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Meeting of Marist laity and brothers in Ecuador

23/04/2009: Ecuador

With mistaken impressions, doubts, and questions, but with much enthusiasm, the meeting of Brothers and lay men and women took place in Ecuador (4 - 5 April 2009). There were 34 participants in all. The criterion was to organize ourselves in a more structured way by assuming with fervour the Family Spirit in the Marist style.

We surveyed the history of the laity’s presence in the Church and especially in the Marist Institute, as a motivation, from the spirituality inspired in the document Water from the Rock, a writing which deeply influenced the year of Marist Spirituality, celebrated in the course of 2007.

We were aided by the text: “Guidelines for reflecting on the XXI General Chapter”, which invited us to continue discerning our identity and voluntary commitment in sharing Mission, Faith and Life together with the brothers. Furthermore, there was insistence on a work of vocational type, not only at the level of the brothers, but also directed to lay people who want to follow Jesus more closely, inspired by the charism of Marcellin Champagnat in their reality of life.

It is familiar to hear that we should respond to the call of Jesus from the realities of our personal, family, work and social lives, that it is then we put into play all the richness that we have received from the life of Jesus, Our Good Mother and Marcellin. In addition, we ought to map out ways of solidarity which help to give weight to the value of the human person independently of the historical context and the socio-economic context in which he struggles daily to live and to survive.

It is important to open areas of Faith and Life between brothers and lay persons, seeing that the mission, in some way, we are carrying on with great hopes and, at times, contradictions typical of a process which makes progress in accord with the realities, then revives the passion of Marcellin. It is vital to propose spaces of sharing between brothers and lay men and women in order to keep alive the call of the Church and the Institute to be witnesses of life to those we meet.

Formation is the fuel which animates us and drives us to keep on devoting ourselves to making Jesus Christ known and loved, among those persons who not only have need of our economic support or the daily prayers we can make, but of our personal surrender, free and whole, to the service of humanity and of our home called earth.

We lay people are invited to a common table where we share: prayer, experience, support, relaxation, formation… together with the brothers, everything is animated by a project of shared life, with the aim of helping us mutually and beginning to strengthen our identity from communion and respect, considering our specific differences in terms of the way of life we lead (Lay persons: single, married, separated, widow, widower...) and in a special way taking into account that all is for the greater glory of God.

We owe infinite gratitude to Claudia Rojas and to Br. Salvador Álvarez from Colombia who gave us a very good account of the Columbian experience. May Jesus, Mary, and Marcellin bless them forever.

________________
Raúl Cuasés – Coordinator of the meeting

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