2021-04-29 GENERAL HOUSE

Brother Moisés Cisneros: presence, encouragement and affection

29 April 2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the murder of Brother Moisés Cisneros, on the premises of the Marist School, located in a marginalised area of Guatemala City. Brother Gregorio Linacero, of the Province of América Central, currently living in Rome as assistant to the Econome General and Project Manager of the Strategic Plan of the General Administration, tells us his personal experience of the life and commitment of Brother Moisés, whom he knew personally.

Giving his life to the very end in order to choose for the marginalised

“Brother Moisés was in the management office and was assaulted, murdered and left in a cellar next to the office. This was made possible by the support that the assassin had from the secretary of the school.

The circumstances of the Brother’s murder are linked to the persecution by the armed forces against the Catholic Church because of its social commitment. It should be borne in mind that from the 1970s until 2000, many priests, religious and catechists were murdered. A bishop was also martyred.

Brother Moisés was director of the Marist School from January 1990. During this short time, he maintained a firm commitment to those most in need. His public expressions and decisions in line with the option for the poorest such as: diversified school fees, school books on loan, visits to the homes of the students’ families, socio-economic studies…, were all in line with the aim that the poorest children could receive a Marist education.

Moisés also gave strong support to the youth ministry movement: REMAR. He involved these groups in the decisions taken on behalf of the poorest families in the school. This helped to strengthen the boys’ critical awareness in the analysis of social reality.

At the Youth Easter of 1991, celebrated by the REMAR groups at the Marist School on Holy Saturday, the young people produced a CREDO with a strong critical component which was proclaimed at the Easter Vigil. Some members of the military school were present at this celebration. This detail and many others have helped many of us to understand that his death is linked to this persecution of the Church by the armed forces.

When Brother Moisés was (in my opinion) martyred, I was a young brother. His presence, encouragement and affection were decisive at the time in my decision to make perpetual profession.

In my opinion, the death of Brother Moisés corresponds to that of a martyr. His life, his witness and his violent death have helped me to perceive more clearly the option of Jesus for the marginalised and to understand the Gospel from this point of view.

At this time, when the cause for the canonisation of Moisés is beginning, I think it is a good time to “universalise” Moisés and to spread the testimony of our brother who gave his life to the end.

I believe that it is possible to transmit to new generations of Marists throughout the world that the witness of Moisés’ life is similar to that of Jesus of Nazareth: the giving of one’s life to the last consequences in opting for the marginalised.

May the Good Father help us to live the Gospel”.

Br. Gregorio Linacero – April 2021


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