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20 May

Saint Bernardine of Siena
1789: the birth of Saint Marcellin Champagnat in Rosey, near the town of Marlhes

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Sent on mission

 

Three generous brothers whose heart has matured in the sun of the love of God.

Cmi

18/12/2006: General House

Three brothers came to Rome to prepare themselves to depart on mission. They are Brothers Bonifacio Gonzales, 68 years of age, from the Province of Mediterránea; Ernesto Benavides, 65 years of age from the Province of Cruz del Sur and German Chaves, 63 years of age from the Province of Santa María de los Andes. They have attended courses of practical missiology at the Salesian university for two months.

On the evening of the 5th December 2006, a very beautiful missioning prayer was celebrated by the three communities of the General House. There were about thirty brothers and we prayed in the Saint Marcellin Champagnat chapel, the chapel of the General Council where there is Marcellin’s altar, a relic of the Founder, his original portrait and especially the original statue of the Good Mother. We felt a little bit like the first missioning of the brothers to the mission of Oceania.

During the prayer, the three brothers presented three symbols: Brother German presented a net for fishing, to learn to repair the net of the Church and so that he himself does not escape the net. Brother Bonifacio brought a large candle with a beautiful joyous and dancing flame: “There is only one Light, the Christ, the only one I can take to others!” Brother Ernesto presented a large loaf of bread: “How I would like to be like this bread, made to be eaten, to calm the hunger of others, to nourish them as Christ does in the Eucharist.” Three generous brothers whose heart has matured in the sun of the love of God.

Brother Luis Sobrado, before laying on his hands to send them on mission, read a letter from Brother Seán full of attention, admiration and encouragement for these three brothers. Then he blessed them:
“Lord,
We ask that you always maintain
alive in their heart your call.
Send them on mission among the people
today and for always.
Captivate them at each dawn of their mission,
as you captivated Marcellin.
May the experience of each day become for them
the source of apostolic dynamism
and the moment of encountering You.
May their consecration as brothers in community
be the testimony that speaks to people
of all the love that Jesus and Mary have for them.”

And Brother Luis recalled a Canadian missionary confrère in Zambia and then in Haiti: “At twenty-eight years of age when I left on mission in Zambia, I proposed to love the brothers and young people. Now that I depart for Haiti at fifty-two years of age, I propose especially to love Jesus.”
Of these three brothers, two will be missionaries in Haiti, Brothers Bonifacio and Ernesto and Brother German will join our community in Algeria.

Some gifts were offered to the three missionaries: a beautiful icon of the Holy Family, a diptych in wood with Pope Benedict XVI, a small calendar of Rome and Seán had thought in Nairobi of something typical of Kenya: a statue of the Holy Family made of mahogany wood from Kenya, a precious wood whose veins are a marvel.

It was an intense moment of prayer and one of the missionaries was often brought to tears. All was finished by the singing of the Salve Regina. In this way we placed in the maternal care of our Good Mother the three brothers and their new mission.

Brother Giovanni Maria Bigotto

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