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Marist Bulletin - Number 163

 

GENERAL COUNCIL DECISIONS
07/10/2004

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GENERAL COUNCIL DECISIONS

Appointment of Brohters Provincial
Between the months of July and September, Brother Superior General, with his Council, appointed two new Provincials for a first mandate of three years and renewed the mandate of three other Provincials. These appointments concern mainly the Provinces in Africa, but also in Asia and in the Pacific. The following brothers are those appointed to these positions:

Brother Christian MBAM has been appointed the Provincial of the Province of Nigeria. He succeeds Brother Joseph UDEAJAH who is finishing his second mandate of three years. Brother Christian will assume this role in January 2005. He has been working recently in Liberia which is a part of the District of África del Oeste / Afrique de l’Ouest / West Africa. Before this, Christian was master of Novices at Kumasi (Ghana) and was a member of the Preparatory Commission of the 20th General Chapter and a delegate at the same Chapter.

Brother Lawrence NDAWALA has been appointed Provincial of the Province of África Austral / Southern Africa. He succeeds Brother Jude Pieterse who is also finishing his second mandate of three years. Brother Lawrence will assume this role in December 2004. Recently, he has been a formator at the Novitiate at Kutama (Zimbabwe). Before this, he was a delegate at the 20th General Chapter and from 1996 to 1998 he participated in the two-year course for formators at Valpré (France). He was also the Vice Provincial for Brother Jude in this newly formed Province, which has communities in six countries (South Africa, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe).

Brother John THOMPSON has been appointed Provincial of the Province of Sydney (Australia) for a second mandate. He will start his second term in mid-December 2004. Before being appointed Provincial in 2001, John had been a teacher, Deputy Principal and Principal in a number of schools, both in city and country areas in the Province of Sydney. He has been Community Leader in communities ranging from some of the smallest in the Province to one of the largest at St Joseph’s College Hunters Hill. John has had an interest in the theatre for many years and studied Drama at the University of New South Wales. He is an energetic Drama teacher and a great support for the New South Wales Drama Teachers’ Association.

Brother Michael DE WAAS has been appointed as Provincial of the Province of Sri Lanka and Pakistan for a second mandate. He will begin this second term at the beginning of this month of October 2004. Before being appointed Provincial in 2001, Brother Michael worked for several years at the Marist Asia-Pacific Centre in Manilla in the Philippines. He was a teacher, formator and superior of the community of one of the fraternities. He was also a member of the Governing Board of MAPAC during his first years as Provincial. Next year, in September 2005, he will have the pleasure of hosting the next General Conference in his country.

Brother Sylvain RAMANDIMBIARISOA has been appointed Provincial of the Province of Madagascar for a second mandate. He will commence his new term at the end of December 2004. Brother Sylvain started as a teacher at Antsiranana (Madagascar) in 1979. He is best known by his African confreres for his work at MIC as a formator from 1994 to 2001, after he had completed his studies in Psychology at the Gregorian University in Rome. He was also one of the members of the Preparatory Commission of the General Conference in 1997, when it was planned to hold this Conference in Nairobi. Brother Sylvain was elected Provincial on his return to his country in 2001.

Brother Seán has written a letter to each of these brothers to thank them for having generously accepted this heavy responsibility and to detail the challenges and the hopes expressed by the brothers in the preparatory sondage for this nomination.

International Marist Mission Assembly
The General Council has decided to organise an important meeting called the International Marist Mission Assembly in order to give a voice to all those who participate in the mission, whether they be brothers or laypeople. This meeting is planned for 2007. To help prepare this meeting, the Council has appointed a Commission, which is comprised of the following people:
Brother Emili TURÚ, General Councillor and Chair of the Mission Commission, Brother Pedro HERREROS, General Councillor and Chair of the Laity Commission, Brother Juan Miguel ANAYA, Secretary of the Mission Commission, Brother Michael FLANIGAN, Secretary of the Laity Commission. These four brothers reside in Rome.
Five people from other countries are also members of this Commission. Three laypeople have been invited to be members: Erica PECORER (Province of Melbourne), Dilma Alves RODRIGUES (Province of Brasil Centro-Norte) and Chema PÉREZ SOBA (Province of Ibérica). Two other brothers have also been invited to be members: John Y TAN (Province of the Philippines) and Alphonse BALOMBE (Province of Afrique Centre-Est / East Central Africa). The first meeting of this Commission is planned to take place from the 1st until the 6th December 2004.

