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A Marist and a La Salle Brother arrive to Lebanon to help displaced children

 

A new inter-congregational community begins Fratelli Project

Cmi

09/09/2015: Lebanon

A Marist and a De La Salle Brother have arrived to Lebanon to begin a project together that aims to help educate displaced refugee young people as an investment in their future.

Brother Miquel Cubeles, a Marist brother of the L’Hermitage province from Barcelona, arrived to Beirut to launch the ‘Fratelli Project’ with Brother Andrés Porras Gutiérrez, a De La Salle brother from Mexico.  

The new community, which will include initially just the two Brothers, will be one of the few inter-congregational communities that the Marists are involved in worldwide.

“I feel the strength of Jesus within me and I think that this is my first support,” Br Miquel told the general house press office. “A second support will be the fact that we’ll be working together it’s not me just me going, it’s the Marist Institute, the Church and the rest of the Brothers with whom we’ll be living together.”  

Br Miquel stressed that “we should receive the maximum support from each other, knowing how to be a community, a fraternity and brothers for each other.”

The Spaniard, who has labelled the project as a “truly courageous commitment of the Marist Institute,” travelled to Beirut on Sept. 3, two days after Br Andrés.

The Brothers expect to make concrete plans for their work during the upcoming days and months, once they see where they are needed the most. 

Br Andrés underscored that “we are not going with a clear project, but rather to listen, to know the reality, to see what we can do with the help of locals.” 

“If we are going to begin a project, it should be with those most in need,” said the Mexican. “We don’t want to replicate something that already exists or go with children and youth that are already being assisted, but rather with the most hopeless, vulnerable and those who don’t have any support or family.” 

According to Br Miquel they will “initially be in neighbourhoods of Beirut, and live in our own religious community, and then we will settle where we see that the need is most urgent.”  

“I wish – and I say this with all my heart – that we really know how to go where nobody goes, that where there is a lonely child, without a reference, he is able to find a Brother,” Br Miquel remarked. 

Their work will be known as the ‘Fratelli Project’, an inspiration by the Apostolic Letter of Pope Francis to all consecrated people in November that resulted in the agreement of the Marist Brothers and the Brothers of the Christian Schools to launch this project.

“I receive this invitation as a gift,” said Br Miquel, who lived until now in Barcelona, Spain. “It is a new opportunity for me to reinforce and to design my life as a Brother with more value in this new beginning.”

He noted that it was a “great surprise” when superior general Brother Emili Turú asked him to head this project in Lebanon.

“I thought it wasn’t for me because I saw it as a challenge that was too big because of the country’s situation, because of my age and because I was doing a mission in Barcelona that I think also involves the peripheries, that it’s useful and that I was enjoying very much,” said Br Miquel.

“The Fratelli project is a challenge for me, it encourages me to strengthen and live my vocation more deeply and to respond today to this concrete necessity,” he added.

On his encounter with Br Andrés he said “we’ve met, we’ve clicked and I think we’ll make a good team.”

“But we will obviously not work alone, nor do we want to live alone,” he stressed. “We want to form a community with as many as possible, collaborate and partner up with many other people and count on our Brothers and lay people present there to assist these children and youths.”

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The Fratelli Project is an inter-congregational collaboration involving the Marist and De La Salle brothers to which other congregations are invited. The Fratelli Project is not limited to operations in the Middle East and it is expected that it will be established in other places where children and young people suffer from conflict and are displaced or are refugees or migrants. 

The coordinators in Lebanon, Brother Andrés Porras FSC and Brother Miquel Cubeles FMS will work with a local advisory committee and train young refugees to invest in themselves for the future of their home countries.


Meeting with the Advisory Committe of the project Fratelli

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