2008-07-30 THAILAND

Ad Gentes

At the beginning of July a historic first retreat and assembly was held for the Asia Marist Ad Gentes (AMAG) sector. This was held at the Sacred Heart Sisters retreat house at Hua Hin on the gulf of Thailand, south of Bangkok. The retreat used the year of spirituality and the ?water from the rock document? as its focus and was facilitated by Brother Teofilo Minga, himself no stranger to the call of ad gentes.

As Teofilo led us through the many layers within the document we Brothers appreciated the depths within our Marist spirituality and developed an understanding of the possibilities for spreading this in the new places of mission that we find ourselves in. Prayers and Eucharist were facilitated by various communities and individuals and a highlight was the exposure of us all to the various languages and cultures that have become a part of the life of each of us. Teofilo broke open an understanding of the value of the five main symbols used within the document; Rock, Water, the Way, Table and Fire.

We were sad that three of our Brothers were unable to come to Thailand for the retreat due to the difficulty of getting visas. These Brothers were very much in our thoughts during this time and were at the centre of our prayer.

Following the retreat the sector held an assembly where many issues common to the sector were discussed and draft statutes and policies further refined. With brothers coming from a diverse range of countries and cultures themselves and then living in a wide range of cultures it could have been difficult to arrive at a common set of guidelines. However, the gathered brothers spoke with passion on the needs of their various places of community and future mission and with understanding of the situation of each others? position, statutes and policies were accepted and further work will be done in the weeks and months ahead by Br Michael and his advisors to fine tune these documents.

During the time of the assembly we were blessed by the presence of Brother Luis Sobrado along with Brother Michael Flannigan and the team from Davao; Brother Tim Leen, Brother Alfredo Herrera and Brother Roy Deita, for all of us it was good to see them again.

We all wish to thank Brother Michael De Waas and Brother Jude Pieterse for coordinating the time together and we offer to Michael especially our prayerful support in the difficult role of leading the Brothers in this sector and thank him for his patience and guidance.


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