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Marist Bulletin - Number 107

 

Expanded General Council - Region of Europe (Day 3)
27.11.2003

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STRENGTHS AND CHALLENGES OF THE MARIST BROTHERS IN EUROPE


Wednesday, November 26th the pace of the meeting of the expanded General Council of Europe quickened and participants worked toward drafting resolutions. The synthesis of strengths and challenges was transformed into specific action plans. Prayer times (morning prayer, Marian prayer, and the Eucharist) supplied substance and spiritual guidelines for the discernment process that was taking place. The birthdays of Brothers Sean and Enrique López (Iberian Province) were cause for fraternal joy and celebration.


Brother Seán Sammon: “I can’t think of a better time to be alive and a better time to be one of Marcellin’s brothers.”

The morning began with a conference by Brother Seán. His words exuded hope and underlined “three essential tasks to assure that our way of living the gospel remains vibrant for our Church: to clarify our identity, bring about genuine renewal, and promote vocations.” In addition Seán dealt with other topics including the sharing of our spirituality and mission with the laity, and proclaiming the Word of God to young people, especially the poorest among them… He concluded with a refrain filled with hope: “I can’t think of a better time to be alive and a better time to be one of Marcellin’s brothers. I have not doubt at all that he is among us, just like the Lord and Mary, our sister in faith.” Given the enthusiastic reception accorded this conference, we will publish significant excerpts in a future Bulletin.


For new wine, new wineskins (Mt 9,17)

One senses the need to live a religious life firmly rooted in today’s world, and there is a realization that the present time is a providential one for answering this call. The charism of Champagnat embraces the brothers and the laity alike – each individual according to his or her particular vocation. All of us, together, are searching for our Marist identity – in the spiritual life, essentially, being passionate for the sake of Jesus and the Kingdom, as Mary was; in mission, being ready and willing to serve the true needs of children and young people in our society, whether in schools or newer ministries, and looking for opportunities to provide them with an experience of Jesus or, at the very least, a way to welcome gospel values; and in our communities and fraternities, through accompaniment fostering processes of personal and communal growth, to create communities and fraternities that will be beacons of hope and wellsprings of vocations.
This pursuit of our Marist identity illuminated the day’s work of defining and agreeing upon desired courses of action.


Courses of action for Marist Europe

After time for personal reflection and working in groups, participants studied and offered proposals for common courses of action for the Marist Brothers of Europe. During the final session on Thursday, these proposals will be voted on the by entire assembly.


Open Forum

This afternoon there was an open forum lasting an hour and a half. Participants addressed several questions to the brothers on the General Council, and expressed their opinions on topics of common interest.


A special time of fraternity: Happy Birthdays!

This morning we all congratulated Brothers Seán Sammon and Enrique López on their birthdays. A PowerPoint presentation entitled “Psychoanalysis of a psychologist” brought us images of Seán’s life – his parents, childhood, early adulthood, and Marist world today. The presentation ended with all the brothers expressing a heartfelt word of thanks to both Sean and Enrique. In the evening, after supper, we all enjoyed a fraternal celebration.

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