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St. Romuald
2004: The Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iñiguez opens the process to the canonization of Br. Basilio Rueda

Marist Calendar - June

Marist Bulletin - Number 83

 

News
18.07.2003

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Civil war rages in Liberia
HOW OUR BROTHERS ARE DOING

Liberia was embroiled in a civil war from 1987 to 1996, the year in which Charles Taylor, the current President and former leader of one of the factions in that conflict, won the presidential election. Internal strife dragged on, and since 1998 the country has fallen prey to a renewed outbreak of violence among several armed groups (the LURD and more recently the MODEL) bent on overthrowing Taylor’s regime. As time goes by, they have been taking possession of large areas of the country, creating domestic chaos and a mass exodus of refugees.
In spite of an atmosphere of impending danger, until recently the nation’s capital city of Monrovia appeared to be the only safe place left. This all changed last February with the arrival of rebel troops on the outskirts of the city. Fear and uncertainty took over. In June LURD troops made a surprise attack on several neighborhoods in the city, and panic engulfed the whole area. Hundreds of people were killed and Monrovia was caught up in a human catastrophe that for the first time caught the attention of the international news media.
Monrovia is home to our only Marist community in the country. The group consists of five brothers: the director, Christian Mbam, from the Province of Nigeria; three Liberian brothers, Augustine Martín, Daniel Taylor, and Washington Tekay; and José María Ferre, from the Province of Madrid. Marists have been in the city for only a few years and have no specific apostolate of their own. For some time they‘ve been working in various archdiocesan secondary schools, and during the 2001-2002 school year were together on the faculty of a school not far from their residence. Since joining the community in November 2002, José María taught classes at the diocesan seminary and at a formation center for catechists.
The brothers’ house is located in the heart of Gardnersville, a suburb of plain and simple folks, about 10 miles from downtown. Theirs is the only religious community in the area, and quite vulnerable in the face of armed conflict. One need only recall that our residence was previously used by a community of sisters from the USA who were murdered in 1992 by the rebels who eventually came to power. Despite increasing tensions, the brothers persevered in their mission throughout these last few months. They even made plans in anticipation of a vacation period – Daniel and José María already had their plane tickets for June 9th – the former traveling to Nigeria to get ready for his perpetual profession, and the latter to Ghana to help with preparations for the District Chapter. Christian was to leave for the Chapter at a later date. Martín and Tekay were looking forward to going to Ghana for their annual retreat in August.
All those plans came crashing down on June 6th and 7th, the feast days of St. Marcellin and Pentecost, when LURD forces launched a surprise attack in the Duala section of the city. Large numbers of people fled to avoid being caught up in the crossfire. The European Union put evacuation plans in place. Our Marist community urged José María to take advantage of this opportunity. The evacuation took place on June 9th, with the support of French troops, by helicopter and then by warship to Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Daniel, after several exasperating days at the airport, was able to get on a flight to Ghana on the 11th.
Our other three brothers stayed in their house, keeping close watch on developments. On June 25th and 26th, new fighting erupted as rebel troops stormed toward the heart of the city. Many died; many were wounded. Several stray mortar rounds rained down on the brothers’ neighborhood. Perhaps the most tragic result was the massive systematic plundering that occurred throughout the city, mostly at gunpoint by soldiers, with many victims brutalized.
The brothers were warned that their house was about to be trashed. They took refuge in nearby homes, most of which had been abandoned by people fleeing in fear of further bloodshed. Soldiers tracked them down, made off with their keys and other belongings, and proceeded to ransack their residence, helping themselves to anything that caught their eye. Our three brothers found shelter at St. John of God Hospital, 5 hours away, one of the safest places they could find. The St. John of God brothers welcomed them with open arms. There they found out that the houses of the Hospitaller Sisters and Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity had also been wrecked.
Tekay managed to get to the airport at the end of June and board a flight to Abidjan. From there he took the highway to Kumasi, Ghana. Christian and Martin remain back at the Hospital. With them are three young Marist aspirants who hope to begin their postulancy in Cameroon this September. They’re trying to get hold of the documentation necessary for travel to Ghana together in the near future.
Liberia’s future continues to be shrouded in uncertainty Many people are demanding the resignation of President Taylor, who stands accused of war crimes by a special UN tribunal, and the arrival of a USA-led international force to return the country to peace and stability. Meanwhile peace talks between the Liberian government and rebel leaders are taking place in Accra, Ghana.

New Province born
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

“Forming a Holy Family” is the motto launching the creation of the new Province of the United Sates of America, bringing together 222 brothers from the former Provinces of Esopus and Poughkeepsie and our mission in Japan. Festivities surrounding the first Provincial Chapter were held at Marist College in Poughkeepsie NY from June 26th to July 1st. Br. John Klein has been elected the first Provincial. Brothers Seán Sammon and Pedro Herreros flew in from Rome to join with 400 others, brothers and laity, for the birth of this new era in USA Marist life. Seán delivered the keynote address, “Living in Mary’s Family Today.”

