XVII Chapter – 1976, Roma

09/1976 – 155 Brothers participants

Letter from the XVIIth General Chapter – Word 60 kb – English | >Español | Français | Italiano

A primary task of this Chapter was to render a verdict concerning the “Ad Experimentum” nature of the new Constitutions granted by the Motu Proprio Ecclesiæ Sanctae. The Chapter decided to maintain the status quo for another nine years.Two important results of the ‘76 Chapter were the letter Marist Brothers Today and the Chapter document Poverty and Justice. In a spirit of faith and dialog with the world, both texts represented a desire to find an authentic sense of our identity as Brothers. Marist Brothers Today could be described as a profession of faith in ourselves and in others. It expresses a strong belief in our identity and affirms our vocation with joy and hope. Poverty and Justice gave written form to the reverberations that the suffering of so many people produces in the heart of Champagnat’s sons. It was a wake-up call to us to rededicate ourselves to our vocation and be transformed, always by following the Lord. Noting that we live in a world of rapid and profound changes in society, the Church, religious life, and the life of our Brothers, the Chapter felt a great need to take a closer look at our Marist spirituality. It reaffirmed the importance of unifying our religious consecration, prayer life and apostolic work at the heart of our communities. That was the essence of the report by the Chapter Commission on Prayer, Apostolate, and Community. The Chapter voted in favor of a new form of government. Councilors to the Superior General would no longer represent and be in charge of regions throughout the Marist world.On finishing his mandate in 1985, the Superior General testified to the fact that, although there were many positive developments for which we were to be grateful to God, there was a marked decrease in the number of Brothers. He pointed out that there was “a glaring divide between what our documents say and the world of reality.” For example, it was plain to see that there was a lack of cohesiveness in our lives. There were weaknesses in our initial and on-going formation programs. There was skepticism about the calls of the Lord and the gifts of His Spirit in highly valued areas such as our community life, service to the poor, and education for justice.The Latin American Conference of Provincials convened in Chosica, Peru in 1984. It proposed a method of reflecting and discerning that would later find its way into the Institute as a whole. It was a stepping stone along our fraternal path. The Conference’s central theme, “Mission of the Marist Brother in Latin America Today,” emphasized the pressing need to proclaim our Marist charism and put into practice a genuine, effective option for serving the poor.