2022-11-19 GENERAL HOUSE

20th November: World Children’s Day

“What are we holding in our arms? Simeon took Jesus in his arms” (Homily of Pope Francis , February 2, 2022, at the Mass for Consecrated Religious).

In his message to consecrated people, Pope Francis offered a few ideas that also have a lot to do with the celebration of World Children’s Day. Although directed at consecrated people, these suggestions can, I believe, be taken up by all Christians serious about their faith and baptismal commitment.

The story of the dear old man Simeon, as told in the Gospel, gives us some clues for our annual celebration. God has placed his Son into our arms because accepting Jesus is the heart and centre of faith. God gives the beloved Son to us, to each one of us Christians and Marists, to the whole of humanity. And God does this in the person of a defenceless, needy, innocent, trusting, tender baby with all of his life ahead of him.

Shouldn’t this be our attitude when we meet a child? Shouldn’t tenderness overflow in our hearts every time we encounter a child or young person? Isn’t this what Marcellin wanted for each one of us? Isn’t this what each of us would do if every time we are with children and young people we see the face of Jesus Christ in their faces? Shouldn’t we let ourselves be led by the Spirit in our work and activities on behalf of children? Shouldn’t the compassionate gaze of God be ours as Marists, brothers and laypeople?

The Pope, in the homily mentioned above, invites us to two types of gaze that can help us to be true Champagnat Marists in our mission of protecting, caring for and educating the thousands of children and young people in our schools. Pope Francis calls us to have “a gaze that can look within” and “one that can see beyond surface appearances”. He counsels us to discover “the cracks of fragility and failures” in the young, because in such places we can also discover the presence of God.


As the Solidarity Secretariat, we want to remind us all of the importance of this day, of doing something visible that shows our commitment to children and young people, especially those most in need. So, we invited the Province delegates for Solidarity and Rights around the whole Marist Institute to celebrate this date by some concrete action, linking up as a “global family” on our journey “with children and young people” to show our firm commitment “to promote and defend the Rights of the Child” (Message of the XXII General Chapter to Champagnat Marists) using the hashtag #ChildRights_Maristas.

May we take this opportunity to thank you for all you are doing in your particular context through your life and ministry on behalf of children and young people, especially those “on the margins of life”. Thank you for who you are and what you are doing. Thank you for being, so often, the face and hands of God’s tender mercy towards our children and young people. Thank you for having a tender gaze, like Simeon, towards the child-God in the person of each girl and boy in our educational centres.


Br. Angel Diego García Otaola – Director of the Solidarity Secretariat


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