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Closure of the Marial Year in Brasil with simultaneous ceremonies

04/01/2012: Brazil

The Marial Year, begun on 25 March 2011, feast of the Annunciation, has ended. It was an initiative of UMBRASIL (Marist Union of Brasil) to contribute towards highlighting the Marial face of the Church and in preparation for the bicentenaries of the Society of Mary (1816-2016) and the Institute of the Marist Brothers (1817-2017), and involved Marist brothers, sisters, fathers and laity from all the states of Brasil.

The closure, on 8 December, feast of the Immaculate Conception, was marked by celebrations in the Marist units and associated organizations in Brasil, with a similar introduction, dynamic and   creativity to the opening ones, which had taken place by videoconference. To contribute to the organization of local celebrations, UMBRASIL provided a proposed celebration and complementary materials.

As announced at the time, the Marian Year had three objectives: to revive Mary’s presence in Marist life in Brasil, to offer a new approach on Mary – centred in Jesus, in line with Vatican II and in dialogue with contemporary society – and to foster the culture of Marial mysticism and spirituality in the areas of Marist mission in Brasil, in communion with the Church. The project had two fundamental axes: Marial mysticism and spirituality – formation and celebration.

Co-ordinated by the Commission of Consecrated Life and Laity, with the support of the Commission of Spirituality and Marist Patrimony, and organized by the working group «Marial Year », the initiative received concrete expression in a number of activities, including a Symposium and a study course in Mariology. In collaboration with the National Conference of the Bishops of Brasil (CNBB) and the Conference of Religious of Brasil (CRB), the Symposium on Mariology was held from17 to 21 July, drawing 250 participants to the Archdiocesan Marist College. Organised by the Marist Fathers, Brothers and Sisters, the course obtained the academic support of the   « Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná » (PUCPR) and the FTD Publishing House.

A CD was launched during the event: « With Mary, on the way to a new land », with 13 compositions which inspire and encourage Marists to be a significant presence in the lives of poor children and youth. The presentations have been collected in a book: « Mary at the heart of the Church – multiple looks at Mariology », launched during the Symposium, in partnership with UMBRASIL and the Publications of Saint Paul. The texts retrace Mary’s profile as woman and teacher, but also her presence in the Bible, the Church, and contemporary society. The book goes beyond the devotional aspect, proposing theological reflections on the Mother of Jesus, and inviting a mature and educated faith based on the virtues and teachings of the Good Mother. The publication, available for consultation in the Marist Provinces of Brasil, is on sale in Saint Paul bookshops. A pilgrimage to the national sanctuary of « Nossa Senhora da Conceição Aparecida »   marked the close of the event.

The same Marist partnership with the CNBB and the CRB, together with the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS), facilitated the proposal of a study course in Mariology by the teaching at a distance system (EaD), which started in May. It consists of 120 hours (90 h on line and 30 h for composing a scientific article).

According to the co-ordinator of the Commission of Consecrated Life and Laity of UMBRASIL, Br José de Assis Elias de Brito, « this Year was made possible thanks to the engagement of all who   compose the Marist Family of Brasil. » So it was fitting, for the closure, to bring together in prayer of thanksgiving those responsible for the work, which was declared a source of blessings for the Year. « It is time to recall and relive in our hearts all the activities carried out by those who make up the Society of Mary in our blessed Brasil. »

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