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Marist Bulletin - Number 3

 

News
16.01.2002

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MARIST PRESENCE IN PAKISTAN
Signs of Marist vitality in Peshawar and Sargodha
Recent events have placed Pakistan at the centre of world media attention. This country (of 803,940 sq.km. and 145 million inhabitants, of which 97% are Muslim, with Urdu the official language) is home to two Marist communities in the cities of Peshawar and Sargodha; these are part of the Province of Sri Lanka. Our group of five Marists is composed of two Pakistani and three Singhalese Brothers.
The Catholic secondary school of Sargodha began its activities in 1987 under the direction of Brothers Tom Kelley (Province of Poughkeepsie, USA). Walter Smith (Province of Melbourne, Australia) and Remigius Fernando (Sri Lanka). It was under the direct authority of the General Administration in Rome until 1995 when it became part of the Province of Sri Lanka. It has 965 students, of whom 74% are Christian and the rest Muslim; there are 41 teachers. The main objective of this educational centre is to provide education for the city’s poor Christians. Traditionally, Christian families have placed little value on education, since the discrimination they suffer on account of their faith has cut off their access to well-paid employment. Conscious of this situation, the Church has encouraged schools with a high proportion of Christian students. Since these are not government schools, parents are obliged to pay fees—a fact which excludes some Christians from gaining access to them. At this moment, Brothers Victor and Gregory are working in this school.
Brothers Shanthi, Hadayat and Paul are at work in Peshawar directing St Mary’s, a fee-paying school with a Muslim majority and a Christian minority. In addition they direct and finance a boarding facility attended by poor Christian students from rural areas who are studying in the diocesan school of St John’s, where the student body is 60% Muslim and 40% Christian. This particular mission is highly valued by the Church because it provides a privileged environment for Muslim-Christian dialogue.
The Brothers have been asked to open a new community in Faisalabad, taking charge of a boarding school and getting involved in St Joseph’s Technical School, a centre intended for young people from rural backgrounds who have difficulty in integrating themselves into formal education.
Brother Michael de Waas, Provincial of Sri Lanka, in his recent visit was able to contact some 21 young men who have expressed interest in the Brothers, attracted by their community life and educative commitment. The vocations apostolate is a real challenge here. The Brothers in Pakistan are truly a sign of Marist vitality and an expressions of Marcellin Champagnat’s charism.

RESTRUCTURING - 65 BROTHERS MEET IN NAIROBI
A total of 65 Brothers, coming from the Republic of Central Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania, met in Nairobi from 29th December to 2nd January 2002.
These Brothers represent five administrative units: 2 Districts and three Sectors.
The objective of the assembly was to get to know each other better and to offer suggestions and proposals for a Constitutive Assembly from the respective Councils to meet in April this year. This assembly will place a final set of proposals before the General Council regarding name of the new Province, location of the Provincial House, process of consultation for the nomination of the first Provincial, procedure for election of delegates to the first Provincial Chapter, structures of government and animation for the first three years. Two thirds of the Brothers at the Nairobi assembly were less than 40 years old.

MORE ON RESTRUCTURING - COLOMBIA, EQUADOR, VENEZUELA
In Los Teques, a Marist Formation Centre 23 Km from Caracas (Venezuela) from the 28th December to the 1st January, an interprovincial meeting took place on the restructuring of the existing Marist provinces of Colombia, Equador and Venezuela.
Thirty-eight Brothers participated: 17 from Colombia, 11 from Equador and 10 from Venezuela, under the presidency of their respective provincials.
Analysis focussed on personal, group and province attitudes to restructuring, with its lights and shadows, fears, necessities, hopes and future calls to choose life.
Five basic topics were treated in view of the imminent birth of the new Province next January 2, 2002:
1) Animation, government and community life.
2) Marist Apostolic Spirituality.
3) Initial Formation and Vocations Apostolate.
4) Mission.
5) Evangelical use of goods, immersion experiences, and new presences.

The final document “Calls”, was drawn up as an invitation to all Brothers of the future Province to live right from now on, the signs and challenges of choosing life.

AN EXCEPTIONAL VOCATIONAL EVENT - THE INCREDIBLE RECH BROTHERS
The book “Acredite quem quiser” (Believe it if you will) by Brother José Cándido Bairros [second edition, 2001], treats of an extraordinary happening in Brazil. A married couple, Nicolau and Anna Rech, had 13 children: 7 boys and 6 girls. Six of the seven boys became Marist Brothers. All of them, except the youngest—who is now a diocesan priest—have died.

IN BRIEF
- The General Council, after has nominated the Brother Maurice Goutagny as Provincial (M.C.O-N.D. Hermitage, France) for a second triennium, until 2003, restructuring date,
- Christians of all confessions in Argentina prayed on 6th January in every place of worship in the land, “for the recovery of social peace and for the rapid solution of the State’s economic and institutional problems”.
- Religious leaders from the entire world will celebrate on the 24th of January in Assisi (Italy) a meeting of prayer for peace.
- The official webpage for the World Youth Days, to be celebrated this year in Toronto from July 18 too 28, can be visited at http://www.wyd2002.org.
- Two editions of the Chapter Message have just been published and forwarded to the Provinces (an illustrated, and a pocket edition); the message will also appear in FMS Echo No 38.

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