Logo of the II International Marist Mission Assembly
At its meeting from 3 to 6 December 2012 in Rome, the Preparatory Commission of the II IMMA selected the logo for the next Assembly. They received 36 proposals from different parts of the Marist world. With the participation of members of the General Council, the General House community and the laity working in the General Administration, the logo was chosen for contributing to the propagation of the preparatory phase and the experience of the II Assembly.
The logo was created by the Province of Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil. The Commission is grateful for the participation of all the persons and Administrative Units which contributed by sending proposals. The logo brings together various symbols of great significance. A word about each may help us on the way towards Nairobi, 2014
The first symbol which comes to view is fire. Fire has a variety of connotations. In Christian tradition, it is the symbol of the Holy Spirit. But it is also by nature the symbol of heat and light. Associated with the Holy Spirit, it becomes a symbol of missionary and apostolic power. Do not forget that the theme of our assembly is “New Marists on mission”.
Fire carries us to the heart of the mission, the power of the Holy Spirit. A mission which should radiate to the world the warmth and light of God. But it will radiate it with passion. Like the prophet Jeremiah, who, despite the difficulties in proclaiming the Word of the Lord, did not give up because it “was like a burning fire within him” (Jer. 20: 9). Thus a fire which leads each and every one of us to a renewed mission in which we become apostles who radiate the light of God in the world. Like Jeremiah, even in the most dramatic situations, we cannot say no to the Lord, because in the end, in the fire of the Holy Spirit, He “seduces us and we let ourselves be seduced” (Jer. 20: 7). We are, of course, following the desire of Jesus, by converting ourselves into “sacraments of his light”, setting fire to the earth: “I have come to cast fire on the earth, and how I wish it was already burning!”
In many cultures, fire symbolizes the place of encounter, of meeting, where history and tradition are preserved, where the present is celebrated and plans are made for the future. It is intended to symbolize the great assembly which will form around Marist life and mission.
In the logo there also appears the tree. The tree becomes a symbol of welcome and life because of the shade and fruit it offers us. The diversity and international nature of the Marist world will be welcomed on African soil. A soil in which the Marist world has already sent down deep roots.
To offer welcome to someone is to enter into their history, come to know their world, share their traditions, adhere to their projects, in a word, to love that person so that the Lord’s dream for him or her may become a reality. And vice versa, the one who welcomes is also going to feel enriched by the experience and life shared with those he or she welcomes. This is certainly going to happen in Nairobi. The Marist world invited there, coming from all corners of the earth, is going to feel a single family, welcomed under the “African tree”, which offers all the shelter of its branches. A welcome given in a friendly embrace. But above all, trusting in the Lord, so that the many-sided Marist tree bears fruit in abundance. The Assembly will be a time of friendship, but especially an act of trust in the Lord who welcomes and is welcomed in the mutual welcome we experience among ourselves. We are right to expect this fruit. The Lord will not betray our trust. Here too, Jeremiah consoles us and gives us certainty when we live in this trust, which is welcome and hope. He is speaking of the just man, but we can apply the same theology to the Marist world gathered in Nairobi: “He is like a tree by the waterside that thrusts its roots to the stream. When the heat comes, it feels no alarm, its foliage stays green; it has no worries in a year of draught, and never ceases to bear fruit” (Jer. 17: 8).
For Africa, the tree is the hearth of its culture and spirituality. Because trees are the place where children are initiated, where family unions are established, where the spirits of the ancestors find refuge. A place of meditation, a natural temple whose grandeur inspires awe.
Trees are full of the silences and the voices of Creation: of water, earth, animals, minerals…voices of children, youth, old people, families who feel protected by its branches for a meeting, a celebration, the experience of spirituality, rest on the journey, play, work, art…trees are vital for the cultures of the ancient peoples of all our continents.
Jesus compares the Kingdom to a great bush born of a mustard seed, the most luxuriant in the garden, whose branches extend to cover all the birds with the powerful strength of their foliage. Tree and Kingdom are places where all have enough space and display their vitality.
The line of the horizon
Fromthe inspiration of our origins and towards the third century of Marist life, from this commitment of creative fidelity and journeying towards the new, outlining an horizon which draws us on and orients us in our mission.
The blue flame
Around the large central flame, we find two smaller flames in blue. We associate the blue with the sky and with Mary.
May the Assembly be a privileged time to respond to the Chapter’s call to “go in haste, with Mary, to a new land”, a call which, although it may not be correctly a new one, can be constantly renewed. New Marists on mission.