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The pastoral care of the young brothers

 

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The Enlarged General Council with the Marist regions of Brazil and Cono Sur (2)

01/11/2008: Argentina - Photo gallery

The work carried out by the Provincial Council of Marist Brazil and Cono Sur, accompanied by Brother Seán Sammon, Superior General and his Council was centred for the whole morning (october 28th) on a wide-ranging and detailed reflection on how the Brother Provincials and their Councils fulfil their task of pastoral care of the young Brothers.

The reflection was based on Brother Sean’s presentation on the experiences of the young brothers relative to their vision of the world, the Church, religious life and formation. In the first place he pointed out that in these times when one speaks of young brothers we are talking about those between approximately 18 and the 35 years of age. They all come from a world which has left far behind what was known as the post -Vatican Council II era. Passing on to an analysis of the situation he pointed out that in this period of life some critical points are raised in the life of the young brothers such as activism, sexuality and friendship, sexual orientation, personal prayer life, community life and lack of good guidance. Why be concerned?, asked Brother Seán: To better understand the current situation, to discover possible problems and find solutions both at individual level and regional level or at that of the whole Institute.

The rest of his intervention was devoted to looking at the way of life of the young brothers, highlighting the most significant incidents in times of change and growth. The objective of the first years of the mature life of the young brothers is characterized by learning what it means to be mature. At that point there are four areas that concern the young brother: identity, intimacy, his work, and finding mentors who can direct him in human and spiritual development.

The morning session concluded with some personal work in the first place, and later in groups, each of them made up of the Provincial Council of each Province or District, in which the brothers were able to share, in the first instance, the vision of the current situation concerning the qualities and characteristics of the young brothers to discover the challenges which those young men should confront.
A second topic for reflection for the groups dealt with the steps taken by the Province or District in the last three years to respond specifically to the young brothers preoccupations and concerns

The afternoon session gave rise to a highly inspirational dialogue between the brothers and Brother Seán on some pastoral questions that came up in the course of the group work, relating to the accompaniment of the young brothers. Brother Seáns professional competence is well known in offering advice to people in diverse states of life on the experience of sexuality and especially to those who have chosen religious life. One of the aspects in which young religious need advice and accompaniment is on how to live their sexuality. And so, the brothers taking part in the meeting have shared their concerns in the face of the difficulties which are raised in pastoral practice relative to experiencing sexuality and chastity.

During the second part of the afternoon session work began, following the programme, on mission and the laity. Basically attention was focussed on the international Mission Assembly, which took place in Mendes, and the meetings on formation of the brothers and lay people held in Les Avellanes and Quito. The brothers have had the opportunity to share the impact of these events in the respective Provinces as well as in the continuation of provincial programmes. The small interprovincial groups highlighted the challenges posed by these events for the future of the provinces and Districts.

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