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Marist Bulletin - Number 130

 

UPDATE
10/03/2004

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UPDATE

The latest plenary session
GENERAL COUNCIL DECISIONS
As mentioned in our previous edition, this UPDATE will include the major decisions of the General Council during its most recent plenary session, January 7th to February 5th.

1. VOCATION MINISTRY
The Council expressed its gratitude for the work being done in each Province and District to prepare for the Marist Vocations Year, and encouraged the enthusiastic ongoing planning taking place for this important project, set to begin on September 8th.
A communications NETWORK has been established to link the Vocation Ministry Commission and those responsible for this ministry in the 31 Administrative Units.
The Council formulated its own plans for taking part in the Marist Vocations Year, to observe the year as a community and develop activities that it would like to carry out.
The Council gave the green light to the proposed slogan for the Vocations Year. These are the versions of the slogan in the four official languages of the Institute:
Marcellin’s dream – Live it today!
Le rêve de Marcellin : Vis-le !
Viva hoje o sonho de Champagnat !
¡Vive hoy el sueño de Champagnat!

2. LAITY
During this month of March a survey dealing with steps that have been taken and needs that are being encountered in our efforts to implement the recommendations of the 20th General Chapter will be sent to Province personnel responsible for working with the laity. The Laity Commission’s Plan of Action will accompany this survey.

3. MISSION

a) Personnel
Brother Paulo Celso Ferrarezi, who until a few weeks ago was serving as Secretary for the General Council’s Laity and Mission Commissions, has rejoined his Province, South Central Brazil. Before Paulo left, Brother Superior General and his Council expressed their deep gratitude for his presence and collaboration.
Brother Juan Miguel Anaya has assumed the job of Secretary of the General Council’s Mission Commission, over and above his current responsibilities as Procurator General and Secretary of the Government Commission. A Secretary for the Laity Commission will be named soon.

b) Mission ad gentes
The General Council spent quite a bit of time reflecting on the Institute’s “Mission ad gentes” and its meaning at the present moment. The Council decided on a process for selecting and accompanying possible candidates for this missionary service in the future. First, it approved different processes for responding to a request sent by the Province of Canada to revitalize Marist life in that country, as well as bolster our Marist presence in Haiti; and second, for coming up with an overall appraisal of our Marist work in the Caribbean (Cuba, Haiti, and Honduras) with all the Provinces that have a stake in this.
Also, the Council decided to initiate a dialog in the coming months with Administrative Units in Asia to see how the Institute might offer assistance to “revitalize” our Marist life and mission on that continent in the next four years

4. RELIGIOUS LIFE
The Religious Life Commission is working with those involved to prepare the following courses:

a) Formation courses for community animators
One two-month course in English and two in Spanish will be offered during the first half of 2005. These programs are intended for brothers capable of becoming leaders in their Administrative Units, directly supporting their Provincial or District Superior’s efforts to animate the superiors of local communities. The English course will be held in Nemi, Italy, and the Director will be Brother Desmond Howard (Melbourne). The Spanish courses will take place in El Escorial, Spain, with Brother Javier Espinosa (Central America) serving as Director.

b) Formation course for formators
A course, in English, will be held in Nairobi, Kenya from August 2005 to June 2006. Participation will be open to the different Provinces and Districts. The Director will be Brother Enrique Escobar Zúñiga (Western Mexico). He and two other brothers will form the team accompanying those enrolled in this course.

c) Spirituality programs
After a hiatus of several years, two spirituality courses for French-speaking brothers are being organized. Brother Théoneste Kalisa is the General Councilor in charge of overseeing the preparation and development of both sessions. A third session is planned for Spanish and Portuguese-speaking brothers.

Second Novitiate program for French-speaking brothers.
This will take place January 9th to June 26th 2005 in Manziana, Italy. The team accompanying this session will consist of Brothers Gaston Robert (Canada), Antoine Kazindu (East Central Africa), and George Fontana (USA).

