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30.07.2005 - Sri Lanka
Maris Stella Reunion

A get-together of Maristonian Priests and Religious Brothers on the June 2005, was another red letter day for the Marist Brothers and lay Marist groups in Sri Lanka. A group of priests and Brothers who are old boys of Maris Stella College gathered at Maris Stella College along with the distinguish Old Boy-Bishop Rt. Rev. Franc Marcus Fernando the bishop of Chilaw diocese, to thank God for their precious vocation. Rev. Bro. Provincial and Rev. Bro. Principal of Maris Stella College were present on this august occasion. The Bishop was welcomed at the Gate of Maris Stella and then all stood before the historic statue of Our Lady at the quadrangle and prayed for her protection. Then all went to the statue of our Founder and paid homage to him. The national flag, College flag and Church flag were hoisted. From there we all went to the College Gymnasium where we had a special Eucharistic celebration. During Mass a special prayer was made for vocations. The Director of the Philosophy in Kandy gave the sermon where he thanked the Marist Brothers for his early education and formation, which has helped him to reach where he is. After Mass there was an assembly. Bro. Joseph Peiris the chief animator for the vocation commission welcomed all the participants and the Maristonian priests and Religious Brothers came out with strong feelings for their Alma Mata and expressed their gratitude for bringing them back to the college as a group for the first time in the history of the college.. Rev. Bro. Michael De Waas the Provincial addressed the assembly and said that the Marist Brothers are proud of these veteran men who hold key positions in the Sri Lankan Catholic Church. He also requested them to get together to invite young men and women to follow religious life. Bishop Franc Marcus, the chief guest, shared with reverence and gratitude by mentioning how much he and his family respected the Brothers like Bro. Antony, Bro. Nizier and Bro. Peter. He further said that Brothers were so simple and approachable that they were full of admiration for their way of life.

03.08.2005 - Canada
Marist Vocation Year

The Marist Vocation Year committee for the Province of Canada wanted to bring the general theme, MARCELLINS DREAM, LIVE IT TODAY!, up-to-date and contextualise it by proposing a pilgrimage in an immense nature sanctuary with the slogan Day For Dreaming In The Forest!
On the morning of the 2nd July, the pilgrims, more than forty young people, adolescents and adults, some of whom are going to the World Youth Day in Cologne, were ready for the great MARCH FOR FAITH, on the mountainous tracks of Marist Camp Rawdon, Quebec. The journey was punctuated with several stops on the lakesides or on the rock cliffs, leading the pilgrims to reflect, to pray and to sing their dreams for a better world in an enchanting atmosphere favourable for contemplation and silence.
All of Jesus dream can be summed in the words to realise that God loves us with the immensity of his love. Marys dream is to want to be totally at the service of the realisation of Gods dream.
Marcellins dream is to want to communicate passionately this love that God has for children and young people.
A Christians dream, a good Marists dream is to bring our dreams of service and sharing, of love and of justice, to their fulfilment in following Jesus as Mary did and in the footprints of Marcellin.
Seeing all the young people, totally open to and at one with Marcellins dream, gives reasons to believe in a young generation eager to find the spiritual and meaningfulness in their lives. Following the great walker and pilgrim who Marcellin was, these young people have marched for faith so that this experience of dreaming in the forest would awaken them to their reality as pilgrims in a world in constant need of salvation, peace and love.

05.08.2005 - Japan
6 of August 1945

The 6 of August will mark the 60th anniversary of the explosion of the atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The Superior General of the Claretians Missioners, Josep María Abella, was not there on that day, but he spent more than 20 years in Japan, and he knows first hand the consequences resulting from the air strike that caused 140.000 deaths. I have visited the city of Hiroshima many times. I didnt simply go as a tourist. Going to Hiroshima is like making a pilgrimage; it is to enter into the mystery of human consciousness and to feel upset facing the fact that human beings have the ability to cause such a great pain and death.
In an article in the latest issue of the magazine Religious Life published by the Claretians Fathers in Madrid, Abella writes: Hiroshima places before us disturbing questions that touch the deepest part of our consciousness. He also adds it is advisable to remember the dark periods of the history of
humanity in order to be able to build a future that responds to the true aspiration of the human being and to Gods project.
For Abella who was born in Lerida in 1949, Hiroshima is a sign and a call, and for that reason it has to find a special resonance in the lives of those who consecrate themselves entirely to the God of life. It requires of them sincerity, lucidity and audacity to commit themselves to change the course of history when it wants to wander on a path of death. And this, unfortunately, is what frequently occurs, remarks the Superior General of the Claretians.
Abella ends his reflection pointing out that Hiroshima has known how to re-read its history and to look for ways to respond. It has not done this on a path to revenge, but by knowing how to make of its experience a denouncement of war and an invitation to work for peace. In this sense, Hiroshima is a point of convergence of many initiatives, of single persons or groups, in favor of peace and disarmament and from where everyone feels sent to bring something to construct this new world in the peace for which we yearn. Hiroshima and what it represents should be a point of reference for all those persons who feel a true passion for humanity and for the God who loves it passionately also.