New Provincials named
GENERAL COUNCIL APPOINTMENTS

Having gone through the appropriate consulting processes, the General Council has named the following brothers as Provincials:
1. For the new Province of Compostela, Br. Primitivo Mendoza. Starting in December Compostela will bring together the former Provinces of Portugal and of Castile and Leon in Spain. Primitivo, 61 years old, was born in Hérmedes de Cerrato, Palencia, and is currently serving as the Provincial of Leon.

2. For the new Province named Southern Cross, Br. Demetrio Espinosa. This August Southern Cross will bring together the former Provinces of Cordoba and Rio de la Plata in Argentina and the District of Paraguay. Demetrio, 55 years old, was born in Quintanadueñas, Spain, and is currently serving as the Provincial of Cordoba.

3. For the Province of Western Mexico, Br. Víctor Manuel Preciado. Victor, 53, succeeds Br. Enrique Escobar. He was born in Cocula, Jalisco, and in recent years has been serving as Provincial Econome.

4. For the new Province of Iberia, Br. Samuel Holguín. Next November this Province will bring together the former Provinces of Madrid and Norte in Spain. Samuel, 43, was born in Durango, Vizcaya, and is presently serving as the Provincial of Norte.

New brothers taking up Marcellin’s call
GOD CONTINUES INVITING THE YOUNG

God keeps calling young men to our Marist brotherhood and the young are taking up the challenge to be disciples of St. Marcellin.

1. In Mexico
Ten Mexican novices made their First Profession In Morelia, Michoacán, on June 21st. Nine come from the Province of Central Mexico: Brothers Alejandro Arredondo, José Pablo Correa, Miguel Ángel Flores, Jesús González, Silvano Hernández, Irving Ortiz, Nicolás Reyes, Salvador Sánchez, and Juan Fernando Trejo; and one from the Province of Western Mexico, Br. Enrique Melchor.

2. In the Province of East Central Africa
First Professions: Br. Jean Marie Vianney Ngenzi in Save, Rwanda on June 14th; Brs. Emile Motanda Basenda and Justin Lwaboshi Bujiriri in Bobandana, D. R. of Congo on June 21st; Br. Francis Ogudu in Kutama, Zimbabwe on June 28th.
At the First Profession ceremony in Bobandana, the people used the occasion to celebrate the brothers’ return to their community and the reopening of Lwanga High School after years of unrest in the region. The community had previously celebrated its return together with the Bishop of Goma during the Diocese’s April 9th gathering for World Day of Vocations held in the School’s new multipurpose auditorium.

3. In Spain
Brs. Fadí Najjar and Tony Abrass from Syria, Javier Navarro from Bética, and Juan Tomás from Levante made their First Profession in Castilleja de la Cuesta on July 5th.

Our Marist mission in Europe
COLLOQUIUM: SHARING HISTORY, BUILDING A FUTURE

A Colloquium on our Marist mission in Europe will take place at the Hermitage from December 26th to 31st, 2003. Mission teams or equivalent groups made up of Provincials and six to eight people from each of the five future European Provinces will attend. The purpose is to celebrate and give thanks for the contributions that French Marists made to the entire world after our congregation was suppressed by the French government in 1903, to commemorate the centennial of this historic happening, and to continue envisioning our Marist future in Euroland.

2nd gathering of young brothers
PROVINCE OF SOUTH CENTRAL BRAZIL

Thirty young brothers took part in an encounter in Curitiba June 19th to the 21st. Br. Afonso Levis, Vice-Provincial, and two young brothers, Adriano Brollo and Mauro Lovato, organized the gathering. Br. Tercílio Sevegnani, Provincial, attended and gave a talk. Besides the camaraderie involved, the group reflected on the document “Consecrated persons and their mission in schools” published by the Congregation for Catholic Education, and together took another look at the letter Br. Seán Sammon addressed to the young brothers.

Marist ECHO published four times a year
JUNE 2003 EDITION

FMS Marist Echo is published in the four official languages of the Institute and also in Italian. Each particular language features a different color. Editions appear every three months – March, June, September, and December. They are primarily addressed to and contain articles written by laywomen and men committed to the spirituality and mission of St. Marcellin, but are also sent to brothers and communities. Distribution takes place through Province centers

Marist literary world
LATEST BOOKS AVAILABLE

- Gran Editora de Buenos Aires, Argentina, has published a 20-page booklet entitled Venerable brother François, a biography written by Br. Manuel Herrero. There are other titles of interest in this collection of Marist topics.
- Gumersindo Ojanguren is the author of Vida entregada (A life surrendered) about Br. Pascual Pedro, a martyr during the Spanish Civil War in 1936. 164 pages. Published by the Marist Vicepostulator’s Office – #18 in a series.
- Br. Adelino de Costa Martins is the author of Estilo marista de educar. 40 pages. Porto Alegre, 2003. The book comes with a CD Rom for presentation by computer.
- Brs. Teófilo Minga and Giovanni Bigotto have o-authored vol. VI of Bilhetes para Deus (Notes/Tickets to God), a meditation on Our Lady. 472 pages. Published by the Fundação Champagnat do Portugal, 2003.
- The Pastoral Service of Catalunya has just published, in Catalan and Spanish, number 82 in a series on Saints, a life of St. Marcellin, written by Br. Miguel Mario Martínez.
- Br. Mario Colussi is the author of Jesús in Mark: A teacher for the New Century. Paulist Press, 2003.

