Statutes of St. Thomas Province, Kerala
The Indian Capuchin Province of Kerala, dedicated to , the apostle St. Thomas, belonging to the Syro Malabar Rite, was constituted on October 25, 1999(Prot. No. 00900/99). We, the Brothers of the Province, having decided to live the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ, walking in the footsteps of our father St. Francis, will wholeheartedly observe the Rule and Constitutions of the Order. The various ministries we undertake shall be an expression of our deep commitment to Gospel Brotherhood and thus build up fraternities of love and unity. Thus Daring to reach out even to the last and to the least, we shall strive to build up human communities of justice, peace, love and respect for the creation.  These, our statutes, will assist us in observing our Rule and Constitutions in the changing circumstances of life.
I. The Formation of Brothers
II. Our Life in Fraternal Communion and Sharing
III.Our Life of Prayer and Penance 
IV. Our Life in Poverty and Accountability
V. Our Life of Apostolate 
VI. Our Missionary Ventures  
VII. The Administration of Our Province
VIII. Construction and Repairs of our Houses
IX. Justice, Peace and Ecology  
X. Provincial Chapter
XI. Suffrages
XII. Holidays and Travels
XIII. Interpretation of Statutes
 
I. The Formation of Brothers

The brothers in the province shall be formed as per norms and guidelines laid down in our Constitutions, Plenary Councils, and the Programme of Formation adopted by the Province. All the norms and guidelines in these documents shall be faithfully followed. The Programme for Formation shall, however, be updated from time to time.

A. VOCATION-PROMOTION

“ Concern for Vocations arises above all from the brothers’ awareness that they themselves are living and offering to others a programme of life that is extremely rich in human and Gospel values.” ( Const.15, 1) We will, therefore, work together earnestly to foster Vocations out of desire to carry out God’s design according to our charism.


- The Vocation-Promotion in the Province shall be organized and coordinated by the Commission constituted for this purpose. This Commission shall contact, scrutinize and choose the candidates before they are admitted to the Orientation Course.

- While promoting Vocations, priority shall be given to our call to Franciscan brotherhood .(As a rule the candidates are selected during the final camp. )

- There shall be a Commission appointed for Vocation promotion consisting of the Definitor-in-charge, the Provincial Co-ordinator of Vocations, Vocation promoters for each diocese and the Rector of the Orientation Course. This Commission shall function in accordance with our Programme of Formation.

- The following brothers constitute the team of selection:
The Minister Provincial or his Delegate
The Definitor-in-charge of the Vocations
The Provincial Vocation Director and his team of Promoters
The Rector of the Orientation Course

B. THE INITIAL FORMATION

The Formation Programme in the Province is guided by the Commission for Formation, under the chairmanship of the Definitor-in-charge. The Commission shall meet once a year to review the formation programme and submit the minutes of its meeting to the Provincial Minister and his Definitory. The Chairman of the Formation Commission shall convene a conference of all the formators at least once in the triennium. The Provincial Minister shall be the ex-officio participant of this conference. Our formation has to be Indian in its content and structure within our Gospel call to growth and perfection (Mt.5: 48). Indian values such as, Thayga (renunciation), ahimsa (non-violence), Mauna (silence), dyana (meditation),Daya (mercy), etc., shall be inculcated in order to follow Christ more closely in our context.

The Initial Formation of the brothers shall have the following stages

- Orientation: The Orientation Programme is intended to provide the candidates with an opportunity to explore their Vocation and arrive at a free and responsible decision concerning it. Generally, the Orientation Course is for three years inclusive of pre-university studies; for students who have completed pre-university studies, it shall be for two years.

- Postulancy (Pre-Novitiate): This period of initiation is intended to strengthen the candidate in his choice of the Capuchin way of life. The duration of this stage shall be one academic year.

- Novitiate: The aim of Novitiate is to afford a more intense initiation and deeper experience of the Capuchin Franciscan life of the Gospel in its fundamental demands. The duration of Novitiate shall be one year.

- Post-Novitiate: This stage envisages further growth in adult faith, affective maturity, and in the interiorisation of the Franciscan Capuchin values, so that the choice of our Gospel way of life becomes intentional and definitive. The modality of conducting the post-novitiate shall be in accordance with the Programme of Formation

- Philosophy: The study of Philosophy is intended to prepare the students for an intellectual assimilation of their faith in view of the Theological course. This study, integrated with University graduation, shall last for three years. In the case of non-clerical brothers, there shall be a minimum of one year of philosophical formation. The study of Sanskrit has to be encouraged at this stage.

- Regency: The period of regency aims at giving the brothers an opportunity to be exposed to the vexing social and other realities, so as to enable them to analyze and understand these realities in a scientific manner. It also intends to help them make a preferential option for the poor in accordance with the Gospel values and the directives of our Constitutions. Finally, this regency helps the participants to theologize on the various human experiences with a special emphasis on the problems of the marginalized and the exploited.

