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Marist Bulletin - Number 326


Meetings of the Africa and America Mission Team

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Second Meeting of the Africa Mission Team

The Provincial House of Southern African Province (Zimbabwe, Harare) was the venue for the meeting, from 18 to 20 December 2007. Brother Ferdi-nand Dostie, Provincial Secretary, received us on arrival and guided our movements. The Africa Mission Team was set up in October 2006 on the occasion of a first gathering held at Accra, Ghana. The fruit of the gathering was the establishment of an action plan which was presented to, and ac-cepted by the various Provincials concerned and by the Superior of the Africa District

The Team’s second meeting offered the occasion to evaluate what has been done up to the time of the meeting, to make a few adjustments in the action plans, and to plan future activities. Analyzing African realities led the group to focus upon three general areas:

A) To improve the quality of youth ministry in Africa in collaboration with other continents. In order to do so concretely, we settled upon two objectives:
- promoting youth ministry in African, providing it with action plans
- promoting interaction between young Africans and other young people during World Youth Day in Sydney 2008.

B) To deepen the understanding of the specific identity of Brothers and Marist laity through com-mon experiences in: religious activities, apostolic work and formation. In order to attain such a goal, there is a need to create activities centered on two objectives:
- creating an awareness of this topic in all the administrative units of Africa;
- offering occasions for formative experiences in this field

C) To react to the new challenges arising in Marist education. We wish above all to emphasize the right to education: a Gospel education, an education committed to solidarity and social change, sen-sitive to cultures and respectful of the environment, a discrimination-free education which leads to the creation of educational settings for those who are deprived of them.” (final declaration of the Mendes Assembly). To reach such a goal, we envision activities centered upon the following goal : « Formation for those who lead Marist Schools.”

The Team feels that good communication among the various Councils of the administrative units is essential. The Team drew up a letter to the Brother Provincials and the District Superior informing them of the meeting and the plans issuing from it. We hope that each Team member will be able to speak personally to his Provincial or District Superior. Then, if possible, the member will explain to each Provincial/District Council the nature of the meeting and the plans which have been estab-lished.

Our evaluation of the meeting is very positive, particularly regarding: the wonderful reception we were given; the community feeling which prevailed amongst us; the climate of freedom, to be criti-cal in a positive way, to make decisions with a sense of brotherhood and equality. The concrete outcomes of the meeting are now available and so too is a program which will be easy to follow and will bear tangible fruit. We found it easy to dialogue and to reach agreement.

Participants: Brothers Emmanuel Mwanalirenji (Southern África); Ifeanyi Mbaegbu (Nigeria); Valentin Djawu (Afrique Centre-Est); Juan Miguel Anaya, Emili Turú (General Administration Rome) ; and John Kusi Mensah (Afrique de l’Ouest). Madagascarwas no repre-sented because the delegate, Brother Thomas Randrianantenaina, had been elected Provincial and was preparing to undertake his new duties.

Our next Team meeting will be held in Mwanza, Tanzania, December 15 to 17, 2008.

VI meeting of the Continental Team of Marist Mission in America
Brazil – Recife: 26 - 27 November 2007

Last May The Interamerican Conference of Provincials had approved a new composition of this Team, enlarging it to 2 people for each sub region, 1 Brother and 1 lay person for each one. The attending were: Bro. Emili Turú (General Councillor), Bro. Wellington Mousinho de Medeiros (Brazil), Mrs. Mércia Procópio (Brazil), Bro. Max Meier (Cono Sur), Bro. Juan Miguel Anaya (secretary of the Commission of Mission of the General Council), Mrs. Annabel Correa (Arco Norte) and Mr. Ernesto Reyes (Cono Sur). Brother Landelino Ortego (Arco Norte) was unable to attend due to the poor health of a Brother in his community.

