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Marist Bulletin - Number 29

 

Group report by Senior Brothers
14.10.2002

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From August 10th to October 10th in Manziana, about 40 miles north of Rome, 21 brothers participated in a renewal program for senior brothers – their average age, 73. As the course was drawing to a close, they put together this report. We found it interesting and would like to share it with our readers.

We, senior brothers
- coming from 10 Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries,
- after having lived together for two months in Manziana, Italy,
- and participated in the Course for brothers of the Third Age,
- want you to know:

1. WHAT WE HAVE EXPERIENCED

We have found this time to be:

· A gift, a grace that Jesus, Mary and St. Marcellin have offered us in the autumn of our lives, and for which we are profoundly grateful.

· A powerful fraternal adventure in community, which has made us feel truly brothers, sharing our lives and faith, and enriching each other with different cultures and experiences.

· A deeply felt, formative experience and updating in areas of human, religious, and Marist development.

· A time of peace and serenity, to take stock of our lives to this point, and claim renewed vitality as we face the future.

· An abundance of personal time that has enabled us to pray, reflect, read, and rest.

· An encounter with Pope John Paul II, who has shown us what it means to be Church, and with Brother Seán Sammon, Superior General, who brought us into communion with the whole Marist world.

· A time for our spirits and bodies to rest and relax, in a pleasant climate and picturesque surroundings.

· An opportunity to get to know and delight in the natural and artistic splendors of Italy, and to go on pilgrimage to significant places.


2. OUR CALLS AND CONVICTIONS

On completing this time that our Provinces and the Institute have afforded us, as elderly brothers we:

· believe that it’s fulfilling to be a Marist today, and that we remain able to be of help on the new paths along which the Lord and Mary are guiding us.

· believe that we have a great responsibility when it comes to our communities, and that we can play a key role in seeing that they live in a spirit of harmony.

· feel called to overcome fixed ideas and outdated ways of viewing the religious life, and to adapt to what is essential and meaningful today in our consecrated life.

· feel called to live a dynamic, deep, authentic, flesh-and-blood Marist spirituality, that will continue to bring more and more coherence to our lives.

· feel called to carry on our Marist mission to the end, as well as we possibly can, sharing our community’s mission and open to the mission that we share with lay people.

· feel called to be witnesses of hope in our Provinces, especially by the testimony of our lives, joyful and serene.

· feel called to be witnesses to fraternity, offering the wealth of our lives as brothers:
- through sincere and warmhearted relationships with our brothers,
- being involved in promoting vocations,
- paying special attention to the least favored.

· feel called to wake up and step out of our set ways of doing things, to leave behind our former selves and be open to the reality that surrounds us: our world, our brothers, the laity, and especially children and young people.

· feel called to accept our limitations, to joyfully embrace the years that the Lord may have in store for us, without ever feeling “retired.”


3. OUR COMMITMENTS

In light of what we have experienced and the calls that we have perceived, as senior brothers, we want to be:

· brothers of hope, supporting the processes of refounding and restructuring, and confronting the challenges that the world and the Church are presenting to us.

· witnesses of Jesus, by practicing a spirituality filled with faith and confidence in the His unconditional love and in his fidelity throughout our lives.

· brothers whose lives joyfully testify that it’s worthwhile to devote one’s entire life as a Marist, just as St. Marcellin Champagnat did.

· brothers of Mary,
- inspired by her simplicity and dedication,
- manifesting the Marian dimension of our spirituality,
- displaying Mary’s attitudes in our lives,
- and spreading devotion to her.

· brothers who contribute to the vitality of the Institute, support initiatives, and keep the light of hope and enthusiasm burning brightly.

. brothers who contribute to the community, creating a family atmosphere, being welcoming and transparent, smoothing rough spots, always encouraging and sowing hope.

. brothers who devote time to personal prayer and bring to Jesus and Mary the mission of the community and the realities of our world and the Church.

. brothers with a critical awareness, capable of discerning the voice of God in the midst of so much shouting, trendiness, and speculation.

. brothers who don’t consider ourselves retired, but who continue to take an active interest in our community, its mission, works, young people, and fraternity members, according to our own abilities and the needs of the Province.

. brothers leading a balanced life, taking care of our health, interested in others, and bringing peace and serenity to our surroundings.


Our deepest gratitude to the Marist Institute
for giving us the opportunity to attend this program.
Special thanks to the Directors of the course
and to all who have helped us
with their conferences and work on our behalf.


Brothers Antonio Aragón Martón, Aristides Zanella. Bonifacio Sagasti Fernández de Mataúco, Carlos Alberto Orduz Parada, César Cañón Cembranos, Cruz Bujanda Chasco. Dionisio Pérez de la Iglesia, Eleuterio Sánchez Díaz, Emilio Alastuey Sánchez, Erno José Christ, João Torcato, Joaquim Panini, José García García, José García Ortigosa, José Manuel Gómez Ramírez, José María Mazuelas Herrero, Jesús Ortega Prieto, Lucidio Redondo Mariscal, Luis di Giusto, Martiniano Conde Pacho e Osvin Ludwig
STAFF
José María Ferre, Director; Amabile G. Biazus, Assistant Director,
George Fontana, Econome

Manziana, August – October 2002

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