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Let’s get moving!

 

Formation Meeting about Pastoral Ministry

11/04/2008: Spain

On April 5, at Marist Brothers School, Badajoz, Spain a meeting took place for more than one hundred young people and the adult catechists who work with them. The meeting was a formation program entitled, “Let’s get moving!” The event developed out of various aspects of the theme, “Brightening our lives . . . right here in Badajoz,” a theme addressed to Marist ministry in the city as well as to the diocese of Mérida-Badajoz.

« Let’s get moving » was a project set up around the theme indicated above and developed by the diocesan group responsible for youth ministry. From the start the program was helped both by the delegate for pastoral ministry from the Marist Mediterránea Province and by the Province’s vocation ministry group. The premise of the project is that, in approaching Christ, the young person needs to be formed, needs to be supported, and that we who offer the support must ourselves “get moving” in supporting the young people and showing confidence in them and in their lives.

The goals of vocation ministry are threefold. The first goal is to share a life experience and a formative experience with young people (age 17 to 25) and their catechists and guides, making the experience as true to life as possible. The second goal is to understand better how to be present to young people of the age in question, how to help them in their personal, Christian growth. The third goal is to help all the participants discover how important it is to live one’s own vocation as the path to happiness for oneself and a way of making others happy as well.

Throughout the day, special occasions arose, very striking ones, all taking place in accord with the dominant idea of having a shared experience of life, a shared experience of formation.

The young people and their catechists took part in the conference entitled, “Young Adult Ministry and Vocation Ministry. LIVING ON THE TRAMPOLINE: VOCATION”. Brother Pau Fornells, director of the Marist Brothers’ Laity Bureau in Rome, gave a talk on the topic underlining simply and profoundly the following points: vocation as a self-projecting trampoline; mistakes to avoid; vocation as a growth process orientated towards altruistic service; vocation as God’s wooing of the human heart.

The second conference was given over to the views of theologian Marta López, president of the Madrid Association of Female Theologians. Her talk was entitled: “With the Spirit, We Choose Life.” Basing her comments upon biblical texts, Marta showed how one must listen to and follow the Spirit, being concerned not with the number of vocations but with the personal qualities of those concerned. Laity, consecrated life, priesthood: these are vocations which complement one another and which are to act according to God’s plan. She ended her presentation with the idea that we must not emphasize action; we must emphasize the life given by the Spirit.

The two talks were studied first in small groups and then by everyone together.

The college setting was very suitably arranged so as to help the participants experience the meeting intensely. Quiet moments were provided for the young people to discuss issues among themselves in a spontaneous way. Throughout the meeting a special kind of assistance was at hand, i.e. the presence and witness of the Marist Fraternities of Badajoz. As a light moment, there were various songs easy to sing which served to express what was going on at any moment. Role playing was also a continuous part of the program, the themes of the roll-play being “swimming pool” and “trampoline.”

During the afternoon, three rotating workshops were available serving to deepen the morning’s reflections. The conclusion of the day was a prayer in the chapel, the prayer accompanied by the group called Brotes de Olivo, a musical ensemble made of thirteen brothers and sisters along with their children.

All the participants, young people as well as adults, sensed that during the day and during the lead-up process to the meeting, the same God had addressed them with the words, “Let’s get moving.” The work is not over. Now on a regular basis the unfolding of vocation is to take place in each of the young people.

José Antonio Rosa and Br. Antonio Marín Alba

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