NEWS

Meeting of the parents of young brothers
On the 18th and 19th September, the Marist Youth House (Caju) hosted a meeting of the parents of the young brothers of the Province of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil). This annual event honours the families and integrates them into Marist life. About two hundred and fifty people, brothers and parents of brothers, took part in this meeting.

Launch of a site to mark the beginning of the Marist Vocation Year
To mark the beginning of the Marist Vocation Year, the Commission for Vocation Promotion and Initial Formation of the Province of Rio Grande do Sul launched a new website: www.maristas.org.br/vocacional.


NEWS ON OUR WEB SITE

09.03.2004 - Venezuela
Unity in building for the future
THE LATIN AMERICAN CONFERENCE BECOMES AN AMERICAN CONFERENCE
The 10th Latin American Conference of Provincials was the first to be held after the restructuring of the Administrative Units of the American continent. The Conference decided to undergo its own process of “restructuring”, in the sense of regionalisation as proposed by the 20th General Chapter. On the 27th August, the decision was made to widen the conference to include the Provincials of the Provinces of Canada and the United States of America. Thus the conference has changed from being “Latin American” to being “American”. The eleven Provinces and the two Districts of the American continent will now have only one Conference of Provincials that will discuss such areas as ongoing formation, mutual support and future projects.
The Provincial of Canada and the delegate of the Provincial of the United States of America, present at the meeting as invited guests, expressed their agreement and their joy at this integration. A revision of the Statutes has been entrusted to “ELAMAR” (Marist Latin American Team for Support and Reflection) and these revised Statutes will be presented to the Provincials for approval during the next General Conference in September 2005.
Among other decisions made, the Conference of Provincials of America has confirmed the service of the network of Marist Apostolic Spirituality (extending it to the whole of the continent); has approved the projects presented by the Continental Mission Team concerning pastoral care for youth and social action; and it has initiated the processes to assume responsibility for the Marist mission in Haiti and to establish a community in Canada for the pastoral care of youth. This was requested by the Provincial Council of Canada as an attempt to revitalise Marist life and mission in the country.
On Saturday, 28th August, the Conference closed in a spirit of gratitude, renewed brotherhood and openness to the gifts that the Lord continues to grant to this region of the Marist world.

09.05.2004 - Rome
Marist Vocation Year
REKINDLING THE FIRE!
On September 8th, 2004, we will begin an intensive year long and worldwide effort to do just that: promote vocations. Please grace. Like so many of you, I believe that God continues to move the hearts of young people and call them to a variety of vocations within our Church. So let’s pledge to do all that we can to foster their generous response, while concentratine our efforts on those called to our way of life and mission as Little Brothers of Mary…
To all I offer this reminder: personal prayer is most important. So, pray for those who have religious life on their minds. Pray for them daily. Pray for them by name. If writing is your gift put it to good use during this year ahead by writing about our life and mission. And if music, or art, or media is your passion, use it in the service of awakening vocations during the months ahead. Teach about our life if teaching is your talent; encourage vocations if your gift is to motivate people.
Above all, be creative in planning for this year set aside to awaken vocations. Time and again, ask yourself this question: how can I use some of my God given skills to help promote vocations? Give 20 percent of your best time to the effort, and don’t forget to invite.
Seán Sammon, Rekindling the Fire!

09.08.2004 - Angola
50 years of Marist presence in Angola
CLOSE TO THE CHILDREN ANT THE YOUNG PEOPLE
With the end of the fratricide, Angola can breathe once again. It is more than two years since the skirmishes have ceased and peace has settled on all parts of this immense, rich and beautiful country. The people can once more move about freely and without fear of being attacked or robbed. You can travel safely at any time of the day or night. It is obvious that there is still a lot to be improved: the roads have not been repaired, telephones rarely work, the sanitary system remains precarious, a great number of children and young people have no classes to attend, even if a great effort has been made in education…
And we, the Marist Brothers, are celebrating 50 years of presence amongst these people.
In 2004, many activities have been organised to mark this anniversary. We started at the end of December 2003 with a gathering of all the brothers working in Angola to thank God for all the good that has been done during these years. On the 5th and 6th June, the Marist Olympic Games took place at Kuito. In July, for the first time, two young people made their first religious profession on Angola soil. Euclides Nangolo and Ricardo Francisco have committed themselves to the Marist life. Then, there were Marist Education Days. During this occasion, Marist educators reflected on the teachings of Champagnat, on Marist pedagogy and on current challenges. Finally, on the 14th and 15th August, more than 200 young people, meeting at Luanda, were challenged and encouraged to share in the Marist past and to dream about its future.
Thus, the Marist Brothers continue to mark their presence in Angola; here in this land of suffering, rich in natural resources but challenging in terms of mission; with this joyous people and these young people full of hope, where vocations prosper and all are invited daily to recommit themselves. It is for this that we maintain our desire to stay and live in Angola with the children and young people. They know very well that we are united with them…