- Theology: The study of theology is to be integrated with ample opportunities for pastoral experience and shall last for seven semesters. In the case of non-clerical brothers there shall be a minimum of two years of theological formation. Our formation should be geared towards training the brothers to be effective in pastoral ministries. The newly ordained priests are to be given opportunities to be trained under experienced parish priests in well-established parishes. After a period of three months of such pastoral life, they should come together to share and reflect on their experiences under the guidance of an animator.

C. ONGOING FORMATION

The aim of ongoing formation is the spiritual renewal and cultural and professional updating of the brothers.

- Once in a triennium a seminar on relevant pastoral themes shall be organized by the Formation Commission for all the priests ordained during the preceding five years and for non-clerical brothers belonging to the same period. It would be an occasion for them to share and evaluate their life and experiences.

- All brothers are encouraged to participate in some useful seminars and courses at one or other Indian centers

- Every fraternity is advised to study the circular letters of the General Minister,also the Papal Encyclicals on relevant issues so as to keep themselves updated.

- At least two years of pastoral experience is recommended for all brothers before they take up any specialisation.

D. NON-CLERICAL BROTHERS

- Specialisation for non-clerical brothers shall be promoted by the Provincial Definitory. It is recommended to have such specialisation after two years of perpetual profession. As far as possible they shall share the work of parish missions and even in the apostolate of preaching.

- The perpetual profession of non-clerical brothers are to be celebrated with due solemnity.

II. Our Life in Fraternal Communion and Sharing
As brothers given to each other by the Lord and endowed with different gifts let us accept one another with a grateful spirit (Cons. 84,1). Fraternal life is the backbone of a Franciscan community; hence all the members of a community should endeavour to promote fraternal life.

- The Guardian, as the animator of the fraternity, shall ensure peace, harmony and joy in the fraternity.

- The fraternity shall make ample use of the Local Chapters for mutual sharing of experiences, for fostering co-responsibility in the administration and for resolving all misunderstandings and conflicts among the brothers. A minimum of four local chapters is to be held in a year. The Agenda of the Local Chapter is to be made known sufficiently in advance.

- In order to foster belongingness, the brothers shall accustome themselves to undertake our ministries in a team spirit. It is the responsibility of the Guardian to co-ordinate the activities and ministries in the fraternity and foster the spirit of collaboration. “There should always be a communal sharing and discernment of the activities chosen by individuals” (VI PCO No. 15).

- To provide for the sick and the aged brothers adequate arrangements are to be made in larger fraternities employing even outside help. Recourse may be had to the Provincial Fund for the extra-ordinary expenses involved in caring for the sick

- In the event of the death of a brother, all fraternities of the Province, Vice-Provinces, Custodies as well as the brothers abroad shall be immediately notified. The funeral of the deceased friar shall be conducted in a manner expressing esteem to the deceased, and befitting the simplicity of our brotherhood. The Guardian shall entrust all his belongings to the Provincial Minister.

- Our provincial bulletin, “San Thome Waves”, shall be a means of fostering fraternal relationships within the Province, with other Provinces and Vice-Provinces of India and abroad. It shall be published quarterly, as an organ of information, communication, animation and formation. Every house should regularly contribute news items, articles etc. to the news bulletin.

- Jubilee of the religious profession of brothers shall be celebrated on a modest scale at the local level, taking into consideration the wishes and feelings of the Jubilarians.

- In order to show our solidarity with the entire Order, every priest-bother of the Province shall offer 12 Holy Masses annually for the intention of General Minister. All the perpetually professed brothers shall offer 6 Masses annually for the General Minister’s mission intention; every priest-brother shall offer annually 36 Masses for the Provincial’s intention and 12 Masses for Provincial’s Mission intention.

- After each election the new Definitory is expected to meet all the brothers before the formation of fraternities.

- The Definitory shall see to the distribution of offices among the brothers, instead of accumulating them on a few brothers.

- On the day of recollection a common review of fraternal life, poverty, prayer, penance, silence etc., shall be conducted.

- The issues to be discussed and settled with the provincial and his Definitory are not to be brought to the Provincial Chapter without first having recourse to the Provincial and his Definitory.

- Our fraternal life is fostered by dialogue, community living, regularity, appreciation of one another and faithfulness to the horarium of the house.

- Our brothers shall make it a point to visit the fraternity when they happen to go to a place where our Ashrams are.

- The visiting brothers are requested to respect the norms of the local fraternity. The members of the fraternity shall show courtesy, hospitality, and availability to the visiting brothers.

- Let each one endeavour to be loyal to safeguard the good name of the brothers in and outside the Ashrams.

- At all costs the secrets of the community are to be kept. When there is violation of secrecy the person concerned be fraternally corrected, and in the event of his not taking the correction seriously, the matter must be brought to the Provincial.

- The whereabouts of the brothers shall be made known to the brothers concerned.

- All the brothers are urged to take part in the community recreation.

- Annual picnic and get togethers could be part of community building.

