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Marist Bulletin - Number 189


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15.03.2005 - France
Third meeting of the Commission for Marist Places

A thin mantle of snow greeted the Commission for Marist Places that gathered at the Hermitage for the third time on the 19th and 20th February. The second meeting concluded with the elaboration of a synthesis in which the main guidelines for the future of the Hermitage were outlined. This was done because the Commission members believe that it is necessary to have decided on clear objectives for this project before calling in technicians to develop possible projects.
This latest meeting served to define better what these places that saw the birth of our Institute could become. The contributions of the brothers who live on-site, the expectations of those who occasionally come to the Hermitage and the presence of the architect Joan Piug-Pey all combined to spark ideas and helped to begin the elaboration of a global plan.
All deeply believe that La Valla, the Hermitage, Marlhes and les Maisonnettes are precious places where it is still possible today to encounter the person of Marcellin and the first brothers. In this respect, the Commission has already decided on one direction, even though nothing else is definitive. The Hermitage should be neither a simple museum of Marist origins, nor a generic house of Spirituality nor a qualified centre of research. The Commissions dream is for a house of welcome where it is possible, with the help of the community, to transform the stay into an experience and an encounter.
For this to happen, it is important to listen to the opinions of all the brothers in the Institute and not only the opinions of those brothers in the Province where the Hermitage is situated. As suggested by the General Council, a questionnaire will be sent in order to receive everyones ideas and contributions. For the Commission, this is not just one more questionnaire but rather a means of helping us to fulfil our Marist Vocation Years slogan, Marcellins dream: Live it today! It will also help us to bring to life the words that Marcellin wrote to the brothers in the Circular of the 21st August 1838: Come, all of you, to be reunited and warmed in the sanctuary which witnessed your becoming children of the most loving of Mothers.

16.03.2005 - Argentina
Province of Cruz del Sur

On the 25th and 26th February, the Community Superiors from the Sector of Argentina and Uruguay in the Marist Province of Cruz del Sur met at the Provincial House.
This annual meeting, whose theme was Rekindling the fires in our lives and Communities, was held in an atmosphere of reflection and of prayer.
Around thirty brothers, all Community Superiors, participated in this meeting, working on the Plan for the Revitalisation of the Brothers and the Communities for 2005.
They worked on prioritising the plan in three levels. As the first priority, the Community Superiors considered their task of accompanying each brother during this year. As the second priority, they considered the Plan for Community Living, the work in Vocation Ministry, the community budget as a key aspect for discernment of goods, zone meetings of communities and the frequency of community meetings. As the third priority, the Superiors considered the gathering of brothers: at the Provincial retreats (where possible), the Provincial Assembly on the 15th and 16th October, the accompaniment of brothers in temporary vows, the meetings for different age groups and a camp for young brothers.
In the personal life of each brother, the Superiors considered four aspects: the time for personal prayer, the Personal Life Plan, on-going formation and the Revision of the Day.
Ways of integrating laypeople in the mission shared with the brothers were also considered. This is a new and challenging task for the communities and the life of the brothers.

18.03.2005 - Ivory Coast
Perpetual Vows and the Vow of Stability

On Saturday 26th February a ray of light filled with life and hope shone in Ivory Coast, a country that has been punished and forced to suffer for many months through internal conflicts. Four Ivory Coast brothers pronounced their definitive commitment to the Lord: Theddy G. de Souza, Vincent Mé, Étienne Balma and Germain Bery Beda. During the same ceremony, Brother Sylvain Yao pronounced the vow of stability. Sylvain is the oldest of the Ivory Coast brothers and the first among those born in the District to pronounce this vow.
The ceremony took place in the parish church of Notre Dame de lAfrique in Abidjan. Archbishop Marie-Daniel Dadiet, the archbishop of Korhogo, presided at this ceremony. Eight priests also concelebrated and the large congregation included many family members and friends of the brothers. The Brother Provincial of the Province of Mediterránea, on which the District of África del Oeste/Afrique de lOuest/West Africa depends, had hoped to be present but due to the late arrival of his plane, was unable to do so; José Antonio Ruiz, District Superior, received the vows.
The parish council of Notre Dame de lAfrique took charge of the preparation and decoration of the church, which looked very elegant for the occasion. The parish choir sang magnificently during the entire ceremony. After the ceremony, which finished around midday, everyone enjoyed a meal served on the verandas of the school. During this time, everyone was entertained again by the choirs singing. The collaboration of the parish and the Marianist school community was very evident and appreciated.
During the afternoon, all the brothers present in Abidjan met with the Provincial. After this profession, there are now twenty-five brothers in the District who have taken final vows out of a total of forty-seven brothers.

