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Marist Bulletin - Number 17



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Our Marist brothers face challenges from new peace accord

On April 4th in Luanda, Angolan government officials and the guerrilla organization known as the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) signed a peace agreement ending a 27-year-old civil war. The signing took place after both sides gave their complete backing to a cease fire soon after after peace talks got underway. The two sides began meeting shortly after Jonas Savimbi, the main figure behind the rebel movement, was ambushed and killed in a firefight in February. The peace accord was signed in the Angolan Parliament in the presence of diplomats and hundreds of observers from international organizations. It obliges both parties to continue down the road to peace. Since 1975, the war has caused a million deaths and forced four million people from their homes.
Angola is a land blessed with virtually unlimited natural resources – vast oil deposits, mines rich in diamonds, gold, and other precious metals. Also, a land brought to its knees by the harsh realities of war and the flight of its highly-educated professional class to other parts of the world.
The work involved in rebuilding the country’s human and social infrastructure is colossal: reuniting families, integrating the disabled into postwar society (many of them are children and young people), overcoming illiteracy – worsened by the war, bringing hope to those in desperate living conditions, intensifying efforts to spread the Gospel, fostering national reconciliation, and healing hearts broken by hatred.
The brothers in Angola thank everyone for the many signs of support, solidarity, and prayer that they have received during the long years of civil war. Joy and hope based on the peace process are intensifying their commitment to improve the lives of their country’s children and young people, the poor and the downtrodden, the casualties of the war.
Angola is a member of the Province of Southern Africa. Marist Brothers live and work in Kwito-Bié, Luanda, and Ndalatando.

FTD – Marist Publishing House in Brazil

The FTD, (Frère Théophane Durand) Publishing House headquartered in São Paulo, Brazil, together with its subsidiaries and agents from all over the country, is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The Brothers arrived in 1897, and before long they had established ten schools. They thought about publishing Portuguese editions of Marist textbooks in use in France. The first book was a primer called “Fundamentals of Reading.” The company name, FTD, came later and referred to the Marist Superior General of that era. In 1988, it opened its own facilities, 51,000 square meters, capable of printing and distributing 450,000 books a day. Currently it has more than 2500 titles on the market, by more than 900 authors, both school texts and literature for children and young people. All in all, FTD has lived a century dedicated to education, culture, and commitment to society.

Marist Apostolic Spirituality (MAS)

The French-speaking network of the MAS Commission met at the Hermitage from March 9th to the 11th; eleven brothers, from Belgium, Ivory Coast, and France. The basic question during each session was: How to help the brothers deepen and especially, incarnate the values of Marist apostolic spirituality in their everyday lives?

Also at Notre Dame de l’Hermitage

For the very first time, on March 15th and 16th, Brothers Giovanni Bigotto, Postulador General (who works to advance our causes of canonization), Mariano Santamaría, Vice Postulator for the cause of our martyrs in Spain, and Alain Delorme, in charge of the cause of Brother Henri Vergè (murdered in Algeria in 1994), met as a team to coordinate their efforts. It is hoped that Brother Bernardo and also Brother Laurentino and 45 companions will be beatified sometime in 2004. The Diocese of Algeria has just begin work on the cause of Brother Henri Vergès.

Decree of Validity

On March 25th, the Vatican issued the Decree of Validity for the process carried out in Barcelona for the cause of Brother Lycarion (Benjamin May). This marks the completion of the diocesan phase and sets the stage for the Congregation of the Saints to take up the process in Rome.
Brother Lycarion ran the St. Joseph Center in Barcelona, providing free schooling for the children of workers and poor children. During a tragic week of violence in late July 1909, Brother Lycarion was murdered and the school set ablaze.

General Council meets in plenary session

The General Council is holding daily morning and afternoon meetings these days.
On March 21st, the De La Salle Brothers hosted a joint meeting with our Council.
The General Council community, which includes Brothers Richard Dunleavy, Secretary General and Yvon Bédard, Econome General, spent March 21st - 26th at the Divine Master Center in Ariccia to work on its Plan for Community Life. (Photo above)
On April 9th, the Council hosted a fraternal get-together with the 16 members of the General Administration community. The evening began with prayer, followed by refreshments and supper together.
On April 5th, Brother Richard Dunleavy successfully underwent a quadruple heart-bypass operation at the Rome American Hospital. This coming week, he will undergo further treatment needed to unblock his carotid arteries.

Without rushing, yet without letup

On April 15th the Province of West Central Europe will celebrate the start of its second year. The new administrative unit was born of the restructuring process that brought together Holland, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, and Ireland. The unit uses four languages. It has three commissions: communications, formation, and apostolic mission. Some 65 brothers from throughout the Province will meet at the Hermitage in France next July 15th – 22nd to strengthen the bonds of their union.
The Publications Service has received word from other Provinces preparing to restructure: a) on February 17th the Provincial Councils of Madrid and Spain Norte met for the 5th time; b) April 10th – 13th, the Provincial Councils of Río de la Plata and Córdoba (in Argentina) and Paraguay are holding their 5th encounter. Two examples of the process of restructuring that is taking place throughout the Institute, with wise and prudent planning.

Brazil Provincials meet

Brazil’s six Provincials met in Porto Alegre from March 15th – 20th. Their meetings, hosted on a rotating basis, offer space for reflection, exchange, study, and decision-making. They work together on five study areas: spirituality, vocations, education, formation and solidarity. They have also worked on organizing the District of Amazonia.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict

The three communities at the General House have heeded the Pope’s call to pray, especially last April 7th, for a just and peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The loss of life and the place where the fighting is happening – the Homeland of Jesus, a center of pilgrimage, a land sacred to the world’s three monotheistc religions – are basic realities in this brutal war. The Marist brothers in Lebanon and Syria have expressed their worries and sorrow about this seemngly intractable situation.

Marist literary news

The Publications Service has taken delivery of two books containing the biographies of Brothers:
- Anthony Vaser, Ricordando Fr. Carlo Emilio Vaser (Remembering Br. Carlo Emilio Vaser) of the Italian Province who died in 1999.
- Felix Rodríguez Andrés, 1915-1996, Antonio de Miguel Blasco, marista. Un hombre sencillo (Antonio de Miguel Blasco, Marist. A plain-spoken man). Felix was a member of the Province of Catalunya, Spain.

- Monterrey, Mexico hosted the International Conference on Financing for Development from March 18th to the 22nd. The UN sponsored meeting brought together representatives from more than 180 countries. Its aim was to examine the extent of poverty in today’s world. The resolutions adopted seem to fall far short of addressing the problems discussed.
- The Union of Superiors General (men, USG, and women, UISG) joined the Sant’Egidio community in celebrating the memory of the martyrs of the 20th Century at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome on March 26th, Tuesday in Holy Week.
- The Province of Porto Alegre held a meeting in cyberspace for twenty-three communities. They discussed the Plan for Community Life, sharing their hopes and concerns for the current school term.
- Brother Santiago Otero has been named Executive Secretary of the Guatemalan Bishops Conference.
- The Brothers are celebrating 25 years of their ministry in Ji-Paraná. Beginning on July 2nd, they will become members of the Marist District of Amazonia.
- The juniorate in Viamão, Brazil has twenty-six young men, ranging in age from 15 to 20. Most are 16 and 17. They are enjoying life in community while at the same time discerning their vocations.

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