for North American Assembly of Jesus Caritas Communities
The structure provided here is a means to support the life of the local Jesus Caritas Communities (laity) in North America. In broadening the leadership base to include representation from each community we take a step that meets the needs of our situation today. As we grow, modifications will be required. Our intent today is to involve more of us in meeting our needs for communication among communities, and in reaching out to others.
The North American Assembly of Jesus Caritas Communities (laity). The groups are located in the United States and Canada. Also, while our communities include many religious and priests, and our annual assembly is enriched by their presence; they do look to their own formal community structures to provide for their communication, development, and direction. Consequently for clarity of our role we will have at times to differentiate between our lay communities and the more formally established religious communities in the spirit of Blessed Charles de Foucauld.
The Purpose of the North American National Assembly of Jesus Caritas Communities (NANAJCC) is to support the mission of the local, national, continental, and international groups striving to live in the spirit of Brother Charles. It will further this purpose by providing a structure and means for the laity communities in the spirit of Brother Charles to communicate, gather, make shared decisions, grow, and maintain contact with other religious communities sharing our vision. Also, it will enable representation in the international associations advancing the vision of Brother Charles.
As we begin, the following describes the scope of activity advancing our purpose:
- Provide a means for the local Jesus Caritas communities to communicate, to engage in shared activity, and be represented in international associations.
- Plan and hold an annual meeting.
- Establish and maintain structures and resources needed for communicating and acting on a continental and international level*2.
- Provide representation for North American communities at international gatherings and in international associations.
- Welcome and inform individuals inquiring for the first time; support and encourage the growth of new communities, and support and encourage existing communities in times of transition.
The following means will be undertaken:
- Annual North American Assembly
- North America Co-Responsible (tw0)
- Committee of Community Representatives
- Structure and means for North American association, including mailing list, bank account, regular communications, structure for selecting North American Responsible.
- Election Process
Description and functions:
- Committee of Community Representatives (CCR) is made up of a representative for each local Jesus Caritas Community (Laity). Each community will select their representative who will be charged with participating on the CCR, reaching out to other local Jesus Caritas communities especially those nearby, and brings national and international information back to the local community. The CCR will select the Co- Responsibles and will be the body setting direction with the role and assisting in the work of the national association in general.*-3
- The North American Regional Co- Responsible is a role established to provide coordination. These persons will:
- Assure communication among CCR participants;
- Plan and facilitate the annual assembly;
- Serve as representative to international associations;
- Chair meetings of the CCR and national association;
- See that the functions of the national group are met.
- Will serve a single 4 year term
- Solicits, accepts, verifies and confirms acceptance of nominations for the next National Responsible from CCR two months prior to national meeting.
Since we are introducing this model as a result of our experience of the 2012 International Assembly we propose the election of one of the Co-Responsibles to a 2 year term, the other to a 4 year term, with provision for election for a new team member by the CCR every 2 years.
- Local Jesus Caritas Community. Each local community will have a representative on the national Committee of Community Representatives. Transfiguration Parish of Brooklyn will have at least one representative for the Spanish speaking fraternities and a representative for the English speaking fraternity there. In some of our communities Little Sisters (vowed religious) and/or Little Brothers (priests and otherwise vowed) participate and will be represented as part of those communities. In those cases where these religious and clergy have gathered with us annually as members of their own community structures they can if they desire have a nonvoting community representative on the CCR.
- Annual North American Assembly is our traditional annual national gathering. The purpose of this gathering is to promote the spirituality of Blessed Charles, that is to say his particular way of living the Gospel and that of his spiritual family. In the Annual Assembly we strive to share the life of Nazareth by an experience of simple living, prayer and community.
- Any organization however loosely constituted needs money to conduct its affairs. Each community should consider an annual contribution to fraternity funds as an essential part of their commitment to the family of Brother Charles. The treasurer will be responsible for maintaining a checking account that will be used to pay for supplies, retreats, conferences; and help with travel expenses for US/North American representatives attending international meetings. The treasurer will make an annual report to Committee of Community Representatives at their annual meeting. The treasurer’s role will be one of advisor to the Committee of Community Representatives and not a voting member. The treasurer’s mandate should be renewed every 2 years at the time of the Co-Responsible election.
- The national fund will also contribute not less than ten per cent of its income to the international fund of the lay fraternities and another 10 percent to the support of the Continental (Americas) delegates to the International Team. From this are met the costs of organizing international meetings, the traveling expenses of the international leader or regional leaders in visiting fraternities in different parts of the world, and the needs of groups of people connected with the fraternities who are suffering from extreme material or spiritual hardship.
- Election process: The first election will be held with the assumption that this charter/constitution will be accepted by a simple majority of all members attending the November, 2012 Committee of Community Representatives meeting at Tabor House, Tarrytown, NY. Election of regional Co-Responsibles will follow by the Committee of Community Representatives. This committee will consist of the elected representatives from each community in attendance at the assembly.
- Nominees for Responsible will be current members of a Review of Life Group and a member of a Jesus Caritas Lay community for at least two years. Each community may nominate up to two nominees. A brief biography of the nominee will accompany the nomination, and will be shared with all North American communities in advance of the election.
- Any changes to this constitution / by laws will be made using the same steps used in obtaining the approval of this document.
- Draft forwarded to designated contacts at each known community, and to small groups and individuals, for review and comment.
- Final draft emailed one month prior to Annual Assembly.
- Acceptance of changes at the next assembly.
*1. The issue of a Canadian Responsible position will await action from the Canadian Fraternities. However in terms of the International Assembly held every six years Canada (as do all other nations) will have its own delegate.
*2. The international association for lay fraternities of Brother Charles is the Lay Fraternity Charles de Foucauld. It has an International Team (IT) that meets between the International Assemblies that meet once every six years. The IT is composed of representative from five areas of the world loosely based on Continents ((in practice a rough approximation, for example the Arab World is one Continent unit as is all of America — South, Central and North).
North America (When North America reestablished contact with the Lay Fraternity Charles de Foucauld at the 2000 Rio Assembly we choose to forgo a separate continental seat on the International Team but rather affiliate to the International through the larger and more established South America organization)
*-3 Every two years at the time of the CCR meeting (usually held in November at Tabor House) a new co-responsible(CR) will be selected to take over the position being vacated by one responsible ending his/her four year term. At the start of this cycle in November 2012, “A” CR — will be elected for a term of two years 2012 -2014 , and “B” CR — 2012- 2016 for a four year term.
“A” CR — 2012 -2014 / 2014 -2018 / 2018-2022 / 2022- 2026 /etc.
“B” CR — 2012- 2016 / 2016 -2020/ 2020-2024 / 2024- 2028/ etc.