- To strengthen our community life, we shall carefully avoid prejudices, unforgiving attitudes partiality and the like; at the same time we should strive to foster the spirit of belongingness, mutual trust and sincerity.
III. Our Life of Prayer and Penance 
We are called to cultivate the spirit of the Holy Prayer and Devotion that we may become the true followers of St. Francis who was seen not so much as praying as having totally become a prayer (Cf. Const.45. 7). As Franciscans, we should consider penance as an essential characteristic of our life. Solidarity with the poor and the marginalized, commitment to one’s duty, devotion to silence, moderation in the use of things etc., are expressions of our life of penance. Due importance is to be given to prayer and penance in our life; hence the following norms are to be observed:

- Realizing that our call to the Franciscan life is a call to grow in our relationship with God through prayer, every fraternity shall make positive efforts to tone up its life of prayer by diligently participating in liturgical hours, two periods of daily meditation, monthly recollection and annual retreat of five full days.

- The solemnity of St. Francis of Assisi shall be celebrated with due preparation which could include trideum, transitus, novena and the like.

- In order to make our life of prayer more relevant to our situations, Indian methods of prayer and meditation, and meaningful celebration of national festivals and local feasts are to be encouraged.

- The brothers who regularly absent themselves from community prayer shall be gently corrected by the Guardian.

- Besides the Holy Masses offered from the Provincialate for the benefactors, the bigger communities (five or more) shall offer four Masses a month and smaller communities one Mass.

- Taking into account the example of our father St. Francis, and drawing inspirations from our Constitutions (Cons. 103.1-3), special seasons and days (e.g. Advent, Lent, Fridays, vigils for the feast of St. Francis, Immaculate Conception etc.) are to be observed as days of penance.

- Once a week our Rule and Constitutions are to be read in common.

- Every Saturday we recite the Rosary in common.

- Fridays are observed as days of fasting. The savings made from the fasting and abstinence during advent and lent are to be spared for the poor around our Ashrams.

- Every year the brothers may spend 15 days for their personal renewal

- In the formation houses reading at the table twice a week is recommended.

IV. Our Life in Poverty and Accountability 
The church recognizes voluntary poverty, especially in religious, as a clear sign of the following of Christ and proposes St. Francis as a prophetic image of evangelical poverty. Through evangelical poverty we participate in the filial attitude of Christ toward the Father and in His condition of being a brother and servant among people. We have to make use of temporal things of this world with the spirit of gratitude and sharing, thus giving an example of the proper use of things to people who desire them excessively ( Cf.Const. 59.3-7).

- The brothers shall strive to make their fraternities self-supporting through our ministries and the cultivation of our land.

- Our dress and life-style should be simple so as to witness to our religious commitment.

- All our vehicles shall be purchased with the permission of the Provincial Minister and his Definitory and registered in the name of the Guardian.

- No brother shall maintain private bank accounts. However, in the case of manifest necessity, it shall be done only with the written permission of the Provincial Minster, and always operated jointly by the Guardian and the brother concerned, unless otherwise stipulated. Such permission is to be renewed after every ordinary Provincial Chapter.

- The brothers, who, by reason of some particular apostolate are required to handle money, shall maintain proper accounts and submit them every month to the Guardian. They shall also submit them to the Provincial Minister at the time of the visitation.

- The local fraternity normally shall arrive at all financial decisions after discussions in the Local Chapter.

- In an urgent need, the Guardian may spend upto Rs. 10,000/- at a time and for a given purpose not indicated in the budget. In a similar situation a Guardian with the consent of the house council can spend up to Rs. 50,000/- at a time and for a given purpose, without the prior consent of the Provincial Minister.

- “The local fraternities can have only short-term capital deposits (cash in Bank)” (VI CPO No.33). The Provincial Minister and his Definitory in consultation with the local fraternity shall fix the upper limit of this capital.

- For greater credibility, accountability and transparency, It is recommended to have two signatories for all bank accounts in our fraternities and both of them should sign every cheque. However, for practical reasons, ‘either or’ accounts may be adopted.

- The Guardian of the fraternity shall go through the vouchers, Cash and Ledger books of all the departments while signing the monthly returns at the end of the month.

- Account books of all local fraternities and institutions should always be available for inspection by the Provincial Team. The accounts should be audited internally once a year.

- The documents needed in relation to Income Tax, reports of all social and charitable activities, and other necessary documents giving details of both donors and beneficiaries, are to be maintained.

- To meet the financial needs of the Province in the area of formation and in the care of the sick and aged brothers, every fraternity in the province shall contribute to the Provincial Fund. The Provincial Minister, in consultation with the local fraternity shall determine the amount. Every friar shall offer all binated and trinated Masses for the intention of the Provincial Minister.

- The Procurator, in consultation with the Superior, shall prepare the budget in the prescribed form for every financial year. The Budget Proposals shall be finalised after discussing in the Local Chapter, and shall be sent to the Provincialate by the end of February each year (VI PCO. No. 32c).

- The Procurators of the house will get the accounts audited annually, and send a copy of the audited statement of accounts to the Provincial Procurator. A copy of the audited balance sheet should also reach the Provincial Procurator every year by October (VI PCO No. 32a).