11.08.2005 - El Savador
Vocations Year in Central America

The 2nd meeting of the young people of the province of Central America took place from 29 to 31 July. It was part of the vocations year and its theme was: To live Champagnats dream today.
There was a great diversity of ages and origins. Our students and former students studying in the universities came from the 5 countries which the province covers: Costa Rica (16), Guatemala (82), Nicaragua (40), Puerto Rico (16) and the host country, El Salvador (529). There were as well 35 Brothers, 7 teachers, and 7 members of a Marist fraternity. In all 737 young Marists.
The afternoon of the 29th was given over to welcoming and organizing the work. Brother Nice presented the programme for the three days gathering. Brother Theoneste Kalisa representing the General Council read the Superior General, Br Seans message to the participants.
The participants from outside the country were hosted by the Marist families of El Salvador. There was a great family spirit evident among the young people. Everyone was at the service of all.
The next day commenced with Brother Provincials dialogue with all the young people in the main gymnasium of the Liceo Salvadoreno. The rest of the day was consecrated to working in groups centred on the experience of the vocations year and the great question: How to live Champagnats dream today.
On Sunday, the day began with a Marist march to the tomb of Bishop Romero and the closing Eucharist was celebrated at the end of the morning.

17.08.2005 - Niger
More than three million on the brink of starving to death in Niger

Niger, population 11,000,000, a country covering 1,186,400 sq. km. in the Sahel, is living through its worst food crisis in the last twenty years. 3.6 million are suffering from malnutrition. Jean Ziegler, UN expert on the right to food, states, People are dying of starvation. As always, the groups most at risk are the weakest - infants, the sick, and the elderly. At least 800,000 babies in dire need. Ziegler tells of a dispensary where, in a single week, he witnessed the deaths of 14 of the 61 seriously malnourished infants. The organization Médecins sans Frontières states that an authentic slaughter stretches as far as the eye can see. Many children who ought to weigh 15 to 17 pounds actually weigh only half that much, and this leads to irreparable brain damage that will only become apparent in the future and have serious consequences on their lives. Not only NGOs but the UN itself has accused the government of not wanting to distribute the best supplies that it stores for those dying from hunger. The International Monetary Fund is also faulted for prohibiting governments from freely distributing food and medical supplies to their people. Naturally President Niamey has had to comply with these restrictions in order to qualify for funding to relaunch the countrys economy. A decision certainly at odds with recent declarations coming out of the G8 meetings in Britain about dramatically reducing poverty in Africa. For Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world, where subsistence farming - millet, sorghum, manioc - accounts for 80% of the workforce, this is a crisis that will have many serious repercussions.
In line with the guidelines of the G8, why dont those who control vast stockpiles of uranium, give up a part of their large profits, and without suffering any economic downturn, strive to better the lives of their people?

20.08.2005 - Germany
Like yourselves, I too have set out to join you

Dear Young People
To all of you I appeal: Open wide your hearts to God! Let yourselves be surprised by Christ! Let him have the right of free speech during these days! Open the doors of your freedom to his merciful love! Share your joys and pains with Christ, and let him enlighten your minds with his light and touch your hearts with his grace. In these days blessed with sharing and joy, may you have a liberating experience of the Church as the place where Gods merciful love reaches out to all people. In the Church and through the Church you will meet Christ, who is waiting for you.
We too have come to Cologne because in our hearts we have the same urgent question that prompted the Magi from the East to set out on their journey, even if it is differently expressed. It is true that today we are no longer looking for a king, but we are concerned for the state of the world and we are asking: Where do I find standards to live by, what are the criteria that govern responsible cooperation in building the present and the future of our world? On whom can I rely? To whom shall I entrust myself? Where is the One who can offer me the response capable of satisfying my hearts deepest desires? The fact that we ask questions like these means that we realize our journey is not over until we meet the One who has the power to establish that universal Kingdom of justice and peace to which all people aspire but which they are unable to build by themselves. Asking such questions also means searching for Someone who can neither deceive nor be deceived, and who therefore can offer a certainty so solid that we can live for it and, if need be, even die for it.
Dear young people, the happiness you are seeking, the happiness you have a right to enjoy has a name and a face: It is Jesus of Nazareth, hidden in the Eucharist. Only he gives the fullness of life to humanity! With Mary, say your own yes to God, for he wishes to give himself to you. I repeat today what I said at the beginning of my pontificate: If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation (Homily at the Mass of Inauguration, April 24). Be completely convinced of this: Christ takes from you nothing that is beautiful and great, but brings everything to perfection for the glory of God, the happiness of men and women, and the salvation of the world.