09.10.2004 - General House
Pilgrimage to Madonna della Verità (Our Lady of Truth)
INAUGURATION OF THE MARIST VOCATION YEAR AT EUR
On the 8th September 2004, the three communities of the General House officially inaugurated the Marist Vocation Year by going on a pilgrimage to Madonna della Verità (Our Lady of Truth), a parish of the city of Viterbo, 70 kilometres from Rome. There is a Marist school here, Liceo Scientifico Cardinal Ragonesi, run by the brothers. The brothers of the nearby communities were also invited for the occasion: from San Leone Magno, from the Third Age course at Manziana and of course, from Viterbo.
On this day, we wanted to emphasise three elements:
The community
The choice of a place out of Rome and the decision to go by coach helped us to be together. Also the evening meal, which the brothers at Viterbo organised for the whole group, was a real experience of brotherhood.
Reflection
Before the Eucharist, a short time for reflection helped us to enter into the right atmosphere. We hoped to share together about our lives in small groups, rather than simply respond to the questions that were proposed.
Prayer
The Eucharist saw us united around the altar under the watchful gaze of the Virgin Mary. We entrusted the Marist Vocation Year to our Good Mother and, as Father Champagnat did, we put the whole Institute under her protection. We prayed not only that the “light” that each of us has received as a gift from the Father would not run out of oil, but also that its flame would become so bright that it could be seen by all, so that they could give glory to our Father in heaven. Brother Seán’s words helped us to enter into the spirit of this vocation year.

09.13.2004 - El Escorial
A new course has started at El Escorial
FIVE MONTHS FOR THE RENEWAL OF ONE’S LIFE IN GOD
A course for brothers between the ages of 50 and 65 years started on the 12th August at El Escorial. Brother Seán Sammon described this time as “a time for taking stock, for taking off the rose coloured glasses and calling things by their real names.” There are 19 brothers following this course, coming from 12 Provinces and working in 8 countries. Recently, Javier and Teófilo, welcomed Alfredo and Elías to the Accompaniment team to assume administrative duties.
The journey undertaken during these five months is one of rediscovery of the joy and the meaning of our life given to us by God. At the same time, it gives the brothers the opportunity to prepare themselves to return to their Provinces as renewed bearers of hope. The first weeks have focused on the dynamics of personal relationships: my relationship with myself, with my God, my personal story and my relationship with others. The experience of the course is enriched by the peaceful atmosphere and natural setting of the location and the splendid facilities of the house.
Mount Abantos invites us to look up and to make our way with our sights fixed on the horizon. The magnificent property of El Escorial has become a place of living silence, fraternal solitude, shared journeys and a sincere search for God.

09.15.2004 – South Africa
Marist Africa Masters of Postulants Course
ALL WHO SHARE THE FOUNDER’S CHARISM SHOULD BE EAGER TO PROMOTE VOCATIONS
The Province of África Austral / Southern African has organized a course for Masters of Postulants in Africa for the second time. The first was three years ago. The course lasts two months, August and September. The participants, seven in number, are mainly young brothers who have passed through the Marist International Centre (MIC), Nairobi, Kenya. Only two of them are presently involved in formation work.
The goal of the course is to help the participants acquire skills and self-confidence in how to help postulants on the following themes:
· deepening their relationship with Jesus through the Bible, community prayer, personal prayer and their relationship with Father Champagnat.
· upgrading their basic understanding of the creed, Christian doctrine, morality, and the Sacraments.
· understanding how human beings develop and the realisation that ultimately it is Jesus and our faith in him that enables us to live fully human lives.
· helping them get in touch with their own story and the things that hinder or promote human development.
· an understanding of the religious vocation and the structures on which it is built: Love of Jesus, Mary and the Founder, Community life and Mission.
Hopefully the skills and knowledge that the participants acquire will enable them to make these topics relevant and meaningful to young African candidates who want to follow Jesus in the Marist way.

