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Marist Bulletin - Number 171


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15.11.2004 - Pool
What attracts me in the life of a brother

As in previous polls, those who vote are anonymous. This makes the interpretation of the results more difficult. For practical reasons we have grouped the responses in two blocks.
Nearly half of the respondents are impressed by the availability that the brothers manifest towards the young (47%), an availability that is strongly marked by simplicity (23%).
A religious chooses chastity for the Kingdom as a dynamic force that, as in Jesus example, helps to direct ones life towards the total gift of self to God and to others. For a Marist Brother, the others are above all the young, all the young. Marcellin often reminds us that, to educate a child, you must first love him. Could a higher percentage of responses be interpreted as a request for help, a clear invitation to consecrate more space, time, energy, sensitivity… and to open our hearts to those to whom the brothers are sent?
The two other suggested answers received fewer votes, especially concerning community life (12%). That is a fact that needs reflection, not only because in the life of all Marist Brothers living in common is an important element, but above all because, today, all agree to recognise that evangelisation is not so much the result of an individual activity but the visible witness of a concrete community. At this time in our history, when the Institute finds itself asked to spend extra energy to lead and look after many works, if we do not have the strong witness of community life, we run the risk of being perceived as managers rather than apostles.

17.11.2004 - Argentina
Province of Cruz del Sur

On the 16th and 17th October, the first Assembly of the recently formed Province of Cruz del Sur took place in Luján, Argentina. This Province consists of brothers working in Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina. One hundred brothers participated in this assembly, including eighteen brothers from the District of Paraguay.
We focussed on Vocation Ministry by working firstly in age groups and then mixing the groups so as to have a range of ages in each group. Each group discussed the dreams and the challenges to be faced in the future of our Province. The first reflection considered the things that bring happiness, hurt or fear in our lives as Marist Brothers in the Province of Cruz del Sur. After this, the theme of the work turned to the opening letter of the Marist Vocation Year Rekindling the fire! and we considered the challenges presented to us by Brother Seán. During Sunday morning, the teams for Youth Ministry, Vocation Ministry and Initial Formation gave presentations of their work in the area of vocation promotion. The morning finished with a Plenary Session during which concrete proposals were expressed to the Province for the promotion of the Marist Vocation Year.
At the end of the Assembly, a Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated in honour of the Brother Jubilarians who were celebrating 60, 50 and 25 years of Marist life. This was followed by a festive meal during which the brothers shared not only many memories but also the fraternal joy of being sons of the same father, Marcellin, and of the same Mother, Mary.
The brothers who were celebrating 60 years of Marist life were Felipe Alonso and Arcadio Balbás.
The brothers who were celebrating 50 years of Marist life were Julián García (P), Armando Meier Stiedl (U) and Aldo Gamalero.
The brothers who were celebrating 25 years of Marist life were Sergio Castanetto, Francisco Vera (P), and Ángel Medina (P).
The brothers who persevere, discover anew in all its richness and fullness the meaning of the Evangelical Counsels and their vows flourish into a freeing poverty … a noble love … an obedience of a free and simple son, despite human frailty. Rother Basilio Rueda.
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15-20.11.2004 - Maryknoll NY
North America

During the past few months, the General Council has visited the Provinces of Canada and the United States of America. There were different stages in which the visit was carried out: the spiritual retreats held in summer and then the visits to the communities to meet the brothers and to come to a greater awareness of their apostolic work. There were also opportunities to meet with groups of brothers and laypeople working in our schools or participating in the Marist Family movement.
The delegates of the Brother Superior General for the visit to Canada were Brothers Antonio Ramalho C.G., Maurice Berquet C.G. and Rémy Véricel (Province of LHermitage). For the United States of America, the visit was conducted by Brothers Pedro Herreros C.G., Théoneste Kalisa C.G. and Henry Spinks (Province of New Zealand). The Superior General and Vicar General were present for three very important events: the initial programming meeting at the start of the visit, the animation of the retreats and the final evaluation meeting.
Now is the time to share, to compare, to assess and to attempt to define some guidelines and directions to help in planning for the future. To achieve this, the General Council has organised a meeting attended by the Provincial Councils of the Provinces of Canada and of the United States of America.
The General Council met together at Maryknoll from the 15th to the 17th November to prepare for this meeting by sharing and appraising the visits just completed. The extended meeting including the Provincial Councils is from the 18th to the 20th November.

