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21 January

Saint Agnes
1952, First Marist Brothers foundation opened in Rwanda
1996, Brother Basilio Rueda, Superior General 1967-85, died in Guadalajara, Mexico

Marist Calendar - January

Brother Seán Sammon concludes the meeting



Meeting of the General Council with the young people of Brazil and Cono Sur (4)

30/10/2008: Argentina - Photo gallery

The final day of the meeting of the General Council with the young people of Brazil and Cono Sur has reached its conclusion. The morning began with a community prayer with a ritual inspired by the practice of an indigenous group from the Amazon. The participants placed themselves in a double circle around the image of the Good Mother, presiding from the centre. A serenely rhythmic melody, played on wind instruments, helped to create a favourable atmosphere so that the dance accompanied our community prayer. In that atmosphere of recollection and prayer the concluding work of the meeting began.

Gathered in small groups, the participants prepared a summary of the convictions that guide their way in life. The exhibition presented to the assembly brought together a collective credo which animates the young Marists who go on pilgrimage from Brazil and Cono Sur. Among other things they highlighted the following: The Marist charism is alive within us and it animates our lives. Jesus is our base, our foundation, the rock on which we build our existence. Mary is our partner on the way and Marcellin is the example for us to imitate. Our life is called to be lived in community, committed to service and solidarity. Lay people and brothers together want the continuance in our lives of those most characteristic Marist features of presence, family spirit, love of work and simplicity.

In the evaluation of the meeting the young people underlined in a special way the presence and closeness among the young people of the whole Council with the Superior General at its head. When Brother Superior General visits the Marist works and communities he meets with important people, with those who direct, with authorities; today we have had him here just like one of us. We thank the General Council for the simplicity with which they have treated and welcomed us, one of the young people remarked. And another addressed the Marist aspirants who participated in the meeting, telling them: During these days you have had the opportunity to hear the voices of the young people; may the interests of the young people serve them as support and animation in their life. And, finally, another voice pointed out that during these days the values of “inter-culturality and internationality have been experienced.

Brother Seán, in his intervention, at the end of the meeting, thanked the young people here for their presence in Luján, for having shared their hopes, their dreams, their concerns, their life of faith and their love for our Marist life and mission.

By way of summary Brother Seán underlined some intuitions and ideas that the young people shared with the General Council: You encourage us to fight against fear and misunderstanding, establishing regular spaces of dialogue among brothers, lay men and lay women. You encourage us to offer greater co-responsibility in the mission to offer new opportunities for mixed communities for brothers and lay people. And, finally to work towards clarifying the Marist identity of the brothers, of the lay men and women who claim as their own the Marist charism of Marcellin Champagnat.

Brothers Alberto Aparicio and Damián Provens, responsible for the vocational pastoral of the Province Cruz del Sur on whose shoulders was placed the responsibility of organizing this meeting in Luján, gave, on behalf of the whole animation team, a statue of the Virgen sin Rostro. The small statue, prepared in baked clay, was made in the Obra Comunitaria Marcelino Champagnat and hand painted. By that gesture they wanted to invite the participants to give a personal face to Mary through their own life.

Brother Demetrio, Provincial of Cruz del Sur, in his farewell speech pointed out: I wanted to be here as Provincial to tell the Province how important this meeting is . And he acknowledged the efforts of the Province and of the pastoral brothers which had made everything turn out very well.

On concluding these chronicles we give thanks to God and to the Virgin of Luján for having been able to share our life for these few days with so many young people who, in Brazil, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina, vibrate with the charism of Champagnat. They have been signs of the vibrancy of the youth and vocational pastoral that the brothers and the lay people animate in the provinces. Behind their faces and their experiences we have been able to sense the life that animates the Marist works and the communities of the brothers who open the doors of their houses to the young people. May God continue blessing this spiritual land.

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