09.19.2004 - Rome
And the virgin’s name was Mary
THE MARIST FAMILY IN ROME CELEBRATES “THE HOLY NAME OF MARY”
During the evening of the 12th September, members of the four branches of the Marist Family – the Marist Sisters, the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary, the Marist Fathers and the Marist Brothers - celebrated the feast day of the Holy Name of Mary. This feast is celebrated throughout the world as the patronal feast of the Marist Family. Members from the communities of all four Marist General Houses gathered together at the General House of the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary for the celebration of Mass, which was followed by a festive meal.
The diversity of the group was evident in the way in which the Mass was celebrated. The prayers and hymns were in four different languages: French, English, Spanish and Italian. The singing during the Mass broke naturally and spontaneously into harmony parts. The Prayers of the Faithful included prayers in different languages for many different parts of the Marist world.
Each congregation made its own contribution to the meal by providing the drinks, the main course, the salads or the desserts. It was not a typical Italian meal!
The evening was a great occasion that gave us a chance “to grasp, in all its richness, the simple fact that we carry a name, the name of Mary: to know we are loved, to recognise that something about us comes from another, and by that very fact to be linked together in a bond of sisterhood and brotherhood.” (words taken from the homily given by Hubert Bonnet-Eymard S.M.)

09.22.2004 – Brazil
The Colégio Marista Rosário in the centre of Porto Alegre
COMMEMORATES 100 YEARS OF PREPARING YOUNG PEOPLE FOR LIFE
Situated in the centre of Porto Alegre, the Colégio Marista Rosário is commemorating this year the centenary of its foundation. It is considered to be one of the most important centres of education in the south of Brazil. During its whole existence, it has educated thousands of young people who share today the same cultural, scientific, Christian and social formation. It was founded in 1904 by French Marist Brothers who had been invited to respond to the need of the young people of the capital for a more solid education.
Brothers Géraud Dethoôr and Ambroise Michel took over the direction of the school, Nossa Senhora do Rosário, which was operating in two rooms in the parish of the same name. They had come to help Father Hipólito Costábile and Bishop Cláudio José Ponce de Leão by providing an education for the boys of the parish who, up to this stage, had had no schooling.
It started with forty-five students and, one month later, one hundred and ten students had already enrolled. These students were mainly of Italian descent but some were also of Syrian-Lebanese descent. Students from all races were willingly accepted. The results from this Marist education were evident very quickly and soon enrolment places in the school were in heavy demand. The classrooms were relocated to a larger site close to the Cathedral and, finally in 1926, the College moved to premises on Independência Avenue where it is still situated today.
The actual building, heritage listed in the city, has witnessed with its students and teachers the evolution of Porto Alegre throughout the last century. The site had housed the official State High School, a large boarding school for boys, and it had been the birthplace of one of the great state universities, the PUCRS. It has seen great changes in the capital. From the time of the trams which, at the start of the century, climbed the elegant and aristocratic Independência Avenue bordered by its mansions, until the present day with the hustle and bustle of the offices, businesses, hospitals and a sea of cars invading the College’s environment, the Rosário has continued to strengthen its position as an educational icon in the region. By moving in different directions it has influenced and continues to influence the history of this region and the history of the whole country.

09.25.2004 – France
Meeting of the Commission of Marist Places
CREATING A CENTRE FOR SPREADING THE MARIST CHARISM THROUGHOUT THE WORLD
The General Council and the Provincial Council of the Province of L’Hermitage have formed a “Commission of Marist Places” to study the ways in which the Hermitage, La Valla, Rosey and les Maisonettes should be developed in the future. The General Council has appointed the following brothers to the Commission: Albert André, George Fontana, Javier Espinosa and José Pérez. The Province of L’Hermitage is represented by Brothers Alain Delorme, Jean-Pierre Destombes, Maurice Goutagny and Michel Morel. The group is co-ordinated by Brothers Josep Maria Soteras and Onorino Rota.
The first meeting was held at the Hermitage on the 18th and 19th September during which the Commission decided on the way in which it would work, planned a time schedule and took the first steps in coming to a definition of the general plan of action.
The Commission agreed that our Marist places of origin must be able to respond to the needs of welcoming brothers and laypeople, but at the same time they must be able to offer the possibility of experiencing a revitalisation in the spirit of the Founder and the early brothers. (Constitutions 109.6) Thus, it is not a matter of simply conserving and appreciating the existing patrimony history but also to implement innovative proposals that are able to respond to today’s demands and especially to those of tomorrow. “Our father’s house” is not only a museum of our origins, but must always become more and more the centre from where our Marist charism radiates.

