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Marist Bulletin - Number 222

 

Selection of news on our web site
17.11.2005

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24/10/2005 - Argentina
Cruz del Sur Provincial Assembly
BROTHERS, WE ARE HOLY GROUND WITH A FUTURE

Recently, the Cruz del Sur Provincial Assembly took place in Luján with the gathering of 110 brothers of whom 17 were from the District of Paraguay.
With the theme Brothers, we are holy ground with a future, the Province plan was presented thanks to a dynamic that lasted two days in order to clarify this plan. We had brought soil from each of our communities in the Province as well as typical fruits from each region. We also looked for optimistic and pessimistic justifications in our community, missionary and vocational processes.
On the Saturday afternoon, we mainly worked on our feelings and reactions, both personal and community, concerning the departure of brothers who have left the Congregation. We took time to relook at this experience with the eyes of faith and by evaluating our fraternal accompaniment. The Eucharist terminated this first day of analysis and brotherhood.
On Sunday 16th October, we met with some young brothers to speak about the vocational experience of brothers in temporary vows, about the birth of their vocation, about making their decision whether it was a personal initiative or an invitation from a brother, about their current life with their doubts and their certainties, their expectations and their plans, and about their confidence in the vitality of the charism of the Founder. All of this moved us to give thanks for their generosity and to thank God who continues to call and who expects us to be more daring.
Father Gerardo Ramos, a priest from the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Betharram Congregation, accompanied us and focussed on current religious life and its relation with our culture from the point of view of mission and the choice of vocation.
The highlight of the Assembly was the celebration in honour of our Brother Jubilarians: 60 years: Brothers Antonio Bratina, Roberto Vighetto and Alberto Antolín del Alba (Paraguay); 50 years: Brothers José Villacorta, Nery Ernst, Martín Jacob and Antonio Sack; 25 years: Brothers José Kuhm and Francisco Vera Martínez (Paraguay).
We give thanks for their fidelity in Marist life. We presented them with a souvenir and we celebrated during the Eucharist and the closure of the assembly with a traditional banquet.

28/10/2005 - Haiti
REMAR has become an Haitian youth movement
THE YOUNG HAITIAN PEOPLE HAVE SET THE OBJECTIVES AND THE WAY OF FUNCTIONING

The Remar group, which started in Colombia in 1979, rapidly expanded across Latin America and Central America, notably in Guatemala. Gusnard and Frisnel, young Haitian brothers, wanted to implant the movement in Haiti after their university and religious studies in Guatemala. They particularly thought of Latiboličre and at Dame-Marie (Grand-Anse).
In fact, on the 11th January 2004 about ten young people sat down together at Latiboličre to set the objectives and the way of functioning of this Christian group under the direction of Brother Gusnard.
After having planned and studied the structure and demands of the group, they set the weekly meetings (Sunday after the parish Mass). From there, they started by choosing a nucleus at the heart of the group to constitute the group of leaders, being inspired by the spirit of Father Champagnat to open their eyes on the needs of the neighbourhood.
Firstly, they started with pastoral work by visiting sick people. The young people integrated into the group have been very touched by the economic situation of the people of the country. There are also some socio-cultural activities such as:
o the animation of the neighbourhood,
o the occasional organisation of a party for the young people,
o the organisation of Mothers Day celebrations,
o the organisation of sporting activities.
All of this is to animate young people. Each Saturday, about ten young people arm themselves with pics, machetes, wheelbarrows and buckets and set about repairing the sections of the road which are in bad repair. The Remar group is a group that not only makes suggestions but also which acts according to its capabilities. They deserve our encouragement especially from those who use the road, the parishioners and the Marists.

02/11/2005 - Pakistan
A formation centre in Pakistan for aspirants and postulants
MARCELLINS CHARISM ALIVE IN PAKISTAN

With the help of contributions from donors throughout the whole world a centre of formation has been set up in Pakistan for candidates for Marist religious life.
Pakistan is a predominately Muslim country (97%) with laws that discriminate against religious minorities. Christians make up 2% of the population.
In an environment where being a Catholic Christian is enough to keep one from getting an education, the Marist Brothers are attracting young men, ages 22 and older, who want to be religious brothers in a community whose mission is educating children and young people, especially those most neglected. This new formation centre will provide a more appropriate atmosphere to nurture Pakistani vocations and assist them in building their spiritual knowledge and academic skills before entering the next phases of formation.
The brothers in Sri Lanka and Pakistan see this formation centre as an essential component in the sectors ability to prepare young Pakistani men, many of whom need additional time for study before entering the more demanding postulancy phase of the formation program and later the novitiate in Sri Lanka. A formation centre in Pakistan for aspirants and postulants has the added advantage of forming young men within their culture and impresses upon them the need keep the vision of Saint Marcellin alive for Pakistan. According to the brothers, Pakistani Marist Brothers are essential for the future of the Marist mission in Pakistan.

