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Meeting of the International Mission Commission

02/06/2013: Brazil

From April 21- 30 the International Mission Commission met in Brazil in order to report on the work of the individual regional mission commissions, to reflect on and to adjust the strategic plan (2012-2017) of the Mission Secretariat, and to better understand and appreciate the reality of the Marist Mission in the three provinces of Brazil. The members of the Commission (Br. Joao Carlos do Prado (Chair), Mr. Peter Mc Namara (Oceania), Br. Mervyn Perera (Asia), Br. Jose de Assis Elias de Brito (Brazil) , Br. Ifeanyi Mibaegbu (Africa), Br. Aureliano Garcia Manzana (Europe), Br. Chris Wills (Director of the Secretariat for Mission Collaboration International) and Br. John Klein (Link Councilor to the Mission Secretariat) Initially gathered at the Provincial House of the Province of Brazil Centro Norte and later traveled to the provinces of Rio Grande do Sul and Brazil Centro Sul. This enabled the commission to integrate prayer, reflection and discussion with practical experiences of Marist mission in the Marist Universities, Marist Schools, and social works serving financially needy children and young people. In a sense, it was a wonderful opportunity of joining faith and praxis.

During the Commission’s work Brother Javier Espinoza, the Director of the Secretariat of the Laity, challenged the commision to understand the deep connection between the Marist mission and the XXI General Chapter’s Horizon: To develop a new realtionship among Brothers and laypeople looking together for a greater vitality. Br.Javier called us to realize that we are at time of a “new Pentecost” that will enable both brothers and laypeople to appreciate their unique and, yet, interdependent vocactions.

The members of the commission also had the opportunity to visit the the Office of Umbrasil and the Provincial Centers of each province. In two instances the commission met and engaged in extended conversations with the provincial leadership and those directly responsible for Marist mission. As a result, the commission gained a rich and challenging understanding of the current reality of our mission and the unique ways it is being lived in each province. During these meetings the Commission posed the following question for reflection, “How does the Marist Institute wish to be perceived in the world and in the local communities?" It then shared its response and welcomed questions and comments from the other participants. The following points :

* The Marist mission is alive and constantly developing and that the Marist Charism is always “new.”

* The importance of integrating spirituality and mission.

* The hope that Marists will be known as experts in evangelization and in the protection and defense of the rights of children and young people.

* That efforts to articulate a new relationship between brothers and laypeople is critically important as we work to create a new “fraternity.”.

* As Marists we are called to be more international and intercultural and to go beyond borders. For example, we are being called to be brothers not just for our own province but for the Institute.

* That being close to the reality of poor children and young people is an indispensable part of the Marist mission.

* That like Pope Francis will must strive to illustrate and really live the Marian face of the Church.

The members of the commission are grateful to the provincials, brothers and laypeople who welcomed them so warmly and enabled them to experience our Marist mission in action. 

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