Third Age program for French-speaking brothers
This course is set for the second half of 2005 in Manziana and will last for two months. The team for accompaniment will be made up of Brothers Gaston Robert (Canada), Maurice Goutagny (the Hermitage), and Brother George Fontana (USA).

Third Age spirituality program for Spanish and Portuguese-speaking brothers
This program will be held in Manziana from August 10th to October 10th. The Director will be Brother David Aranda (Mediterranean Province) and the assistant director Brother Diamantino Duque (Compostela).

5. EVANGELICAL USE OF GOODS
On February 5th the General Council approved a plan of discernment for the Evangelical Use of Goods. Each Province will receive a copy via the Internet. Also a CD ROM containing the plan in the four languages of the Institute, as well as some documents to help put the plan into practice.

6. GOVERNMENT
The General Council drew up plans for a meeting of new Provincials from June 16th to 25th in Rome. For those involved, details and program information will be sent out in the next Bulletin for Provincials.

7. PATRIMONY

Patrimony Team named
The General Council, welcoming input from the gathering in December, has named six brothers as members of the Patrimony Team: Paul Sester, Jaume Parés, Michael Green, Aureliano Brambila, Ivo Strobino, and André Lanfrey, who will coordinate this group. Members will assume the direction of “Marist Notebooks” and coordinate the many tasks involved in research and the dissemination of our Marist spiritual patrimony. This will be a consultative body for the General Council. The team will be installed formally at a meeting in the General House May 24th to 28th.

Development planning for Marist sites
The General Council, in coordination with the Province of the Hermitage, will undertake a broad survey of the brothers throughout the Institute to develop a “master plan” for Marist sites. This will take into account preservation and architectural renovations, pastoral animation, as well as technical, financial, esthetic, and legal considerations. A joint commission of 5 brothers from the Hermitage and five named by the General Council (representing the Marist world) will oversee and accompany the entire project and the survey. It is hoped that this master Plan will be ready for presentation at the General Conference in September 2005.

8. ARCHIVES

a) Archives and document management
A year ago the General Council commissioned an Italian company that specializes in archive systems to come up with a “Model for document management” best suited to the needs of the General Administration and its archives. This study has been completed, and as a result three people have been hired to work closely with Brother Jean-Pierre Cotnoir to sort archive documents that are still awaiting classification.
As for the future, based on the findings of this company’s study, we have opted for an all-inclusive management model; one that classifies and archives not only printed documents, but also digital ones, following up on their workflow. To accomplish all this, the General Council has entered into an agreement with the Hermitage Province to use the software known as Documentum that the Province started using a couple of years ago, and for now, the same computer infrastructure.
It is hoped that this new system can be operational for the General Administration in September 2004. We believe this will facilitate current work, and also efforts to locate and consult documents in the future. In addition, the accord with the Hermitage Province means that two important document centers in the Institute (the Hermitage, linked to our earliest years, and the General Administration) will soon be interconnected, using the latest technology to make the wealth of our patrimony available for everyone

b) Hiring lay personnel
One-year contracts have been signed by Luigia Romani, to be the vice archivist; and by Emanuela Lisciarelli (for French-language work), Annamaria Ruggiero (English), and Emanuel Quintas (Spanish and Portuguese), to be secretaries for classifying documents that have not as yet been processed. Since mid-January, Brother Jean-Pierre Cotnoir and his team have been making steady progress.

c) The choice of Documentum
To facilitate cataloguing documents that are being turned out by the General Administration, software called “Documentum” is now being used. This program encompasses all phases of document management. The Hermitage Province already uses it and has established a virtual communications channel between Ste.-Foy-lès-Lyon and Barcelona. Beginning in the second half of this year, by means of Documentum, Rome will be incorporated into this virtual network.

9. FINANCIAL MATTERS
The General Council has approved the General Administration’s budgets for 2004.
In spite of efforts to reduce expenditures, the strength of the euro against the dollar has brought about a significant imbalance in the accounts of the General Administration, whose income is in dollars while most of its expenditures are in euros. The per capita, constant for the last ten years, has been raised by 25%. Expenditures in the 2004 budget are distributed this way: 49% for the General House, the General House communities, and the Centers for spirituality (Escorial, Manziana, and Notre Dame de l’Hermitage); 26% for solidarity grants; 13% for financial management and salaries; 10% for the General Council and its Commissions; and 2% for other services.