- The Provincial Procurator shall submit a detailed financial statement to the Provincial Minister and his Definitory every six months (in June and December). He shall also prepare a Provincial Budget and submit to the Provincial Minister and his Definitory for approval.

- Whatever remuneration and monitory gifts a friar receives shall be handed over to the Guardian or to the Procurator for the use of the community.

- Taking loans, either by individuals or fraternities, shall be done only with the written permission of the Provincial Minister.
V. Our Life of Apostolate 
Our fraternity in obedience to the Spirit of the Lord fulfills a debt of service to all people bringing the Gospel in word and deed (Const. 144. 4). As Franciscans we are bound to be at the service of the people. All of us should engage ourselves in useful apostolate in order to serve the people and support the community.

- There shall be a Commission to organize the Apostolate in the Province. The Commission shall meet once a year (in the month of July) and submit the report of their deliberations and suggestions to the Provincial and his Definitory

- In order to give greater thrust to the ministry to the poor by means of social action, an office shall be established in the Province which shall organize social apostolate throughout the Province

- In order to respond effectively to the demands of the contemporary society, new forms of apostolate such as Mass Media, Youth Ministry, Prison Ministry, Conscientization Programmes, Ministry to the abandoned etc., could be adopted.

- Brothers as a team are encouraged to bear witness by living a simple life among the marginalized.

- Household work, gardening and other manual works should be insisted upon as part of our Franciscan life in solidarity with the poor.
VI. Our Missionary Ventures  
- A Mission Secretary shall be appointed, and his function shall also be decided by the Definitory.

- Our General Curia has entrusted the Central African country of Malawi to the Province. We are given the task of assisting in its evangelization, and of implanting the Order in that nation. There fore, being conscious of the missionary charism of the Order, the Province shall take all means available to work for the growth of this mission and shall strive to recruit local Vocations with the aim of training Malawian Capuchins.

- To create awareness and to offer opportunities to the brothers in formation with regard to missionary experience, the study of the languages and culture of the people could be undertaken during Philosophy and Theology.

- The missionaries, who come for holidays shall in consultation with the Minister Provincial, take the necessary holidays at home, visit our fraternities and attend some useful courses.

- Our missionary brothers are allowed to come home on the death of their parents.

- Seraphic Mass Association is an apostolate of helping the missions and we have an obligation to propagate it.
VII. The Administration of Our Province  
Our fraternities led by the Holy Spirit forman integral part of the Church. They have to contribute to the building up of the Church in love through various offices and ministries.

A. Provincial Level

- The Provincial together with his council serves the Province, and the Guardians with their councils govern the local community. Imbibing the spirit of Gospel and the Franciscan charism, the superiors should consider themselves as servants and animators

- The provincial Definitory should meet at least four times a year (Const. 134,1)

- The Provincial should hold the canonical visitation twice in a triennium. Besides the fraternal visitation he should make himself available to the communities and individuals as often as needed.

- At the time of visitation the Provincial should go through the accounts, sign the chronicle, local chapter reports and sign them.

- The transfers and changes of offices are to be done by giving the letters of obedience. It is recommended to issue Identity Cards for all the members.

- The personal data of every friar too shall be kept up-to-date at the Provincialate and every friar maintains a copy for himself.

- There shall be a Financial Commission, procurator and one assistant procurator at the provincial level.

- The following are important Commissions to be appointed by the Provincial and his council after consulting the prospective members.
- Commission for Formation
- Commission for Finance
- Commission for Pastoral Ministry and other Apostlate
- Commission for Building
- Commission for Justice, Peace and Ecology, and Social work

- These commissions should at least meet twice in a year and shall send the reports to the Provincial Definitory and to the secretary . It may be advisable that the report of the meetings of the Commissions be made available to the brothers; this, however, is left to the discretion of the Provincial and his Definitory.

- The Provincial Definitory shall appoint the members of these Commissions. If there is a Definitor in the Commission, then he shall convene and preside over it. Otherwise the members shall elect one of them as the convener.

- The Provincial will be the ex-officio member of the Governing Bodies of all the Societies and Trusts in the Province.

B. Local Level:

- Fraternities having four or more members shall have a house council, consisting of the guardian, vicar and a discrete. There shall also be a procurator in each friary

- In the absence of Guardian and Vicar the senior friar presides over the community.

- While visiting other ashrams, brothers are to meet the Guardian.

- Brothers shall accept ministries in consultation with the permission of the Guardian

- The regulations and customs of local fraternities shall are to be recorded and kept for further reference.

- Every fraternity shall have a house chronicle and the membership register maintained systematically and regularly.

- Prior permission of the Guardian should be obtained for the absence from the fraternity. Every fraternity needs to make some arrangements so as to give information of the departure and arrival of brothers to the fraternity even if the absence is a short one.

- The Guest Brothers are requested to inform the Guardian in advance of their arrival and the duration of their stay in the fraternity they visit. The guest priest-brothers, who stay for more than three days, shall offer Masses for the intention of the local Guardian during their stay in our ashrams.

