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26 November

Saint Conrad
1947: Birth of Brother Seán Sammon, 12th Superior General

Marist Calendar - November

Mission and Laity



The General Council reaches the Marist Regions of Brazil and the “Southern Cone” (3)

05/11/2008: Argentina - Photo gallery

This day’s work (October 29th)focused on the follow-up of mission and laity related policies that each Province is implementing in response to the orientations provided by the General Chapter.
The work was described yesterday afternoon by recalling the experience of the Assembly on Marist Mission and the joint formation meetings of brothers and laypeople at Les Avellanes and Quito. After having assessed the impact of these event in the respective Provinces, as well as their follow-up in the provincial programmes, today the focus was on the challenges brought about by the events for the future of the Provinces and Districts. The contributions to the assembly can be divided into different subjects: identity, mission, belonging, formation, participation and animation. We will give a synthesis of the most significant points that were discussed during the assembly.


We need more reflection aiming at clarifying the identity of both brothers and laypeople and to establish this identity through meetings, reflections and shared decisions. With regard to the brothers, it is necessary to better highlight their identity as men of God in the service of others.

With regard to the laity, the assembly wanted a profile to be drawn of the lay Marist receiving a vocation, to outline the difference between a Marist layperson and a plain collaborator, because the motives and interests of laypeople can be significantly different. The process of vocational consolidation, shared by brothers and laypeople alike, should promote both their identities so that the model of the brothers does not prevail over that of the laity. The Institute should recognise the Marist laity as an opportunity and not fear them like a threat of people who would take over the brothers’ place.


It is necessary to go deeper into the heart of mission, to share the challenges that rise from the Institute’s relevant documents and the reality of the most needy. It was suggested to engage in a new process of vocational pastoral care, formation, and deepening of Marist spirituality, of personal, community and family accompaniment, in connection to the Institute.


The reflection on the sense of belonging to the Institute called for a response to the movement of the laity. It is necessary to study the legal aspects of co-responsibility and belonging from a civil and canonical point of view. One suggestion was to define different degrees and forms of belonging to the Institute, in order to shape the current way of living shared mission in the congregation within new structures and new juridical and canonical forms. It was stressed, however, that the bond of the laity seems to be not so much with the Institute itself, but rather with the charisma of Marcellin. One brother insisted that it is necessary to clarify what we mean by Marist charisma (charisma = mission + spirituality).

Some concrete realities are beginning to show a clear identity within the Institute: the Champagnat Movement of Marist families is one, as well as some experiences of joint fraternity of brothers and laypeople. There is an increasingly clear desire for experience in mixed communities, made up of laypeople that receive a vocation, with an open commitment to the Marist charisma expressed in different forms of belonging. And there is a growing interest for joint vocational pastoral care, of brothers and laypeople addressed to brothers and laypeople.


Mendes offered new formation programmes, both for brothers and laypeople. It is necessary to keep the “flame” of Mendes burning, through a process that nourishes the experience born during the International Assembly on mission.
During the assembly there were frequent remarks, in different nuances, on the joint formation of brothers and laypeople, insisting on the development of joint formation projects of brothers and laypeople in order to accompany the different stages of belonging that are outlined. In this regard, it will be necessary to consider the various formation projects that are beginning in the Provinces. These new perspectives stress the need to prepare the brothers to this change and prepare the formators for this new model. The brothers underline that, in Brazil as well as in the “Southern Cone”, they will continue the experience of Quito. They propose therefore to promote joint regional formation structures for brothers and laypeople, to form the leaders and accompany the process.


With regard to the concrete participation of the laity in Marist life it is a matter of making room for concrete experience with a sharing of spirituality, mission and responsibility. It is necessary to define what will be done after Mendes, with regard to work with the laity and in terms of new orientations for the Institute. After all this mobilisation of people, involving laypeople and brothers, where do we want to go? Which new steps should be taken? It seems necessary to start and progressively walk on the path of participation to the Marist charisma.


For the animation of all that concerns the policies of mission and laity, it is a matter of involving first of all the directors of mission and spirituality, so that they may be the first to give dynamism to these works. A greater degree of sharing of what is done in each place of the region was also seen as necessary. Finally, in the coming years the planning of major events should take into account the need to benefit more from them and the necessity to take them to a deeper level.

Tour and visit to Mar del Plata

The afternoon was devoted to visit Mar del Plata, the “Peralta Ramos” College, directed by the brothers, where the Eucharist was celebrated, and the “Forefathers’ Laguna”, the place of memory of the first evangelisation of the land. A “churrasco” (grilled meat) enjoyed with typical music and “gaucho” dances put a full stop to the day.

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