19.03.2005 - Vatican
XXth World Youth Day - August 2005 at Cologne

Get up, listen and start on your way! The message that is right at the heart of the XXth World Youth Day to be held this August in Cologne, Germany and that which the Pope addressed to each young person in Europe and the world can be summarised in these three verbs. John Paul II said these words to young Catholics in Switzerland during a meeting in Berne last June, after he had already given the theme We want to see Jesus on the previous Palm Sunday. These words from the Gospel of John express a request from some Greeks to the Apostles in Jerusalem. We have come to adore Him is the theme of the international meeting in this German city, which, according to an ancient tradition, is the guardian of the relics of the Magi. It is a symbolic place that the Pope has chosen with the desire to propose to the youth of today the spiritual journey that was accomplished by these mysterious figures from the East in their search for Christ two thousand years ago.
The theme: We have come to adore Him wants to help young people to travel once more the way of the Magi in order to encounter, as they did, the Messiah.
The logo: The two red spires symbolise the cathedral in Cologne, the place for the meeting. The experience will be valuable if the encounter with Christ (the letter C) continues through life (the Cross). The star is not only a guide, but also a point of reference.
The chant: Venimus adorare Dominum. This is sung alternately in Latin and in German. It is the work of a young composer Gregor Linssen. It was chosen from among 215 chants presented by composers throughout the entire world.

21.03.2005 - Sri Lanka
A Marian Pilgrimage for Vocations in Sri Lanka

Marcellins dream, Live it today! was the main theme of our Marian pilgrimage. About 400 students from our present and former schools participated, accompanied by our novices, postulants, aspirants, some scouts and Red Cross members. The schools represented included Maris Stella College Negombo, St Josephs College Nugegoda, Holy Cross College Kaluthara, Joseph Vaz College Wennappuwa, St Marys College Negombo, and Nirmala Matha Maha Vidyalya Kalpitiya Electro Institute Negombo.
The Pilgrimage started at the Old Shrine at Tewatte, Ragmama, a little town about 11 km from Colombo. A prayer service was held followed by a procession lead by a Cross as a reminder of Lent. Two students held a banner with Marys words Do whatever he tells you!, followed by the National Flag, the New Catholic Flag and a banner of Marcellin with the words of the main theme. After arriving at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes at 11.30 am, Brother Provincial addressed the students about the importance of the Marist Vocation Year. A special candle was lit by the Provincial who announced that this candle would be taken to all Marist schools and institutes. The Pilgrimage then moved on to the Basilica dedicated to Our Lady of Sri Lanka where a special Eucharist was celebrated. Fr Joseph Cooray, an old boy of the Marist Brothers, presided at the Mass and spoke to the students in their own language about the importance of each vocation. After Mass, schools provided entertainment through different items and the singing of the National Anthem marked the official end of the Pilgrimage.

22.03.2005 - Spain
School exchange Lleida - Almere

This year, the school at Lleida (Spain) took part in Project Comenius that aims to increase the motivation, capacity and confidence of young people in communicating in foreign languages. With this aim in mind, nineteen girls and boys from the Netherlands visited the school at Lleida and lived with the students for ten days.
During their stay at Lleida, they visited the Paeria (town hall), the local Councillors and the main distinctive monuments of the city. They were also able to find out more about the local businesses in the areas of wine-making and agriculture, especially in the production of fruit juice. As well, being so close to the Vall de Boí, they travelled along the Ruta del Románico (the Roman road), visiting the Roman churches that are a part of our Universal Patrimony. They also visited a ski resort. Finally, they took part in an excursion to Barcelona where they saw the Liceu, the Gothic Quarter and various artistic expressions by the artist Antoni Gaudí, including the Sagrada Familia, the Parque Güell and La Pedrera.
The friendship between the Catalan and Dutch girls and boys was very enriching, not only because it gave them a chance to practise English, but also because they were able to spend time with people from different cultures and with different traditions. This aspect will continue to develop when the Catalans visit Almere.
As well, this relationship will not finish with the end of the present school year, as other exchanges will follow during the summer or Christmas holidays with the Dutch visiting Lleida and the Catalans visiting the Netherlands.

25.03.2005 - Spain
A recreational and cultural activity in Badajoz

Giving colour to life… here in Badajoz has been a recreational and cultural activity for young Christians aged from eleven to fourteen. This activity aims to provide an opportunity for young people who are members of youth movements in the city to come together to meet. It started with the team of catechists in the Marist school in Badajoz. Last year, only students of this Marist school were involved but after the dialogue that took place between the members of this school and the delegation from the diocesan youth ministry team, the decision was taken to open this activity to the entire city of Badajoz. More than 250 children and 80 catechists from 10 Catholic schools or groups in the city have participated in and enjoyed this activity. It has also been featured in the media in various places. It has been a definitive success for many reasons but especially because the Christian children and young people of the city have had a good experience of Church.
With this activity we want to take the first steps in experiencing Church as was suggested by the meeting between the General Council and some young people from Europe at Siguenza in January: that other people experience a fraternal Church through their relationships with us, a Church that Jesus wanted for everyone and perhaps for many a new face of the Church. We give colour to our lives by being outspoken about and showing our joy in belonging to this group as disciples of Jesus.