- In every fraternity, the Guardian should maintain the following files and records, which are to be made available for verification during visitation.
- Property: sale deeds, agreements, alienation records, RTC etc.
- Obedience letters and Letters of Appointment of Brothers.
- Minister General’s Circulars and communications
- Provincial Minister’s Circulars and Communications
- Official Correspondence (Outward and Inward)


i. Ecclesiastical
* Bishops
* General Minister /Provincial/ Provincialate
* Parish Priests
* Other Religious

ii. Government
* Electricity
* Land/ Building Tax
* Telephone
* Gas
* Ration
- Membership Register – Arrivals and Transfer of brothers - Personal Records
- House Chronicles
- Mass Register
- Pastoral Visitation Report
- SFO Register/ files
- SMA Register
- Local Chapters – Minutes and Decisions
- Vehicle: R. C. Insurance, Tax Records
- Inventory of the House
* Furniture
* Electrical Fittings
* Machinery
* Kitchen utensils

- Inventory of the Church/Chapel, Sacristy
- Workers/ Domestic Servants File
Accounts
* Cash Book
* Ledger
* Monthly returns
* Annual Returns and Budget Forecasts
* Audited reports of Societies/ Trusts for I. T. Authorities
Society and Trust
* Registration application and Reg. Certificate
* Memorandum and its Amendments
* Membership Register
* Minutes Book: Annual General Body and Governing Body Meeting
* Resolutions
* U/s 12A of I./ T. Registration
* FC® A Registration
* FC- 3 Returns
* Annual Returns to the Registrar of Societies
Wherever there is agricultural land the Record of Tenancy and Crops (RTC) will be obtained and land tax will be paid every year as per the government norms in the month of April.
VIII. Construction and Repairs of our Houses 
- The new houses constructed should be suitable “ to the needs and ministries of the fraternity and conducive for prayer, work and fraternal life” (Const. 68,3).

- The Provincial Minster and His Definitory shall plan with the help of a Project Manager the construction and repairs of all buildings in the province. The Project Manager will be the liaison person between the local fraternities and the Provincial Minster and his Definitory.

- Initiatives for the repairs and the new construction from the part of the local fraternity need be well planned by discussion in the Local Chapters and should figure in the projected annual budget with appropriate explanations.

- Before the commencement of the work sufficient funds are to be foreseen and all the civil requirements like land conversion license from civic bodies etc. are to be obtained.

- The local community is consulted and its vision respected before beginning any improvement or extension to the building of that community.
IX. Justice, Peace and Ecology 
- The Commission for justice, peace and ecology shall work to conscientise the illiterate, poor and the marginalized through awareness programmes regarding the unjust and oppressive structures with a view to organise and empower them to defend their rights.

- Plan and execute socio-welfare projects for the development of the poor and the downtrodden and establish centers aimed at the welfare of people suffering from leprosy, aids and those addicted to alcohol , drugs etc.

- Take possible measures to safeguard the environmental and ecological harmony.. Inculcate in people the sense of cleanliness and respect for public property.

- Take adequate and effective steps to come to the aid of the people struck with natural calamities

- Instruct the fraternities regarding the just payment of wages to our employees.

- Propose ways and means to collaborate with other Diocesan and National organizations promoting with similar goals.
X. Provincial Chapter
- The Provincial Chapter, both ordinary and extra-ordinary shall be conducted following the same procedure unless mentioned otherwise. The ordinary chapter, however, will have an additional procedure of the election of the Provincial Minister and his Definitory

- The chapter shall be conducted with the delegate system, unless the Universal suffrage is to opted by a Referendum. The total number of delegates shall be one third of all the perpetually professed brothers in addition to the ex-officio vocals.

- The ex-officio vocals are provincial Minister, the Definitors, Provincial delegate of the Missions, the Provincial Secretary, the Provincial Procurator and the General Definitor of the Province

- With a view to give greater representation in the election of the delegates, the perpetually professed brothers eligible to the chapter shall be formed into three groups as per seniority of profession. An equal number the vocals shall be elected from each of the groups.

- In the case of Missions, apart from the provincial delegate, one for every ten may be added as an elected delegate.

- The mode of electing the delegates to the provincial chapter shall be as follows: the list of brothers having a passive voice shall be sent to all brothers who have made perpetual profession. The result of the straw vote shall then be made known to the Province. Those who wish to renounce their passive voice could do so at this moment.

- In the matter of renouncing their passive vote as delegates to the provincial chapter, however, it is important that the brothers keep in mind their responsibility towards the province and consider their participation in the Provincial Chapter not as a privilege but a duty.

- The ballot papers are sent for the definitive election. The names of the required number of vocals who have received the highest number of votes in each group are announced. The brothers who received the next highest number of votes after the last delegates shall be the substitutes.

- Brothers in temporary vows shall have representation in the Provincial chapter as observers. One brother will be chosen as a representative by the brothers studying Philosophy and another by those in regency. The brothers studying theology shall also elect one observer, even if one from them in perpetual vows has been elected as a delegate.

