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Marist Bulletin - Number 215

 

Selection of news on our web site
29.09.2005

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02.09.2005 - Argentina
Province of Cruz del Sur
PERPETUAL PROFESSION OF BROTHER DAMIÁN PROVENS

It is with the joy that is born of hope that we have celebrated the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, sign of our future happiness. We have also celebrated with the same fervour the perpetual profession of Brother Damián Provens, which invites us to put our hope in a God who will never fail us.
The ceremony took place in the city of San Francisco, in the Province of Córdoba in Argentina.
It took place in the diocesan cathedral in the presence of many people, students, family members and brothers, many of whom were young brothers.
Accompanied by his parents, members of his family, his confrères and parishioners, Damián pronounced his perpetual vows and recited the invocation of Fatima as a Consecration to Mary.
Marcellin continues to live and go to children and young people through the hands and heart of Damián. By this confrère, Mary continues to give us the support which she assured the Founder in the difficult moments of our origins. Marcellin reminds us that Mary is always our Ordinary resource.
The celebration continued as a feast attended by the brothers and laypeople who had witnessed Damiáns consecration. Through songs and a meal around the same table, the participants wanted to express their joy of a life that brings fruit for the Kingdom.

03.09.2005 - Colombia
Marist Province of Norandina
FIRST ASSEMBLY OF MARIST LAITY

On the 12th August in the city of Bogotá we finally realised a dream that had begun five years ago with the beginning of the Formation Plan for laypeople in Colombia. During these years several groups were formed in order to come to a greater awareness of Marcellin Champagnat. Through the group sharing, they not only experienced a formation process but they grew fraternally, spiritually and in solidarity. They are now true FRATERNITIES.
This growth to maturity accompanied by the necessary commitment led to the FIRST ASSEMBLY OF MARIST LAITY in the Province of Norandina, which was held from the 12th to the 15th August. It was an experienced that brought together 294 people from 20 fraternities from different cities of the country including Sibundoy, Ipiales, Pasto, Popayán, Ibagué, Manizales, Armenia, Medellín and Bogotá. A delegation from Ecuador and one from Venezuela, representing the different Marist works existing in the two countries, were also able to participate. A group of 36 brothers and some of their families also participated in this assembly.
From the very moment of the opening hymn we could perceive the family atmosphere that characterises the meetings of our fraternities. The times of prayer were very meaningful and were accompanied by a Marian pilgrimage on the Saturday evening, moving through the neighbourhood streets close to Champagnat College. As we moved by, local people joined our pilgrimage following Our Good Mother and praying the rosary.

05.09.2005 - Brazil
A multitude of well-coloured young people responds with enthusiasm
YOUNG PEOPLE COLOUR LA SERRA DA PIEDADE IN HOPE

At the feast of the Assumption of Mary body and soul into heaven, about five thousand young people decided to pay her homage in great style on the heights of la Serra da Piedade. The 10th Youth Pilgrimage arrived at la Serra da Piedade, 1740 metres above sea level. The event had been organised by the Marist Pastoral Centre and by the Archdiocese of Belo Horizonte.
From seven oclock in the morning, despite a biting cold of eight degrees, hundreds of young people came from various parishes of the Archdiocese bringing their daring and enthusiastic faith to these heights. Hats, gloves and coloured scarves helped battle the cold that confronted the pilgrims. They gave different colours to the countryside, showing that it was no ordinary Monday. After all, the 15th August will always be the day of Our Lady who will be the patroness of Belo Horizonte forever.
The programme started at eight oclock with lots of music and animation to welcome the joyful pilgrims who had risen very early to pay homage to the Mother of Jesus. More than seventy coaches had invaded the parking area. At nine thirty, at the sound of the Romaria, the walk of three kilometres started: Sou caipira, Pirapora, Nossa Senhora... sang the choir which at this hour counted already four thousand voices.
At eleven oclock, facing the sanctuary, was the highlight of the day with the Eucharist presided over by Dom Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo, Archbishop of Belo Horizonte. The strongly stressed word that rallied all the participants around the altar was: HOPE. A multitude of young people in colourful clothes responded fervently and enthusiastically to the calls of the Archbishop. The good harmony showed that the Church of Belo Horizontale will gain a lot by walking with these young people.
The start of the afternoon was reserved for cultural presentations of the group Tambolêlê and to the sharing of gifts. The return time to the capital started at three thirty in the afternoon, with the strong invitation to participate in the candlelit procession in homage to Our Lady of Safe Travels.

