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Proposals of the Secretariat of Laity to the capitulants

28/09/2017: General House

One of the three calls of the Chapter of 2009 was the invitation to promote a new relationship between Brothers and Lay Marists, based on communion, searching together for a greater vitality of the Marist charism for our world. During the last eight years, this call came true in different ways. Now we need to take new steps, so that the future of the Institute - as the capitulants said in 2009 – isas a communion of people in the charism of Champagnat, where our specific vocations will be mutually enriching”.

Based on the proposal of the General Conference (2013) of reflecting more in depth onthe issue of Bonding and belonging of the laity, and the General Council’s petition, the Secretariat of Laity began to work on a document in 2014 that aims to be a frame of reference for the identity of the lay person who feels called to live the Marist charism in the world. This document titled Being a Lay Marist - Guidelines for accompanying people on their vocational journeys and for formation pathways, was already sent to the capitulars.

The introduction of the document states:

The document provides some common reference criteria for the identity of the lay Marist. It de-scribes the experience of people in relation to the charism, from their discovery of it to their de-sire to embrace it and engage with it as a concrete way of living in the Church, in a community. To accompany this vocational process we offer here some guidelines, content, experiences and means, which the Administrative Units can adapt to suit their own context and regional or cultural sensitivities. Finally, personalised pathways can be developed to fit with each one’s reality.

The thinking presented here includes the possibility of charismatic bonding and a possible ca-nonical connection.

Being explicit about common criteria is intended to allow Marist laity to be identified as Marists; it allows such recognition also at the international level.

Another document that the capitulants have received is the “Life Project: In Fraternity,” related to the Champagnat Movement of the Marist Family (MChFM). It is the result of the commitment of the international team that worked on the design of the revitalisation project of this movement.

This new document has emerged through a process of updating the MChFM, after the path since its launch (1985, XVIII General Chapter). Therefore, it comes from life and is for life. The text traces the identity of the MChFM pointing to the horizon to which it longs to surround itself.

According to the director of the Secretariaty of Laity, Brother Javier Espinosa, “the two documents (Being a Lay Marist and Life Project of MChFM) aim at being institutional documents, and, therefore, need the global approval of the General Chapter.

These two documents are accompanied by a third.With proposals for actions that wish to be references for a joint walking of brothers and lay co-creators of a common future.

These documents respond to the proposal made in 2014 by the General Council to the Secretariat of Laity to submit proposals to the General Chapter. Council called for a broad participation of the laity in this process. And, indeed, they are the result of the consultation held in the Institute during 2016, through the Continental Commissions of the Laity, of the encounter of these commissions in L'Hermitage (October 2016) and of seminars promoted in several of the Institute’s provinces.

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