The Canonical Erection of the New Vice Province of Bolivia

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The new Vice Province of Bolivia was canonically erected on Monday, the 14th of January, 2013 at the Eucharistic celebration presided over by fr Michael Mascari, Socius for Intellectual Life and the delegate of the Master of the Order.

The Decree for the canonical erection of the new Vice Province was issued by the Master of the Order, fr Bruno Cadoré on the 25th of October, 2012. He convoked the first Chapter of the Vice Province (which started immediately after the canonical erection) and also appointed the first Vice Provincial in the person of Bro. Fernando Delgado Flórez.

The new Vice Province of Bolivia is a product of the merger of the two vicariates of the Provinces of Teutonia, Germany and St Albert the Greet, USA. The new independent vice province covers the entire country of Bolivia.

At the Eucharistic celebration of the canonical erection, fr Michael Mascari gave the following Homily:
 
In this chapel of San Judas Tadeo there are two images that express gracefully the beauty of your country. On the one wall to the left of the altar there is the image of two llamas in the stained glass. The llama is strong, quiet, and a source of life for the people of the Altiplano. On the other wall is the image of two parrots; the parrot is colorful, cheerful, and playful. In the same way, the people of the West descendants of the Aymara and Quechua, are resourceful and industrious, while the people of the East, descendants of the Guarani, are warm and lively. There are the dramatic mountains of the West, and the fertile plains of Beni and Pando. You have great diversity in your country, and yet you are one people. So it is with us, brothers. We are brothers with two backgrounds, with two histories, with two cultures. There is the rich heritage of the Province of Teutonia, one of the most ancient and influential of all of the provinces of the Order, and there is the much younger Province of St. Albert the Great, less illustrious perhaps, but dynamic and lively with a proud history of its own. Yet today we come together, neither as sons of Teutonia nor as sons of St. Albert the Great, but as brothers of the Vice-Province of Bolivia, diverse in our origins and yet united in our commitment to follow Christ as sons of St. Dominic.

It is not a superficial or a forced unity that we establish today. It is a unity that reflects the very life of God himself. As we hear Jesus say today in the Gospel, “as you Father are in me, so I am in you.” Distinct as Father and Son are, the two share a union of complete receptivity, of complete openness, to each other. The Father gives everything that he is to the Son, and the Son gives everything that he has received back to the Father. What one is, the other is. And this union of these two distinct persons, Father and Son, is so intimate and so strong that it cannot be anything but fruitful, creative, and life-giving. And so there proceeds the One whom we know as the Holy Spirit. It is this model of the three who live not in dull uniformity but in dynamic communion that we imitate today. We the brothers of Fray Vicente Bernedo and San Alberto Magno strive today to give ourselves to each other, to be open to the other, and to learn from the other so that our life together may indeed be fruitful in those vocations who will know only a vice-province and not two vicariates. Perhaps even more important, we pledge today that our lives may bear fruit among the men and women whom we will serve, who will know us in all of our rich diversity but also in our even stronger communion with each other, in our imitation of the very life of the Triune God.

This day we celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit.  We usually celebrate this Mass before a conventual or provincial chapter so that the Spirit of the Risen Christ might illumine our hearts and give us wisdom. Today, however, we pray not only for this wisdom, we pray for the unity that the Holy Spirit makes possible. This third person of the Trinity, who is the bond of love between the Father and Son, was present in the vision of Ezekiel, where the Spirit drew together dry bones and dead muscle and made living, breathing human beings, a vast army on fire with love for God. May this same Spirit unite you, my brothers, in a true holy communion, that through your study together of the Scriptures and of our Catholic tradition, through your life together as brothers, through your celebration together of the Liturgy and your contemplation of the One who is Truth himself,  your preaching in all of its diversity may be fruitful, and powerful, and grace-filled, so that through you the people you serve may be truly one, just as you are one, and just as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are inseparably and joyfully one.