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Marists in communion, new face of the Charism

 

Provincial Assembly - Prov. Santa María de los Andes

10/08/2013: Bolivia
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The Province of Santa María de los Andes – echoing the call from the XXI General Chapter to “go in haste to a new land” – gathered brothers and lay Marists in the Provincial Assembly held in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, in order to implement the second horizon of the above-mentioned call: “A new relationship between Brothers and Lay Marists based on communion, searching together for a greater vitality of the Marist charism for our world”.

The Blessed John XXIII retreat house – belonging to The City of Joy from the New Men project – hosted the 100 participants, half of them lay Marists and half brothers, from July 13 to 15.

The Assembly developed under the motto “Marists in communion, new face of the Charism”, and had the following objectives:

* To live an experience of communion and Provincial integration between brothers and lay people, in order to help build stories expressing the vitality of the charism.

* To deepen our understanding of the Marist vocation based on the specific vocations of brothers and lay people.
* To discern the calls to conversion echoing in our hearts after the experiences of communion we have lived according to the second horizon.
* To celebrate the progress we have made in the Province in recent years.
* To walk as a Province towards the Second Marist Mission Assembly in Nairobi: “New Marists in mission”.
The Assembly was also attended by Brothers Javier Espinosa, Director of the Secretariat of Laity; César Rojas, Director of the Brothers Today Secretariat; and Emili Turú, Superior General.

During the days we spent in Santa Cruz we were able to listen to and understand each other better, besides getting to know what is happening in our Province. We carefully listened to the stories of lay people who are working side by side with the brothers, and of brothers who have reinvented their lives by leaving aside management positions to work with the lay people and children of their schools. And finally, we got in touch with young people – heirs of the charism and future of our Institute – who spoke about their experiences in communities, solidarity activities, and youth movements. “The Marist vocation is a gift offered to people engaged in different states of life, who want to live the Gospel according to the Marist charism.”

Brother Javier Espinosa shared some experiences from around the world having to do with Marist life in community, beautiful and daring experiences, interesting approaches to a future of Marist communion expressing the new relationship between brothers and lay people, to this new identity of the brother’s vocation, and to the process of the lay Marists. Then Brother César Rojas presented us with different situations the brothers are living in the world, commenting on the signs of vitality and the difficulties in this process.

On the morning of the third day, Brother Emili challenged us with his message: “Why are we here? What are we called to do in the Church?” He referred to the three icons mentioned in his circular, which together express the Marist charism: the icon of the Annunciation, referring to inner life and spirituality, the mystical dimension of our lives; the icon of Pentecost, representing community life; and the icon of the Visitation, that is, Mary who reaches out to serve other people, indicating our missionary attitude. Then the Brother Superior General said to the Assembly: “You are the face of the Institute in the places where you live”.

Emili Turú’s Marist simplicity, closeness, and fraternity surprised all the participants, for he was just one more in the group.

In the context of the Provincial Assembly, we celebrated Brother Cruz Alberdi’s 50 years of religious life. In the closing Mass of the Assembly we thanked God for his life and service over the years, for his fidelity to the charism, and for his prophetic attitude regarding the laity.

The closing Mass concluded with the missioning ceremony. Brother Emili sent us to continue living in our different life settings the grace we experienced these days together, and to keep walking towards the Second Marist International Mission Assembly 2014, as “New Marists in mission”.

After the Assembly, brothers and lay people thanked God for the time spent together, for the gift it had meant, they welcomed it with love, and then set off, dreaming about the future and committing to it.

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