10. GENERAL CONFERENCE: TIME AND PLACE, PREPARATORY COMMISSION
At the halfway point of his term, Brother Superior General usually convokes a General Conference that brings together all the Provincials and District Superiors in the Marist world. The next General Conference will take place September 5th to 30th, 2005. The Council would like it to be in Sri Lanka. The Preparatory Commission is composed of five brothers: Luis García Sobrado, Peter Rodney, Pedro Herreros, Jean Ronzon (Secretary General) and, most likely, a brother from Sri Lanka.

Death of Brother Alessandro
POSTULATOR GENERAL AT THE TIME OF FATHER CHAMPAGNAT’S BEATIFICATION
Brother Alessandro (Giovanni di Pietro) passed away in Carmagnola, Italy on March 2nd. He was born in Vivaro Romano in the Province of Rome on August 3rd, 1908. From 1949 until 1976 he served in the General Administration as Procurator General, Postulator General, and General Councilor. During his term as Postulator, on May 29, 1955, Pope Pius XII beatified Marcellin Champagnat.
Brother Alessandro was graced with exceptional human and religious gifts. On January 30, 2002 in Rome, he was presented with the award “Just Among the Nations” given by the Yad Vashem Hebrew organization for his help in protecting Jewish families during the Nazi occupation of Rome during World War II. Following the funeral Mass, the burial took place nearby in Rome’s Verano Cemetery. A nephew of Brother Alessandro, Brother Benedetto Termini, is also a Marist.

Evaluation and expectations
SECTOR OF INDIA
The sector of India has an interesting history. It was founded ‘by accident.’ In 1968 some Sri Lankan Brothers went to India to study. They so impressed fellow students that Indian men decided to become Brothers.
With the outbreak of ethnic violence in Sri Lanka in 1983, Sri Lankan Brothers were no longer able to care for the young Brothers in India. After years of makeshift arrangements, in 1990 the two Australian Provinces agreed to assume joint responsibility for the Sector of India on behalf of the General Council. An administrative structure was set in place for the following five years.
Every five years since 1990, this unique arrangement has been evaluated. This year Brothers Nicholas Fernando from Sri Lanka, Mike Sexton of the Melbourne Province, and Peter Rodney, General Councilor conducted the evaluation. The evaluation has unfolded against a background of restructuring and the planning for future administrative structures in South Asia. The Australian Provinces have decided that the time is right to conclude their administration of the Sector. At the same time, the Brothers of the Province of Sri Lanka-Pakistan have been discussing their future within the region of South Asia.
The picture above was taken at the Sector meeting on the final day of the Evaluation process. This is a very young Sector of 24 Brothers. Four of those attending the meeting professed first vows only a week earlier at the Tudella Novitiate in Sri Lanka. Another four Brothers are studying at the Marist Asia Pacific Center in Manila, Philippines.

Letters from Brother Superior General
TO THE YOUNG BROTHERS AND OLDER BROTHERS
Brother Seán, Superior General, has just written his second letter to the young brothers (those less than 40 years old). Also a first one to our older brothers (65 and older) entitled “Worth the gift of my life, the length of my years…” Each letter is personalized and will be mailed out shortly.

Office of the Postulator General
CAUSE OF BROTHER BERNARDO
At a meeting at the Vatican last November 18th, the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints examined the cause of Brother Bernardo (Plácido Fábrega Julià), martyred for the faith in Spain on October 6, 1934.
It has just published a 65-page report. This is its conclusion: “At the end of the process, the nine Consulters voted unanimously to back a declaration that the Servant of God Brother Bernardo Fábrega Julià, a member of the Marist Brothers, be proclaimed a martyr for Christ if that be the desire of the Holy Father.” An ordinary congregation of Cardinals and Bishops is due to follow this meeting.
Before moving on to the beatification phase, Brother Bernardo’s cause will await the completion of a corresponding study about Brother Laurentino and companions, martyrs. Notwithstanding, the cause for Brother Bernardo looks very promising.

