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Marist Bulletin - Number 56


Br. Luciano

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31-year old Luciano responds with a YES to making his final profession

Carmen Yône Raiser da Cruz, Head of IT Education at Frei Rogério de Joaçaba Marist College, tells us about the vocational journey made by Luciano, a young Brother due to make his final profession on 15 March. She then proceeds to ask him some questions.

Marist Brother Luciano Osmar Menezes (31) belongs to of the Centro-Sul Province in Brazil. A native of Florianopolis, he began his Marist Life in Caçador on 19 February 1989, and spent the next two years at Jaraguá do Sul where he trained as a middle-school teacher.
He spent 1992 as a Marist postulant in the formation house at Florianopolis. Then he spent two years as a novice in Passo Fundo where he made his first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience on 8 December 1994. While at Florianopolis for a two-year post-novitiate, he successfully completed a program in Religious Sciences offered by the Pontifical University of Curitiba.
He spent 1997 in the apostolic community of St Benedict do Sul where he taught religion to 5th and 6th grades and coordinated groups of adolescents and young people in two movements: EDA (Vessels of Friendship) and REMAR (Marist Renewal). The following year, he went to the Marist College in Paraná where he began academic studies specialising in education.
In 2000, he was given a missionary assignment in the faraway city of Ji-Paraná where he completed his degree while being involved with youth ministry in the parish of St John Bosco. Two years later, he joined the community at Joaçaba. His work there included teaching religion in Frei Rogério Marist College and joining the CEMAFREI team (The Frei Rogério Marist Formation Centre). Currently he coordinates this Centre that runs the VIDA FELIZ and SOMAR programs for the education of adolescents and young people.

What made you think of becoming a Marist Brother?
As a teenager, I longed to take part in youth groups but had not been confirmed. It was during these classes that I first met the Marist Brothers in the person of my catechist. Soon I got to meet the young people in REMAR. I used to visit the Brothers in their house, saw them working, teaching, animating youth, and simply being an important presence amongst us. They played football and ping-pong with us: we were welcome in their house. We could see that they were ‘different’ guys (‘cool’ guys). In chatting with us, we sensed they were close to us. I noticed how simple, available and welcoming they were to youngsters in the confirmation class and to other young people. And I began to ask myself: “Can’t I also be a young Marist, bringing good news to young people by the way I live? Why not become one of them?”

What’s it like being a Marist Brother today?
It means being a sign of God’s presence. It means being Saint Marcellin Champagnat for today, enthusiastic and determined in facing the challenges posed by our social, political, and economic systems. It means being a beacon of hope and life, reaffirming the integral character of Marist education. The Marist Brother should be able to orient, accompany, guide, instruct, suggest, direct, and evangelise children and young people, especially the most needy, in following Jesus Christ and Mary.

What is your opinion about the young people of our time?
I sense that they have great potential. But it appears that our youth are disoriented, growing up without ideals, without ideas, without dreams, without hope, and without optimism. They lack genuine leaders and have no human and Christian values as points of reference to save them from subjectivism. But we can’t generalise and put all of them into the same pigeonhole.
I think that we young people have to use all our strength of mind and will and our desire for freedom to react against the wrongs of our time. We must be prophets who speak out, denouncing above all anything that does not promote peace, justice and life. Through our own loving attitudes and actions we will feel ourselves to be loved. We will become capable and creative in our acts of solidarity with and for others. The great challenge of our time is to search for and build up the kingdom of God in a dignified way, promoting reconciliation, mercy, and brotherhood.

Brother Luciano, you are about to make your perpetual vows. After your experience of life, how do you see Marist Religious Life in our time?
First of all, formation is a continuous process. I am aware of having become more mature as a person, as a community member, and in my spiritual life. I am still in the process of conversion, this being a gradual and life-long process. Just when everything seems complete and organised, life teaches us that we need to take hold of our destiny again, re-evaluate and recreate the initial option for life – that is, turn back to one’s first love, a fascination for Jesus Christ in the religious life. It seems that this is the only foundational experience for contemplation. For example, a spiritual retreat, an outing, or a charmingly pleasing picture that brings me peace – these are things that can lead me to contemplation with the whole of my being, a contemplation that underlies serenity and harmony in living.
This is religious life for me – the experience of God as a heart-to-heart relationship, intimacy given and shared, and sometimes knowing the one who is unknown – Jesus. This experience is like an ecstasy, like a droplet of eternity that we cannot humanly explain.
To commit myself freely and voluntarily to God, in the light of the Gospel and in the Marist Institute – with all my mind and body, loving and serving God and my brothers – adolescents, young people and the most needy – in a better way.
A searching for this ideal and a longing to meet Christ, “who loves me, calls me, and sends me” is what I propose to do by making Perpetual Vows, belonging totally to him forever – You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me, and you triumphed.” (Jer 20:7)

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