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Echoes of a televised Mass



60 years of Marist Brothers presence in Portugal

24/06/2008: Portugal

It is very easy to write an article for the WEB page when we receive it already written in finished form. That is what you will read below in a response received after the televised Mass in Lisbon, on June 8, the day on which the Province of Compostela celebrated 60 years of Marist Brothers’ presence in Portugal. The celebration occurred during the Year of Marist Spirituality.

“I have just watched the wonderful Mass transmitted by the Portuguese television channel TVI. The Mass was an authentic catechesis for me and I feel more and more close to the Marists. That is to say, closer to their pedagogy, to their way of educating. The hymns which were song during the Mass were beautiful, and they were performed almost to perfection by the choir of the Marist Brothers’ schools in Lisbon and Carcavelos.

“I knew very little of the Marist Brothers, really nothing at all, until I got to know them in listening to a teacher, formerly at a Marist school close to my city, who came to teach in my school. Unfortunately the Marist school was closed a few years ago. But from that time on, I have often been looking at information about the Congregation on its website. Very quickly I got information about this televised Mass. In addition, the “Marist” teacher at my school speaks about some Brothers who influenced her in a very positive way. They are already in heaven: Brother Santos, Brother Paulo and Brother Diamantino José among others.

With the information given to me by my friend (who calls herself Marist) and with the information from the Internet, I’ve started feeling that I too am a “Marist. I see that I would not have any difficulty in accepting and even living out many of their convictions about teaching. I am working in a nursery school and I have a true passion for educating the children. Maybe I’d have a bit more difficulty in living out some of their religious convictions because I am not a very practicing Christian, although I have my devotions.

After having watched the televised Mass and the program that followed it, I am convinced that I would like to work in a Marist School. What a pity that the Marist School close to my city has been closed down! Watching this beautiful Mass and the beautiful report regarding the work of the Marists in Portugal, I felt a great admiration for the work they and all their collaborators are doing. This work ranges from the most formal academic activities to other activities more related to solidarity or non-formal education. The more formal type of education could be seen quite well during the report after the Mass through references made to the Marist School of Lisbon. Actually I admired the great variety of activities, all of them being at the service of young people’s education. I came away with the impression that the students feel a very positive pride in being Marists. At the same time I think they will be living throughout their life the principles of Marist education given to them during their formation at the Marist school.

The Mass and the program that followed gave me even a greater desire to keep myself up to date about things Marist, their activities and their pastoral ministries. And through my Marist friend teaching at our school I will try to make contact with some Brothers so that I will know more directly and more deeply what the Marists are doing today, not only in Portugal, but all over the world. I no longer have any doubts that they are doing a beautiful work in education. And because of the educational work I am doing with children I now feel much closer to the Marist world.

This Marist report is valid for all of Portugal. Congratulations to the organizers of the celebration. I would ask them to continue to offer us some more gifts of this kind. For my part, I offer them a heartfelt thank you. I didnt get tired as I watched the program for almost two hours on television. I was living something that touched me deeply.

Mónica, Ponte de Lima, June 11th, 2008

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