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Assembly of Provincial Councils of Europe

13/11/2006: Netherlands

The brothers who belong to the Provincial Councils of the Marist Provinces of Europe met in Assembly from the 12th to the 15th October 2006 at Kontakt der Kontinenten in Soesterberg (The Netherlands).
It is the first time that a meeting has been held at this level in Marist Europe after restructuring reduced the number of Provinces from twelve to five; the European Conference of Provincials had ceased functioning.

The presentation by Tjeu Timmermans, from the Carmelite order and President of the Dutch Conference of religious, created the climate of this meeting in treating the topic: “Religious life in a secularised world.”

Brother Joseph McKee, Provincial of the Province of West Central Europe, in his opening talk, highlighted the objectives of this Assembly: to share the current reality and the challenges that need to be faced in the near future; to reflect on the challenges that restructuring has caused; to discover new domains where a closer collaboration with the European plan can be maintained; and finally to analyse new forms of vitality. Brother Joseph finished his talk by affirming that these perspectives demand that the work be engaged willingly and courageously in order to take on this new pathway.

Here are some challenges that the Provincial Councillors highlighted in relation with Marist life: the identity of the brothers and the layperson; the sense of Marist charism; the co-ordination and accompaniment of common evolutions; the human and spiritual formation of the brothers; the formation of brothers and laypeople for the mission; the partnership and the formation of brothers and laypeople; new ways of being present among young people; the unity of the Provinces of Europe; the different aspects of significant solidarity.

The Assembly, pending the establishment of a proper status of the new Marist situation of Europe, made three recommendations:
1°: The formation of brothers and laypeople. Accompaniment, spirituality and leadership.
2°: The creation of a team to implement the formation quoted above.
3°: The creation of a structure for co-ordinating the initiatives in the five European Provinces.
The Assembly agreed that the realisation of these three recommendations be entrusted to the Brothers Provincial.

Present at this assembly were: all the Provincial Councillors of Europe; Brother Peter Rodney, General Councillor and Brothers Francisco Castellanos and Fabricio Galiana as translators; as well as Brothers Erik Depla and Santiago Fernandez, from the Spanish Marist Conference. Jan Snijders, Marist Father, was the chaplain of this assembly. The Brother Provincial of West Central Europe, Joseph McKee, had to absent himself from the early works of the Assembly due to the death of his father.

It is planned to follow up this Assembly by a meeting of the Brothers Provincial from the 12th to the 15th February 2007 which will cover these themes and the future of the European Conference of Provincials.

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