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Superior General appeals for a change of heart and mentality

 

International Marist encounter with 85 participants begins

New Models

10/07/2015: General House
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A five-day encounter with 85 participants including the general council and Marist representatives from around the world started today.

The gathering, which involves discussions on a project aimed at improving the running of the Institute, kicked-off with morning Mass, celebrated at the main chapel of the general house. 

Then shortly after 9.30, the participants gathered at the Champagnat Hall where Superior General Brother Emili Turú gave the opening speech.

He introduced those leading the ‘New Models of Animation, Governance and Management’ project and called for a “change of heart and mentality.”

“Change is coming and we will need to lead it,” Br Emili told the participants on July 10.

He echoed the words of Pope Francis noting that “things cannot continue as they are” and that the Church needs “a pastoral and missionary conversion.”

“We need to be capable of acting as a global institution, not each one in his own corner,” he added. “It is like disconnecting our mobile phone from our local network and connecting it to the global network.”

Brother Patrick McNamara, provincial superior of the United States, said that he is “excited to be with brothers from other parts of the world and to hear how they think these changes will be helpful for the future.”

“I’m a bit amazed by all the work and preparations that has been done because I think we’re talking about major changes that will take place in the Institute,” he told the general house press office on July 9.

Br Patrick noted he has been working on getting the laity more involved for over 25 years, that he has “a lot of energy from this” and that “the moves are good.”

“It’s nice to see concrete proposals, not just talk,” he remarked.

Br Patrick, who took up the role as provincial last month, reflected on comments made by laity who participated in the province’s chapter in June.

“They asked me what they can do to help us (brothers),” he said. “It’s not just coming to meetings, it’s planning and working together and becoming our partners.”

But some brothers believe that in other continents, some changes could be more challenging.

“In Africa and Asia, there tends to be a hierarchical view of the Church so there could be some fear,” said Brother Shanthi Liyanage, provincial superior of South Asia.

“There will be several models, not completely different but with the same focus, and I hope the Asia model will dispel this fear and show we’re working together for the same purpose,” he added.

According to br Shanthi, who lives in Sri Lanka, these changes should follow the example of Pope Francis. 

“It’s not that the lay are going to interfere with us,” he said. “My hope is that we’ll be able to agree on some plans and see their implementations.”

Brother Edouard Yatha, provincial councillor of PACE, reflected on the same challenge.

 “It’s very difficult in Africa to get the laity involved due to the idea that the Church is a hierarchy,” said Br Edouard, who lives in Congo.

“It isn’t so easy since there is this issue of laity who are looking for financial autonomy,” he added. “They could be more focused on the financial aspect than on the charism.”

But he underscored that “we really need to involve the laity to have a complementarity in terms of mission, diversity, competences and charism.”

The brother stressed that “formation of the laity is the key to success” and that he “wants to see the finalization of the project.” 

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