2015-09-30 FRANCE

75 Marists are gathering to discuss changes on formation of Brothers

Seventy-five Marists are gathering in L’Hermitage for 10 days early October to discuss ways of improving the formation process of young brothers.

“We want to see updates on the ‘Constitutions and Statues’ and ‘Formation Guides’ books,” said Brother Tony Leon, one of the organisers of the encounter and director of the secretariat ‘Brothers Today.’

“The objective is to present suggestions to the general council to take to the general chapter in 2017 in Rionegro (Colombia),” he told the general house press office on Sept. 24. “The suggestions, in turn, will be studied and decided by the delegates of the general chapter.”

The ‘Marist International Colloquium about Initial Formation,’ which is organised by the international commission of Brothers Today, is taking place in L’Hermitage from Oct. 4 – 14.

Br Tony hopes one of the changes in formation includes the need for the new Brothers to learn a new language or have an experience outside their own linguistic zone.

“I’d like to see the Brothers of the future receive formation to equip them to serve the Institute, rather than just the Province,” he remarked.

According to Br Tony, the Marists need to have “a courageous conversation” and “to have the humility to step out of their role to listen to young brothers, the laity, provincials, coordinators and others on how they would like to see the new ways of being a brother.”

“We want everybody to have the opportunity to have a voice,” he stated. “It’s a call of inter-culturality and of going to the peripheries.”

“We want to respond to the call of the general chapter that it’s not just ‘business as usual’,” he added.

During the conference, participants will examine the current formation process and the results of a three-month survey, which was sent to all formators involved in aspirancy, postulancy, novitiate and scholasticate as well as to Brothers in initial formation, provincials, district superiors and a few laity in connection with formation.

They will participate in workshops on inter-culturality, ‘mystics and prophets,’ accompaniment, supervision, communication in social media, and the ‘Marian face.’

A keynote speaker will be Father Michael McGuire, a Columban priest based in the Philippines who holds a PhD in clinical psychology and has vast experience in psycho-spiritual integration.

Other speakers will include vicar general Brother Joe McKee on Saint Marcellin Champagnat as a formator and superior general Brother Emili Turú on the topic ‘formation for a new beginning.’

Young brothers and lay people will discuss in shared tables how they would like to see the type of brother formed in their common ministry in the future.

“Formation is like parenting and it’s such a sensitive issue because a parent would never tell another parent ‘you shouldn’t raise your kids like that’,” explained Br Tony.

“We would like the formator to look at guidance through the lens of a formator of the 21st century in a time where boundaries have shifted,” he added.

Br Tony underscored that the Marists should be “brothers without borders” and that “borders could be cultural, geographical, religious and congregational.”

“It’s not just about being brothers for brothers, there’s much more in a Marist community,” he stressed.

The logo of the encounter is based on the statue of St Marcellin who is placing his hand on a young man receiving formation.


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