Focus on Marist Education
MARIST-CHICAGO PEER LEADERS WALKING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF MARCELLIN
A unique program at Marist High School in Chicago is helping students to not only learn by example but lead by example.
The program, Peer Leadership, is made up of 55 seniors who work as aides to each of the teachers participating in the Marcellin Program.
Students who become Peer Leaders are assigned to one particular class for the entire year. Typically there are three Peer Leaders per class. These take on a great amount of responsibility throughout the year, helping the teacher individualize his or her classroom to best meet the needs of each student.
Under the teacher’s direction, Peer Leaders have opportunities to conduct classroom discussions, assist in homework assignments, oversee small groups, tutor students individually, and assist with course preparation.
Brother Vito Aresto, who initiated the Peer Leadership program, points out that it allows seniors who have already demonstrated academic success to use the gifts and talents that God has given them in order to help others. “This program,” he says, “is an excellent way for students to ‘give back’ with compassion and understanding and help younger students in need of assistance.”

“Want peace? Work for justice!”
NATIONAL JUSTICE FESTIVAL IN AUSTRALIA
January 7-11 the 12th National Justice Festival took place in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. The Marist Brothers in Melbourne organize this gathering every two years. This year 270 people attended.
Originally known as the National Youth Festival, the brothers launched this initiative in response to the Church’s calls inviting people to commit themselves to act in solidarity with the poorest and most marginalized.

Sowers of hope
100th ANNIVERSARY OF THE MARIST BROTHERS IN ALEPPO, SYRIA
In August 1904, four Marist brothers arrived in Aleppo, Syria to take over the direction of a Catholic school. Later they worked at two other Catholic schools in the city. In 1932 “Collège Champagnat” was built, owned by the brothers. However, in 1967, both this school and the one they were running in Damascus were taken from them. After that the brothers worked at “Collège Amal” and also became very involved in scouting activities, catechizing, accompanying youth, and promoting campaigns in solidarity with people in need. Next August 15th to the 21st there will be a series of celebrations in Aleppo marking the 100th anniversary of Marist presence in the city. “Sowers of hope” has been chosen as the slogan for these events, and organizers have also designed an official logo. Syria became a Marist Province with 65 brothers in 1920. In 1940 it reached its zenith with 120 brothers. Today, a new dawn is breaking for vocations in Syria and Lebanon: of the twelve brothers belonging to that region, there are four in temporary vows.

Latin America
MARIST NGO’S MEET
A meeting of Latin American NGOs will take place May 6-9, 2004 at Centro Villa María in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. All Marist NGOs and Marist Solidarity offices that have programs serving the needs of people in Latin America have been invited to take part in this assembly. In addition to SED and BIS, organizations participating in the gathering will include FUNDAMAR; NORANDINA (Colombia-FUNDEMAR, Ecuador and Venezuela); FUNDACION MARISTA (Argentina and Uruguay); RED MARISTA, the SED delegation in Paraguay; GESTA (Chile); SANTA MARIA DE LOS ANDES (Bolivia and Peru); groups representing Mexico; and three Brazilian organizations: IMS (Belo Horizonte), AVESOL, and PROACAO.

NEWS IN BRIEF
- On February 26th Colegio Marista Rosario in Porto Alegre, Brazil kicked off celebrations to mark the centenary of its establishment. Numerous commemorative events are planned throughout this new school year.
- Brother Roberto González, from Buenos Aires, passed away in Luján, Argentina at the beginning of February. He was 92 years old. In 1949, together with Jesuit Father Ernesto Dann Obregón and Brother Septimio Walsh, Brother Roberto founded the Catholic Education Council’s Institute for Teacher Training (Spanish initials, CONSUDEC), in which he served as secretary and legal representative.

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