2013-10-10 ITALY

Course for Spanish-and Portuguese-speaking Brothers of the third age

These lines are a follow-up to previous information about the « Amancer » programme held at Manziana from 1August to 29 September. Manziana is a little town, situated 60 km from Rome, enjoying an agreeable climate thanks to its altitude (369 metres). It has a population of about  6,951.

The house was built in 1949-1950 for the formation of Italian candidates to the Marist life. In 1993 the General Council decided to adapt it to make a centre of spirituality for English-speaking brothers, previously catered for at Fribourg in Switzerland. The building was restructured to provide 30 fine bedrooms, various rooms, a chapel, library, dining room, kitche and other annexes or services.

For our « Amanecer » programme, the different subjects were treated by 12 presenters : eight brothers, two lay persons, and a Marianist priest. Both content and methodology were much appreciated. All made their talks available, photocopied or on computer.

The co-ordinating team – Brothers Landelino Ortego, José Feix and Anthony Hunt – proved very active, although in a discrete and respectful way, allowing the brothers a healthy autonomy and personal responsibility. The unity and spirit of service of those directing fostered the joy of union,  co-operation and responsibility on the part of all. The afternoons, left in principle to personal initiative, allowed the brothers to devote some time to the care of the house and grounds.

The part of the programme most appreciated was the stay at the Hermitage and the visit to the places associated with the life of the Founder and the first brothers. The community of brothers and laity which co-ordinates the activities of the Hermitage was notable for its spirit of welcome and service and the assistance offered on the various visits. Br Benito showed himself an extraordinary animator of the life of the Hermitage. The evaluation emphasized the gratitude to the whole team of the house.

During the last two weeks, the brothers visited Viterbo and its historic centre, with the ruins of the Etruscan civilisation, the Marist college and the papal palace, residence of the popes in the XIIIcentury, at the time of the longest conclave (33 months) ending in the election of Gregory X. The brothers also visited Orvieto with its XIVcentury cathedral, built to contain the corporals of the miracle of Bolsena. It has an extraordinarily artistic and majestic facade.

The  group also visited Assisi and the catacombs of Saint Calixtus, in a more « religious » spirit. On the return, we had the leisure to appreciate Rocca di Papa, Frascati, Grotta Ferrata and Castel Gandolfo, the region known as the « Castelli Romani ». The last Wednesday, the brothers attended the papal audience in St Peter’s Square, among an impressive crowd.

The final days were reserved for the evaluation, an evening of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, concluding with a penitential celebration and administration of the sacrament of the sick. On the evening of 28 September, we showed our gratitude to the persons working in the house and their families with a festive meal, during which Br Massimo Radicetti, a participant, greeted all present. The next day, Sunday 29, was marked by the final meeting, with wise words from Br Landelino and other expressions of thanks. During the Eucharist, we renewed our vows. A special dinner was the last community act, an expression of the joy, gratitude and union which marked this 2013 session. Thanks to  the  organisers and co-ordinators, and congratulations to all the participants.


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