Wednesday 17th November
The day began with Mass. Twenty-two people were present in total: seven from the General Council, seven from the Provincial Council of Canada and eight from the Provincial Council of the United States of America. There were also some other brothers present who were helping with different tasks to ensure the smooth running of this meeting. Among these people, the most important are the translators given that French and English are the two languages being used, but not understood by all.
In the initial meeting, Seán welcomed all present, reminding them that such a dynamic had already occurred in other regions of the Institute and that the results of this had been positive. He emphasised that this meeting was not simply to be an analysis of the problematic situations present in the Provinces, but rather an opportunity to look to the whole Institute and to open our hearts to arouse energy and hope for facing the future.
This was followed by a brief presentation by each participant. The simultaneous translations allowed everyone to understand what each brother was saying, but they especially helped all to discover how, in the diversity of experiences and formative journeys, the Spirit is at work in the life of each one.
The main topic of the meeting was then commenced. At the end of the visits to the Provinces, the brothers of the General Council compiled an evaluation that was shared with all the Council. After it was delivered to those present, time was given for the personal reading of these reports. The reflection then continued in each individual group. Each Provincial Council listened to the message being communicated and, at the same time, assessed the analysis and the proposed suggestions for action. It was an important time of listening and sharing. Some questions arose, some assertions were open to different interpretations and others requested supplementary information. This led to the third part of the day that was reserved for this sharing. The brothers of the General Council responded to any requests for clarification that came from the group. The exchange was truly peaceful and constructive, completely different to recent political debates.
After a day of intense work it was good to find ourselves together thanking the Lord and our Good Mother for the work completed, but also to have the opportunity to have a chat while eating fries and drinking the classic Coca Cola.

Thursday 18th November
Today was a very intense day, not only because of the timetable followed but also because of the topic of discussion.
The day started with the Liturgy of the Word reminding us of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem with these words that each participant felt was directed at him: If only you had recognised the Lord when he came to visit you! This meeting is truly a time of encountering God through the gifts of the brothers.
In the first meeting the Superior General took up again briefly the idea that had set the course for restructuring from 1993 onwards. He recalled that it is not a strategy of government for survival or for being able to continue to do the things we have always done, but an opportunity for inventing a new style of life that is more dynamic and thus more purposeful and credible. Following on from this concept, restructuring is not a matter of redesigning a new geographical map of the Marist world, but aims to bring about a revolution in mind and heart. Brother Seán also recalled how the 900 brothers who left France in 1903 were the agents of the first restructuring that gave the Institute a breath of fresh air enabling it to not only save itself but also to expand greatly.
Following this, the Vicar General presented the criteria for viability that, according to the General Council, may lead to a greater vitality. In particular Luis emphasised:
Solidarity: each Province is responsible for the life of all the other Administration Units of the Institute;
Attention to the quality of life and of mission;
A minimum number of brothers (100);
A balance between the various age groups (40% less than 60 years of age);
Inculturation and multiculturalism.
The two Provincial Councils discussed these criteria calmly and seriously, from the perspective of their current situation. Then, in the total group, they shared the two realities, that of Canada with its 193 brothers with an average age of 73 years and that of the United States of America with its 215 brothers with an average age of 63 years.
At the end of the meeting all agreed that this topic is of capital importance for the future life of the respective Provinces and that, above all else, this area must be confronted decisively as the solution cannot be postponed until later.
The final effort of the day saw the participation of all in developing a list of points that can encourage or hinder life. A common list was achieved, with which all agreed is the starting point for developing strategies for the future. And in the midst of problems, difficulties and worries, each person thought about the proverb that reminds us that if we want to plough a straight furrow, we have to tie the plough to a star.