03/11/2005 - Italy
Third age course - Manziana - August to October, 2005
WE HAVE SHARED OUR LIVES FILLED WITH JOY AND FAITHFUL TO OUR CHARISM

On August 10th 20 of us - 17 Marist and 3 Marianist Brothers - came together in Manziana, Italy to take part in a Third-Age Spirituality Course.

The age range in our group was from 63 to 81. Even though we came from 10 different Provinces.
I would highlight the value of an extraordinary community, in an atmosphere of creative prayer and brotherly concern for one another.
The presentations I liked the most were: The future of Religious Life; Spirituality in general, and the interior life; Marist Apostolic Spirituality; and the Psychology and spirituality of the Third Age. They were dealt with in depth, in a lively and interesting way, using good technology
One of the most powerful times in the course was our stay at the Marist places: Le Rosey, La Valla, the Hermitage, and Fourvičre. I experienced the living presence of the Lord in the great work of Champagnat and the first Brothers. I came back filled with enthusiasm. The celebrations at the different places were well prepared and very good. The Lord filled these days with tremendous graces for us - the warm welcome, intimate settings, times for prayer and meditation, and wonderful explanations by Br. Alain Délorme.
When you love and cherish someone, then the places where he lived, the things he touched, and the objects he used move you deeply, especially if he is your father. I think this is what happened in our case because this involved our beloved Father/Founder.
We Third Age Brothers cant become stagnant. We need to keep moving ahead - under no circumstances die before our time, i.e., doom ourselves to a passive life that stifles dreams and ambitions. We are living in a golden age provided we know how to recognize and take advantage of it. Ours are the little things to do: sharing the wisdom of our years, welcoming, accentuating the positive, humbly serving others, anticipating their needs, smiling, applauding, congratulating, and above all, praying for our Brothers.
Drawing encouragement from the same ideal and determined to face a new and exciting future, we have shared our lives as Marists and Marianists, filled with joy and faithful to our charism.

04/11/2005 - Spain
Meeting of those responsible for social works in Marist Europe
BROTHERS AND LAYPEOPLE WORKING WITH MARGINALISED CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

From the 29th until the 30th October, at Guardamar, Alicante (Spain), the first meeting of those responsible for social works in Marist Europe gathered together eighty persons coming from the Provinces of Compostela (13), Ibérica (16), LHermitage (18), Mediterránea (19), as well as secretarial staff, translators and collaborators. The participants came from Italy, Syria, Hungary, Romania, Portugal, Greece, France and Spain. This diversity of countries encouraged the fraternisation between the people who expressed themselves in French, Greek, Magyar, Italian, Catalan, English and Spanish.
The mission team in Europe proposed the following objectives for the meeting: 1) To come to a better knowledge of the Marist social works in Europe as well as the people who look after them. 2) To share experiences had in their educative work and in their life of faith. 3) To provide elements of personal formation to improve the personal and collective work. 4) To seek ways of collaborating.
The Marist mission throughout the world extends through 77 countries where 51,500 brothers and laypeople look after about a half million of young people. According to Brother Emili Turú, this meeting wishes that all feel that they are participants in the Marist mission which in Europe represents 16% of the Marist world.
Several brothers and laypeople who work with marginalised young people felt the need for such a meeting, and little by little the idea saw the light of day. All of this started in a colloquium held at the Hermitage from the 26th to the 31st December 2003 to commemorate the departure of a number of brothers from France expelled as with a lot of other religious congregations due to the law on the laity. Under the theme of Sharing the history, constructing the future, the Institute wanted to thank the French brothers for having spread the Marist charism throughout the world, for having given the grace and the gift of these educators to many countries.
The Colloquium also saw the occasion as being inspired by history to propose the creation of a mission team in Europe, in order to open new avenues of growth, formation and mission in Europe. The General Council looked favourably on this team and supported it through the intermediary of Brother Emili Turú, General Councillor, responsible for the Mission Commission in the Institute.
The lines of action of this team were outlined at the Colloquium in 2003 and concerned the most neglected of young people: 1) To use the services of BIS, BICE and others to denounce the structures that marginalise young people. 2) To work with other Provinces or congregations, remaining open to personal and institutional participation in the social organisations in Europe such as the UCESM. 3) To share projects of solidarity, of justice and peace, of formation in social action with the Provinces of Europe, profiting from the resources available in the European Union, such as BICE and others.
In order to concretise these objectives, the European mission team had organised several meetings in 2004 and 2005 during which one saw the need to develop a Notebook of informal educational programmes and Marist social programmes in Europe, then to organise a meeting for those responsible for these programmes in Europe.
In the preparation of the meeting, a three-day programme was planned: four reports and numerous meetings in small heterogeneous groups according to interests, themes or Provinces in order to define future actions.
At the start of the meeting, a Notebook was presented that gathered together all the papers brought by the Provinces and formed a provisional catalogue of works. In this was found the actives of the NGO SED (Solidarity education and development), nine works of the Province of Compostela, two from Ibérica, nine from LHermitage and eleven from Mediterránea. They were presented briefly through schemas and screen projections.

