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Woman ‘impressed’ with first ever formation course for laity

 

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Gathering teaches Marist laity how to form others worldwide

20/05/2015: General House - Photo gallery

A Spaniard taking part in a first-of-a-kind course for laity with over 50 Marists from around the world in Rome, labelled it as “impressive” and “enrichening.”

“This is impressive and it really enriches you as a person,” said Loli Santos, director of Champagnat Marists School’s nursery and primary in Salamanca, Spain.   

“I feel proud to have been able to come from Compostela (Province) and be here,” she told the general house press office on May 19. “I have won the lottery in being able to live the Marist spirit with others.”

Fifty-four lay Marists from around the world are gathering in the first course ever to train lay people how to form other lay Marists from May 19 – June 2.

“Some ways in which participants will be skilled as effective formators will be through a study of contemporary theological thinking in relation to lay people and deepening their understanding of new formation frameworks and spiritual itineraries that are emerging for lay Marists,” said Tony Clarke, codirector of the Institute’s secretariat of the laity.

Loli affirmed that “it’s important to broaden the Marist spirit because before, it seemed that only brothers could transmit it.”

“It’s important that us laity can also transmit it but to do that, it is important we receive formation,” she added. 

Mike Greeff, who has travelled from Johannesburg, South Africa underscored that “in South Africa, brothers have taken very brave steps to let the laity manage and run the schools” and that he hopes to “take back the words spoken here to the laity in the community.”

He was recently appointed as director of the Marist Schools Council, a body that oversees all Marist schools in South Africa.

Mike explained that the course in Rome is a follow up of the II Marist International Mission Assembly held in Sept. 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya.

It is aimed at people who have some Marist experience, such as involvement in schools or youth ministry, and can take up leadership responsibilities of training others.

Christian Boutin, from Canada, noted that “it’s about having a clear idea of the Institute’s next step at many levels such as the relationship between brothers and lay people.” 

“Also of having a clear idea of the vocational path of the laity and the identity of our youngsters,” he stated. “I hope that by listening to what’s happening elsewhere I can get some ideas.”

A New Zealander, Dan Dungey, underscored that the conference is like “lighting a match.”

“I think it’s exciting because we’re starting a fire and continuing it on,” said Dan, who works as lay coordinator for the district of the Pacific. “It’s having a toolkit to get local people to work in their areas and meet local needs.” 

Visas were denied from Nigeria, PACE and South Asia leaving participants short of four people.

Brother Javier Espinosa, director of the Institute’s secretariat of the laity, stressed that the course “challenges them to participate in a historical moment of birth, a new beginning for the Institute.”

“It implies some experience of a Marist path be it in lay groups, joing formation, a new relationship of communion, or discernment processes,” he said.

He hopes the type of participants involved are able to “pass the experience of this meeting on to their respective provinces.”

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