Syria: Marist Blues of Aleppo
Saint John Bosco
1950, Creation of the Marcellin Champagnat Missionary Union
The Mission Secretariat is a strategic instrument of the General Government for the animation, strengthening and interconnection of the Marist mission at all levels of the Institute. Its purpose is to contribute creatively, boldly and prophetically to the fidelity and development of the mission “to make Jesus known and loved by children and young people”. In response to the call of the 21st General Chapter, the Secretariat must take up the challenge of contributing to the construction of the Marist mission in a new world, with the aim of responding to the voices and calls to evangelize contemporary children and youth.
Aims of the Mission Secretariat
The Plan of the Mission Secretariat for the period 2011 to 2017 counts on the collaboration of many Brothers and lay people from all parts of the Marist world. It defines the fundamental concepts of the mission, the identity and purpose of the Secretariat, the principal initiatives and strategies of this period and of some structures, for the purpose of contributing to the development of its activities.
Among the principal aims of the Secretariat are the following:
Scope of the Mission Secretariat
The activity of the Secretariat involves formal and non formal education, social works and works of insertion, and evangelization projects. Marist mission can also be viewed in four intrinsic dimensions, as presented in the following diagram:
It is possible to perceive that the four dimensions emanate from and are nourished by spirituality[i], at the same time as they nourish it. Marist education must be jointly a work of evangelization, solidarity and commitment to the defence of rights and to the carrying out of the obligation to children and youth. In the same way, one cannot think of evangelization, solidarity or the settlement of rights and obligations without considering the other three dimensions as constituitive elements.
Thus, all the works and fronts of Marist mission need to be viewed from these four dimensions. They are fundamental elements for the fruitfulness and vitality of the mission in a “new world”.
Principles of Marist Mission
Six principles guide the path of Marist mission and are promoted by the Mission Secretariat. The first four were defined by the 21st Chapter. The fifth and sixth derive from the reflection and sensitivity of the persons who took part in the creation of the plan.
Marist mission is praxis, action and reflection; the more deliberate, the greater its point. Conscientious activity can lead us truly to the transformation of the hearts of children and youth and, consequently of the world. Being conscious of the action, it is necessary we understand that the fruit does not depend only on us, but on the Spirit above all. This awareness disposes us to fulfill our part in the project which is God’s. Activity without intention is empty and does not achieve its objective. For this reason, planning of the mission is indispensable.
In this sense, certain elements can help us to make our mission more vital and viable. It is of great importance that all levels of the institution take into account the following strategic perspectives in our mission:
[i] Spirituality in this context is understood as living and dynamic experience of God, which is oriented at once towards action and contemplation (S. SAMMOM, 2007, Presentation of Water from the Rock). As he says in this document (p. 10): “(spirituality) strengthens our identity and is a crucial element for the vitality of our life and mission.”