years.

After the installation Mass for the new council, we shifted our focus to the concerns of the missions and the needs of the community. We discussed with excitement the needs of the three new missions in eastern Tennessee that will be opened this summer, areas where the Catholic Church has never been present before. At this writing, though, there was still no word on who among us will be assigned to these mission areas where all of us would love to serve. As our founder, Father William Howard Bishop, said in 1952: "Trials of mission life are exaggerated—all of our men love it. I would prefer to be there myself, but some of us are doomed to stay at home."

We also discussed the needs of the missions in Mississippi and other places that are scheduled to be turned back to the care of their respective dioceses. As missioners we are called to serve a short time in these areas and then return them to the direction of the local bishops. Father Bishop also said that we "would be the advance guard, the shock troops, to open up new and even hostile territory"—and that after a mission reached a certain level of development, we would move on to new missions in order to share the message of Jesus Christ in areas of the United States where the Catholic Church is not yet present.

Many other needs regarding the internal functions of the Society were also discussed.

Our missions stretch from Windsor, N.C., to Heavener, Okla.—over 20 hours driving time between the two. Therefore, when we get together, we enjoy spending time with our brothers whom we get to see only a few times a year. As always, when we Glenmarians gather, we find time to celebrate. This year we celebrated the three men who recently professed their Final Oaths, one who renewed his Oath, and another who made his first Oath; those who reached their 25th and 50th anniversaries as Glenmarians; and those who passed away in the last year. We also found some time to relax with one another and have fun; playing volleyball and attending a local baseball game were the highlights for me.

The themes of these two weeks were confidence in our new leadership, hope for our missions, and good quality time together as a community.