- The election of the Provincial Minister is conducted through a secret ballot after completing the discussions on the report of the Provincial Minister. He is elected by the vocals by a two- third majority. After two inconclusive scrutinies, only two who receive the highest number of votes shall enjoy the passive voice. If there are more than two, the election will be between the two who are senior by profession. In case they had made the profession on the same day, the senior brother by age will have the passive voice..

- The four Provincial Definitors shall be elected by an absolute majority. They shall be elected one by one in such a way that if the first two votations are inconclusive, in the third votation the one who receives the relative majority of votes will be declared elected. One among them will be elected again as the Provincial Vicar.

- The Provincial and his council are to be elected in one sitting.

- In order to change a resolution, previously passed in any Provincial Chapter, a two- third majority is necessary.
XI.Suffrages 
- The norms for the suffrage for the deceased are the following:

- One Holy Mass shall be offered by every fraternity on the death of: the Roman Pontiff, General Minister, and former General Ministers, General Definitor and former General Definitors of Asia- Oceania, former provincials of united Province of St.Joseph and The Major Arch Bp. of the Syro Malabar church.

- For the deceased brothers and the parents of the brothers, every priest-friar shall offer one Mass.
XII. Holidays and Travels 
- The brothers in special formation could have holidays for the duration of two weeks every year. The newly ordained priest and non-clerical brothers after their perpetual profession shall have three weeks of holidays. All brothers of the Province will have two weeks of holidays every year.

- The Guardian may grant permission to brothers to travel within India for the ministry, seminars, and for the following occasions: ordination of brothers, religious profession and wedding of brothers and sisters, jubilee celebrations and serious illness or death of parents, brothers and sisters and close relatives. Permission from the Provincial Minister is to be sought to travel within Asia, and from General Minister to travel outside Asia.

XIII. Interpretation of Statutes
The authentic interpretation of the statutes pertains to the Provincial Chapter . In case of doubt, however, the Provincial Minister and his Definitory is authorized to interpret them and clear any doubt that may arise from them, as well as to provide for questions that are not perhaps covered by them.

- One Holy Mass shall be offered by every fraternity on the death of: the Roman Pontiff, General Minister, and former General Ministers, General Definitor and former General Definitors of Asia- Oceania, former provincials of united Province of St.Joseph and The Major Arch Bp. of the Syro Malabar church.

These Statutes remain ad experimentum till they are definitively opposed . God bless you all.

THE PROCEDURE FOR CONDUCTING THE PROVINCIAL CHAPTER
 
I. INTRODUCTION 
1. Our Constitutions (no 127.3) speak of a Directory for the celebration of the Provincial chapter, which is to be approved by a Provincial Chapter. The following mode of Procedure is proposed to meet the above-mentioned Constitutional requirement.

2. The Provincial Chapter, both ordinary and extra-ordinary, of St. Thomas Province, Kerala, India, shall be celebrated, henceforth according to the norms of this Procedure, unless stated otherwise. The Ordinary Chapter, however, will have an additional procedure for the election of the Provincial Minister and the Definitors.
II. THE CONVOCATION OF THE CHAPTER 
3. With the consent of the Definitory, the Provincial Minister shall request the General Minister and his Definitory for the permission to convoke the Ordinary Chapter of the Province (cf. Const. 124.2), at least six months in advance. The main purpose of the Ordinary Provincial Chapter is to conduct the election of the Provincial Minister and his Definitors.

4. An extra-ordinary Provincial Chapter shall be convoked by the Provincial Minister with the consent of the Definitory as and when he deems it necessary to deliberate on matters of special importance concerning the life and activity of the Province, Vice-province, Custodies or Delegations. The Minister General is to be informed of this Chapter.

5. The Provincial Chapter, whether ordinary or extraordinary, is to last for five days. As a rule, the Provincial election Chapter is to commence on Monday of the week so that there is the possibility of adjusting the duration of the Chapter according to need. Normally, the Ordinary Provincial Chapter shall be held soon after Easter.

III. THE VOCALS 
6. Participation in a Provincial Chapter may be determined either by Direct Suffrage or by Delegate System (cf. Const. 125.1&2)

Direct Suffrage 
7. In order to celebrate the Provincial Chapter with universal suffrage, i.e., with the participation of all the friars, a referendum, seeking the mind of all the perpetually professed friars of the Province is to be had. If the friars decide with a two-third majority in favour of it, then the Chapter with direct suffrage can be celebrated. In order to change over from delegate system to direct suffrage and vice versa, a referendum establishing a two-third majority is required.

Our province on 28 April 2001 has duly adopted the direct suffrage system. Since, however, the option for the other mode is still open for the province its procedure too are added here
The Delegates 
8. If the delegate system is followed, the Provincial Definitory shall be responsible to conduct the election of the delegates. Only the Provincial, the Definitors, the Vice-Provincial, Superiors of Custodies & Delegations and the Definitor General, if any, from the Province are ex officio members of the Chapter.

9. After the convocation, the delegates to the Chapter at the ratio of one for every three perpetually professed brothers shall be chosen. With a view to give greater representation, the perpetually professed brothers eligible to the Chapter shall be formed into three groups as per the seniority of profession. An equal number of delegates shall be chosen from the three groups. The delegates from the Vice-province shall be at the ratio of one for every fifteen brothers.

