The First Session of the 2019 Provincial Chapter was held from January 7th-9th, 2019 at St. Augustine High School in San Diego. The first session of a Chapter is tasked with certain important responsibilities: the transfer of authority from one prior provincial to the newly elected prior provincial, the election of province councilors and officers, and presentations and reports on the health and status of various aspects of the province and life in the province.
The Chapter began with Evening Prayer on January 7th, during which Fr. Kevin Mullins, OSA handed over the seal of the province, the symbol of the office of provincial, to Fr. Gary Sanders, OSA. Both friars gave remarks to the brothers, with Fr. Kevin thanking the brothers for being able to serve them as provincial and Fr. Gary thanking the brothers for their trust in him as he takes the reins of the province.
The President of the Chapter was Very Rev. Joseph Farrell, OSA, Vicar General of the Order. As vicar general, he represents the Prior General when the general is unable to attend a chapter meeting. The membership was honored by the presence of Fr. Joe, and he too addressed the membership by extending the well wishes the Curia in Rome and sharing news from across the Order.
The Chapter was also able to hear presentations from its' two most senior friars: Fr. Harry Neely, OSA and Fr. Thomas Behan, OSA, who gave talks on the contemplative life and life in a retirement community, respectively. They were joined the following day by Fr. Tom Whelan, OSA and Fr. John Keller, OSA, who gave seemingly opposing yet complementary talks titled "Thinking Outside the Box" and "Thinking Inside the Box." These talks fostered further discussion among the gathered friars, and set the stage for the second session of Chapter, to be held during the second week of June at Villanova Prep. School in Ojai, CA.