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Marist Bulletin - Number 185


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23.02.2005 - Venezuela
The final series of General Council visits have started

The General Council met in Los Teques (Venezuela) from the 15th until the 17th February to start the visit to the Arco Norte of Latin America, the last of the regions to be visited before the General Conference. Together with Brother Seán Sammon, various visiting teams participated in the meeting: Emili Turú and Théoneste Kalisa (visiting México Central and Occidental); Luis G. Sobrado and Peter Rodney (visiting América Central); Maurice Berquet and Pedro Herreros (visiting Norandina); Antonio Ramalho and Ernesto Sánchez (visiting the Novitiates and Post-Novitiates of each region).
During the next three months, the teams will visit the communities and apostolic works of each Province, taking the opportunity to interview each brother, to meet with the Provincial Council, with groups of laypeople, with Province animation teams and with Leadership teams of apostolic works, etc. The visit will conclude with the Extended General Council meeting that will be held in Guatemala from the 12th to the 15th May. The four Provincials, with their Councils, will participate in this meeting with the General Council. This final meeting of the visit will be preceded by some days of work by the visiting teams in order to prepare the Reports to the Provinces.

25.02.2005 - Brazil
CEPAM in Porto Alegre, Brazil

The vitality of the Institute is measured by the quality of our response to God. In making present today the charism of Marcellin Champagnat, we keep alive the dynamism of our vocation (C 171).
It is within this spirit that the study of Marist Spiritual Patrimony (CEPAM) is being carried out in Porto Alegre. The founder and current leader of CEPAM is Brother Aureliano Brambila who is guiding the studies. Brother Dionísio Rodrigues is the coordinator and the organiser of this Brazilian session. Nine brothers are participating in this third stage of the course: Canísio Willrich, Claudiano Tiecher, Claudino Tiecher, Jaires Rock, Lúcio Dantas, Sandro Baruffi, Sebastião Ferrarini, Silfredo Klein and Vinícios Malfatti. The limited number of participants is due to the methodology of the study.
The study is centred on the letters of Champagnat. The brothers read the letters using all the available Marist literature. We are stressing the historical and cultural context of the personages and we pay attention to both the attitudes and the mentality of Marcellin. Deepening and living this experience provide all the participants with an effective knowledge of Marcellin. More than 170 brothers in the Institute have already participated in this study, either in Rome, Guadalajara or now in Brazil. We can still say that all this work unfolds a more realistic picture of the Founder, complementing the knowledge and the experience we have of him transmitted by Brother Jean-Baptiste.

27.02.2005 - Spain
El Escorial 10/02 - 10/04

The first course for Spanish-speaking Community Animators began at Escorial on the 10th February 2005. This project of the General Council, organised by the Religious Life Commission, has been implemented as a response to a request of the 20th General Chapter. It offers a formation in the direction and animation of communities through workshops, based on experience and research. The participants are invited to live this experience and following the course to share the dynamic throughout their Provinces. The team accompanying the participants consists of Brothers Javier Espinosa, José Calleja, Alfredo Villanueva Sainz and Elías Peña Rodríguez. There are fifteen participants: José Ignacio García Llamazares from América Central, Vicente Falqueto from Brasil Centro-Norte, Paulinho Vogel from Brasil Centro-Sul, Jesús Alberto Rodríguez from Compostela, Alberto Aparicio from Cruz del Sur, José Luis Salazr Sobrevilla from Ibérica, Miquel M. Martínez Fernández from LHermitage, Gregorio Delgado Soler and Mateo Luis González Cerdán from Mediterránea, Icnacio Sánchez from México Central, Oscar Becerra and Raúl Fernando Lara Castro from México Occidental, Paulo Lorenzoni from Río Grande do Sul, Juan Manuel García López from Santa María de los Andes, and Antonio Sanasana from África Austral / Southern Africa. This first course will finish on the 10th April.

01.03.2005 - Brazil
Ten new novices in the Province of Rio Grande do Sul

On the 2nd February, ten young men started their first year of Novitiate at the Instituto Marista Marcelino Champagnat, in Passo Fundo, Brazil. The Brother Provincial, Roque Salet, welcomed them in a simple ceremony in the house of the Novitiate for their new stage of formation.
The young men came from the Marist Postulancy Nossa Senhora de Oliveira, in Vacaria, after having finished their school studies at the Instituto de Educação Marista Nossa Senhora de Graças and the Colégio Santo Ângelo. During this one-year period of Postulancy, they were able to confirm the truthfulness of Gods call and to start a solid human, Christian and spiritual formation.
During the stage of the Novitiate they are introduced to religious life where pastoral and educational activities are of fundamental importance. Through personal commitment and intense spiritual experiences, the novices develop their talents along with their human and Christian potential, and start to gradually develop their Marist identity.
The ten novices are: Adélio Luís Mentges (Campina das Missões), André DllAgnol (Serafina Corrêa), Deógenes Paulo Herold (Arvorezinha), Ezequiel Cerbaro Tóffolo (Ciríaco), Luciano Barrachini (Santa Rosa), Marcelo Bohnenberger (Ciríaco), Marcelo Medeiros da Silva (Santa Maria), Rodinei Fernando Vancini (Ciríaco), Roger Ariel Perius (Campina das Missões) and Tiago Franzon Belani (Arvorezinha).

