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Marist Bulletin - Number 264

 

Marist Blog: What do you see in the night? (Br. Emili Turú)
05/10/2006

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The section “Marist blogs” of our site www.champagnat.org, set up last May, presents some subjects of reflection that merit the interest of the readers. We thought that they would also merit the attention of the readers of the Bulletin.
Today we gather here some reflections from Brother Emili Turú, General Councilor. In sending these texts we are trying to animate you to join the reflexion by sending your comments through our web page.


Does youth ministry have a future with us?
04/10/2006

At the end of the month of August, I had the chance to participate in a meeting with the Provincial co-ordinators of Marist Youth Ministry (MYM) in America. This meeting took place at Mendes in Brazil. Nearly all the participants were young people, brothers and laypeople, all very committed in MYM.
It was a great opportunity to better understand and share the experience in the different Provinces, as well as proposing some important advances in view of greater mutual support and better co-ordination at the continental level.
I was very impressed by the great interest of all the participants in making things the best possible, as well as by their great affection for young people, of whom they often spoke as “protagonists” and not only as passive receptors of a ministry action.
“The desire to respond to the calls of the young people of our time burns in our hearts and nourishes our dream of building a civilisation of love.” This is how the participants expressed themselves at the end of the meeting in an open letter. I must admit that I also felt my heart burning and felt a breath of fresh air that did me a lot of good. And I wondered what the participants in this meeting had in particular… perhaps they are in direct contact with young people? Perhaps they are trying to evangelise in creative way?… In any case, I perceived an enthusiasm that I would love to find more often in my travels throughout the Institute.
All of this made me think of the importance of the MYM; because it is a privileged means of evangelising young people, perfectly in the line of our mission, and because it allows direct contact with young people (and enthusiasm) to be renewed, contact that had been broken for some time.
The truth is that in the Institute there are Provinces that are very committed to MYM, others that are less so and still others where the concept does not even exist. Some questions come to mind: What reasons do they have who support that the MYM should be a privileged means in the Province? Why does it not get off the ground in some places, or practically not exist?



The point of view of victims
08/09/2006

The commentary of Brother Georges Sabé in his last forum article concerning the war in Lebanon is particularly striking because it is written in the region itself. This reminds me of a phrase that I once heard: “we think with our feet’, alluding to the importance of the physical place where we find ourselves when we form our thoughts.
Do we try to see the conflicts from the point of view of innocent victims? Can we put ourselves in the shoes of thousands of children who suffer the consequences of the decisions of adults who choose violence?
At the end of July, UNICEF informed us that two million children died during the conflicts of the last ten years. More so, during the armed conflicts, children are often the ones who are the most traumatised physically and psychologically. Since 2003, more than fourteen million children have been obliged to be relocated to the interior or exterior of their countries. Each year, from eight thousand to ten thousand children die or remain mutilated due to anti-personnel mines.
Among the most frequent abuse against the rights of the child, let’s mention the abduction of children, sexual abuse and the recruitment of children as combatants. In fact, more than 250,000 minors continue to be exploited as child-soldiers by groups and armed forces throughout the world.
In this context, the new presence before the United Nations at Geneva (Committee for the Rights of the Child) that we have just instituted seems to me to be more current than ever before. A presence that will fight in order to obtain structural changes so that the rights of children will be respected in all the countries, but it also needs to combine this action with the indispensable work of accompanying the victims.
The Champagnat Group of Young People are already doing this in Lebanon. Despite the shortage of fuel, these young people have continued to meet each week to pray. As well as that, they are realising a solidarity plan with refugees coming from the south of Lebanon: manual works, games, tournaments, moments of sharing and discussion, etc. They have also opened a place to pray in common, where Moslems and Christians can pray together for peace and reconciliation.
Isn’t that a way of seeing conflicts from the point of view of the victims?