10. The mode of election shall be as follows: First, there shall be a straw balloting. A list of all the brothers with passive voice shall be sent to the perpetually professed brothers to select the required number of delegates. The result of the straw vote shall then be made known.

11. Those who wish to renounce their passive voice may do so within two weeks after the publication of the straw votes. However, it is important that the brothers keep in mind their responsibility towards the Province and consider their participation in the Provincial Chapter not as a privilege but a duty.

12. Three weeks after the publication of the straw votes, the ballot papers shall be sent for formal voting. The names of the required number of delegates who have received the highest number of votes from each group are announced.

13. Those brothers who have received the next highest number of votes after the last delegate, shall be called to the Chapter as substitute with all the rights of a delegated from the respective groups, in the place of those who are legitimately impeded. But the vacancies arising after the Chapter has commenced are not to be substituted.

14. The election of the delegates should be held early enough so that the vocals of the Chapter can be informed of it one month before the Chapter. A document attesting the right of the delegate to attend the Provincial Chapter shall be issued and sent to the communities.

15. If any of the vocals cannot be present for the Chapter, reasons of it must be made known to the Provincial and are to be approved by him.
IV.OBSERVERS. 
16. Brothers in temporary vows one each from those in philosophy and in exposure-immersion programme shall have representation in the Provincial Chapter as observers.

17. In case, the Chapter is celebrated through delegates, the brothers in theology course shall also elect one observer if no one from them in perpetual vows is elected as delegate.

18. In the delegate system the Provincial and his Definitory may invite anyone as an expert to the Provincial Chapter. The observers and the experts present in the Chapter will not have the right to vote.
V. AGENDA FOR THE CHAPTER. 
19. It is the responsibility of the Provincial Definitory to have the agenda prepared for the Chapter. They may set up a committee to work out the agenda in consultation with the brothers of the Province (cf. Const. 127.1). The committee shall submit the agenda thus prepared to the Provincial Minister two months before the Chapter so that the final draft of the agenda approved by the Provincial Definitory could be sent to all the brothers (cf. 127.2), at least fifteen days before the Chapter.

20. The Chapter alone decide what should be its agenda (Const 127.2)

21. Two weeks prior to the Chapter, the Provincial Minister with his Definitory may appoint:

a. A Secretary and two joint secretaries of the Chapter to record the proceedings of the Chapter and to distribute the relevant materials to the Chapter members.

b. A commission to prepare the liturgical celebrations during the Chapter.

22. The Provincial Minister shall make known to all the participants of the Chapter the precise time of arrival, and articles, if any, to be brought along.
VI.INUAGURATION OF THE CHAPTER. 
23. The formal inauguration of the Chapter shall commence with a prayer service and it shall be followed by:
    a. Roll call
    b. Address of the President to the Chapter members
    c. Approval of the time table and the agenda of the Chapter
    d. Proposal and acceptance of|:
              i. Two scrutineers in case it is an Ordinary Chapter
              ii. Four moderators
              iii. A drafting committee
    e. Fixing the day of the election of the Provincial Minister and his Definitory

24. Then follow the presentation and discussion of the various reports:
     a. Report of the Provincial Minister
    b. Statement of accounts by the Provincial Economus
    c. Discussion on the report of the Provincial Minister
    d. Report from the vice-provincial, Superiors of Custodies and Delegations.
VII. STEERING COMMITTEE 
25. For the proper and smooth procedure of the Chapter a Steering committee shall be appointed, consisting of the President of the Chapter, the Provincial Minister and the four Moderators.
Its duties are:
    a. To direct the discussions of the Chapter.
    b. To prepare the day-to-day agenda of the Chapter and announce it to the Chapter members in time.
    c. To regulate the general sessions or workshops.

26. If a Chapter member wishes that any question, not included in the agenda, should be discussed in the Chapter, he should submit it in writing to the Steering Committee, which, having considered its merits, may propose it to the Chapter.

VIII. ELECTIONS 
27. The election of the Provincial Minister is conducted through a secret ballot any time after the discussions on the report of the Provincial. He is elected by the vocals by a two-third majority. After two inconclusive scrutinees, one who receives the highest number of votes is elected. If there are more than one with equal votes, the one senior by profession is declared elected. In case they had made the profession on the same day, the one senior by age is to be declared elected. If the Provincial is elected from outside the Chapter, the Chapter shall be suspended until he joins the Chapter.

28. In the election of the Definitors, the following is to be noted:
a. Of the total number of the outgoing Provincial Definitors, only half are eligible from those elected in the previous Chapter (cf Const. 127.5).
b. The outgoing Provincial Minister has no passive voice in the election of the Definitors.
c. If a Provincial Definitor is elected from the non-capitulars or if he is absent, the Chapter need not be suspended for that reason alone.
d. If a Provincial Definitor is elected from outside the Chapter, after the election he becomes ipso facto a vocal, and if he is in the place he may participate in the rest of the elections.