02.03.2005 - South Africa
The necessity of Pastoral Care in the School

As a society, we need to respond more effectively to the changing political, economic and social environment in which we find ourselves in the world today. South Africa is a society in flux, as many other countries, where uncertainty, apathy and high levels of crime abound. Learners in a Grade Five class of Sacred Heart College, when asked to describe the world in which they lived, described it as: A world filled with abuse, crime, poverty, pollution, corruption, violence, uncertainty, fear, injustice, rape, murder and hopelessness. Increasing numbers of learners are suffering from emotional disorders such as low self-esteem, aggression, insecurity and depression. Others are running parentless households and looking after younger siblings. Given that unemployment figures are at 40%, young South Africans are also anxious about their future prospects. Every young person deserves and needs individual care and an active interest should be taken in their social and emotional well being through a caring and holistic approach. Educators and parents at Sacred Heart College are challenged to empower the learners with values and skills that will enable them to cope with such a world. Wholesome values should be developed in the learners, in order to counter the consumerist and materialistic values promoted in the media and by society in general. The Gospel values of faith, hope and love have to be promoted, if we are to entrench the concepts of human dignity and the pursuit of the common good.

04.03.2005 - Rome - World headquarters
To grow in age, wisdom and grace

Did we need a poll to know that happiness would be the most sought-after objective in life?
The Communications team had assumed this would be the case but they did not expect that 91% of the respondents would choose happiness and kindness, leaving success and wealth as a very small minority.
I believe that no one belittles wealth and all of us want to succeed and have the proper recognition for the efforts that we have sustained. But more important than anything else is to have a scale of values and to give importance to the things that are important.
I still remember the old priest who would speak to the children at the start of the school year inviting them to be children of the three Bs (in Italian - Belli, Bravi and Buoni)
Belli is to take care of your physical appearance. Bravi is to nurture your intelligence. Buoni is to cultivate your own spirit.
These are three aspects of growth, but also of order and especially harmony with others because if someone takes advantage of others they could impede their own attainment of happiness. Perhaps the best example comes from the adolescent Jesus: the evangelist says that he grew in age, wisdom and grace before God and other people.

06.03.2005 - World headquarters
International Marist Apostolic Spirituality Commission

The International Commission of Marist Apostolic Spirituality has concluded its second meeting at the General House. This Commission has been given responsibility for the preparation of a text which will assist Lay Marists and Brothers in deepening their living of our spirituality. The members of the Commission are: Miss Agnes Reyes (Philippines), Miss Bernice Reintjens (Netherlands), Sr Vivienne Goldstein (Marist Sisters General Council), and Brothers Maurice Goutagny (France), Benito Arbués (Spain), Bernard Beaudin (Canada), Vanderlei Soela (Brazil), Miguel Ángel Santos (Mexico), Spiridion Ndanga (Rwanda), Lawrence Ndawala (Malawi), Nicholas Fernando (Sri Lanka), Graham Neist (Australia), Luis Sobrado and Peter Rodney (General Council).
The meeting began with days set aside for reading and studying the material gathered during the consultation phase of the Commissions work. Hundreds of Brothers and Lay Marists participated in processes of reflection on Marist Apostolic Spirituality. In addition, Brothers who are experts in Mariology and in the charism of the Founder were consulted. The Commission was very appreciative of the insights provided by so many Marists.
In the light of the material submitted, the Commission refined the draft structure of the document. The specific content of each chapter of the document was made more precise. As well, there was further reflection of the genre, writing style and audience of the document. Attention was also devoted to processes by which the document can best be communicated, and utilized in formative ways. By the time the Commission gathers for its third meeting, a first draft of a text will be ready for study.
The concluding liturgy of the meeting took place in the chapel of the General Council. In his reflection during this liturgy, Brother Seán noted that this would be the last liturgy in the chapel prior to its renovation. He saw this fact as symbolic of the role of the Commission: to be a bridge between the past and the future; between our spirituality which began with Marcellin and the first Brothers, and its expression into the 21st Century.

