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Province México Occidental

 

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Provincial Assembly, One Heart One Mission

21/04/2008: Mexico - Photo gallery

From April 4 to 6, 2008, the Marist Province of México Occidental held a Provincial Assembly with the aim of deepening the message that was issued by the «One Heart One Missio» International Assembly.

Teachers, ancillary staff, students, mothers and one father answered the invitation. One hundred and five Marist apostles, both Brothers and Lay, witnessed to the action of the Holy Spirit who reached out simply and forcefully all the way from Mendes, Brazil to Guadalajara, Mexico.

To begin with, some boys and girls who are studying at Champagnat College Tijuana offered a delightful dance performance. They thrilled us with their stylish and dynamic presentation. Then, the silence… Each one told his personal story, speaking of suffering and stolen dignity. The testimony offered by the street children: drugs, sexual abuse, alcoholism, children brought up in seemingly secure homes… We were left speechless, ill at ease, deeply upset…The presentation raised many questions in the minds of us who are responsible for education in the Marist congregation. After this part of the program, we went to pray. We have been made conscious of how important it is to open one’s eyes and to extend one’s hand to all those children whom at times we do not see.

Studying the Mendes’ message was the essential element of our group work. We all shared our impressions of the complete document. Producing a mandala, as was done at the Mendes Assembly, helped direct the participants towards prayer and towards placing Jesus Christ at the center of life.

We celebrated Eucharist, presided by Marist Father Ricardo Alonso. The Mass was filled with the breath, light and grace of the Holy Spirit. A heart, red in color and surrounded by flowers, along with our mandala, served to express our heart-felt desire to live as Marists. We had brought with us photos of our students both boys and girls. The photos served to bring the students close to us in sentiment, challenging us: we were being invited to live Marcellin Champagnat’s marvelous charism of love for young people, especially those most in need.

In order to remain close to the concrete realities of life in our communities, we worked as much on integrating the Mendes document into our «Provincial apostolic ministry program», as on sharing specific ideas about communicating and witnessing what we were in the process of experiencing.

In the typical Mexican way, we had a celebration, accompanied with a good drop of tequila taken in a warm, family atmosphere.

The participants were inspired by the experience and the message of the Mendes Assembly, which they had come to know.

We reflected on the implications of the Mendes’ message in each one’s life and in our communities, as well as on the place the message might have in the context of the «Year of Spirituality» and the «Provincial apostolic ministry program»

At the end we had a celebration during which Brothers and lay people volunteered to perform that biblical act of mutual service, washing of the feet. The action was meant to demonstrate that one is sent on mission; it also symbolized the commitment to share with others the life we have been given. Brother Victor Preciado, the Provincial, along with some of his Councilors gave each participant a small gift as a remembrance of being sent on mission and of being committed to it.

God was there. He touched our hearts. He shared his love with those who attended the meeting. He opened our eyes and ears to be attentive to the «cries of children and young people.» He asked for our hands, our lives, so that they might be life-giving and might manifest Him to others. Upon the countenance of all the participants, one could see both contentment and gratitude.

The Holy Spirit was there! The Spirit was breathing, was bringing new life, “that unquenchable fire fire that burns within, filling us with passion for the building of the Kingdom of God. This becomes the driving force of our lives as we allow the Spirit of Christ to lead us» (Water from the Rock, p. 14).

Alejandro Mayoral and Bro. Héctor Dessavre

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