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Retreat in Mozambique – 16-22 July, 2010

04/08/2010: Mozambique

This retreat helped me to deepen my sense of the Marian Face of the Church. I had already participated in other retreats in which the Marian theme appeared, but merely in a passing manner. Now, however, the possibility of reflecting over six days on the theme was an excellent grace, one that I appreciated as did the other retreat participants as well.

Once I received a personal invitation to give classes on Mary and my answer was NO because l did not feel well prepared to do so. The Sister who had invited me found my NO very strange and she told me: You are a Marist Brother and you are unable to give us some talks on Mary? I dont find that very natural. After hearing the comment, l reflected on the request, and after two weeks l had to repeat my NO, to the Sister’s total disappointment.

Today l already feel much more capable, and if the Sister comes back inviting me again I will no longer say NO. I will be very happy to say yes because this retreat opened up before me a lot of perspectives about Mary and her role in the Church. Even the example of the animator of the retreat telling us that he never studied Mariology and that the little he knows about Mary learned by his own efforts tells me that I can commit myself in the teaching of Mariology while expecting that everything has to come from outside. My personal effort is also very important. This retreat came, as it were, precisely to give me the courage that I lacked to start studying and reading a little more on Mary. The contents and the notes that we received during the retreat are a good starting point to convert ourselves, as Marists to Mary.

The retreat was a blessing, a grace-filled moment, because it helped us to situate Mary in a better way within the Church and to acknowledge her role within our Marist Institute and in the personal lives of all Marist people. The often-repeated remark of the retreat animator still echoes in my ears: Without Mary we cannot be a Marist; without Mary we are denying our own name. Reflecting on these and other words that we heard during these days of Marian retreat, I became aware in a stronger and clearer way of our responsibility, as Marists, to try to give restore to the Church her Marian Face. We will succeed in doing so through a deeper knowledge of Mary. This knowledge will lead us to a greater love of Mary who has done everything for us. Knowing her better and loving her more, we will come to enjoy being more effective witnesses of this Marian Face of the Church, not only in our communities, but in our parishes, in our dioceses and in our schools as well.

_________
Brother Felizardo and Brother Ilídio Naamacha
Mozambique, July of 2010

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