Constitutions 2020

Dear Brothers, Six years from today we will celebrate the Bicentennial of the foundation of our beloved Institute. It will be an excellent opportunity not only to thank the Lord and our Good Mother for their constant blessings throughout those 200 years, but also to review our fidelity to our charism and mission, as well as to continue deepening the renewal and “aggiornamento” asked by Vatican Council II.

In this sense, our Constitutions can play an important role, as the members of the XXI General Chapter realized, that “for a new world, we need a conversion of heart. A thorough revision of the Constitutions and Statutes, with the full participation of the Brothers, can help to revitalize our vocation”. So this new edition of the Constitutions and Statutes will be our companion along the way of our journey towards the next General Chapter, which will take place, God willing, in 2017, coinciding with the Bicentennial.

The precapitular commission charged with revising the text of the Constitutions and Statutes, on presenting their report to the XXI General Chapter, pointed out that “the text is a wellknit document that appropriately inspires the living of our Marist life” and so during this Chapter “is not the time to make a new edition of the complete text of our Constitutions” since “an in-depth study and revision of the Constitutions requires more time and more consultation”. Nevertheless, during the almost 25 years that have passed since the Holy See approved our post-conciliar Constitutions, the changes introduced by the General Chapters of 1993, 2001 and 2009 have been accumulating. These Chapters have approved a total of 89 changes in the Statutes and have presented to the Holy See changes to 3 articles of the Constitutions.

It did not seem opportune to present the changes introduced by the XXI General Chapter by means of a small pamphlet to be added to the book of our Constitutions and Statutes, as had been done after the Chapters of 1993 and 2001. In fact, the XXI General Chapter mandated that, with my Council, I would appoint “a Publication Team, which will integrate in a single text the various changes effected in the Constitutions and Statutes by this and previous Chapters. This text will be consistent in style, language, numbering and references”. The text I now present to you is the fruit of the excellent work of the Publication Team that we appointed: Brothers Antonio Ramalho, Edward Clisby, Juan Miguel Anaya and Maurice Goutagny. I thank them for their patience and generosity. They revised the translations into our four official languages, keeping in mind the original language in which the articles of the Constitutions and Statutes were approved.

In their work the Publication Team sought to make the wording coherent in each of the languages and to make the different translations faithful to the originals. In addition they made certain that the changes approved by the various Chapters were inserted correctly into the text. They numbered the Statutes that referred to the General Conference, the Provincial Assembly and those in charge of institutions, which previously had no numbers. They changed the numeration of other Statutes so as to avoid duplications or gaps in the order. Finally, they corrected and adjusted to the new numbering all the references within the document, as well as the index. My Council and I approved this work and made decisions on certain matters dealing with the layout and presentation of the text.

Dear Brothers, receive into your hands, and welcome affectionately into your heart, this new edition of the Constitutions, “the application of the Gospel to our life and a sure guide to carrying out God’s designs for us” (C 169). Remember what Br. Charles Howard told us when presenting the first edition: “On reading them, on praying with them privately or in community, we will discover their riches; at the same time we will acquire, or we will refine, the particular traits of our identity as Little Brothers of Mary – a unique identity among the People of God – and we will make it attractive, especially to the young people to whom our lives are dedicated”.

With brotherly affection,
Br. Emili TurĂş – Superior General