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Social mission assembly of the Mediterranean Province

09/05/2008: Spain

From 11th to 13th April, the first Social Mission Assembly of the Mediterranean Province took place in Guardamar (Alicante). The Provincial, Br. Manuel Jorques, summoned the meeting at the beginning of March; he invited the brothers, but he also encouraged the laypeople who were interested in coming, whether they are engaged or not in non-school-related social works.

Thirty brothers and forty laypeople responded to the Provincial Brother’s invitation, coming from all over the Province: from Syria, Lebanon, Italy and obviously from Spain. This entailed significant efforts to guarantee the simultaneous interpretation and publication of the documents in three languages: Spanish, Italian and Arabic.

The assembly was the fruit of the directives of the 2nd Provincial Chapter, which insisted on the importance of progressing on the path that leads to the poor, within our educational structures, and through the new forms of Marist presence.

The goals that were set for this meeting were threefold: on one side, to share the experiences of social mission from different parts of the Province; on the other, to reflect on the social dimension of the Marist mission; and third, to agree on a Social Mission Project for the Mediterranean Province for the future.

After the opening remarks, given by the Brother Provincial, the participants received a draft Project, to be developed through the contributions of the Assembly. Later, in line with the first of the objectives, the Assembly debated on the different experiences of social works in the Province. Br. Miquel Cubeles, coordinator of the Team of Marist Social Works of Catalonia, presented the work that is carried out in the Province of the Hermitage in this respect. There were also group meetings and plenary sessions to define the Project. Before the end of the Assembly, a survey of approval was carried out among the participants.

A small document with the conclusions will be sent to the communities, facilities and other social works, even though the Social Mission Project still needs to be reviewed and approved by the Provincial Council before its final draft.

From May 2007 to April this year, the Provincial Solidarity Team gathered once per trimester to prepare this Assembly.

There was a warm environment at all times during the three days; the participants gladly shared experiences and opinions in spite of the difficulties of language, which explains the positive outcome. It certainly tested the degree of coordination at a Provincial level, even on social issues. The Assembly was an opportunity to reinforce the integration of the Province – which is one of the priorities set by the last Provincial Chapter – and it was also useful to consolidate the presence of the Marists among the poor.

H. José Delgado García

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