06/11/2005 - Spain
9th day of the Marist family at Seville
IN MEMORY OF THE MARTYRED BROTHERS OF BUGOBE

Brothers Servando, Miguel Ángel, Fernando and Julio, who were working with Rwandan refugees, were murdered at Bugobe (Congo) on the 31st October 1996. On Saturday 29th October the Marist College in Seville (Spain) recalled their memory and paid homage to these four Marists, especially Brother Fernando de la Fuente.
The 9th edition of this day started at eleven oclock in the morning with a reading from Exodus concerning emigrants. In order to encourage reflection, an extract from a film about the Argentinean group Catharsis was also used. We then centred our thoughts on Brother Fernando by reciting a poem that he had written. A power point presented the biography of this brother and a text recalled the salient facts of his life. The people then gathered in groups.
The morning finished with a meal during which everyone shared the food they had all brought from their houses in a very relaxed and familial ambiance.
The afternoon was occupied by four workshops on solidarity. A religious sister spoke of her experience at Ceuta and the problems of emigrants at the Spanish border. A second workshop was animated by two young women who spoke of their work with immigrants in Seville. Brother Ramón Rodríguez, from the Marist College at Malaga, recounted his experience of solidarity with senior students. Brother Félix González shared his experience in the Ivory Coast.
We celebrated the Eucharist at the end of the day. Nearly one hundred people participated (especially parents of students, teachers and fraternity members); they had come from Seville to evoke for another year the memory of our martyred brothers of Bugobe.

07/11/2005 - Brazil
Union of Marists of Brasil
A DREAM COME TRUE

On the 16th and 17th October, the Councils of the Provinces of Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil Centro-Sul, Brasil Centro-Norte and of the District of Amazônia met at Brasilia to approve the Statutes of the Union of Marists of Brasil (UMBRASIL), which will co-ordinate the activities and the initiatives of all of Marist Brasil, and will represent it with ecclesial and public organisations. UMBRASIL is a civil society that will defend the rights of the nine Marist entities, will maintain its works such as universities and will act for the Provinces in legal matters. This organisation will be animated and led by an Executive Secretary and three co-ordinators - one for religious life, one for mission and one for management.
The creation of this organisation of animation and representation, conceived during the meeting of Councils in 2004, is the concretisation of a dream of communion and partnership between the nine interested entities.
UMBRASIL will commence its activities in 2006 and it will be situated in Brasilia, where all the Provinces have communities. This is an important stage in reorganising our presence in Brazil.
Full of confidence, we place this project in the hands of Mary so that it will be enlivened by the Spirit and produce the fruit so ardently desired.

10/11/2005 - Mexico
101 years of blossoming of Brother Jesús Sánchez Cobián
I WILL BE THE HEALTHIEST OLD PERSON THAT THEY HAVE KNOWN