29.03.2005 - Mexico
Regional meeting for the discernment of the evangelical use of goods

On the 26th and 27th February, in the city of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, the Marist communities of Monterrey and Nuevo Laredo from the Province of México Occidental met in order to work together on the Plan of Discernment for the Evangelical Use of Goods. It was also an opportunity to encourage each other on the path that we need to follow and to reflect on the ideas that need to be sent to the General Conference to be held in September.
The work of the meeting started during the afternoon of Saturday 26th February with the arrival in Nuevo Laredo of the brothers from the community of Monterrey. The community prayer and the experience of brotherhood facilitated and enriched, throughout the day, the sharing of experiences and points of view.
On Sunday 27th February, the activities started quite early around the worktables with the distribution of the stages: see, judge, decide and evaluate. This was another opportunity to share our ideas with brothers from another community and we found the dialogue very enriching.
The values that were discussed in depth during the meeting included: solidarity with those most in need, a simple life, our goods at the service of the Kingdom, and the promotion of justice.
At the end of the work, renewed and energised to continue our discernment on the evangelical use of goods, we placed everything in the hands of Our Good Mother and Jesus her Son in the holy sacrifice of the altar.

31.03.2005 - Singapore
A second meeting of brothers in Singapore

Last October, a process began in Asia with the objective of sustained vitality of Marist life and mission in the Region. A second meeting, connected to this process, occurred at Maris Stella High School in Singapore.
Present at the meeting were representatives of each Administrative Unit in the Region: Brothers Tom Chin, Robert Teoh, and Joachim Heng (Province of China); Mike de Waas, Mervyn Perera, and Sunanda Alwis (Province of Sri Lanka and Pakistan); Manny de Leon and Renee Reyes (Province of the Philippines); John Vianney Kim and Juan Castro (District of Korea); and Lazar Hirudayasamy and Savari Velanganni (Sector of India). The meeting occurred on the 26th and 27th February, and was facilitated by Brother Peter Rodney from the General Council.
The days together were spent getting to know the Region better and in planning a process up to the third meeting, which will take place in Sri Lanka immediately after the General Conference. Between now and then there will be two parts to the planned process: a Vitality Study of each Administrative Unit in the Region, and then based on this information, reflection on practical means to ensure a future of sustained vitality in the Region. Among the options to be considered during this reflection stage are: increased Regionalisation, and/or Restructuring, or the status quo remaining in place. The objective of the third meeting will be to study the reflections that will have emerged from each Administrative Unit and to reach consensus on preferred options.
The process has been planned to ensure the participation of the brothers of the Region, and where possible, our lay partners in mission. Active involvement is being invited.

02.04.2005 - Vatican
Wojtylas Way of the Cross

Help me! This was the S.O.S. that John Paul II proclaimed on the 15th August 2004 at Lourdes while reading the homily. A whispered lament in Polish, his mother tongue, that helped us to understand not only his physical state but above all his morale. Never before had we seen him so exhausted. Bent from fatigue, from pain, from Parkinsons disease, the old Pope was continuing his mission with clenched teeth, showing his declining physical state to the world without any shame.
Vittorio Messori reported the event in these words: In a world of weights, of fitness, here is an old man with advanced Parkinsons, who is continuing his ministry with punctual fidelity, exposing to the television cameras, the electronic means of communication, to the crowds, the decline of a trembling and gasping body.
For what reason? some asked. To demonstrate that the spirit can master the flesh? To turn illness into a means of evangelisation?
It is a fact that he was the first Pope with a visible body. Pius XII and Paul VI were Popes who were quasi visible. We saw Wojtyla as a young athlete, strong, sun-tanned, vital, a dedicated skier and mountain climber. We saw him suffering in hospital and little by little growing older. He always used his body as an instrument even when this instrument was in decline. He was also the first Pope to become an icon for youth around the world, his face more used to appearing above a shirt than within a silver frame. He was a Pope remembered more by DVDs than by rosary beads, more in stadiums than in cathedrals.
To see him infirm and suffering was heart wrenching. But despite the voice that faltered in his throat, the breath that seemed to stop, the saliva that dribbled incessantly from the mouth, this indomitable Pontiff continued to fight until the end of his days.
It was indeed at Lourdes that he had said: I have reached the goal of my pilgrimage. This was his consumatum est. And that glass of water that his secretary gave him was very similar to the sponge that the Roman solider offered to Christ, model of all the crucified of this world.

04.04.2005 - Italy
Nemi, March - April 2005

Here in this very attractive Castelli Romani region south of Rome, eighteen Marist Brothers have gathered at the SVD Renewal Centre for a two-month course in Community Animation and Leadership Formation. Des Howard (Australia) and Barry Burns (New Zealand) are the directors of the course. The sixteen brothers who are following the course come from twelve countries and represent fourteen Administrative Units. Their ages range from 33 to 66.
In the report of the 20th General Chapter we are called to:
Revitalise our communities so that they might be places of brotherhood,
simplicity and Gospel life in the service of our mission.
In accordance with this call, the General Chapter brought the following decision to the General Council:
To facilitate and establish, at the beginning of its mandate, in dialogue with
Provincials, a program of leadership formation, so as to help those in positions of responsibility to acquire the qualities needed for leadership, discernment, and personal and community accompaniment.
With this in mind, the above-mentioned course has been established. Fortunately, we have been able to secure very competent presenters to help us achieve our purpose. Needless to say, the Brothers are highly-motivated and seriously engaged by the work, all done in an encouraging and inspiring sense of community.

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