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Annual meeting of the African Lay and Brothers Commission

23/07/2018: Kenya

This year’s annual meeting of the African Lay and Brothers Commission took place at the Marist International Centre (MIC) from July 4 – 6 in Nairobi, Kenya.

The members present were Alida Bodomanitra (Madagascar) and Brothers Elias Odinaka Iwu (coordinator, Nigeria), John Kusi Mensah (Ghana), Denis Khasu (Malawi), and Valentin Djawu (Democratic Republic of Congo).

The Commission’s members discussed general key issues to set the atmosphere for the constructive discussions. 

Two issues were proposed for this first discussion: celebrations and communication.

The African Lay and Brothers Commission requested its members to finalise their specific action plans for their administrative units and to develop their budgets for their planned activities. 

One leading thought that came out throughout the meeting was the need for the Secretariat of the Laity to continue to support the Commission in mobilisation and formation, as well as greater support by the Conference of Major Superiors of Africa and Madagascar.

After reviewing the strategic plan, members of the African Lay and Brothers Commission took up various responsibilities. 

The Commission came up with some considerations after the fruitful input of Pep Buetas, co-director of the Secretariat of the Laity, who participated through a video conference,

 

Non-Catholics

In the African context, there is an experience of non-Catholics who expressed willingness to become lay Marist. We understand and cherish that a vocation to lay Marist stems from people who want to deepen their Christian faith guided by the spirit of Marcellin Champagnat and sharing his charism. Therefore, whosoever has the desire to become a lay Marist, we have no mandate to stop them. However, we feel that caution must be taken not to scandalize the Catholic brethren. Ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue is necessary to incorporate non-Catholic lay.  

In some instances where Catholics left the Church due to intermarriages, we feel that incorporating these non-Catholics might be a way of providing them an opportunity to return.

However, there is great need to accompany them on their journey.

 

Fraternities

Lay people and brothers live together in the Community Lavalla200> Atlantis in South Africa. In Mwanza, Tanzania, there is a fraternity. We hope that these experiences will spread to other administrative units in Africa. We like the idea of fraternities, but we need to know more about it and we ask help from the Secretariat of the Laity for that. 

 

Formation for brothers and lay people

There should be a well-coordinated programme for the formation of brothers and lay when promoting the vocation of lay Marists. Therefore, we request the Secretariat of the Laity to play an active role in developing the programme for the joint formation in various administrative units and at a regional level within Africa. 

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