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The Vocation of the Lay Marist

 

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1st Meeting of the Writing Commission for the Document

09/05/2006: General House - Photo gallery

From the 18th to the 22nd April, the first meeting of the Writing Commission for the Document “The Vocation of the Lay Marist” took place at the General House, Rome. Its members include: Anne Dooley from Melbourne, Annie Girka from L’Hermitage, Bernadette Ropa from Melanesia, Carlos Navajas from América Central, Chema Pérez Soba from Ibérica, Noel Dabrera from Sri Lanka, Sérgio Schons from Rio Grande do Sul, Afonso Murad fms from Brasil Centro-Norte, Rémy Mbolipasiko fms from East Central Africa and Pau Fornells fms from the Bureau for the Laity. They were accompanied by Brother Pedro Herreros (General Councillor) and Brother Juan Miguel Anaya (Procurator General). The translation was assured by Gabriela Scanavino from the General Administration and Brothers Paco Castellanos from Compostela, Josep Roura from L’Hermitage and Gilles Beauregard from the General Administration.


Development of the meeting

The morning of the first day was consecrated to the presentation of the members and to the organisation of the meeting. Brother Pedro Herreros also presented the context of the task to be accomplished from the indications of the 20th General Chapter and the orientations of the General Council.

The afternoon had been reserved for a specialist in the material, Brother Antonio Botana (De La Salle Brother). He presented two documents (The association for the mission in religious lay Congregations and Associated for the Lasallian educational mission) which contributed many answers to our questions and helped us greatly in our subsequent work.

The following day, Wednesday 19th April, Brother Pedro Herreros presented the reality of Marist laity in the Institute from a survey carried out in the Administrative Units. The other members of the Commission shared personal contributions or reports about their Province regarding this subject. Then there was some personal prayer time and discernment to reflect on the objectives, addresses, style and contents of the document to be written.

On the 20th and 21st April, we worked in language groups and in the whole group to arrive at a consensus on the objectives, the addressees, the style and the contents of the document. During the evening of the 20th April we had an outing to Frascati to taste some beautiful pizzas and the marvellous wine of the region. These were rich moments for sharing simply and coming closer to each other.

On Saturday 22nd April, the last day, we approved some propositions, fixed our calendar and shared the tasks to be accomplished. We finished with a prayer of thanksgiving in the presence of Brothers Seán and Emili.


Conclusions

The document is addressed to “all those who feel attracted by the charism, spirituality and mission of Marcellin Champagnat: laypeople and brothers, young people and adults.

The document aims to:

· Present the different manifestations of the Marist life of laypeople in the world of today.
· Describe the characteristics of the Marist charism lived by laypeople allowing the layperson and brother to be conscious of their vocation.
· Situate the vocation of the lay Marist in the context of the Church as the People of God.
· Clarify and suggest new forms of belonging to the Marist charism (formal or informal).
· Invite those who share the Marist charism to live this common heritage of Marcellin Champagnat in creative fidelity.

We would prefer a narrative style, easy to read, which gives witness to life. The document will be written in a stimulating challenging style that calls for dialogue and takes into account the cultural diversity of the Marist world.

As to the contents, even though we arrived at a consensus, we thought it very important that before establishing a plan we gather various experiences (life stories) of laypeople and brothers in order to clarify such subjects as: the socio-cultural, ecclesial and Marist context, the relationships between laypeople and brothers, the characteristics of the Marist charism from the experience of laypeople (spirituality, mission and community), the vocation of the lay Marist, pathways of growth (formation), forms of belonging and commitment, dreams of the future, etc.


The next tasks

The next meeting will take place from the 26th February to the 2nd March 2007. For the instant, each member is committed to gathering life experiences, from laypeople and brothers, once they have been chosen according to established criteria. The laypeople who participated in the 20th General Chapter will also be consulted as well as those who formed the consultative group and the co-ordinators of laypeople in each Administrative Unit of the Institute. These different life experiences will be translated in the four languages of the Institute and will be sent to the members of the Commission who will try to draw out the broad outlines.

These outlines will be used to prepare a fist plan of the document and to start a first draft. We will decide the future calendar at the second meeting.

Certain subjects will need to be deepened by specialists: the relationship between charism and mission (Can one live the Marist charism without being involved in the Marist mission?), the relationship between the experience of charism by laypeople and the origins of our foundation, etc.


Evaluation of the meeting

We have printed below some of the evaluations made by the participants:

- I have found that we understand well the reason for which we have gathered and what we must do. I have had the experience of a true family by living with others and in sharing the meals and the liturgy. I have realised once more our Marist quality for listening and paying attention to the smallest details.

- I felt a very good relationship between all, with a great effort to overcome the linguistic barriers and cultural differences. Excellent welcome. Very good environment. A welcoming Marist community.

- In a general way, the dynamic was good. We seem to work together well when we listen attentively to what the other person is saying and take our time to communicate in order to allow translation to occur.

- Truly, I have been very happy in this first experience in an international commission; I have been conscious of the universal dimension of the heritage of Marcellin Champagnat. We are all from different horizons, but one single flame burns in us all.

- I leave happy, knowing that I have work to accomplish and that I really belong to this team. I am encouraged in knowing that my opinion is listened to or heard, and that there are people among us who help me.

- I leave happy to return to my family and my Marist life community. However, I also leave with nostalgia in thinking of you all. I have found nothing discouraging; on the contrary, I have grown by what I have seen!

- I really liked the creativity and the energy of the group, as well as the good disposition to listen and change our point of view when faced with new approaches. In the future, we need to be attentive to incorporating everyone all the time, avoiding the linguistic barrier becoming an obstacle so that all can feel involved in the reflection and friendship of the group.

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