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Guide for Gathered around the same Table


Reflection and Discussion
: Prov. United States

Bajar WORD (3 MB)

Dear Marists,

One of the calls of the recent 21st General Chapter asked each of us to form “a new relationship between Brothers and Lay Marists” which would help create “a greater vitality of the Marist charism for our world.”   Implicit in this “new relationship” is the realization that the Marist charism, which has guided and continues to guide our congregation, is in fact a gift of God to the Church at large.  This charism is demonstrated not only by Brothers, but also lived and articulated by Lay persons, other religious, clergy, adults and youth. In recognizing this, we see that Marist life is bigger than the Marist Brothers, and that our future is shared with all those who embrace the vision of Marcellin Champagnat. 

At our recent Provincial Chapter, I commented that our Marist spirituality is a spirituality that is both religious and Lay. Brother John Klein, former Provincial of the US Province, often reminded us of the “two lungs image” that Pope John Paul II used when reflecting on religious and Lay life.  His image of two lungs was used to emphasize the need for Lay and religious, structural and charismatic, to “breathe” together to create life.

The theme of a shared Marist life and mission was woven throughout the spirit of the 21st General Chapter. In many ways, we do not yet know all the implications of this insight or how we pursue our mission and how we share our spirituality. We should be, however, committed to the journey and willing to learn together with those who embrace Marist spirituality and mission.  Our recent Marist history already includes initiatives of shared formation programs such as Sharing Our Call, Embracing Our Call, Sharing Our Mission, the Marist Leadership Institute, Marist Youth programs, and the Marist Young Adult Community. Each of these programs and experiences has continued to highlight our common call as Marists and challenge us to reflect more deeply on our life as Marists.  The book, Gathered Around the Same Table: The Vocation of Marcellin Champagnat’s Marist Laity, will, I believe, add greatly to the reflection and conversation already underway about the vocation of Laymen and women.  I encourage you, both privately and in dialogue with others, to read and study this document and the reflection guide which accompanies it.  I believe it will help each of us understand better our Marist life and mission as we move in to this second decade of the 21st century.


Br. Ben Consigli, FMS - Provincial

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