2023-07-04 GENERAL HOUSE

Magazine Message Marists of Champagnat

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In the next few days, the printed version of the magazine Message Marists of Champagnat will reach the Administrative Units. The magazine continues the tradition of FMS Message and the new title, approved by the General Council in February 2023, reflects the joint leadership of consecrated and lay people who, together, make the dream of St. Marcellin Champagnat come true. The expression “Marists of Champagnat” defines, in fact, all those who follow the charism of the founder of the Marist Institute, whether through consecrated or lay life, within the Church.

This issue of the magazine is dedicated to the Lay Marist Vocation, forming a unit with the previous issue, which dealt with the vocation of the Marist Brother. Special attention is given to the process of the International Forum on the Lay Marist Vocation, which is in the IV phase of the process that will end in 2025.

Below you can read the ÔÇťeditorialÔÇŁ by Br. Jo├úo Carlos do Prado, Link Councilor with the Department of Communication, and Luiz Da Rosa, Director of Communications of the Institute.

This magazine began in February 1987, carrying on the Institute’s communication tradition which started with the publication of the Circulars of the Superiors General, followed by the Bulletin of the Institute (1909-1968), and then by “F. M. S.”. In 1986, the General Council appointed a commission to study the question of publications and communications. It was this commission which suggested the creation of FMS Message to the General Government: “a regular magazine combining the serious reflections which characterised the Bulletin with news from the Marist world, previously communicated by F.M.S.” (Editorial of FMS Message 1). In the first article of the magazine, Br Charles Howard, then Superior General, said that the “most important purpose in publishing the magazine is to be a messenger and witness to the life of the congregation everywhere”. The magazine pursues this mission to this day, having become a means of animating the Marist charism, as expressed in the lives of consecrated Brothers and of lay men and women who embrace the dream of Saint Marcellin Champagnat.

Marists of Champagnat

Acknowledgment of the richness of the Marist vocation, now evident in different forms of life, and the increasingly active participation of non-consecrated persons in the life and mission of the Institute, has led to the coining of an expression that encompasses every vocational form linked to the ideal of our Founder: Marists of Champagnat. This phrase defines all those who follow Saint Marcellin, whether through consecrated or lay life, within the Church.

An important moment in this awareness-raising process was the creation of the logo of the Institute’s General Administration, approved by the General Council in September 2018. It is composed of a symbol and a name. The symbol is formed by the union of three elements: the cross, the globe and the “M”. The second element of the logo is the name “Marists of Champagnat” which includes both brothers and lay Marists.

These developments pointed towards a name change for the magazine: ÔÇśMarists of Champagnat MessageÔÇÖ is the title approved by the General Council in February 2023. This change has led the communications team to rethink its graphic image. The logo of the Institute’s General Administration is now integrated into the magazine’s logo. The layout has been given a new look and the articles will be enriched by additional content, accessible to the reader through images with QR codes, easily scanned by means of most mobile phones equipped with a camera. Also, a legal registration or ISSN, the code assigned to serial publications by the Italian ISSN Centre, has been adopted.

Lay Marist Vocation

This historic milestone for our magazine takes place on the occasion of an issue dedicated to the vocation of the lay Marist. The choice of theme is closely related to the Year of Marist Vocations, celebrated in the Institute from 20 May 2022 to 6 June 2023. The last issue of the magazine was dedicated to the vocation of the Marist Brother. In this way the Institute enthusiastically embraces each Marist vocation in its specific character, promoting a broadened culture of vocations.

Another important element which led to the choice of this theme is that it lines up with the process currently being led by the Laity Secretariat: the International Forum on the Lay Marist Vocation. This is a four-year journey (2021-2024) intended to reflect on and discern what the Marist vocation is, particularly the lay Marist vocation, formation pathways, the accompaniment of processes of vocational  growth, bonding to the charism, and possible juridical structures for Marist laity.

This issue hopes to make a contribution to this Forum process. The first two chapters deal with the vocation and mission of Marist laypeople present in today’s world. The third chapter summarizes the experience of participants during the third stage of the Forum, the face-to-face meeting in Rome, which brought together about 90 lay people and brothers, representing almost all the Administrative Units of the Institute. It reproduces the final message that this group prepared for reflection and action in the Institute during the next few years.

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