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IV National Meeting of Champagnat Lay Marists

15/02/2012: Venezuela

Gathered at Los Teques, on 27, 28 and 29 January 2012, we, the laity and brothers of the different Marist presences of Venezuela, met to reflect and share on the personal and group journeying of the Marist laity, our life experiences, hopes and projects for the future. During these days, we have renewed our commitment to Jesus who, one day, called us to live the charism inherited from Father Champagnat as disciples and lay people. Like Mary, we respond anew: Yes, Lord! Here we are to follow you as lay Marists, in sharing life and mission, at the side of the Little Brothers of Mary, with the desire to realize one of the calls of the XXI General Chapter: to live a new relationship, in a new spirit of communion.

We discover and welcome the lay movement of today as a new call from Jesus, in the Marist way. This new call places in front of us the challenge to reflect on our identity and our future; we wish, in this way, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to lay down solid  foundations for assuring the durability of the Champagnat lay Marist movement in  Venezuela.

The proposal of the laity aims at transformation: something new is in train of being born. All change involves conflict and tension. At present, it is urgent to break with the schemes and models we have become attached to, in order to open the door to new ways of being and living as lay Marists, more in harmony with the realities of each presence, for one cannot pour new wine into old wineskins. Lay people and brothers equally, we are called to be co-responsible for acting in such a way that this new relationship aimed at revitalizing the Marist charism in Venezuela, becomes a reality. This journey, with its lights and shadows, we take on as a reality which we have to respond to, strong in knowing ourselves called to a specific vocation, in order to hatch a new way of living the Marist life as lay people.

Joyful at meeting our brothers of the road and from the reflection emerging from the sharing of our respective situations, in the light of the Word of God and the documents on the Marist laity, we perceive some intuitions and some calls:

  • Our being and our activities take shape as a MOVEMENT, in the dynamism of daily life and processes, in the novelty of consciously assuming our vocation as laity, in a wide range of responses to the mission, which is opening up more and more to places and situations different from those of the past (new presences, incorporation in the local Church), but also in the diversity of the different expressions and experiences as laity, by the way in which we have come to know and join the Marist spirit, by the multiple forms of service and apostolate, by the close relationship we establish with the brothers and with the mission which we share.
  • We also feel the need to ACCOMPANY THESE PROCESSES coming to birth in the different Marist presences in Venezuela. The pedagogy of Jesus suggests to us a road to travel in the company of others: (a) in a multitude of disciples who follow his teachings and (b) in the community of disciples living intimacy with Jesus, with whom he establishes closer rapports. We feel the call to promote   experiences in view of being communities, more than work teams, after the fashion of the first Christian communities. Such an experience can reorient our journey, with structures of animation which create support networks.Formation is an essential aspect of this accompaniment. We are thinking of a formation shared in community, which envisages aspects of one’s own life, which is integral and which embraces many dimensions (human, Christian, Marist, social).

According to these intuitions we have observed:

  1. Being a lay Marist is a choice of life, aPERSONAL CALL OF GOD FROM THE MARIST CHARISM. It is this call that we want to share, nourish, and give witness to in ourLOCAL COMMUNITIES.
  2. We who feel this call of GodFIND IN IT THE MEANING OF OUR LIFE AND OUR ACTION, WHICH CAN TAKE DIFFERENT WAYS AND HAVE MULTIPLE FACES: the professor, the teacher, the animator of youth groups, the former student, the university student, the neighbour, the catechist, the parish priest, the bishop, the young worker, the betrothed couple, the parents with their children… Thus is formed a range of expressions which are based, like the colours of the rainbow, on a single ray of light.
  3. From the beginning, we, the lay Marists of Venezuela, have accepted and lived diversity in our works and presences. We see it as an approach still incomplete. It is a movement which is adapted and readjusted according to personal and local situations. Thus at this IV National Meeting, IT SEEMS TO US  NECESSARY TO DISCERN THE MANNER OF LIVING THIS  VOCATION IN THE  MARIST LAY COMMUNITIES, in adapting to our lay reality what  Marcellin wanted to construct in the first community at La Valla.

Here are some tasks and challenges we have to take up at this time, as lay Marists in   Venezuela :

  1. Study and reflection which allow us to make more precise the identity of the   movement, composed of the animation communities of the different works.
  2. Creation of formation programmes on the Marist lay vocation, in which the   vocation of the lay Marist is promoted on the basis of personal and local life and situations.

We invite to live as lay Marists all those who feel called by God to walk in the footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat. This is a unique opportunity, a sign of the times which urges us to live and share the Marist charism with audacity. Strong with the participation of the lay people of the various works, we will be able to give life to the Lay Marist Movement of Venezuela. We thank all the persons who have fostered the initiatives from the National Team of the Laity; thanks for their service and devotion which have helped us move forward. A sincere thanks also to those who have given us support from the Marist works and presences.

Lay Marists of Champagnat – men and women – we involve ourselves with the brothers in this challenge: to help the dawning of a new Marist life being born and strengthen the current Marist life, making it more creative, faithful, dynamic and prophetic. There is the future of a revitalized Marist Venezuela.

_________________

IV  National Meeting of the Champagnat Lay Marists
Venezuela - 2012.

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