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Financial stability, revision and regionalisation

 

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Extended General Council Meeting in Africa (1)

12/12/2006: Kenya - Photo gallery

The General Council’s pastoral animation visit of the African Continent, completed by Brothers Théoneste Kalisa and Maurice Berquet, finished with the meeting of the General Council with the Provincial and District Councils of the Administrative Units of Marist Africa, gathered together at the Marist International Center, MIC, in Nairobi. Thirty-five brothers participated in this meeting: there were seven from the General Council, taking into account the absence of Brother Pedro Herreros who has undergone an operation in Chile recently. There were five from the Province of East Central Africa, four from Madagascar, six from Nigeria and from Southern Africa, three from the District of West Africa, plus four others who assured the services of translation, of secretariat and of publications.

Brother Seán Sammon, Superior General, addressing the participants in the meeting in his inaugural speech, started by referring to the challenges that present themselves today for the Marists on the African Continent, and the attitudes with which they must be confronted in order to resolve them.

Africa is a “complex continent” from different points of view. The responses that need to be contributed to the different problems which present themselves are equally so – assured Brother Seán-, that is why it is important “to wonder where we situate ourselves “each of us in order to give this response and “to analyse if another perspective exists.”

Brother Seán also recalled that the Marists have already confronted strong challenges since our origins: Champagnat had to face that of the approval of the Institute and the construction of the Hermitage, and later on, his successors had to face the secularisation laws in France and in other countries. “From the solutions that were taken, more than seventy countries in the world have participated in a new adventure of evangelisation” animated by the Marist Brothers.

In his speech, the Superior General recognised that “Marist Africa and Madagascar have the gift of vocations and of youthfulness and that the formation of the brothers has improved considerably.” But the current challenges fundamentally lay claim to attitudes of faith: “Today we do not have the problems of 1903, apart from the challenges posed by Vatican II. How can we also be creative as were the preceding generation? And he finished this introduction by assuring: “We are here with you. A meeting of this type is costly in time and money. But it is justified if it produces the expected fruit.”

The work agenda of the General Council with the Provincial and District Councils of Africa, as proposed by Brother Seán, focussed on three priority subjects: Measures to adopt to obtain financial stability in the Administrative Units, reflections about the intention for a revision to be effected in this continent and regionalisation, that is to say, interdependence and collaboration in the Marist region of Africa. To each of these subjects, a day of reflection and study will be consecrated in the coming days.

The brothers joyfully united around Brother Antonio Ramalho who celebrated his birthday at Nairobi among his brothers of the General Council, the Provincial Councillors of the Continent and the young brothers at MIC. Congratulations.

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