Syria: Skill School, Aleppo
RELIGIOUS ORDERS AND NEW MOVEMENTS SHARE EXPERIENCES
Superiors General meet with new ecclesial communities
Leaders of men’s religious orders, representing over 200,000 members worldwide, have met to share experiences with men and women involved in new Church movements, affirming the important role these movements are playing in bringing new life to their orders. The groundwork is being laid for greater cooperation in the future.
The 61st semi-annual Assembly of the Union of Superiors General (USG) met in Rome from November 27th to the 30th to discuss the theme “Laity and religious together in meeting the challenges of the Third Millennium.” Approximately 140 Superiors General and 50 representatives of ecclesiastical movements and associations agreed to set up a framework for increasing contacts and deepening exchanges between both well-established and newer charisms in the Church.
Representatives of 14 movements and associations took part in the encounter: The Teresian Institute, Catholic Action, Community of the Beatitudes, the New Way Community, Communion and Liberation, San Egidio, the Arch, Word of Life, the Schoenstatt Movement, Focolare, the Salesian Movement, the Order of secular Franciscans, Christian Renaissance, and Renewal in the Spirit.
Five themes were seen to converge and hold out possibilities for shared effort between religious orders and Church movements: the fight against poverty, opposition to war, spirituality, inter-religious dialog, and proclaiming the Word.
The coming together of religious congregations and more recent movements is a relatively new development and emphasizes finding ways to work together effectively rather than focusing on charisms specific to particular organizations.
In explaining the Assembly’s agenda, Brother Álvaro Rodríguez, President of the USG, stressed the need “to unite our charisms to respond creatively to the new forms of dehumanization.”
Ten to fifteen years ago, some people thought that Church movements were about to replace religious orders. Today, however, the trend is toward seeing the two as complementing one another.
When new expressions of life appear in the Church, they usually don’t replace what went before but rather set in motion times of transformation. Nowadays, movements are fulfilling an important role in revitalizing the religious life.
Their unified effort to confront the challenges of the Christian mission is a way of heading out into deep waters. All of us are sensing a need to break out of self-centered ways of viewing our world.
As an example: in Sierra Leone orders and movements are working side by side to search for a way to end the country’s civil war. Congregations have asked for help from the San Egidio community based in Rome, given its experience in helping bring peace to other war-torn regions.
Marist vitality in Brazil
MARCELLIN INSPIRES NINE YOUNG MEN TO FOLLOW JESUS
Seven novices made their first profession on December 8th at the novitiate in Passo Fundo, Marist Province of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Having completed two years of prayer, meditation, discernment, community life, and pastoral ministry, they will continue their religious and secular studies at the scholasticate in Viamão.
On the same day at the Marist Formation Center.In Fortaleza, Brazil Norte Province, another two novices made their first vows.
Vicar General brings Chapter experience to brothers and lay teachers in China
MARIST WORKSHOP IN HONG KONG
Nine Brothers dedicated to our Marist apostolate in the bustling metropolis of Hong Kong met with Brothers Luis G. Sobrado, Vicar General and Robert Teoh for a five-day workshop at our St. Francis Xavier College in Kowloon. Twenty-two lay teachers from our two Marist schools joined them on the morning of November 30. The workshop examined the five calls of General Chapter.
Br. Luis was greatly impressed by the lay teachers’ respect and obvious affection for the Brothers. In the words of one teacher, “what distinguishes a Marist Brother is his honesty and transparency. When we speak with a Brother we know we have nothing to fear. It seems unthinkable to us to have a Marist school without the presence of a Marist Brother.”
In this fraternal, cosmopolitan atmosphere, the 20th General Chapter’s Message resonated with hope and peace: “We go forward together, brothers and lay people, in our mission to bring the joy of being brothers and sisters to everyone we meet.”
NEWS IN BRIEF
- An international conference on “Globalization and Catholic higher education: hopes and challenges,” organized by the Congregation for Catholic Education and the International Federation of Catholic Universities, took place at the Vatican from December 2-6.
There are 950 Catholic universities around the world, with about 3.8 million students, many belonging to other Christian denominations and different religions.