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Saturday 20 September: Brothers and laity in a new spirit of communion

20/09/2014: Kenya - Photo gallery
Mission Assembly- Nairobi 2014

This day was devoted to studying the second call of the 21st General Chapter asking for a new relationship between brothers and laity. The work proposal for the day was an invitation to welcome, accompany and together help this gift of God to grow.

 

New relationship between brothers and laity

Brother Joe McKee helped the Assembly reflect on what a “new” relationship of brothers and laity based on communion meant. In his reflection, he presented a brief historical summary of how this relationship had been understood and lived in the Institute. Using the slogans which had appeared on each date since 1962, Br Joe referred to a relationship which began with laity rendering services to the brothers up to the time the Institute discovered that it was a shared mission which invited them to feel gathered around the same table.

“The communion of brothers and laity is the ideal we long for” he emphasized. The essential thing is that we find ourselves reunited under the same tree of the charism and that we feel called by God to give a vocational response. The Marist vocation, consecrated or lay, requires a new way of following Jesus Christ. There are some lay men and women who wish to be recognized as   Marists. And Br Joe asked “How do we recognize lay Marist vocations?” The response to this question is one of the tasks entrusted to this Assembly.

A second reflection of the Brother Vicar outlined the change of paradigm in order to understand the relationship as communion. For a long time, the thinking was that the Institute was at the centre and everything revolved around it: its dynamism, its perpetuity, etc. The change of paradigm requires us to contemplate “the charism as the centre”. The sons of Marcellin, the brothers, are the first expression of this charism. But there are many other expressions. And he concluded by stating that “today expressions are needed which also recognize the presence of the charism in the laity”. The celebration of the 200 years of the foundation of the Institute is an opportunity for a new beginning, perhaps with different forms, but a common Marist future.

Testimonies

The Assembly heard through a video the testimony of the family of Rodrigo Sánchez and Estela Rodríguez and their children Josué and Lucía (born a few days ago), who had committed themselves for a period of three years to the Marist District of Asia. At present, this Mexican family forms part of a Marist community in Cambodia and serves in the fields of health (Estela) and education (Rodrigo).

Ana Saborío (América Central) talked about her connection with the brothers through her participation in the works of the Province of América Central and the deep communion with the Marist charism which moves her heart.

Br Arturo Buet (Cruz del Sur) presented a rapid panorama of the presence of the Marist community of Fraile Pintado (Jujuy), Argentina, born in response to the call of the 20th General Chapter to “widen the tent, share life as brothers and laity, and journey in solidarity together”.

These testimonies presented to the Assembly “the living and the challenges of brothers and laity in face of the future of the Marist charism”.

 

Exercise of the 5 corners

The afternoon’s meeting began with Marian prayer prepared by the representatives of Asia.

The plenary session began with a projection which invited the participants to sharpen their awareness in order to find where we can see God. With his artistic skill, Brother Tony Leon helped the Assembly to do this by means of an exercise of “paraidolia”, that is to say, finding meaning in images. The activity proposed to them was to “see the signs of God in the communion of brothers and laity”. The dynamic of discovering where God is speaking to the Institute today began with this proposal. Five concrete themes were proposed: spirituality, fraternity, mission, vocation and association - organization.

Each participant wrote his contribution on paper after dialoguing about it with another person, and placed it on a panel specially prepared for each of the themes. Two persons were chosen to draw up a synthesis of the contributions and share it with the Assembly. Some references were repeated in the synthesis, especially those forcefully emphasizing the need for joint formation, and the setting up of communities of faith, significant, welcoming, prophetic, to serve as reference points to accompany the formation of brothers and laity. This also meant vocation as gift and response, the drawing up of a life project for youth, and the creation of associations for laity which manifest clear signs of belonging.

Then came time for an echo of what had been heard for sharing with the Assembly. Emphasis was given to the call of God for us to defend the rights of children with efficient structures, the need to provide a structure for Marist associates which recognizes belonging. This lengthy and interesting reflection concluded with a time for interiorization to write up the Diary.    

 

Celebration of the communion

The celebration of the communion of the brothers and laity was organized by the delegates of the province of L`Hermitage who helped the Assembly pray with some Byzantine hymns dedicated to Mary and the reading of the Word in Greek. Among the motivations for this celebration it was stated that “to be followers of Christ today in the style of Champagnat means to be committed to the three fundamental Christian and Marist dimensions: mission, shared life and spirituality”.

After supper, there was a time of intercultural festivity animated by the musical band of MIC with African songs and rhythm.  Thus finished a day full of novelties and a great wealth of topics.

__________
AMEstaún, 20 September

Mission Assembly- Nairobi 2014

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