After some time dedicated to getting to know each other, since we were meeting for the first time after the amplification of the Team, we reviewed the history of the Team and the activities organized in the past years.
We tried to place ourselves in a perspective which was capable of absorbing the impressive wealth and variety of the American continent, going beyond our local visions. A great help for this was the possibility of taking part in the diverse activities that continue to be organized, allowing us to have a rich group vision.
From this perspective we shared opinions on which needs of the continent we can be of assistance as a Team. Although we made various references to the initial formation of the Brothers and the vocational pastoral, we finally decided to organize work groups around the following topics:

a) The formation of managers, an important topic on which at the Ist meeting of the Team we had already hoped to do some work, but which until now we had been unable to do. Our Team could contribute with special emphasis on the topics of identity (charism, spirituality) and mission (especially the perspective of the shared mission). It would be a question of organizing some systematic and organic programmes. We must never forget that the characteristic Marist way of passing on the charism is closely related to presence, family life, working together, shoulder to shoulder. There seemed to be two possible methods of moving forward, without prioritizing at the moment: to get in touch with those responsible for these programmes in the continent (remembering the meeting organized by Bro. Pau in Les Avellanes); or to organize an American forum to which would be invited all the managers of the continent.
This topic will be studied and taken forward by a group consisting of Ernesto and Annabel, together with Irma Zamarripa (Mexico) and Bro. Wagner (Executive Secretary of UMBRASIL, Brazil).

b) The composition of the Subcommittee of Juvenile Pastoral was confirmed: (Brothers Raúl Goitea (Cruz del Sur), Joao Batista Pereira (Brazil Centro-Sul) and Miguel Angel Espinosa (Central Mexico) and Mr. Fabiano Incerti (Brazil Centro-Sul). Bro. Landelino will continue to be the liaison with the Team and with the Subcommittee. The Conference of Provincials (CIAP) approved the holding of a Meeting of provincial coordinators probably during the days 24 to 29 August 2008 in Chosica (Peru).

c) Although the topic of Models of Administration was taken up directly by the Commission of Mission, while not being approved by CIAP, it seems important to continue to study in depths the thematic already approached in the meeting which took place. It would be interesting to be able to continue collaborating with the European provinces and even to maintain some relationship on this topic with the Pacific area.
It is necessary to continue studying in depth the lines of action that have appeared, so that we can help to configure a method of thought that helps us in practical action. The title of the topic is changed to Mission and Administration, from which the following are pointed out as thematic: the study of contemporary paradigms, the difficulties and successes of the pattern adopted by each Province, mutual presentation of adopted structures, the production and presentation of some type of proposal for the next General Chapter, since our own laws say very little about the administration of our works.
The group in charge of the study of the topic will be formed by Juan Miguel and Wellington, together with the Bro. Carlos Huidobro (Cruz del Sur) and a representative from Europe.

d) Bro. Vicente Falchetto (Brazil) shared the morning of the 27 with us to speak of the topics related to the network of solidarity. On behalf of the Commission of Solidarity of UMBRASIL he proposed that we should look at writing a document on the Social Mission in America which would be studied and approved in the next continental meeting on this theme (planned for 2009, with a strong emphasis on formation). He suggests that the topic of solidarity be centred on the theme of “Children’s Rights”. He points out that in January 2009 the World Social Forum in Belem will take place and he offers his services to facilitate information and the eventual participation at it of representatives of the provinces.
The Continental Team of Mission is, in principle, favourable to having the planned meeting at the same time as the celebration of the World Social Forum, but it will consult with the Provinces before making a decision.
The group that will study the topic consists of Mércia, together with Mr. Juan Carlos Robles (Arco Norte) and Mrs. Dilma Alves (Brazil) and Monica Linares (Cono Sur).

Time was also dedicated to sharing the diverse activities of the members of the Team and of the Commission of Mission of the General Council. There was a pleasing recollection of the recent celebration of the Assembly of Mission in Mendes and information was given on the Marist presence in Geneva, before the UN, and the recent creation of FMS International (The Marist Foundation for International Solidarity), as a new section of BIS with civil juridical standing before the Italian state.

A last word of gratitude for the care,attention and facilities provided by the Brothers of Brazil, among whom we must mention especially Wellington and José Artur (Director of Colégio São Luís de Recife).

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