2007-03-23 BELGIUM

Province of West Central Europe

On the weekend of the 23rd ? 25th February, the Provincial meeting of ?One Heart, One Mission? was held in the Benedictine Monastery of Rixensart (Belgium). Nineteen brothers and laypeople were able to be present: fifteen delegates of local groups as well as three members of the Provincial Council and a translator.
During some months in the five countries of our Province there were about one hundred and twenty people in eleven local groups which met and shared their reflection on the Marist Mission. The Provincial meeting allowed the participants to share openly about the discoveries and convictions of each of the groups and to express recommendations for the future of the Marist Mission.

The times of prayer and conviviality as well as the welcome offered by the sisters helped us to feel at ease and to have a joyous experience of being part of one same family.

All were unanimous in saying how the local phase was for them enriching; many were impressed by the extent of the Marist mission throughout the world and, still more, were profoundly touched by the currency of the charism of Marcellin Champagnat.

During this assembly, we were able to see the diversity of expressions of the Mission with young people: in the school or parish context, that of former students and of Marist Fraternities, or still other structures such as boarding schools, accompaniment of young adults in difficulty or animation of retreats. Each time the need was stressed for a presence of attentive adults to arouse life and to open new pathways for young people. Marcellin?s faith in God and his confidence in Mary appeared to us as bases on which we are called to ?build a house? for all young people, a space where each can find his or her place.

A true partnership, brothers and laypeople together in the mission, was highlighted as an important challenge, as much as a richness to promote at all levels. This supposes a new type of relationship where each person gives and receives, where real co-responsibility is experienced.

We felt the urgency to offer the charism of Champagnat to all the participants in the Marist mission, in particular to the young teachers who work in the schools where we are still present, to the members of Fraternities and to the parents of the students. We expressed the need to put in place formation programmes in order to share our richness.

Though sensitive to the needs of developing countries and to the Mission Ad Gentes project in Asia, we remain convinced of the need for ?Marists? in Europe where the distress of young people is manifested in a spiritual and affective vacuum. But, at the same time, the education of young people in solidarity and justice has been revealed to be a value to be encouraged, as a bridge to be built between our affluent countries and the developing countries. There also everyone has something to give and to receive.

These are some of the subjects that were covered and about which the participants were enthusiastic. At the end of the meeting, we left full of gratitude for the very fraternal climate of the meeting and the encouragement received to live the mission with a new impetus. Already we are looking to the European meeting which will take place in Spain next July, before that of Brazil where delegates from the entire Marist Institute will gather in September.


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