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Marist Vocation Ministry – International Meeting at Les Avellanes

22/04/2008: Spain - Photo gallery

The representatives of the Marist Provinces gathered in the House of Les Avellanes (Lleida – Spain) to discuss the issue of vocational animation for young people according to the Marist charism. ¡Contagiar el fuego! Repassar a Chama!, Répandre la flamme!, Spreading the fire!, this was the theme that 26 brothers, two laypeople and three novices of the novitiate of Seville shared from 3rd to 8th April in the house of Les Avellanes. These brothers and laypeople gathered together to listen, share and draw up together the new plan of action for Marist vocational ministry. The reflection focussed on how to face the challenges that arise from a society marked by secularisation and postmodernism. The participants to the meeting were confident that being a Marist brother today is extremely meaningful and it stands as a consistent and inspiring proposal to the young people of our times. There are many young people today who feel attracted by the charism of Marcellin, especially by the vocation as Marist laypeople. Why not as brothers?

At the end of the meeting, the contributions of the participants were collected in a fundamental document focussing on the concepts of mission, community, youth pastoral care and vocation ministry teams. These “beliefs and criteria” will be useful to direct vocational pastoral care in the future. The document underscores the belief that “vocation is a gift of God, the Master of the Harvest”; it calls to ask for this gift “in personal and community prayer” and to “do whatever we can in this vital sector of vocation ministry”. It also underlines how important it is to have Marist communities capable of “opening up to welcome young people”, of becoming “present and visible” among them and “collaborating with the local Church”.

The analysis carried out during the meeting underscored several issues. One was that the Provinces need to endeavour so that brothers who are capable of communicating and relating themselves to young people may live together in welcoming communities. We need brothers who are passionate for their vocation, for prayer and work for the youth, who understand the world of young people and are ready to spend their lives for mission (because there is no special age for joy), to build communities with a family spirit and engaged in vocation ministry.

With regard to the concrete ways to actively support vocation ministry, several means were underscored: to reinforce pastoral itineraries, introducing experiences of contact with Marist life, to make explicit invitations to become a Marist brother, and to guarantee one’s personal support to the young people’s lives.

With regard to the “Provincial vocation minsitry teams”, it was requested that they be formed by people with a suitable formation, that they be explicitly supported by the Provincial Council, fully part of the organisation chart of the Provincial teams, and in touch with the vocational teams of other congregations and dioceses.

Brother Seán Sammon, the Superior General, animated the reflection with a message to the participants offering his thoughts, as well as his support, to vocation ministry.

The participants in the meeting were: Bro. Ernesto Sánchez (General Administration); Bros. Raúl Figuera Juárez, Óscar Martín Vicario and Diamantino Martins Duque (Compostela); Bros. Roberto di Troia and Michael Schmalzl (West Central Europe); Bros. Pere Ferré, Jean Reboul and Manel Castillo (L’Hermitage); Mrs. Mayte Ballaz César and Bro. José Larrea (Ibérica); Bros.Juan Carlos Fuertes, Javier Navarro, Daniele Pardo and Miss Gema Pomares (Mediterránea); Bros. Kevin Dobbyn and Jone Seduadua (New Zealand). Bros. Tony Leon and John Thompson (Sydney);
Bro. Rod Thomsom (Melbourne); Bros. Bernard Beaudin and Miguel Ángel Sancha (Canada). Bro. Mike Sheerin (United States).

Also the following were invited to attend the sessions: Bro. Alberto Aparicio (Cruz del Sur); Bro. Enrique Escobar (México Occidental). Bro. Joaquim Sperandio (Brasil Centro-Sul); Bro. Nice Garrán (América Central). Bro. Ramón Rubies (L’Hermitage). Bros. Stefano Divina, Pere Castanyé and Pepan Porras (Novitiate).

The translators were: Bros. Alain Delorme (L’Hermitage), Jack González (Compostela) and Teodoro Grageda (Central East Africa).

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