A Summer to Remember at General Chapter

It was an eventful summer for Brothers Paul Bednarczyk, CSC, and Nich J. Perez, CSC, who had remarkable experiences stemming from the General Chapter in Rome last July. Held every six years, the General Chapter guides policy for the congregation worldwide.

Bro. Paul was in Poland attending World Youth Day when he learned that the General Chapter’s 63 delegates has elected him the worldwide congregation’s new Vicar General, the first general assistant to the Superior General in Rome. Upon hearing of his election, Bro. Paul said he was “humbled and honored” by the accolade. “My experience tells me, though, that when we accept God’s will in good faith and in the spirit of obedience, God gives us the grace to do what we have been called to do. I trust in this belief.”

Bro. John Paige, CSC, president of Holy Cross College in Notre Dame, Indiana, and a delegate to the General Chapter, praised Bro. Paul’s qualifications for the post. “We are looking for the best people available for that position,” explained Bro. John, who also once served as Vicar General. “Besides his personal qualities, Bro. Paul’s experience makes him eminently qualified for this international position.”

Executive Director of the National Religious Vocation Conference since 2002, Bro. Paul spent 12 years in secondary education in Maryland and Rome as a teacher, campus minister and administrator. He also served for nine years as vocation director for the Congregation of Holy Cross, Eastern Province of Brothers. Bro. John added, “He has been a major player in the national church scene in the United States, and also internationally and vocationally.”

The General Chapter produced a number of important outcomes, including a greater emphasis on developing nations traditionally served by younger brothers, whose energy invigorated the General Chapter, according to Bro. John. In attendance was Bro. Nich, a non-voting observer who gained valuable insights through the experience. A native of the Philippines, Bro. Nich professed his final vows in 2014 and is a doctoral student in Cinema Arts at USC. Immediately following the General Chapter, he set out to join his confrere, Bro. Paul, in Poland at World Youth Day.

“For the younger men in our congregation, like Bro. Nich, to have this experience is wonderful,” Bro. John said. “This was different from previous chapters. By happenstance of the Holy Spirit, there was a much younger average age, and it was extremely beneficial. This was my fifth general chapter, and it was very dynamic, with a broader international perspective.”