2022-03-20 GENERAL HOUSE

General Conference: “During the first two weeks, I felt excited and inspired to listen to and reflect”

“Have a vision, tell the truth and work as a team”

Br. Allan J. de Castro – Region of Asia
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We may recall that on the 14th day of August 1816, Saturday, Marcellin Champagnat arrived in La Valla-en-Gier to begin his priestly ministry. The following day, he said his first Mass during the Feast of the Assumption of our Good Mother.  He then remained in this small country parish for the next eight years. 

In La Valla, we saw the following episodes in Marcellin’s life: his ministry that included visiting the sick, catechizing children, helping the poor, and helping families to live the Christian life. His simple, direct style of preaching, his deep devotion to Mary, and his apostolic zeal made a profound impression on his parishioners.  His encounter with a dying 17-year-old boy who had absolutely no religious instruction was an experience that shook him to his depths and moved him not to delay any longer in putting his plans into action.  We may say that he walked the very roads where he was sent.  He cherished the terrain, respected the people who shaped him, suffered through the adversity that strengthened him, and towards the end he was seized by the God who was at the center of his life.

Finishing the first half of the General Conference as a newly elected leader of my province, I felt that I am empowered by the disposition of Marcelin when he first arrived in La Valla – his openness and availability to serve others and to look beyond in spite of the difficulties.

During the first two weeks, I felt excited and inspired to listen to and reflect on the topics presented: first, the re-reading of and dialogue on the calls of the XXII General Chapter in the current context;  second, the review of the 5 important areas indicated by the General Chapter, namely, the style of governance, the Marists of Champagnat , the vocation of the Brothers, the Marist mission and the management and use of congregation’s resources; and third, the reflection on the current reality of the Institute covering the journey as Administrative Units, as Regions, as Global Family looking towards the future.  These topics led us to many occasions of dialogue with our fellow Marist leaders; thus, learning from one another.

In the midst of all that has been accomplished so far at this General Conference, I could not help but reflect on the three important points that Br. Ernesto highlighted in his message when he welcomed the new provincials during the first week.  He said, “When I was a young provincial, the then Superior General Br. Sean Sammon, encouraged us to lead our respective provinces by always having a vision, telling the truth and working as a team.” 

For me, these are keys as I journey with my brothers in the province during this new and challenging times.  They are my guideposts as I live my vocation at the service of the global Marist family.


Br. Allan J. de Castro –Philippines, East Asia Province


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