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08.06.2005 - Argentina
Meetings of age groups

In the Province of Cruz del Sur, reflection meetings and shared prayer sessions are being held for brothers who belong to various age groups. This is part of the Plan for the Revitalisation of Brothers and Communities.
Brothers in the age range above 75 came together in the San José villa in Luján, Argentina, on the 23rd and 24th April. Accompanying them during these days was a Jesuit priest, Father Ignacio Pérez del Viso, who contributed to the topic of Our reality as consecrated people today. Doctor Lilián Díaz spoke about health issues relevant to this stage of life including nutritional needs, physical activity and times for rest. Alicia Lloveras spoke from a psychological viewpoint of having a meaningful life at this age. Later, Brother Demetrio Espinosa, Provincial, gave a report on the Province and the Institute.
The times for personal prayer, recreation and personal sharing were accompanied by the Divine Office, the Holy Rosary and the Eucharist. There were thirty brothers who met to share and enjoy this stage of their Marist life.
There is no doubt that responsibilities continue to be present in the various stages of life in that we continue working for the Kingdom even though we feel fatigue more easily and more keenly.
The brothers in the age range from 65 to 75 met at the Provincial House in Buenos Aires on the 7th and 8th May. Fifteen brothers gathered and followed similar dynamics to that of the meeting of the more elderly brothers. They focussed more on areas of responsibility in ministry in helping roles in administrative tasks and pastoral care.
Once again, Doctor Lilián Díaz and Alicia Lloveras spoke about the medical and psychological topics relevant to this stage of life, emphasising relational needs and an awareness of abilities and limitations. Brother Agustín Martínez gave a report on the Provincial Administration and Brother Demetrio spoke about the present reality of the Province nearly two years since restructuring took place. There was also plenty of time for socialising, praying, reminiscing over meals and the Eucharist.

10.06.2005 - Brazil
Interprovincial meeting of Formators and Vocation Animators

An interprovincial meeting of Formators and Vocation Animators took place in Florianópolis, Brazil, from the 14th to the 19th May 2005. Forty brothers representing Brasil and two brothers from the Province of Santa María de los Andes participated in the meeting. The meeting also benefited greatly from the work of two other people who guided everyone during the stage of JUDGING to reflect on and understand directions to be taken that are relative to todays young people in these post-modern times.
Also present were the Brothers Provincial, the District Superior and Brother Antonio Carlos Ramalho, General Councillor. Their presence was very much appreciated and valued by the participants in the meeting.
The coordination was under the responsibility of the Brazilian Interprovincial Commission for Formation and Vocation Animation. The stages of the meeting developed along the lines of the methodology SEE, JUDGE and ACT.
The objectives of living together, sharing and helping each to move forward along common lines for the Provinces were realised fully. The final evaluation proved the validity and the importance of these meetings to consolidate restructuring and to advance collaboratively in the vitality of the Provinces and in the refoundation of the Institute.
The following action lines were chosen for the next few years:
1. To make the time of formation stages more flexible, adapting it to the needs of those in formation.
2. To assure each person in formation individual attention regarding his growth towards human, Christian and Marist maturity, guiding him towards autonomous responsibility.
3. To continue the training of Vocation Animators and Formators through ongoing formation and through inter-congregational collaboration.
4. To revitalise our communities by fraternal relationships and by giving more authentic witness.
5. To centre the life of the brothers and those in formation in Jesus Christ, through formation in Marist Apostolic Spirituality, missionary spirit, apostolic commitment, the meaning of being members of the Church and solidarity.
The visit to the shrine of Saint Paulina was a restful afternoon shared in the pleasant company of all.

12.06.2005 - South Africa
Sharing our Call Workshop

Since December 1997, the Marist Brothers in South Africa have periodically organised workshops for the lay Marist educators working in the five schools owned by the Institute. The fifth such workshop took place at the Good Shepherd Retreat Centre, near Johannesburg, for three days in April. The event, animated by Robyn Picas of Sacred Heart College and Brother Mario Colussi, was attended by close on sixty people.
Among the highlights were sessions led by Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg (the impact of globalisation on South Africa, and the response of Catholic schools) and by Brother Michael Burke CFC. Mike, who did some of his initial teacher formation together with Marist Brothers, delivered an address entitled The Singer and the Song on the vocation of a teacher.
Other significant sessions included the following:
* A fantasy meditation leading into personal time for the participants - time to reflect on their lives and to produce a representation of their own River of My Life. People were free to share their diagram with one another. A married couple did their river together and mutually shared a number of surprises for their spouse!
* A personal story of vocation by Mario
* An input on pastoral care by Robyn - who has written a book on the experience of Sacred Heart in this field
* An audio-visual presentation on an icon of Mary based on Archbishop Rowan Williamss Ponder these Things
* Input, discussion and activity on the five aspects of Marist education outlined in our Marist publication In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat. The section on love of work required groups to build a model of The Hermitage. Some of their fine efforts are captured on film!
* A final ceremony where participants commissioned one another to carry on ministry of education.
One participant remarked that he had been teaching for many years, but that during the workshop he understood more deeply than ever before the significance of his work in the classroom. In the words of Chaucer: What needeth words more?