09.09.2005 - Colombia
Third national camp of Friends on the March
A MEETING FULL OF DYNAMISM, ENTHUSIASM AND FRIENDSHIP

From the 27th June to the 1st July we met in the city of Cali (Club Comfenalco - Valle de Lili): 247 people to take part in the third national camp of Friends on the march. It was five days during which the brothers, animators and friends (members) had the chance to share all the mystique of this time: the setting-up of tents, the songs, the games, the prayer, the living at a high altitude, the possibility of deepening ones life in Jesus, our best friend, in Mary, our Good Mother, and in Marcellin Champagnat, the experienced Guide. These were the elements that made our camp a meeting full of dynamism, enthusiasm and friendship, with the joy of being and feeling oneself to be Marist. This camp is the third one to be realised at the national level with members of the movement coming from all the Marist communities and works of the country. Participants came from Medellín, Manizales, Armenia, Ibagué, Bogota, Cali, Popayán, Pasto, Ipiales and Sibundoy. This activity was prepared and carried out by the dynamic national team of Friends on the march, supported by the leaders from different cities. Each activity was led by members of the team who were totally involved in this pastoral work.
We hope that the camp was a chance to energise and strengthen the formation work in values and in evangelisation thet Friends on the march realise with each adolescent in the city where they are present. Friends on the march will train you in service and in friendship, to learn how to give the best of yourself...

13.09.2005 - United Nations
The report on Human Development delivered by the UNDP
WE ARE HEADING TOWARDS A FORESEEABLE CATASTROPHE

Every hour 1,200 children die: the equivalent of three tsunamis every month for a year. With these words the United Nations Development Programme presented its report and then added: We are heading towards a foreseeable catastrophe.
It is an antiphon for the meetings of world leaders together at the United Nations Headquarters, the same place where, in 2000, the Declaration for the Millennium was signed that foresaw that by 2005 extreme poverty would be halved, the number of deaths among children would be wiped out and that school would be available to all.
In 2005, the panorama is still worrying. The report congratulates Norway, considered for the fifth consecutive year as the number one country for the level of human development (Oslo celebrates by increasing donations to Africa), and rated Niger in the 177th and last position. It shows a world of inequality where 10% of Brazilians, the most needy, are poorer than the poor in Vietnam.
It also shows positive elements: 1.2 billion people now have access to potable water. Vietnam has halved the poverty of income from 60% in 1990 to 30% in 2000 and has also reduced the infant mortality rate. This shows Uganda and China that rapid progress is possible.
But eighteen countries have indicated worse development that in 1990. Twelve of them are in the sub-Saharan Africa, destroyed by AIDS. The other six used to be part of the USSR. It means that 460 million people are worse off.
Two anomalies are becoming evident about the helpers. The first is that rich countries offer little: 0.25% of the Pil (the worst are the USA, 0.15%, Italy 0.17% and Japan, 0.20%). And the second is that the donors link their help to the acquisition of their products and in this way the ones who receive money must spend at least 20% more.

15.09.2005 - Colombia
Meetings of aspirants and volunteer co-workers
IT IS WORTH BEING MARISTS AND TRANSMITTING TO OTHERS THE JOY OF CONSECRATING OUR LIVES TO GOD

In July, Brothers César Rojas, Geovani Velasco, Javier Echeverri, Jesús Manzano, Leonardo Yepes and the novice Alejandro Herrera met with thirteen young aspirants to Marist life and three other young people preparing themselves for their service as voluntary co-workers. This meeting took place in the city of Manizales. The aspirants came from Bogota, Manizales and Armenia, and the voluntary co-workers came from Medellin and Manizales. These were very enriching days thanks to the human quality that characterised the meeting. During the morning we looked at common matters for the aspirants and co-workers and in the afternoons we broke into two groups to look at particular issues for each group. There were prayer times in the morning and afternoon as well as exchanges and workshops, a desert day and recreational activities.
All of this was imbued with a Marist spirit, characterised by simplicity, sharing, joy, spontaneity and fraternal relationships. The house that welcomed us, Villa Gonzaga, belongs to the Jesuit fathers and well suited our needs. We also had times for personal interviews to listen to and come to know better the young people to whom we were suggesting a pathway to live as Marist religious.
We encourage all brothers and laypeople to work in Vocations ministry through prayer and vocational promotion and accompaniment. It is worth being Marist and transmitting to others the joy of consecrating our lives to realise Marcellins dream.