On the Vatican’s official website
ST. MARCELLIN STANDS OUT

The Vatican’s official web site features our Founder’s canonization picture on its page dedicated to saints. Check it out at:
http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/index_saints_en.html

NEWS IN BRIEF
- Our Marist Provinces in France have sent the proceeds from their 2002 Champagnat Calendar to four social programs maintained by our brothers on mission in Central Africa, among the Berbers in North Africa, and on the islands of Haiti and Vanuatu.
- Our center at the Hermitage recently welcomed 50 teachers from Hungary, led by Br. Rémi Véricel.
- Br. Michael de Waas, Provincial of Sri Lanka, visited his brothers living in Pakistan this past June.
- A plan to revitalize the Community Center in the La Paz neighborhood of Bogotá, Colombia has been approved. We treasure this project as a service geared to people in greatest need, demonstrating our solidarity with them, and we cherish the laity’s involvement and participation in our common mission.
- Recife, Brazil hosted the XXI Marist Olympics in the Province of Brazil Norte from July 1st to 4th with a huge turnout of students.
- The Province of Brazil Norte is setting up university campuses in Fortaleza and Recife.
- The Federation of Parent-Teacher Associations for Marist High Schools in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil has organized a series of conferences on violence involving teenagers and young adults.
- Br. Antonio Rieu, who has worked in African countries for many years, has now agreed to become master of novices in Haiti.
- “Marists for Peace” is the central theme for the June 2003 edition of La Valla magazine, published by the Association of Marist Schools in Australia.
- SED, the NGO developed and run by our Marist Provinces in Spain, announces its Poster Contest VII. This year’s theme is “Puzzles in color” referring to our multicultural world. For more information, contact sedcentral@sed-ongd.org
- On July 2nd, Br. Lluís Serra spoke about restructuring at the 45th General Chapter of the Piarist Fathers in Rome.
- John Paul’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation The Church in Europe was recently published. It focuses on Jesus alive in His Church and wellspring of hope for Europe.
- Since World War II the war that has caused the most deaths is the one now going on in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Going back to 1998, six African nations have been at each other’s throats, and well over two million people have perished.
- The 2003 report of the UN Development Program released in Dublin states that 21 countries have suffered an increase in poverty. A fairer distribution of wealth is a must.
- Marist Notebooks, volume 19, featuring historical research into our Marist patrimony, will soon be arriving in our communities.

Intensive summer plenary sessions end
GENERAL COUNCIL ON THE MOVE

The General Council ended its intensive summer sessions (winter south of the Equator) on July 12th. Now our General Superior and his Councilors have taken off to help direct retreats for Provinces throughout Europe. In our next UPDATE, we will report on the main topics that were covered as well as the key decisions taken.

New official web site for Institute
GREATER LINKAGE TO MARIST WORLD

Work is progressing on the creation of an official web site for our Marist Institute. In one section, we want to make available to our visitors all links and ties with Marist organizations that have a web page. With that in mind we’re asking each Provincial to send our Publications Service (publica@fms.it) a complete listing of pertinent web pages, and the web address, city, country, and organization for each one.

Two sources for solid news
FMS UPDATE AND MARIST BULLETIN

FMS UPDATE is intended exclusively for brothers and communities. It usually includes photos and attachments. We send it out to Provincial houses where in turn it is forwarded to each community.
Our MARIST BULLETIN is sent by E-mail to all – lay people and brothers – who subscribe for their free copy at www.champagnat.org. New items are usually sent out at least once a week. Mailings include Marist features such as interviews with brothers around the world, and also news taken from FMS UPDATE (minus photos and attachments). Please invite everyone interested in our Marist life to subscribe, and sign him/her up straightaway on our web site.

FMS world news available for everyone
HEART THAT KNOWS NO BOUNDS

Marist communications foster family spirit and give substance to the slogan from St. Marcellin’s canonization, a heart that knows no bounds. Any place on the planet where Marist hearts are beating is of concern to all of us. We encourage you to send our Marist Communications Service (publica@fms.it), directed by Br. Lluís Serra, news of general interest taking place in your Marist province or country, together with digital (or scanned) photos whenever possible. Send us the news right away so that it’s as up-to-date as can be.

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