Friday 19th November
Today also, the Word of God set the direction for the days work. The angel of the Apocalypse told John to take the book and to eat it. It was as sweet as honey in Johns mouth but it turned his stomach sour. He was told: You are to prophesy again.
Seáns message to the members of the assembly was set in the same direction even though it was in different words. He recalled that the brothers had shown their confidence in them when they had elected them to represent them and so, for this reason, they must commit themselves to their mission with courage, zeal and determination. It is more important to look to the future and to believe in the value of our Marist mission than to only reflect on our limitations. And who better than Marcellin to be a model for our journey? Who else can inspire us with the courage and give us the strength to move forward in order that we can enthuse and care for our brothers so that they can live life to the full? Marcellin is a model of decision and courage, but he is also a man of compassion who can be close to us and invite us to continue on our journey.
The rest of the day was given to meetings: in the whole assembly, in small groups and then again in the whole assembly.
The most common words that we heard many times were: refoundation, renewal, regionalisation, future - words to which only prophets can give meaning, but also words that often disturb the peaceful life of those who no longer expect anything from life.
Today, we are urged especially to open our spirits and our hearts to listen to the words of the Holy Spirit and to allow God to continue to build something beautiful for Him and for the brothers in North America.
To say that a Province has problems is to say the obvious. To say that a Province can catch a glimpse of a better future is to say that we must roll up our sleeves for work, knowing well that God is working with us to build the house.

Saturday 20th November
The icon of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus expresses clearly the spirit of the last day of the meeting between the General Council and the two Provincial Councils of Canada and the United States of America.
The events that had occurred in Jerusalem had sown fear and despair in the hearts of the two disciples. The vigour and the enthusiasm with which they had followed the Master had vanished, their ideals had collapsed and sadness had not only invaded their hearts but was obvious on their faces. Disillusioned, they were returning to their former villages to take up once more their former jobs. A chapter of their life had been closed. Then, there was an unexpected encounter, a companion explained to them what had happened and gave them a new way of reading the situation, thus giving them courage and reviving their hope. And so it was that: TIRED OF WALKING, THEY STARTED TO RUN.
The tiredness disappeared, they found once again the strength to take up their pilgrimage of announcing that he who was dead, had risen and was indeed alive. They were witnesses to this!
In reality, the brothers did not come to Maryknoll disillusioned and without enthusiasm. They certainly brought with them a precious cargo: the life of their brothers with its richness and its fragility.
Thanks to this meeting with the General Council and the brothers, all could better understand each ones situation, and widen their own horizons so as not to see their own experience as the absolute. Seáns words fired everyones heart and convinced all to return to their homes to announce what they had seen and experienced, to share life.
Someone could be astonished perhaps in seeing their faces and hearing their voices talk about their lived experiences. Didnt they say that the apostles were drunk? Anyone who is astonished would do well to look at his or her own watch to see if it has stopped at Good Friday while their alarm clock is already singing Handels Alleluia! The participants are returning to their homes with the certitude that Marist life still has a future in North America, even if they understand that in order to be resurrected, it is necessary to die.