23.08.2005 - General House
Our Superior Generals second circular

Our Superior General gave us his first circular, A Revolution of the Heart, on June 6, 2003. Its aim was to help deepen our understanding of what it means to be a Marist brother based on the spirituality of Marcellin Champagnat. Now, with his second circular, Marvelous Companions, Brother Sean Sammon seeks once more to develop this topic of identity, highlighting the aspect of community life.
Brother Seán tells us that the circular is not meant to be a profound treatise on community life. Rather it is intended to draw the attention of the brothers to some crucial points, help them become aware, and undertake a constructive approach toward living in community.
The circular is divided into three parts. Part I summarizes Chapter 3 of our Constitutions, concerning Marist Community. It also deals with generational and cultural differences that lead to diverse applications of the circulars contents.
In Part II, the briefest section, after having analyzed some human dynamics present in every community, Brother Sean draws us into the dynamic of the Gospels, asking who is ready to sacrifice his own legitimate aspirations for the good of the community and quick to forego being critical, so as to undertake a constructive role and to inspire - community life is, in fact, a grace that cannot be bargained for.
Part III examines some important components that go into community life, and also underlines difficulties that often threaten to suffocate it. In this regard our Superior Generals realism asks every brother to do his part and invites him to ask: What can I do to keep my love and enthusiasm for community life vibrant? A community, in fact, does not automatically materialize after a Provincial publishes a list of appointments. Rather it requires continuous and constant effort on the part of all its members. It is a seed that God gives to each brother to be sown and nurtured.

25.08.2005 - Colombia
Area Meeting of Marist Seed (Semar)

In July, we held the second area meeting of SEMAR (Marist Seed) movement in Popayán. Semar is a pastoral-vocational movement for young people. It was started 12 years ago in Colombia and little by little has evolved into a very strong system of pastoral work with children. The members are children from 8 to 11 years from agricultural areas who feel a deep identity with the Marist charism.
As it is the movement with most members in the whole country, the national team has planned two area encounters, one for the children in the south of the country and another for those in the north. The first one was for the southern sector and it took place in Colegio Champagnat in Popayán, which adapted some living space into sleeping quarters and put all their facilities at our disposal; we spent 5 days there, strengthening the identity of the Seeds (members) and Sowers (animators) through the methodology of learning through play.
The work was divided into sessions of prayer, music, games and catechesis concerning the values that nourish Semar and the great pillars of Marist spirituality: Jesus, Mary and Champagnat. There were 155 participants altogether, Brothers, sowers and seeds of Sibundoy, Ipiales, Pasto, Popayán, Cali and Medellín. We hope that the result of this activity will be a dynamic force for the SEMAR movement for each Marist group which took part.
Sowing and watering, Semar continues to help us to grow! With Jesus Mary and Champagnat, the seeds will grow!

26.08.2005 - General House
Marist Solidarity

With the attention of the Worlds media returning to Asia, marking six months since the tsunami disaster, it is an appropriate time to provide you with an update.
Due to extraordinary generosity from all parts of the Marist World, and with the support of other donors, money pledged to the Fund is now at US$968,956.87 (as at 13 July). This gives us an excellent financial base with which to respond to the needs of the children and young people affected in India and Sri Lanka. Because of your compassion for those suffering, our response can be substantial and have significant, long-term benefits.
In India, the focus is on the village of Vizhunda Mavadi. The Brothers and their lay partners have developed an extensive and integrated program which is designed to assist the children traumatised by the tsunami.
In Sri Lanka, the focus is on the village of Payagala, and rebuilding the school that was destroyed there. The foundation stone has been laid for this building. This occasion was a tangible sign to the families of the village that their school will be rebuilt. The solidarity of Marists across the world, and their benefactors in other agencies, will see that it happens.
We are grateful to everyone who has contributed to the Tsunami Fund. No matter how small or large your contribution, together with all the other donations, we now are able to help our Brothers and their lay colleagues in Sri Lanka and India to contribute to the recovery efforts now going on in these tsunami- effected areas. Your generosity is a tangible expression of Marist solidarity with young people and their families in India and Sri Lanka.