On the 15th October, in the colonial and manorial city of Morelia, of our dear and pretty Mexico, the community of Casa Champagnat celebrated with joy and rejoicing the 101st anniversary of the birth of our respectable and dear Brother Jesús Sánchez Cobián.
The celebration started with a solemn Eucharist, concelebrated by five priests who also live with Marist vigour. The chapel that was shining with its beautiful ornaments gathered together the brothers from the Valladolid Institute, the novices and brothers from Perla Tapatía, Guadalajara… and of course a good number of friends who live Champagnats dream.
During the homily, we were permitted to highlight the salient facts of his long life. Originally from San Juan dAmula, a village hidden by the majestic Sierra de Tapalpa, our confrčre at the age of seventeen asked Jesus and Mary through abundant Masses and rosaries what his vocation would be, WHAT HE SHOULD BE IN HIS LIFE. He had not received any response. Then, on Holy Thursday 1922 he pressed them to answer him IMMEDIATELY! It is better to hear the description from the very mouth of our jubilarian: The following day, Good Friday, in the church, I heard two words clearly and precisely in my heart: MARIST BROTHER. Two words were enough for me; it was as if they had blinded me because all I could think of was studying in order to enter this Congregation. And the best thing is that I HAVE BEEN HAPPY since that moment. Everything in the world is possible!
Our dear Brother Jesús had to defend his new life project strongly starting at his home because Mrs Pantaleona, his mother, on hearing him say I am going to be a Marist Brother burst out laughing and said: Son you are not made for that! Then the parish priest said What foolishness! You would be better to go to the seminary with your brothers! But God, who had called him in his mothers womb, had outlined the way so that he would arrive at being an true son of Marcellin and a herald of Mary. It was on the back of a donkey that the Lord sent him his angel to recruit him in the affable personality of Brother Pedro Damián, founder of the Province of Mexico. On the 25th December 1924, during the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the arrival of the Marist Brothers in Mexico, he pronounced his first vows, realising his childhood dream: TO BE A MARIST BROTHER.
Since then, he has witnessed by his life that he was an authentic son of Marcellin: profoundly human and intensely spiritual. His life declining, we observe his personality with joy, but especially his spirit, because old age and illness, his inseparable companions, have revealed in him this other face of his spirit that we did not know. We have thus seen that they can dominate his body, but NOT his spirit. And many who have lived with him in community have the feeling that Brother Jesús could say the words himself that Match Albom has his protagonist say in his novel Tuesday with my old teacher: I WILL BE THE HEALTHIEST OLD PERSON THAT THEY HAVE KNOWN.
His happy and fraternal life, his intimacy with God at each hour and his bugle voice transmitting an eloquent lesson which resounds on the walls of our Casa Champagnat: Learn to die and you will learn to live because all his life has been an invitation to transform our communities into a veritable family, so that the links of love, justice and Christian charity be such that we can say of the brothers what was said of the first Christians, SEE HOW THEY LOVE EACH OTHER.
After communion, the Vice Provincial, Brother Manuel Franco Jáuregui, congratulated him with very sincere words and gave him a small bust of His Holiness John Paul II, the Pope who was so dear to him and who made him leap with joy on his first visit to Mexico.
After Mass, with all the hosts we passed into the picturesque garden of the house where we continued our homage to Brother Jesús, this time toasting him and enjoying a banquet in a rural atmosphere and with a great family spirit. The joyous notes and dance steps of the Mariachis of Guadalajara completed the festivities.
Congratulations! What richness and what honour to have brothers like our friend and venerable Brother Jesús Sánchez Cobián, Don Chuy, he who conserves the harmony between the body and soul by love, peace and hope, even as his strength declines. Psalm 92 recalls this current reality: IN OLD AGE YOU WILL CONTINUE TO BEAR FRUIT.

11/11/2005 - Guatemala
6th Provincial meeting of Marist fraternities of Central America
MARIST FRATERNITIES: IDENTITY AND PROCESS

The sixth Provincial meeting of Marist Fraternities (MChFM) from the Province of América Central took place in Guatemala from the 28th to the 30th October 2005. This brought together 150 brothers and laypeople from Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. We also had the pleasure of the presence of Brother Adolfo, Provincial, and of Brother Michael Flanigan, Secretary of the Laity Commission. The meeting was preceded by evaluation works and reading in each fraternity. The co-ordinating committee from Guatemala had created an appropriate atmosphere for good communication and looked after hospitality and organisation details.
The participants, coming from nineteen fraternities of the Province, reflected on two subjects: Marist identity as well as formation and life of the fraternities. The first subject corresponded to a concern manifested by Brother Seán and which was taken up at the last Assembly and at the Provincial Chapter in 2004. Using a document developed by laypeople, the participants analysed the contents to find paths of action in order to enrich and to strengthen Marist identity amongst us. Through expositions, collective activities, works from group secretaries and from the commission which had formulated the propositions, we could outline action lines and points for reflection for the following years. With this same method, we reflected on a journey of growth and of formation for the Fraternities, according to six stages or proposals. The work allowed us to gather ideas of fraternity members, to agree on the process to be adopted and to clarify it.
Also included in this meeting were an evaluation of the Movement during the previous years and the identification of future objectives. The meeting provided an opportunity for fraternisation, sharing, for prayer and for recreation to profit from the presence of very varied and rich cultures of our countries.