25.11.2004 - Rome
World Congress on Consecrated Life

The World Congress on Consecrated Life is being held in Rome from the 22nd until the 27th November.
The objective of the Congress is to analyse the challenges that confront the Consecrated Life for women and men at the start of the Third Millennium.
The Congress was preceded by a Working Document that presented two icons that had the purpose of illustrating the meaning and the work of the Consecrated Life: the Samaritan woman who asks Jesus for the water of life and the Good Samaritan who cares for the needs of those who suffer.
It is the first World Congress organised together by the International Unions: the USG - Superiors General of Congregations for men, representing 200 thousand religious; the USIG - Superiors General of Congregations of women, representing 800 thousand religious sisters.
Of the 850 participants, 91 come from Africa, 248 from the American Continent, 95 from Asia, 17 from Oceania and 399 from Europe. The most noticeable presence amongst the participants is that of the Congregations for women, with 323 Superiors General; the Congregations for men are represented by 160 Superiors General. 113 are delegates of the Conferences of Religious, 17 are directors of journals on the Consecrated Life and 60 religious are representing the category of the young. The area of theology is also an important presence with 114 people participating who have such qualifications. We must not forget the 13 who were invited to the Congress and the 40 who composed the Organising Committee, divided in various Commissions, which worked intensely throughout the last year and a half to co-ordinate the complex organising machine that prepared the Congress. A group of 10 Marist Brothers are participating in this Congress, including the Superior General and the Vicar General.

25.11.2004 - Rome
Passion for Christ, Passion for Humanity

Consecrated Life, as with sociocultural, political, economic and religious realities, is experiencing a period of profound transformation from which must blossom a new style of being and doing. The current reality demands new answers from Consecrated Life, which are embodied in concrete contexts and give creative and meaningful answers.
It is not easy to respond adequately to the challenges of todays world, nevertheless it seems that the only practical way is to create and propose a meaningful Consecrated Life that offers contrasting alternatives that are the fruit of clear and profound discernment.
Some negative responses in the past have brought on tiredness and have not led to revitalising experiences. This has led us up a dead-end street. This sin has limited our future prospectives and has not allowed us to generate life.
At this time, the Congress would like to highlight that which is essential for Consecrated Life: the search for Jesus and the compassionate encounter with the people of today. These two pillars will be built with the strength of the Gospel and the charism of our founders. This will help Consecrated Life to be aware of new emerging calls to which it needs to respond, and to leave behind nostalgia for the past from which no adequate responses can come. If Consecrated Life continues to do the same things in the same way that it has done up till now, it will achieve the same results as today. New wine must be put into new wineskins.
After all, to revitalise religious life means to keep alive hope and the passion for living each day and thus, in this way, serving the Church and the world. Throughout this journey, fidelity, clarity and audacity are necessary. The Lords grace will not be lacking. He is the craftsman of every personal and community conversion. He will lead Consecrated Life to transform its structures and ambience.

28.11.2004 - General House
EUR - Brother Seáns birthday

When I was a boy, I was impatient with the passage of time. The years moved all too slowly and I was eager to get on with life. Now that I am older I find that just the opposite is true. Time passes all too quickly; years come to an end, leaving me wondering where the weeks and months have gone.
Life is a precious gift, and Ive been graced with 57 years of it thus far. Rich years, turbulent years, each of them memorable.
I am grateful, though, to be here today to celebrate and I am grateful to all of you who put this celebration together. Im also thankful for all that you contribute to this dream that Marcellin set in motion almost two centuries ago: to bring Gods Good News to poor children and young people.
I count my family among my blessings and I also place you there, among lifes many blessings. Looking back on almost six decades of life I could not imagine living them in any other way than as one of Marcellins brothers. So, most especially I am grateful for your brotherhood.
Thank you.
Brother Seán

30.11.2004 - Brazil
Province of Rio Grande do Sul

The Marist family of the Province of Rio do Sul has taken a step forward.
From the 21st to the 24th October, the first Provincial Meeting of Marist Evangelisers took place at Recanto Medianeira, Veranópolis.
Prepared and co-ordinated by the Director of Mission, the meeting had as its objectives to create a time for reflection and study on basic themes such as a faith that can move mountains and the principles of evangelising action of the Brazilian Church and the Marist Institute, and to encourage the exchange of suggestions and animation plans for evangelisation so that our pastoral work may always be more effective in our Marist works.
Eighty-six participants took part in the meeting and, thanks to times of prayer and relaxation, they were able to develop what one could call a great group of evangelisers in the Marist Province of Rio Grande do Sul.
The Superior Generals message of promoting the Revolution of the heart stirred each of the representatives from the colleges, institutions and other Provincial organisations. The meeting gave us an experience of deepening our understanding of the Marist style of evangelising and different ways of animating it.

