The Work and Ministry of the Team at the Generalate
The Superior General and his Council are the supreme governing body of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit. They are all elected to office at the General Chapter which is called every eight years. There are six Councilors elected to assist the Superior General in his task. The General Bursar is appointed to his role by the incoming Superior General after consultation with his Council. He completes the team of eight that have responsibility for the Congregation during its mandate.
In broad terms, the Superior General, with the aid of his Council confirms his fellow members in their Spiritan calling, in keeping with the spirit of the Founders and the living tradition of the Institute. He promotes unity among all Spiritans and promotes the unity of all with the Church. The Council works in a spirit of collegiality, of collective responsibility and of close collaboration.
The specific task of the General Council is the overall animation of the Congregation worldwide. The specific orientation of this animation is given to it by the General Chapter that elected it. Based on these directions and guidelines, the Superior General allocates to each Councilor a number of circumscriptions for which he will be the correspondent/contact person/animator for the eight years of its mandate. There are 60 such circumscriptions in the Congregation.
The Superior General and his Council oversees the work of each of these circumscriptions to ensure that each one remains faithful to the Spiritan mission it carries out in its area. In this regard, each circumscription can expect to receive a visit from a member of the General Council during its time in office. Among the purposes of this visit is to affirm the life and mission of the Spiritans locally and to see if there are any aspects of the tasks of the Superior and his Council where the General Council could be of further support.
Most of the day to day governing of the Congregation is carried out by the local circumscription Superior and his Council in a spirit of collaboration. However there are a number of decisions, outlined in the Rule of Life that are reserved to the Superior General and his Council. These are too numerous to mention but among the most important ones are the annual mission appointments of those who have completed their formation programmes.
At the Congregation headquarters in Rome, the General Council ordinarily meets three times a week during the more than five months that it is in session annually. The agenda is varied and manifold. Each new circumscription Superior has to be appointed or renewed every three years by the Superior General and Council. The documents of the Chapters of local circumscriptions have to be examined and approved to ensure that they are in conformity with the directions and guidelines given at the General Chapter. The reports from the visitations worldwide are discussed. Approvals are given to open new communities in the circumscriptions. It appoints the Directors of Spiritan formation houses worldwide. It works with local Superiors to find solutions to issues that are sometimes beyond the capacity of local leadership to resolve on their own.