15/11/2005 - Mexico
11th meeting of Marist Fraternities in Mexico
LIVING MARIST FRATERNITY AS BROTHERS

This meeting took place at the Mexican Episcopacy House near Mexico City. The theme was: Living Marist fraternity as brothers.
Fourteen fraternities took part; they represented twelve cities of Mexico. The themes developed were: sons of the Father, brothers of the Son and fraternity according to the spirit of Marcellin. It finished with a workshop animated by our John Paul II fraternity, sharing the experience of fraternities through the means of a social drama. The theme was developed in a very dynamic way. The meeting took place in the large hall where the bishops of Mexico usually meet. The excellent installations, that were blessed by John Paul II during his visit in 1989, served the aim of our meeting very well.
Brother Michael Flanigan, general co-ordinator of the Marist Family Champagnat Movement, participated in the meeting.
The closing Mass gave us the occasion to celebrate Mission Sunday. Everyone felt sent out to continue the mission to establish the Kingdom of God.
Thanks to the participation of everyone: the organising team, the John Paul II fraternity and all the participating fraternities, the meeting was a success and we hope that it will have benefited everyone.

16/11/2005 - Vatican
Charles de Foucauld, the saint of the desert and the universal brother
THE LAST PLACE OF CHARLES CORRESPONDS TO THE FIRST OF MARCELLIN

Charles de Foucauld, lover of the Eucharist and in dialogue with Islam, is one of the most loved spiritual figures of the 20th century. The former soldier and explorer was beatified on the 13th November 2005; his spiritual life had been profoundly marked by meeting the Touaregs who made him see that the love of Jesus must be proclaimed in words, but also with the witness of friendship and prayer. It was in 1897, at Nazareth, as a domestic of the Clarisses that Brother Charles discovered the spirituality of the last place. In 1977, the archbishop of Munich at the time, Joseph Ratzinger, had said during a pilgrimage to Nazareth: It is truly when the sentimentalism which envelops Nazareth was flourishing that the real mystery of Nazareth was discovered in a new way, in its deepest contents, without the contemporaries noticing.
This was Charles de Foucauld who, in searching for the last place, found Nazareth. During his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, this place was the one that impressed him the most; he did not feel himself called to follow Jesus in his public life; its at Nazareth that his heart was touched the most deeply. He wanted to imitate Jesus, silent, poor and a worker. We work with people, he wrote, a work infinitely fruitful for the soul, during which we can pray and meditate… We know well what is a piece of bread when we know by experience all the fatigue that it costs for the maker. At Nazareth, in the living meditation on Jesus, a new way for the Church opens. In fact, working with Jesus who works and establishes himself at Nazareth constituted his starting point. The New Alliance did not start in the Temple, nor on the holy Mountain, but in the small house of the Virgin, in the house of a worker, in one of the forgotten places of the pagan Galilee, from where no one expected any good to come.
In 1916, Charles de Foucauld died without having had disciples. He had written a rule but no one had followed it yet in the desert. Today, eleven religious congregations (about 2,200 religious) and eight associations are inspired by him.

17/11/2005 - Italy
Assembly of brothers from Italy
TOGETHER TO DREAM ABOUT THE FUTURE

On Sunday the 30th October, continuing until the feast of All Saints, the brothers from the zone of Italy were invited by the Provincial to participate in an assembly, an invitation that was responded to generously. On the evening of the 29th October forty-two brothers were present for this appointment.
The work started on the 30th with words of greeting from Manuel. In thanking all for having supported this convocation, he recalled that the path to be travelled can be difficult, and sometimes even long, but we need to walk on the new roads that the Church and the Congregation indicate to us today. Uniting the new feelings, cultures and traditions of the former Provinces demands time, patience and love, because the most important thing is to work for the Kingdom of God. He finished by inviting us to dream and by saying once more that the Province of Mediterránea will be built by all of us together.
What brought about the convocation of this Assembly? For the brothers of the zone of Italy, more than a requirement, it was a matter of something urgent for us to give time to reflection and to sharing so that inescapable decisions could be made during the next few years. In preparing the meeting, we took account of a fundamental objective: to have an open mind to give thanks for the past and to have the will to construct the present and the future with hope.
In summary, the Provincial Assembly was an occasion given to all to encourage exchanges, to arouse interest in order to examine important problems and to suggest possible lines of action to help the Provincial Council to make its decisions.
The work was done in a rather intense fashion for two days. The first day was dedicated to the presentation and analysis of aspects relative to communities and to works, while the second day was dedicated entirely to fraternal dialogue.
It is urgent that choices be made! But above all, as Manuel reminded us, we need to change our heart and allow the Lord to act in our lives.

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