01.12.2004 - General House
Marist Youth

In this sense, we also at champagnat.org, have decided to make our own contribution by providing a space where young people throughout the whole world can find and share ideas. This space, dedicated to youth, can be found inside our website. It is a place where all can participate using the contents that are regularly inserted as starting points.
The page for youth is composed of three dynamic areas. The first has been named The Compass. We want this to be a place for helping to find direction in life and so you can find, each month, a text for reflection and prayer as well as experiences shared by other young people. A second area has been named The Library. Here, you can insert information about your own youth groups, links to other web pages dedicated to youth and publications aimed at young people. The final part, called The Marketplace, is a meeting point, where you can discuss ideas through a forum where you can also insert your own opinions and announcements on the noticeboard. Photographs of your own groups can also be sent to this section.
We look forward to your visit. Share your own ideas and experiences with the young people of the entire world. The intelligent use of the Internet can help each of us to grow and sharing is often the push we need to move forward on our life journey.

03.11.2004 - Australia
School of the year in Australia

A Marist systemic secondary school in the Sydney Archdiocese, has been announced as The Australian newspapers School of the Year for 2004 (The Australian is the only national paper in the country). The paper was impressed by the fact that while about 75% of the students speak languages other than English at home, and few have parents that are tertiary-educated, 60% of the students go on to university. The rest mostly find employment or go on to TAFE or other further education. Their average Higher School Certificate results are outstanding after an extraordinary turnaround in the past decade.
Trinity Catholic College is the product of an amalgamation in 1995 of two girls schools and a co-educational Marist school, a decision made by the Archdiocese in response to declining enrolments in the girls schools and the need to pool capital resources. It has one of the most socio-economically disadvantaged school populations in Australia.
At the time of the amalgamation, interest in the school among the education community was high, but school academic performance was low. In 1995, only 26% of the HSC subjects offered at the school yielded results that exceeded the state average.
The papers editorial writer puts the schools success down to its culture. The reason for the transformation has less to do with the standard solutions proposed by the public education lobby - higher pay for all teachers and smaller classes - than with the schools culture... Trinity teachers know their stuff, a third of them examine or assess HSC papers and two are chief examiners in their subjects. And the teachers believe in the school and what it can accomplish, with many volunteering to supervise out-of-hours study.
The Australian says Principal Paul Fensom has been leading the schools assault on academic achievement for the past five years. He says Trinity students now perform to expectation and above expectation, the result of a concerted effort by the whole school to focus on teaching and learning as the first priority of every school day.

06.12.2004 - United States

The new logo for the Marist Brothers of the Province of the United States reflects two Marist sayings with which we are all familiar. The first is All to Jesus through Mary, and the second is A brother is a man for whom the world is not large enough.
The M is both a pathway and a symbol for Mary. In this logo, Mary is the path that leads us, our students, and our colleagues to Jesus. The Cross, rising from the light, is at the end of the pathway suggesting that our journey with Mary leads us to Jesus who is the light of the world.
Both the M and the Cross are superimposed over a globe which represents our world. The color of the globe changes from a darker blue to lighter shades of blue as we move closer to Jesus who is our light.
Lastly, both the M/pathway and the Cross break out of the boundaries of our world suggesting that as Marist Brothers we are people for whom the world is not large enough.



1. Juan Jesús Moral Barrio, Santa María de Bellpuig de las Avellanas. Una historia que se renueva, Edilesa, León, 2004 - 64 p.
2. Centro di Vivência Marista, VII Vivemar 2. Encontro-Vivência de Irmãos e Leigos maristas. Memórias - Curitiba, 17 a 21 de agosto de 2004, Curitiba, 2004 - 35 p.

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