29. The four Provincial Definitors shall be elected with an absolute majority. They are to be elected one by one. If the first two votations are inconclusive, in the third votation one who receives the relative majority of votes is to be declared elected.

30. The Provincial Vicar is elected from the four Definitors by an absolute majority. By virtue of his election he becomes the first Definitor.

31. The election of the Provincial Minister, the four Definitors and that of the Provincial Vicar take place one after the other in the same session without any break.
IX.PROCEDURE FOR THE ELECTION 
32. On the day of election the session begins with an hour of prayer...

33. The roll call is then held by the Chapter Secretary. It is the duty of the Chapter Secretary to keep the record of the attendance of the vocals. No one shall absent himself from the sessions without the consent of the President of the Chapter and informing the Secretary.

34. The president then asks: “Dear Brother, does anyone of you know of any impediment on the part of the electors or of those to be elected or form any other source, which would be contrary to a legitimate election?” (Short pause) “Let us proceed to the elections.”

35. All the Capitulars then take the oath with the President: “I, Brother… Promise to Almighty God that in the election of the Provincial Minister and the Definitors, I will vote for those who, before God, I think, are worthy to be elected.”

36. The two scrutineers and the Chapter Secretary take the oath of secrecy: “I, Brother………..promise to Almighty God that I will faithfully execute my office and serve inviolably the law of secrecy regarding the elections of the Chapter.”

37. Duties of the scrutineers:
    a. They distribute the ballots to each capitular for each votation.
    b. They count the votes in the following manner:
        i. They first count all the votes. If the number of votes exceeds the number of the electors, the voting is null and void.
        ii. Then the Chapter Secretary opens the ballots and the other two record them silently.
        iii. When the votes have been independently tabulated, the two lists are compared. If the lists agree, the Chapter Secretary rises to announce the results.
        iv. If a scrutineer finds that more than five votes have been cast for him, he must ask the President to be relieved of his office; a substitute must be appointed with the same procedure as before.
X. ANNOUNCEMENT 
38. The Chapter Secretary says: “An election has taken place” or “No election has taken place” as the case may require. He then gives the complete report, beginning with those who received only one or two vote/s without mentioning their names. The names of those who have received three or more votes will be announced. Example: “One (two or three) brother/s has/have one/two votes/s.

Brother (name) has three or four or five etc votes”.

The complete result of each voting must be announced even when no election has taken place.

39. When an election has taken place, the President asks the person elected: “Brother (name), do you accept your being elected to the office of Provincial Minister? Definitor? Provincial Vicar? As the case may be. And the person concerned answers: “Yes, I do accept” or “No, I do not accept.” If the answer is negative, then another person is to be elected.
XI. DECLARATION AND CONFIRMATION OF THE ELECTIONS.
40. Once the Provincial Minister, Provincial Vicar and the Definitors are elected, the President makes the following announcement:“This is the canonical election of the Provincial Minister and the Definitors by the Chapter assembled at (place), the …day of… In this elections the following are elected: Brother (N) who received…. voted in the first/second/third scrutiny, is declared elected Provincial Minister, Provincial Vicar etc.”

41. If the General Minister presides over the Chapter, the election is confirmed immediately. Or else the newly elected Provincial Definitory will make a written request, within eight canonical days, to the General Minister for the confirmation of the newly elected Provincial Minister. Until confirmation, the elected Provincial minister exercises his office as a delegate of the Minister General (cf Const 127.8)
XII. INSTALLATION OF THE MINISTER PROVINCIAL
42. After the declaration by the President, he invites the elected Provincial Minister to take possession of the office. The outgoing Provincial Minister hands over the official seal of the Province to the Provincial Minister as a symbol of handing over the office.
XIII. AFTER THE ELECTION
43. The Scrutineers and the Chapter Secretary sign the document of the tabulation of votes and that of the promulgation of the results of the election together with the President. The document, sealed with the seal of the Province, shall be preserved in the provincial archives. A copy of the same is to be sent to the General Curia in Rome.

44. The ballots are then burned by the Chapter Secretary.

45. The newly elected Provincial Minister and the Definitors make their profession of faith and take the oath of secrecy during the concelebrated Mass.
XXIV. CLOSING OF THE CHAPTER
46. During the concluding session the drafting committee presents the decisions and rec ommendations, and the Chapter Secretary reads the acts of the Chapter to be voted upon for approval.

47. The decisions of the Chapter are approved by a two-third majority. In the case of recommendations, and absolute majority suffices for approval of the Chapter. The Chapter members sign two copies of the document of decisions and recommendations of the Chapter.

48. The secretaries shall edit and finalise the minutes of the Chapter within a fortnight and submit them to the Provincial Minister for publication as, Acts and resolutions of the Provincial Chapter in the Santhome.

49. The concluding message is given by the President of the Chapter.

50. The Provincial Minister gives the vote of thanks.

51. The Chapter is concluded with a hymn.

The Procedure for the celebration of the Provincial Chapter is approved by the Chapter of ……………..at…………….on………….

(Signed by Provincial Minister, The Chapter Secretary and the Joint Secretaries)