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Secretariat of the Laity – visit to Melanesia

04/11/2015: Solomon Islands

The director of the Secretariat for the Laity, Br. Javier Espinosa, and the co-directors, Anthony Clarke and Pep Buetas, from the 25 to 29 October went to the Salomon Islands (Melanesia)  to touch the Marist reality there.  Below we reproduce the text of Pep Buetas, sharing the experience that they have lived.     

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Within our Mission, once a year we try to know significant or meaningful experiences related to the lay journey and of communion, as well as how to transmit our help and support and promote the sense of the international Marist community.   

The Marist reality in the Salomon Islands connects us with the beginning of the Society of Mary and with the beginning of the dream of Champagnat, “all the dioceses of the world have a place in our designs”.  During those days we could visit the communities of Honiara and Vanga Point.  The Brothers are present in schools with boarding schools for boys and girls of 12 years of age, especially in rural zones.  What is particular of their experience is that the Brothers, professors, the staff and pupils all live in the same campus. The professors live with their families in different houses.  There are some common places for encounter, especially the house of the community of the Brothers.  Some of the professors feel strongly permeated by the Marist spirit.  Among them there are persons of different Christian denominations. 

What attracts us is the naturalness with which they live the community dimension among them, with one another.   Certainly, like everywhere, in the Salomon Islands there are some important challenges to face (formation, empowerment, communion…), but that for which the Marist world of Champagnat aspires in many parts of the world is becoming a reality here: Brothers, Lay men and women, live their life with simplicity, sharing prayer, carrying on the mission, sharing their life or, as they themselves say, sharing stories.  With this expression they speak to us about their mutual support in the daily situations of life, going beyond, overcoming all types of differences; meeting in small groups is the privileged place of their growth in faith as Marists. No doubt, this is the seed for the future for the Marist charism in the region.  Their witness is an invitation for all to build up community around us as they do it, with simplicity and naturalness, sharing stories. 

Our presence made them happy and made them feel significant, meaningful in the Institute. We have learnt very much from their witness.  We have understood better the Marist reality of Melanesia.  By means of a nice dialogue we also shared some of the existing realities in the Marist world on this journey, connecting ourselves with them and mutually helping one another to create a sense of an International Marist Community. 

Our Deep gratitude to Ruth, Abraham, Br. Mark, Collin, Theresa, Abraham, John, Sarah and Br. David (Tenaru, Honiara)  and to Br. Sixtus, Br. Henry, Raimond, Carlos, Syphora, Charlie, María and Alexia (Vanga Point).

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Pep Buetas, co-director of the Secretariat for the Laity 

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