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‘It’s fantastic, enriching, challenging,’ says Philippine Marist

 

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Asian, African and Polynesian Marists gather in Italy

09/05/2015: Italy - Photo gallery

A Brother from the Philippines labelled a programme offered for middle-aged Marists in the Italian municipality of Manziana as ‘fantastic, enriching and challenging.’

“So far it’s also inspiring, relaxing and motivating,” Brother Cristino Sta. Ana told Rome’s General House Press Office in an interview.

He is part of a group of Marists gathered from Asia and Africa in the municipality, located 40 km north of Rome for a three-month course until June 14. For many, it is their first time in Europe.

The seven brothers and a Marist priest from one of Polynesia’s over 1,000 islands – Tonga – are taking part in the “Mid-Life Renewal Programme” organized each year for English speaking brothers.

“It’s energizing because we have a wonderful group of young men (and) we have new discoveries each day,” remarked Brother Dennis Cooper, one of the organizers. “Making community with brothers from different cultures is a very positive experience.”

The rest come from Nigeria, Madagascar, Malawi and Cameroon.

Br Cooper explained that the programme usually runs for five months but that it was different this time since it was two months shorter. The other organizer is Br Alfredo Herrera, a Mexican who lived in Korea for 39 years before being transferred to Manziana a year ago.

The encounter, offered to Marists when they have served at least 10 years since their final profession, aims to help Marists as they get older.

Guest speakers included Br Sean Sammon on the psycho-spiritual richness of relationships and theologian Fr John Fuellenbach on the Kingdom of God at mid-life.

The programme included trips to Assisi and Rome, as well as Saint Marcellin Champagnat’s native France.

One common thread that runs across the fiber of their presence is our personal prayer,” noted Br Cristino. “We were enlightened into, reminded on, lectured about, challenged to, consoled and inspired by a genuine personal prayer life.”

Participants included Fr Vaioleti Tuione (Tonga), and Brothers Achema Emmanuel Alhassan (Nigeria), Alfred Ramanantsoa (Madagascar), Cristino Sta. Ana (Philippines), Frank Lackwell (Malawi), John Katumbi (Malawi), Martin Mbeng (Cameroon) and Nnodu Chukwubueze (Nigeria). 

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