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Building Our Juan Diego Community

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27/10/2014: United States

In July Br Emili, our Superior General, sent a letter to all provincials and district leaders outlining plans for the years leading up to the bicentenary of the Institute and our entry into the third century of Marist life and mission. The wider context included the itinerary for marking the 200 years; the process of the revision of the constitutions and an annexe which announced a major Marist project “International Communities for a New Beginning” .

In this communication Cmi (Collaboration for Mission, International) reports on the establishment of an international community in New York. Its members are Brothers John Klein from USA, Santos García from Norandina, Héctor Dessavre from México Occidental and Antonio Delgado from México Central.

class=imgshadowIn other communications in 2014 Cmi (Collaboration for Mission, International) will report on 

  • the appointment of a brother commissioned  by the General Council as a ‘collaborator’ for the work of the secretariat, 
  • new Marists for South Sudan  in 2015 
  • the experiences of young Marists on mission in Vietnam, Argentina, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Geneva and Rome.
  • How one province is using Marist volunteering to expand youth ministry in their country.

 

Building Our Juan Diego Community

A new way of being brothers! This expression sums up what we three brothers of Arco Norte have been are seeking to achieve this past month as we unite to form our Juan Diego Community and begin our mission in East Harlem, New York City.

This new community and mission do not have existing structures or established programs to depend on, and we are just beginning to get a clear idea of what people would like us to accomplish. What the three of us Marists have been attempting to do is respond to a perceived and actual need expressed by many Latino immigrants and the Church in this New York City neighborhood. We welcome this challenge and have been taking on the task of getting to know, listen to and assist the people we have come to serve. 

We’ve been getting to know each other and starting to build our own Marist community as brothers. We have moved in with two other brothers who were already living in this house, sharing our thoughts, plans and dreams together, and looking forward to continuing this developing fraternal dialog. We are forging a new style of Marist life in community, one that is nourishing our hearts, our lives as consecrated religious and our mission as Marists.

We’ve been getting involved with the people we’ve come to serve and listening to their concerns, an absolutely necessary first step. We began by introducing ourselves and meeting with adults in the neighborhood, listening carefully to their hopes and concerns. On a daily basis they are continuing to share their needs and perspectives with us. With their input we are putting together a schedule for the study of English as a second language. And we are in constant contact with local diocesan leaders, offering them our experience and support in formal and informal educational settings.

We’re questioning ourselves. In our thoughts, prayers, discussions, planning and acquiring educational materials, we’ve been raising important questions about what it means to be a member of this Juan Diego community. In doing so, we have been benefiting from the strong support and encouragement of the leaders of the United States Province. Our questions lead to suggestions, ways of doing things and raise new questions that enliven us, filling us with enthusiasm to continue creating, step by step, this community and carrying out its mission.

We’ve been looking for the best available times and facilities for the community’s programs and objectives. In particular, times for sharing with teenagers and young people, with whom we’ve just begun meeting in small groups. The pastor of the parish sees this as one of the greatest challenges that can be met by our mission as Marist brothers dedicated to making Jesus known and loved by the children and young people in his care – especially those whom society has cast aside. We are earnestly seeking to move from our present residence and live in the neighborhood where the mission of our Juan Diego community is located, and we’re making progress in this effort. 

As our first month came to a close, our community was happy to welcome Brother Antonio Delgado, a new and enriching step for all of us. 

Creating something new means introducing something not seen before, something with a history yet to be made. Thanks for sending us here on mission, trusting in us, listening to what we’ve been experiencing and praying for us. We are happily committed to this new and international way of being brothers. 

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