29.08.2005 - France
Author of Marcellin Champagnat. The improbables of God and Henri Verges. A Christian in the house of Islam.

On the 19th of July 2005, during the Eucharist closing the Brothersretreat at Our Lady of the Hermitage, Brother Provincial presented the diploma of affiliation to the Province to Robert and Lucienne Masson.
Robert Masson, a journalist for more than fifty years, has been director of France Catholique and of Panorama aujourdhui. He is the author of numerous works, including a biography of Marcellin Champagnat, for his canonization in 1999, written in memory of Henri Verges, this little brother of Mary, martyred in Algeria, who put me on the road of Champagnat, as he writes at the beginning of his book.
Robert Masson, as he said in his speech of thanks, wants to be a witness for the witnesses. That is why he has recently published: Henri Verges, a christian in the house of Islam. This book allows a wide public to discover the life of a brother whom many of us knew and who gave his life in the service of young Algerians for 25 years.
The affiliation of Robert and Lucienne Masson to the Province of the Hermitage is a way of thanking them for making known humble witnesses of the Gospel like our Brother Henri Verges, agent of dialogue between Christians and Moslems.
Thus they enter the great Marist family. They have expressed to us their joy at receiving these symbolic gifts.

30.08.2005 - Spain
A privileged opportunity for living certain values together

Under this title the summer camp took place, last July, which brought an end to the activities of the Open Heart groups of our schools in Catalunya. These life groups, for adolescents of 14 to 16 years of age, put into practice a work pursued all year long through reflection, life in common and formation in values. They form part of a much wider project going from 10 years old to university.
The your life camp was prepared around some themes which united all the daily activities: the other and I, nature and I, the world and I, success and I, the transcendant and I, laughter and I, freedom and I. Each day the participants could choose one or the other of these subjects, the choice made marking the rhythm of the day. In this way the adolescents became involved, they were awakened to the idea of coresponsibility, and offered activities in harmony with their expectations and tastes.
The natural environment of the camp ( in the heart of the Pyrenees of Lleida) and its structure ( tents pitched near a stream) allowed the putting into practice of values such as ecology, sharing, simplicity of life, equality, solid development and putting aside the complications of daily life.
For some 70 participants coming from eight Marist schools, the ten days spent on camp provided a privileged opportunity for putting into practice friendship and reconsidering the priorities in their life.

31.08.2005 - General House
Appointment of the new Director of Communications

Brother Superior General and his Council have appointed Brother Antonio Martínez Estaún as Director of Communications for a period of three years which starts on the 1st September 2005.
Brother Antonio Martínez Estaún was born in Villayuda (Burgos), Spain, in 1940 and belongs to the Province of LHermitage. His Marist formation was in Santa María de Bellpuig de les Avellanes, he studied in the Instituto Jesús Magister in Rome and was Master of Novices in the Province of Catalonia. He started the Easter celebrations for young people at les Avellanes, was responsible for Youth Ministry in the Province of Catalonia, has written various texts on Religion and has been a teacher of Religion and Philosophy in various schools. In 1993, he moved to Loja (Ecuador) to teach in the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja where he was, for five years, Ministry Co-ordinator in the University and after this he was responsible for Province ministry in the Province of Ecuador before restructuring. In 2003 he moved to the Universidad Marista de México where was entrusted with the role of co-ordinating the formation of teachers.
Brother Antonio Martínez Estaún is replacing Brother Onorino Rota as Director of Communications. Brother Onorino has fulfilled this role with great dedication and effort - at the same time he has been the Superior of the General Administration community and a member of various management bodies of official organisations. He has thus continued the initial efforts of Brother Luis Serra in this service to the brothers and laypeople of the entire Institute.
The Director of Communications (publica@fms.it) is a service created during the mandate of Brother Benito Arbués to communicate the programme, reflection, orientations and actions of animation and of government of the Brother Superior General and his Council. This is done through various publications: FMS Message, FMS Marist Echo, FMS Marist Notebooks; and by various electronic publications: FMS Update, FMS Marist Bulletin and the overall supervision of the Marist website.

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