“All roads lead to Cochabamba” - “Go in haste to a new land!” (XXI GC) - There are few times when a Marist institutional slogan comes alive for the sons of Champagnat, as it has now and concretely in our own lives. We are15 brothers who have agreed to live together, in Cochabamba, Bolivia, an experience of itinerary of preparation for perpetual vows, from March to June. We are literally leaving everything to live this new post-novitiate experiment, inculturated in the Bolivian situation now hosting us. We leave all the works, university courses, pastoral work and communities; andset out in haste for the hill country (Lk 1: 39), in order to respond positively, generously and freely to the challenge of universalizing the Marist charism, laid down by the chapter assembly.
We are Brothers: Ronny Candela Munayco, Peruvian, of the province of Santa María de los Andes, César Borja and Luis Vega of the District of Paraguay, Jorge Arraztoa, Argentinian of the Province of Cruz del Sur; Edson Roberto Rissi, Leandro dos Santos, Solano Bageston de Lima and Deivis Alexander Fischer, Brasilians of the Province of Río Grande do Sul; Darlan Santorum, Cassiano Uberti, and Adilson José Janovski, Brasilians of the Province of Centro-Sul; Emerson da Silva Araújo, Brasilian, of the District of Amazonía; and Ronilton Neves dos Santos, Carlos Henrique da Silva and Marciano de Brito, Brasilians of the Province of Brasil Centro-Norte.
The idea of making the itinerary surfaced, in the first place, in the meeting of the Extended General Council in Mar del Plata, in October 2008. Subsequently, at the meeting in Lima, in April 2009, the provinces of Brasil and Cono Sur took the first steps to concretize the new experience. In July 2010, meeting in the city of Cochabamba, the provincials appointed a team to co-ordinate the process: Brothers Juan Ignacio Fuentes (Cruz del Sur), community superior, Anacleto Peruzzo (BCS) and Ataide José de Lima (BCN). This team met in its turn in August and December 2010, to design the project.
Thus, on the 5th of March began the itinerary of preparation for perpetual vows. The first three weeks are already concluded. The activities were dynamics of presentation and familiarisation of the brothers who will live the community experience, by means of dialogue in small groups, times for games, free interaction, programmed outings, times for personal and community prayer; Eucharistic celebrations in the house and in the parish, visits to the city of Cochabamba and visits to the local Marist communities and works; community work of organizing and cleaning the house, talks on the social, political, economic and religious situation of Bolivia, visits to possible places of apostolate and presentations on the respective provinces of the brothers forming the community. All this had its culmination in the drawing up of the Project of community life which took three days. Then a day of mixing with the parishes of the Archdiocese of Cochabamba. The next steps will take place in the three months from April to June. A new step starts now with the fourth week and workshops in Anthropology, Affectivity and the first week of the Spiritual Exercises.
In this way, the young brothers of South America, united in Cochabamba, want to construct an international and formative community, cultivate a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and live a strong experience of brotherhood with the Bolivian people, our relatives,of this mountainous region (cf. Lk. 1: 36-39). We seek to give a new face to the charism from Latin America. For this purpose, the first steps constitute a surmounting of the provincial frontiers, to catch a glimpse of the other lands of the continent with the eyes of God, to contemplate his creation: he saw that ALL he had made was good (Gen. 1: 31). The fraternal living together of the community of the itinerary offers a singular opportunity for creating, in our own lives, a new way of being Marist brother, in pursuit of strengthening the feelings of belonging to the Institute and the commitment to the mission from the cultural peculiarities which characterize each province and district and, above all, to deepen the desire of following Jesus Christ in Marist Consecrated Life.
With so many novelties and possibilities of learning, it cannot be denied that, up to now, the experience has been very successful and significant for the brothers taking part. All doors were open for the realization of this encounter. As much in the Province of Santa María de los Andes, in the person of Brother Antonio Peralta, Provincial, as in the formators and brothers living in Cochabamba, especially Brother Raúl José Schoenfeld, master of novices, and Brother Fernando Mayor. All of them are co-operating in their ways for the success of the new experience, which has as objective helping the young brothers in our preparation for perpetual profession.
Convinced that all roads do, at this moment, lead to Cochabamba, the brothers making up the itinerary of preparation for perpetual vows community hope that, at the end of this experience, we will be able to declare to the four winds that it is possible, with the grace of God, to prolong for further generations the dream of Marcellin Champagnat: to announce the person of Jesus Christ, through the education of the children and young people of the whole world, especially the poorest.
Cochabamba, 30 March 2011 - Brothers Marciano de Brito, Edson Rissi and César Borja