09.27.2004 – General House
Children who suffer: a Marist focus of attention
STREET CHILDREN ARE CALLING FOR OUR HELP
The topic is about trying to experience a happy childhood. You only have to open your eyes to see how many children live in difficult situations. In the poll: For which group of children should the Marist Brothers provide the greatest care and attention? four pressing realities were identified: street children, victims of child labour and sexual abuse, child soldiers and children suffering from AIDS. Other possible problem areas, equally as real, exist, such as children dying of hunger. In 66.4% of the 268 responses, priority was given to helping street children, followed by 21.60% for victims of child labour and sexual abuse. Only 1.90% gave priority to child soldiers while 10.10% saw the most needy group as being children suffering from AIDS. How can this data be explained?

Among the four groups stated, the plight of street children is well known and easily identified. There are many ways in which street children can be helped and there is substantial social awareness and sensitivity to this problem. The brothers and laypeople have responded to this problem in various ways and in different countries there are Marist organisations already working with street children. The three other groups of children arise from more specific and problematic situations for which favourable interventions are more difficult to implement.

The children who find themselves in these situations, in the majority of cases, do not have access to any schooling. The charism of Champagnat opens our eyes to these situations and invites us to find daring, creative ways of being present to these children. There are children who hold a gun before they hold a pen. Other children carry deeply painful wounds due to the sexual abuse they have suffered, the way in which they have been exploited as child workers and the suffering they experience as victims of AIDS. The difficulty in finding ways to help these children does not justify a lack of response.

09.29.2004 – Nigeria
Annual province seminar in Uturu
MARIST MEET TO DISCUSS EVANGELICAL USE OF GOODS
The recent publication, The Plan of Discernment Regarding the Evangelical Use of Goods, was the focus of attention of a seminar sponsored by the Province of Nigeria. About fifty brothers, including the Provincial Council met September 3-10, in Uturu, Nigeria for their annual province seminar. Brother Dominick Pujia, director of BIS and a member of the Commission for the Evangelical Use of Goods was invited to facilitate a portion of the Province’s discernment process.
The Plan of Discernment Regarding the Evangelical Use of Goods is the result of long process of discussion and reflection which has gone on within the Institute since the time of the 1985 General Chapter.
The plan follows a method of See-Judge-Decide-Evaluate. Provinces, apostolic works, and communities around the Institute are urged to use the plan to begin a reflection on the way they acquire, administer, use and share their material goods, and to take some concrete actions to follow more fully Gospel values with regards to the use of material goods.
While reflecting on its acquisition, administration, use and sharing of material goods, the brothers of the assembly identified four values they believe God is calling them to focus their attention upon: Promotion of Justice, Detachment, Respect for Creation and Acting Realistically. The brothers recommended several strategies to the leaders of the Province when dealing with their material goods.
The meeting closed with prayer and a general feeling of thanksgiving for what was accomplished. A foundation was laid. A direction was decided upon. Now the difficult work of taking action and evaluation lies ahead.


PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED

1. Ceremonia de Condecoración del Hermano Emeterio José, Los Andes, 24 de octubre, Homenaje de sus exalumnos a quien fuera modelo de santidad marista y de vida, maestro por excelencia y ejemplo de consecuencia - CD – Agosto del 2003, Chile.
2. A 16-paged leaflet has been published on Brother Bernardo. After reading this leaflet for only 15 minutes, you will be deeply touched by this kind and generous brother. As a person who was actively committed to God and to people, Bernardo is a great inspiration to young people who are seeking to lead generous lives.
The leaflet will reach your communities soon. Let us find time in our lives to reflect on our martyrs. We could also suggest this to our co-workers, friends and students.

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