14.06.2005 - Philippines
Celebrating the Marist Vocation Year in the Philippines

These are the words from Luke 1:38 that Brothers Mitchel Abajar and Vincent Celeste took as the theme of their first profession on the 20th May 2005, the 216th birthday of Saint Marcellin Champagnat. Around 400 people, including forty-one Marist Brothers, gathered at Saint Charles Borromeo Parish in Tamontaka, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Province of Maguindanao, Philippines, to witness these two young brothers (aged 22 and 24 respectively) offer their lives to God through the community of the Marist Brothers.
Before becoming Marist aspirants, Brother Mitchel was a first year college student at Notre Dame of Dadiangas College in General Santos City and Brother Vincent, a graduate from Notre Dame of Marbel University in Koronadal City, was working for a shipping line office in General Santos City.
There have been several events during May in the area of vocations and formation here in our Philippine Province. The 1st May was the last day of the three-week summer vocation workshop in which nineteen high school graduates participated. Eleven of these participants have been admitted to the two-year pre-Novitiate formation program in Lagao, General Santos City starting on the 18th May.
On the 14th May, in Tamontaka, four postulants officially began their Novitiate formation by receiving the habit. They are Glecerio Calis, Jr., Joey Ponteras, Mark Xyrex Sionosa and Joseph Adrian Cagampan.
During this Marist Vocation Year, the Philippines Province has the following in its initial formation stages: 11 first year aspirants, 7 second year aspirants (to become postulants in November), 4 first year novices, 3 second year novices, 2 first year scholastics, 4 second year scholastics and 10 temporary professed brothers in active apostolate.

16.06.2005 - Italy
Slaves at the service of Western dreams

To make a pair of Timberland shoes that sell in Europe for 150 €, children aged 14 earn 45 cents in the city of Zhongshan. They work 16 hours a day, sleep in the factory, have no holidays or health insurance, risk poisoning and live under the oppression of a proprietor-jailer. The business in Zhongshan is called Kinmaker Footwear. It has 4,700 employees of whom 80% are women, many aged between 14 and 15 years of age. The products are destined for one client only: Timberland.
The abuses perpetrated against the workers are well documented and faced with such irrefutable proof the multinational has admitted its fault. It did so in a muted fashion, certainly not with the emphasis given last year to the publication of the prize it received as best company of the year for human relations. The General Director of Timberlands external relations, Robin Giampa, stated, We are aware that this factory has had some problems related to workers conditions. We are committed to helping the factorys proprietors to improve these conditions.
The collected testimonies speak of children between 14 and 16 years of age who start work at 7:30am and finish at 9:00pm, with only two short breaks for lunch and dinner and with extraordinary obligations. During the months in which there are a great number of orders, they start work at 7:00am and continue until 11:00pm. They have a free Sunday every two weeks. The monthly wage is 757 yuan (75 €) from which 44% is deducted for living and housing costs as the majority of the workers are forced to sleep and eat in the factory.
The daily official newspaper, China Daily, summarised the speech given by the President of the Republic and Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Hu Jintao, in welcoming a whos who of multinational CEOs, government leaders, and innovative business thinkers present in Beijing for the Fortune Global Forum on the 17th May 2005: You come, you profit, we all prosper. It seems clear to whom the you refers, but it remains more difficult to know which category the President means by the we.
(source: La RepubblicaEconomia.it, 19/05/2005)

17.06.2005 - Ecuador
An Assembly of the Marist Brothers in Ecuador

From the 21st to the 23rd May, we met to share about our community experiences and to reflect on the report on the Province of Norandina given by the General Councillors, Pedro Herreros (Chile) and Maurice Berquet (France). These were days of brotherhood, prayer and discernment of the challenges that the world of young people presents us in the sector of Ecuador.
What is God asking me? What is God asking us? These were the profound questions that we faced and shared in a fraternal ambiance and to which we wanted to give answers in order to live today in Ecuador, in creative fidelity, the charism of our saintly Founder.
Revitalised through brotherhood and the deep conviction that Marist charism is more needed today than ever before to form the generations of young people, we returned to our communities with the deep joy of being able to share our vocation as teaching brothers with the laypeople who work in our Marist apostolates.
We must emphasise the participation in this meeting of all the brothers who are working in this country. They were three days of reflection and discernment on the Marist presence in Ecuador and its future. The brothers shared their experiences and presented their suggestions on ways to organise our communities and apostolates in the future to the Provincial Council. Frank dialogue, the freedom to be able to state different views, respect for diversity and brotherhood were the predominant aspects of the meeting.