One heart, one mission
13/06/2006

At this moment, practically all the Provinces of the Institute are engaged in the preparation of the Marist International Mission Assembly which will take place in September 2007 in Mendes (Brazil) and whose slogan is ‘One heart, one mission.’
Thousands of people, brothers and laypeople, meeting in hundreds of small groups on the five continents, are sharing their Christian life and their commitment regarding the Marist mission, and looking towards the future.
In a recent communication from Quebec (Canada), Mr Michel Beaulac and Brother Jean-Denis Couture informed us that more than 120 people (laypeople and brothers) are participating in the process. They added some other interesting news: the two Provincial infirmaries have formed three groups of elderly brothers (about 75 in total) which are committed to holding between three and five special prayer meetings to accompany not only the reflection done in their Province, but also that of all the groups of the Marist world.
“It was as if some little fires were being lit here and there,” they say at Quebec. It is a beautiful image to express a similar impression in the entire Institute.
What is being produced in your neighbourhood? Do you want to share what you see happening in the preparation for the international Assembly? I invite you to do so through this blog.
As you would have been able to verify, these ‘Marist blogs’ transform themselves into useful spaces for dialogue and free expression; many thanks to all those who have used them to enrich ourselves as we read them, and thanks in advance to those who will respond to my invitation today.


Signs of hope
12/05/2006

It is common today to claim that we do not live in a time of change, but a change of time. That produces a certain confusion for it destabilises us by questioning beliefs and traditional customs.
A lot say they feel as though they were in a dark night, where it is not only difficult to see something, but also where one loses the sense of time. When will the sun finally dawn?
This is not the first time that religious life has experienced a change of time, a period of dark night. History teaches us that only the congregations that have been able to adapt to the new times have survived. If we accept that religious institutes are like living organisms, we can therefore think about the importance of HOMEOSTASIS, that group of phenomena of autoregulation that interacts with the external milieu. A healthy system, therefore, is capable of reacting and adapting when a CHANGE is produced in the external milieu. If one resists change, one falls sick and dies.
“What do you see in the night?” The question of the prophet Isaiah is addressed to all of us today who are asking for signs of hope.
Personally, I consider that the Marist Institute has made a remarkable effort to adapt since the years of the II Vatican Council, even though this has brought suffering and tension. I believe that we can apply what is said in Starting Afresh from Christ¸ a document from the Vatican published in May 2002:
“In recent years consecrated life has undertaken paths of deepening, purification, communion and mission. In the realm of community dynamics, personal relationships have intensified and at the same time intercultural exchanges, recognized as a benefit and stimulus for the institutions themselves, have been strengthened. The praiseworthy effort to find an exercise of authority and obedience which affirms, enlightens, brings together, integrates and reconciles, more closely inspired by the Gospel, is appreciated. In response to the Popes recommendations, sensitivity to the requests of Bishops is increasing and there is a growing collaboration among Institutes in the areas of formation and the apostolate.
Relationships within the whole Christian community are improving with a mutual and complimentary interchange of gifts among the various ecclesial vocations… From simple formal relationships one willingly moves to a communion lived in mutual charismatic enrichment. This effort can be helpful to all Gods people, since the spirituality of communion supplies institutional reality with a soul by prompting a trust and openness wholly in accord with the dignity and responsibility of every baptized person.
The interventions of the members in the Plenary and the reports presented called forth admiration for the varied missionary activity of consecrated persons… A word of thanks is especially extended to those who find themselves on the front lines. Availability for the mission is attested to with a courageous outreach to people who are still waiting to hear the first proclamation of the Gospel. Perhaps more than ever before, precisely at a time when some Institutes are experiencing a decrease in numbers, many new foundations have come into being. Looking through the lessons of history for an answer to the hopes of humanity, some Gospel-inspired initiatives and daring have compelled consecrated men and women into difficult positions even to the risk of and the effective sacrificing of life. (Nos 7 and 9)
It is true that we are still in the milieu of the night, but I see many signs of hope dawning as a new day breaks.
And you, what do you see in the night?

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