17.09.2005 - Kenya
Formators Course
BUILDING THE FUTURE TOGETHER

The Formators Course started on the 3rd August at Nairobi, Kenya. It has been organised by the General Councils Religious Life Commission. It will last eleven months, from August 2005 until May 2006. It is being held at Subiaco Centre, a house of hospitality of the Benedictine Missionary Sisters. We count on the precious collaboration of the large community at MIC (Marist formation Centre for Africa) which is not far from us. In June 2006, the group will visit the Hermitage in France to spend its last month of the course close to the source of our Institute.
The course has been envisaged and prepared carefully aiming to offer a group of brothers a practical, participative and community formation, adapted to the work of initial Marist formation of our time. The fact of having one programme for all the regions of the Institute aims to profit from the richness of an international and multicultural experience in a Marist ambiance.
The team directing the course is formed by Brothers Enrique Escobar (Mexico), co-ordinator, Antoine Kazindu (Rwanda) and Barry Burns (New Zealand).
There are seventeen participants of whom five are from the African continent: Norbert Mwila (Zambia), Mark Anokwuru (Nigeria), Protais Rusanganwa (Rwanda), Simeon Herrings D.S.Banda (Malawi) and Jean-Joseph Rakotonindrina (Madagascar), four from Asia: John Tan Wee Eng (Malaysia), Paul Samuel Bhatti (Pakistan), Roshan Silva (Sri Lanka) and Lindley Sionosa (Philippines), three from Oceania: Afaese Afaese (Samoa), Stanley Bakere and Simon Serero (Papua new Guinea) and five from the American continent: Luis Felipe González Ruiz and Juan José Ramírez Oliva (Mexico), Walter Frisnel (Haiti), Helder de Souza Silva Pinto (Brazil) and Pablo Roberto Sánchez (Argentina).
During the opening celebration on the 3rd August, we were blessed by the presence of Brothers Antonio Ramalho, General Councillor and co-ordinator of the Religious Life Commission, Eugène Kabanguka, Provincial of Afrique Centre-Est/East Central Africa, Spiridion Ndanga, Superior of MIC, and a group of young scholastic brothers who assured the animation with musical instruments and African songs.

19.09.2005 - Columbia
Remar Movement: workshop for helmsmen
A WORKSHOP TO LAUNCH INTO A NEW PROCESS

Due to Remar being twenty-five years old in Latin America, a new process of refoundation has been undertaken to have a ministry proposal that is more in touch with the situation of youth today.
Thus in July, the second workshop for helmsmen was held in Cali in our Champagnat House. This workshop was organised to shed light on the new process and to continue working with those directly responsible for the Remar network in Columbia. There were forty-seven people from all the different Marist presences in Columbia who came together to work intensely for five days on this proposal of refoundation.
The workshop centred on deepening the understanding of the documents of problematic situations, and the aspirations and reality of youth today so as to launch the new process with themes and experiences for the young people in the three crossings and the first stage of the second phase of Remar that is directed at young people already at university or at work. They were exhausting days of study, production and plenary group sessions in a work that continues to fulfil great expectations of bringing the Gospel to each person involved in Remar.
May Mary, Star of the Sea, direct our rowing! May you have favourable winds and smooth sailing!

21.09.2005 - East Timor
Project Open Hands
THE VOLUNTEER CO-WORKERS IN EAST TIMOR LIVE CHAMPAGNATS DREAM

This project has already become a reality. A group of six Brazilians from the Province of Brasil Centro-Norte (five laypeople and five brothers) are in East Timor to help in the training of teachers. They come from different cities and have experience in education, teamwork and social projects. They will help in the study of the Portuguese language given that East Timor is a member of the CPLP (Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa - Community of the Countries of the Portuguese Language) and they will share in other experiences in the area of education.
The first experience of the Brazilian volunteers has been to be plunged into the culture and the customs of the Timorese people who attract people and impress them by their simplicity and hospitality (the Timorese have a large beautiful smile). This smile responds to a political history that finally ended by the recognition of the independence of the country by the United Nations in 2002, after many cruel years of conflict. East Timor is presently working on its political, social and cultural reconstruction.
The Brazilians arrived on the 11th July 2005 and joined a Marist team composed of Australians, one New Zealander and some Timorese. These people have assured a Marist presence for five years in the most recent independent country of the world and they are responding to one of Saint Marcellins commitments: To form good Christians and virtuous citizens. The project Open Hands - Voluntary Co-workers in East Timor is a project initially anticipated to have a duration of one or two years and its main objective is the Marist educational mission centred on ethics, values and transcendence.

