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Meeting of the General Council with the young people of the Arco Norte (3)

21/11/2008: Guatemala - Photo gallery

Today, November 12th, has been an intense session. We only had the morning to be able to work together. The plan was to spend the afternoon outside.
The first work session of the morning was devoted to sharing the future dreams which had appeared in the shared groups. After everything that had been shared, prayed and celebrated, the young people gave loose rein to their imagination. They had been asked to express their dreams for the next ten years of Marist life. These were their proposals: to share the mission, to open frontiers, more Marist brothers in other countries, real option for the poor, true internationality which would open up other horizons, enculturation in the group where we are, more vocations for Marist brothers and sisters, reaching more places, building mixed communities, more social action and solidarity, readiness for mobility and displacement, union of brothers and lay people to generate communities of life, faith and mission, greater number of brothers and lay people working with the marginalised, to foment presence and work in an ecumenical atmosphere. This generation of young people to dream just like those 68 who were asking the impossible. Among their dreams they also included a young lay person as part of the General Council. Let us hope that the Holy Spirit prepares the road for us.

At the end of this work session it was revealed that Viviana, of Central Mexico, was the creator of the logo which has been used for this meeting. Taking advantage of the authors presence amongst the young people an explanation was given of the meaning of the ideograms contained in the logo. Its central element is taken from the Aztec culture and represents a language that expresses the communication that comes from the Marist heart located in the centre. The colours represent the cultural diversity of the number of us who had been summoned to this meeting. Great applause by all those present demonstrated their thanks to Viviana for her significant contribution in spreading the Marist image among young people.

Brother Seán closes the meeting

On reaching the end of the work of these days Brother Seán Sammon, Superior General, relived the road travelled during these days, emphasising once again the most outstanding contributions. While making this review of the experiences that had been shared he managed to point out that the meeting of the General Council with the young people of Arco Norte had been an experience of faith and of Marist life which had encouraged the hope of finding answers to the Marist project. Both myself and the other members of the General Council, said Brother Seán, have had very great pleasure in sharing the work with you. Your enthusiasm and your love for the Marist life have been a source of encouragement to us all.

On looking to the future Brother Seán, recalling his illness when they diagnosed a brain tumour, encouraged the young people to value the dictates of their heart. In his reflection he highlighted the problems and the solutions that affect the young people of this Marist region. The experience of faith in some countries of the region, which is strongly secularized, is very difficult. The young people must learn how to work with people who do not have faith or who oppose belief. Next he mentioned the great wealth contributed to the meeting through the sharing of the Marist charism. Through sharing the charism we also shared the feelings and the dream of Marcellin, Brother Seán affirmed. He then underlined the fact that the young people have spoken openly of vocation indicating the conditions that one must have in the life of a young person to respond to those vital calls that God directs to us. He also insisted once again on the need to overcome the confusion that exists concerning the identity of the brother and the lay person. He then proposed Marcellin as a model of creativity for young people, recalling that at the age of 28 he was already the founder of the Marist Brothers. He had a poor house, disciples in the making and very little money. But he had a dream. Today that dream has become a reality in almost eighty countries where almost 4.000 brothers and about 40.000 lay people they are forming the hearts of about half a million children and young people. “We must make his dream our dream, he concluded.

Following his words of thanks, he presented each participant with a small gift as a reminder of the happy days passed in Guatemala. And he also thanked especially Brother Hipólito, Provincial, the brothers of the Province of Central America, and those who had organized the meeting and all their helpers.

The mass provided an opportunity to demonstrate what had been most valuable for each one of the participants. The commentaries on the word of God and the expressions of gratitude added up to a beautiful mosaic of experiences, feelings and resolutions that reflected the great experience of these days. The young people were accompanied by the scholastics of the province, the postulants and their brother formators. At the conclusion each one of the participants received a picture of the group and a coloured scarf.

The afternoon provided an opportunity to consolidate the friendships born in those days of living together. All of the young people were accompanied by the General Council in their visit to The Ancient capital of Guatemala, a city founded in the place which had been the cachiquel capital, in the native territory of the Guatemalan highland: Ixinmché. It was replaced as the capital by the new city of Guatemala after being largely destroyed by an earthquake. During the excursion the young people were able to observe some buildings that still show the effects of that devastating earthquake. The city has a colonial appearance in its layout and architecture. The visitors were able to enjoy the beautiful corners which contain the colonial patios and the religious and civil buildings that are still in use.

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