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Marist Bulletin - Number 134



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50 years presence
The Brothers of Angola are celebrating 50 years of Marist life in the country. The first Marist missionaries arrived, in fact, in 1954. During most of these years, the Brothers have lived through the sad reality of the war and they have experienced very difficult situations. The Brothers from Brazil, Portugal and Castile have contributed throughout these years, with personnel and economic aid, to maintain their presence in Angola. Today, after three decades of instability, the future seems promising. The Brothers work in the schools of Luanda and Kuito and in the Training School of Catechetics of Ndalatando. Let us give thanks to the Lord and to Mary for this very welcome anniversary.

On 10 years after his death
Next May 8th is the tenth anniversary of the death of Brother Henri Vergès in Algeria.

1. Gathering at the General House in Rome
“We have experienced a great sense of community at our meeting in Rome to acknowledge the sacrifice of our 19 brothers and sisters and to present them to the Church”. This is how Mgr. Henri Teisser, Archbishop of Algeria summarised the meeting which took place in our General House on 22nd March. All the representatives of the eight communities having martyrs in Algeria have met to incorporate our works, our initiatives and to make decisions. For us Marists, it is about Brother Henri Vergès, but there are also the seven Trappists of Tibhirne, four White Fathers, the bishop of Oran, Mgr. Pierre Claverie and six sisters one of whom was Sister Paul-Helen, killed with Brother Henri, the sisters of Charity and Esther of the Augustine Missionaries, sister Odette of the Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart and the Bibian Sisters and Angela Mary of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Apostles.
We decided to write their biographies, to collect their writings, their personal documents, the testimonies, the signs of their good reputation as martyrs, establish the list of witnesses. In a word, to assure that the exploratory steps are taken for the diocesan process.
This is the third year that we have met with the Archbishop of Algeria and we live this day with great admiration for the little Church of Algeria, the church of the weak, as its Archbishop describes it. Our actions are guided by great respect for our Moslem brothers in Algeria, because our martyrs have read the Koran with passion and with genuine love for the people of Algeria: they read the words of others with an evangelical and brotherly heart.

2.Initiatives taken by the Diocese of Perpignan, France, birthplace of Brother Henri Vergès:

Friday 7th May
From 2 o’clock until 4 o’clock, in Espira of Agly, at the college of Notre-Dame des Anges, Brother Maurice Bergeret gave a presentation of Marist pedagogy to the teaching staff of the Catholic Teachers of the Diocese. In the evening, at the Diocesan Centre of Perpignan, a video about Henri was shown to the public who did not know him, with the participation of Michel Voute and myself.

Saturday 8th May
At Matemale, the birthplace of Henri, mass was celebrated in the afternoon by the new bishop of the diocese, André Marceau. Afterwards, the Mayor and his Council inaugurated the “Henri Vergès” Square, in front of the church.

Sunday 9th May
In the cathedral of Perpignan, Mass at 4 o’clock, presided over by Father Belaïd OULD AOUDIA, delegate of the Archbishop of Algeria, Mgr. Henri Teisser, where Brother Henri Vergès and Sister Paul Hélène will be remembered. The priest is the former Vicar General of Algeria and chaplain of Rue Ben Cheneb. It was he who had the painful task of identifying Henri’s body at the morgue in the hospital of Bab-El-Oued.

3. Books
Two recent books attracted our attention concerning Brother Henri Vergès.
1. Pray with our Christian Martyrs of the 20th Century – A Collection of Prayer for 15 Days; the 8th day is dedicated to Brother Henri who finds himself in the company of the great martyrs of the 20th century: Edith Stein, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Alexandre Men, Mgr. Romero…
2. Journalist Robert Masson has just completed a book on Brother Henri which will be published shortly. It was Robert Masson who, on the occasion of the canonisation, wrote a book on Fr. Champagnat called Les Improbables de Dieu.

Various News Items

1. Conference on the Spanish Martyrs
On 18th March Mgr. José Luis Gutiérrez convened a conference in Rome to deal with the causes of the martyrs from Spain. The first 27 causes make up a total of 498 martyrs which would suggest a single ceremony. The most optimistic forecasts indicate that the beatifications of Brother Bernardo, Brother Laurentino and their companions could take place at the end of 2005 or the beginning of 2006.