20.06.2005 - General House
Saint Marcellin Champagnat Chapel

During these last few years, there has been consistent renovation works being carried in the General House in Rome. The many brothers who have stayed in the General House, the General Councils See, called to Rome for meetings, to follow courses or simply to visit the city of Rome in all its historical richness, have witnessed these changes. The only section that had not undergone a transformation was the chapel referred to as the Superiors Chapel due to its exclusive use by the General Council. So it was that in January 2002, the idea was born to transform this 1961 chapel so that it could respond better to todays demands and sensitivities.
The Council entrusted Brother Ildefonso García de Longoria (Compostela) with the task of developing the project, but before proceeding with the work, the Council called on the generosity of several benefactors. And, while the project was realised rather quickly, the donors had to wait a little bit longer to see the results of their generosity. But finally the new Saint Marcellin Chapel was officially inaugurated on the 6th June 2005 with a simple ceremony.
As in the Photo collection and in the explanation given by Brother Ildefonso, this chapel is a collection of precious items from the time of Saint Marcellin: his altar, his statue of Our Good Mother, the reliquary, the painting of Saint Marcellin soon after his death and the stained glass windows depicting his life. There is now a harmony and beauty in their arrangement in this chapel that we did not have before.
It is true that Father Champagnat prayed as well in the woods of the Hermitage as he did in the streets of Paris, but in our time, to have a space where we can regularly go to draw living water has become a necessity rather than an option.

21.06.2005 - Spain
Kairoi celebrates 25 years

To know Kairoi, you need to go back to the end of October 1979 when a group of young student Marist Brothers recorded a disc. The idea was born in the Houses of Formation of Les Avellanes (Lleida) and Alcalá de Henares where many songs were composed that spoke of the experience of God and of fraternity that these young religious in formation had had. The melodies speak of the interior life, commitment, praise, following Christ and coming to identify a young community that wants to express the call of Jesus and the option for vowed life in their own language.
The group was mainly formed by brothers but from the outset some young women complemented the male voices.
The fruits of Kairoi are visible in the number of groups, parishes and communities who use their songs in their liturgies, prayers and religious education lessons. Many generations of young people have been able to start to discover the Christian way thanks to the melodies and words of this group. Religious communities have been very receptive and have helped in the spreading of Kairois songs. The Greek origin of the word means a time of opportunity, a time of hope. The current members of Kairoi, Marist laypeople and brothers, are committed to their work in common as a means of spreading the Christian values of the Gospel by staking all on a Church open to young people and new languages.
We wanted to be a prophetic voice that denounces and proclaims, with hope, that it is only through the Love proclaimed by Jesus Christ that we can believe in peace and harmony. These words summarise the essence of the Kairoi project, a project rooted in the shared mission of Marist laypeople and brothers, celebrating its silver jubilee.

23.06.2005 - Germany
Gods place on the school terrain - Mindelheim

A prayer-room for young people, blessed on the 2nd June 2005, has been built in a part of the boarding schools garden in Mindelheim.
The Director of the boarding school, Brother Gerhard Ippisch, welcomed many students, teachers, members of the youth fire brigade, helpers and donors to the solemn Mass.
Dr Hermann Haisch, Sub-Prefect, and Dr Stephan Winter, Mayor, congratulated those who had initiated this project and especially the young people for their idea of a place of silence that is surrounded by the greenery of the garden and enriched by a biotope.
The young people wanted a space for prayer that responded to their wishes and thus it was conceived partly by them. The name that was chosen shows a lot of their imagination. The upper case M can mean: Meditation, Marcellin, Mary and Marists.
The basin of water with floating lights, built just in front of the Cross, is a very rich symbol. The living water (Jn 7: 37 - 38), which flows from the place of prayer, is a symbol of life and fertility, coming from God. The floating lights are signs of the presence of the people who are praying, even after they depart, and this helps one to find oneself and our God.
After the Mass and blessing of the building, everyone enjoyed a reception with supper in the boarding schools dining room.
Here are the words of greeting from the auxiliary Bishop of Augsbourg: The recent building of a prayer-room for the Marist College at Mindelheim is an obvious sign for our society for the future. Formation in our society of knowledge must never be reduced to the transmission of cultural techniques. The aim of a true pedagogy must integrate the following vital challenge into the educational pathway of young people: a response to the question of the meaning of life! It is particularly in our time with its secular tendances affecting our society, that this prayer-room, Gods place on a great schools terrain, helps us to not lose the view of our origin and the aim of our life which is God himself.

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