07.03.2005 - Spain
Complaint about the assassination of Brothers Servando, Julio, Miguel Angel and Fernando

The International Forum for Truth and Justice in the Great Lakes Region of Africa presented to the Audiencia Nacional de Madrid (Spain) this past February 22, 2005 a complaint against high level officials of the Rwandan government, for the assassination of 9 Spanish citizens (6 missionaries and 3 volunteers from Médicos del Mundo), among whom are our Brothers Servando Mayor, Julio Rodríguez, Miguel Angel Isla and Fernando de la Fuente, killed in Bugobe (Democratic Republic of Congo) on October 31, 1996.
Signing this complaint are victims and families of Spanish and Rwandan victims - including the families of our four Brothers as well as exiled Hutu and Tutsi witnesses who are presently under protection; Nobel Peace Prize Winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel; United States African-American congresswoman Cynthia McKenney; the City councils of the Spanish victims; Nobel Peace Prize candidate Juan Carrero, as well as several Spanish and international NGOs.
The initiative of this International Forum is based on two lines of action:
a) The strategy of TRUTH, centered on the presentation of a CRIMINAL COMPLAINT against those principally responsible for the aforementioned crimes against humanity. Everyone agrees that reconciliation in the Great Lakes region of Africa will not be possible until the hidden truths of this drama are brought to light. They are inspired by the principles of non-violence and by the central role of the truth as a dynamic for change in the same way that Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. demonstrated. This initiative has prioritized two central ideas: empathizing with the victims and their families (giving them recognition and empowerment) and the work with the experience of the repentant Tutsis and Hutus.
b) The strategy of Dialogue. The International Forum also wanted to facilitate a space for open and honest dialogue among leaders of organizations of Rwandan victims and leaders of organizations of the defense of human rights of exiled Hutus and Tutsis. This initiative has also prioritized two central ideas: on the one hand, the work of the empathy of sharing; on the other hand, the channeling of grief toward a common ground and the experience of visions of a shared future.
According to the members of the International Forum for Truth and Justice in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, this conflict is not only a story of the struggle for power among extreme and criminal elements, but also, and above all, a story of pillaging and the fight for control of the exploitation of the rich natural resources of the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, an initiative supervised not only by local organizations, but also by many large multinational western enterprises mainly from the United States, Canada and Europe. A large part of this human and ecological drama has been deliberately hidden and, often, strategically manipulated.
This action of justice, in the words of its promoters, seeks to end the situation of impunity, make public the hidden truth of this conflict and contribute in this way to bring reconciliation to the people and villages of this area of Central Africa.
More information can be found on the web site: http://www.veritasrwandaforum.org

09.03.2005 - Venezuela
José Leonardo Chirinos Community Centre

Thanks to contributions from Adveniat, BIS, the NGO Association for Solidarity and other local institutions, it is possible to talk about the activities of a Community Centre in the Sabino area of the city of Punto Fijo. This Centre started its activities in September 2003. During its first year of life, the Centre grew and became a reference point for many children, young people and adults in the area.
The Centre offers the possibility of study help to children and young people. In a similar way, it is available to adults for reading and writing classes as well as work training. On Saturdays, the Centre is also open for recreational activities for children and young people.

This year, due to the increased activities, a new room was built and recently a sports field was provided so that they children and young people would have a place to enjoy healthy games and sports.
This Centre is run by the Marist Community of Nuevo Punto Fijo. We wish to be a presence for all the people of our city, in the compassionate spirit of Marcellin Champagnat. Marcellin used to tell the brothers to be good to the children who were the most neglected… to try to show these children at all times that they respected them and loved them, especially those in most need.

10.03.2005 - Canada
Frescoes in the chapel of the Marist Brothers of Château-Richer

To highlight the canonisation of Saint Marcellin Champagnat on the 18th April 1999 in a tangible and visible way, the Marist Brothers of Quebec decided to entrust to Father Sylvain Lalande, iconographer, the painting of two large frescoes in the choir of the chapel of Château-Richer near Quebec. Father Lalande took four months to realise these two Byzantine-style frescoes.
The fresco on the left side of the choir of the chapel represents Saint Marcellin Champagnat. His witness is grounded in the immoveable rock that is his faith in Jesus Christ, the rock on which he stands. There is the Lord whom he had sought to know, to love and to serve in children, in young people, through religious education. There are the children - such as were sent, as angels of God - who bring him closer to the Spirit of Jesus. They are holding violets in the hands, symbolising the three Marist virtues of simplicity, modesty and humility.
The fresco on the right reproduces the spiritual ascension on a base of crystalline mountain representing the ladder to heaven. Here is found a group of holy people from the spiritual family of the Marist Brothers: above the group is Venerable Brother François, encouraging the fervour of all by the reminder written on parchment: All to Jesus through Mary; all to Mary for Jesus.
Throughout this group of Marist Brothers that includes hidden faces at the back in memory of all those who have contributed, hidden and unknown, to the expansion, blossoming and livelihood of the Institute, we can see emerging faces that are more well known: Father Colin and some Marist martyrs surrounding Brother Benito Arbués who was the Superior General at the time of the canonisation.

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