2. Meeting of the Postulation Team
On the 24th and 25th of March, the Postulation Team met in Rome made up of Brothers Giovanni Bigotto, General Postulator, and the three Brothers vice postulators: Mariano Santamaría, in charge of the martyrs of Spain; Alain Delorme who is pursuing the cause of Brother Henri Vergès, and José Flores García, pursuing the cause of Brother Basilio Rueda.
Themes discussed: a) Celebration of the Year of Brother Francisco; b) favourable situation of the cause of Brother Bernardo, after receiving an affirmative from the theologians; c) Brother Laurentino and 45 fellow martyrs, concerning whom the valuation of the theologians is expected in June. In both cases, we are now reaping the fruit of the work done by Gabriele Andreucci, the previous Postulator General; d) first contacts with the Cardinal of Guadalajara, Mexico, for the cause of Brother Basilio; and e) Celebration of the 10th anniversary of the death of Brother Henri Vergès.

3. Graces received
Favours attributed to the prayers directed to Brother Francisco or to other Brothers on the path to sanctity already exist. Mrs. Michelle Silvestre thanks Brother Francisco for the gift of life for her son Daniel Gabriel Gerard Silvestre (Gabriel because Brother Francisco Gabriel was called Gabriel Rivat).

Marist Presence in Romania
This project of the Brothers is advancing very quickly. We already have the plans of the complex which will be created to welcome the children of the street. The association of Villages for Children will support and totally collaborate with the Brothers. And more details are expected about the application to the bishop of Iasi, the northern area of the country, who is also interested in establishing a project similar to that of Bucharest.

Session of the Provincial Council in Rome
From the 19th - March 21, the Provincial Council of the Mediterranean Province (Spain-Italy-Syria and Lebanon) held their session in the General House in Rome.

Information from Brother Yvon Bédard
In our General House, the Association of General Administrators is currently running a training session on Accounting for Provincial Administrators and for those who will soon be taking over. Brother Yvon Bédard is in charge of all matters pertaining to finance and accountancy. There are 70 hours of training. This three-week session comprises fifty participants from 26 congregations, 32 nationalities and who work in 36 countries. Long live internationalism! This session before Easter runs goes from March 17 to April 7 and is conducted in English and it will be followed by another session for French speakers from April 14 to May 5.

100 years dedicated to education
Our Lady of Luján, the first Marist school in the Republic of Argentina celebrates its first centenary.

Marist Library
The Province of Central America has published three volumes of biographies of 110 deceased Brothers from 1949, the year in which the Province began (Volume 1I: 284 pages. Volume II: 267 pages. Volume III: 306 pages).
They have as the title: Faces of fidelity to God. The work, coordinated by Brother Javier Espinosa, is dedicated to the intrepid and generous spirit of the subjects of the biographies – missionaries who had the audacity to trust in the Lord, braving the elements and giving their lives in Latin American lands. All through this compendium of biographies”, says Brother Provincial Adolfo Cermeño, “we want to offer a tribute of gratitude, of admiration and of commitment to all them.

Brother Basilio’s Notebooks
Four new notebooks have just appeared: (9) Faith, (10) Hope, (11) Prudence, and (12) Justice, Strength and Moderation.

Badalona, a hundred years of Marist presence
Marists, a hundred years in Badalona (Catalonia, Spain). A hundred years educating and learning (1903-2003).
Author: Brother Joan Jesus Moral. 340 pages

Posters of the Brother Francisco
The general Postulate has recently published three different posters of Brother Francisco


Association of Vidimus Dominum
Sister CATERINA CANGIÀ (FMA) has been named directress of the web dedicated to the consecrated life which will pay special attention to the next Congress of the Consecrated Life.

25 years of the Musical Group Kairoi
This musical group which has interpreted numerous songs on Marist themes, celebrates 25 years since their creation.

Activist in time of apartheid
Archbishop Emeritus Denis Hurley of Durban, South Africa, past pupil and Marist affiliate died at the age of 88.

A telecentre for social use
The Marist Social Centre, in collaboration with the City Council of Porto Alegre, Brazil, has opened a telecentre with approximately 40 computers connected to the Internet, available free to the people of the Rubem Berta neighbourhood.

Religious teaching
Nearly 70 educators, coordinators of the Service of Religious Guidance of the Marist schools of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, attended a meeting on 12th March, to reconsider the pedagogical practice of religious teaching.

The Popes voice
- The “silent” scream of the childrens pain demands a response. Remember the little ones recruited into wars or victims of hunger and illness. Three hundred thousand children fight in thirty-six “forgotten” wars.
- May there never be more genocides like that of Rwanda, John Paul II cries out. Ten years after the explosion of the conflict that caused approximately 800.000 deaths.

A final note
It is planned that on 18th April, the anniversary of the Canonisation of Marcellin Champagnat, the new official web site of the Institute will be inaugurated.
A document is attached, previously sent to the Administrative Units, in which a request is made for the cooperation of the Brothers to make the web site a meeting place of different cultures and different countries, joined together by the gospel of Jesus and the charism of Champagnat.

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