23.09.2005 - Spain
Retreats for brothers and laypeople
THE SPIRIT OF LIFE LEADS US ALONG A COMMON PATHWAY

Coinciding with the closure of the Marist Vocation Year, the Province of Mediterránea invited a group of laypeople to participate in the annual retreat for the brothers. More than forty took part in two retreats held this summer; nearly all belong to different fraternities in the Province.
For six days, brothers and laypeople had the opportunity to reflect and deepen their sense of vocation from the experience of faith and from the joys and hopes that support life in following Jesus. This was not the first time, however, that this kind of thing had been undertaken in the Province. The laypeople and brothers, focussing on the spirituality of Champagnat, were able to share the experience of faith and of the vocation to which each person has been called. They reflected together on the vocation of Abraham, Saul, Mary, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Matthew.
These laypeople valued the personal time of work and prayer in an ambience of serenity, as well as the possibility to be enriched through the deep sharing of experiences in small groups. In the same way, many of them verified the need to have a time, like the brothers to dedicate to prayer, dialogue and reflection.
The development of the themes moved from the anthropological (from the heart and experience) to the transcendent. The mornings were dedicated to reflection, prayer and contemplation. The afternoons were used for group work.
A team of brothers took care of the preparation of things. The availability of all the workers and the good ambiance helped make these days to be very enjoyable. The running around of some small children who had accompanied their parents, rather than hindering, actually helped in giving these retreats a climate of friendliness and fondness.

25.09.2005 - Argentina
Meeting of Marist Family Movement Fraternities
YOU CANNOT WALK IN THE FOUNDERS CHARISM WITHOUT FEELING THE NECESSITY TO GO TO THE CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE THE LEAST FAVOURED
From the 9th to the 11th September, the National Meeting of Marist Family Movement Fraternities took place.
Some fifty members of around fifteen Fraternities from Argentina participated in this three-day meeting at the feet of the Virgin of Luján. For more than one hundred years Marcellins Marists have knelt before this statue to ask a blessing on their mission in these lands.
There are currently twenty-five Fraternities in Argentina who are enjoying the experience of being Marist and living the Founders spirituality.
The meeting focussed on the lived experience of being Marist. Each Fraternity shared its community and apostolic experiences in turn and listened to the vocational stories of the brothers accompanying them in this meeting; around fifteen brothers participated during these days.
Many of these Fraternities have felt the need for realising concrete forms of projects for living community through solidarity.
You cannot walk in the Founders Charism without feeling the need to go to the children and young people who are the least favoured. Many of these communities, as well as participating in meetings, commit themselves to concrete solidarity activities: looking after the school dining room, mending of clothes, supporting Marist educational centres, attention to and promotion of social centres and health centres… etc.
The majority of these Fraternities are formed by ex-students, families of students and brothers. This is one way of living Marist Life as Marcellin planned it to be.

27.09.2005 - United States
Hurricane Katrina and Marist USA
ANYTHING LESS WOULD NOT BE MARIST

Like much of America, Marist USA is responding to the Katrina crisis in a variety of ways. The school year is just beginning in the States, but already hurricane relief has provided a focus and energy for Marist Educators and Marist Youth. All our US Marist schools have already begun efforts to raise substantial funds and to collect supplies to aid the hurricane victims. As I write this, Christopher Columbus High School (Miami, Florida), St. Brendan High School (Miami, Florida), Our Lady of Lourdes High School (Poughkeepsie, New York), and Marist High School (Chicago, Illinois) have already enrolled hurricane victims free of charge. Msgr. Pace High School (Miami, Florida), Guadalupe Regional Middle School (Brownsville, Texas) and Marist High School (Bayonne, New Jersey) will all be accepting hurricane victims in the days ahead. All our other US Marist schools have expressed an eager willingness to help in any way they can.
Katrina has broken Americas heart, but it has given our Marist schools a chance, once again, to live out the call of sections 152 and 153 of In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat: A Vision for Marist Education Today.
152. We educate students in solidarity above all in welcoming into the same school young people of different religious and social backgrounds, as well as those students who are disadvantaged or marginalized…
153. We educate for solidarity, presenting it as the Christian virtue of our time, a moral imperative for all of humankind, given our contemporary global interdependence and the pervasiveness of structures of sin.
As Marist USA and the international Marist world reach out to Katrinas victims, we know that Marcellins encouragement to make Jesus Christ known and loved will be lived out and acted upon once again as it was after 9/11 and after the December 2004 tsunami. We have no other choice, for anything less would not be Marist.

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