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IV Interamerican Meeting on Marist Apostolic Spirituality

14/05/2009: Venezuela - Photo gallery

“Daily experiences are special places of encounter with God. We find God’s presence in creation, in the events of every day – work and relationships, silence and noise, joys and sorrows, achievements and anguish, tragedy and death” (Water from the Rock, 54). With this conviction and with the joy of meeting as brothers, we held at Los Teques, Venezuela, the IV Interamerican Meeting on Marist Apostolic Spirituality, from 16 to 23 April.

With the intention of sharing our experiences of life and of faith, 39 representatives came together from the Provinces of Cruz del Sur, Santa María de los Andes, Río Grande do Sul, Brasil Centro Sul, Brasil Centro Norte, América Central, México Occidental, México Central and Norandina ( host Province).

The periods of work were dedicated to forming ourselves in the fundamentals of our Spirituality: what we mean in speaking about it (with Br. José Miguel Caballero), the Marial aspect of our Spirituality (supported by Bros. Horacio Bustos and Ismar Portilla) and the Apostolic character (directed by Bros. Horacio and Mariano Varona, coordinator of the Interamerican Network).

We also deepened our prayer life, from the Word of God and from the daily events, as well as the view of faith on the reality of our poor peoples and on the richness of our cultures and differences. Two gifts of encounter were: in the first place, the shared table with the Marist community of the Colegio Champagnat of Caracas, whose Brothers offered us bread, wine, and their brotherly heart; in second place, the shared life from the dialogue with three religious communities inserted into the reality experienced by many men and women suffering poverty, marginalization, and displacement. The Little Sisters of the Gospel, The Little Sisters of Nazareth (both with the spirit of Charles de Foucauld) and the Marist Brothers of the community of “El Cristo” opened their doors to us, together with their humble lives, their hopes…

We had eight days of sharing, with the simplicity of Marist communities, the spirit which animates us to be, as religious and laity “new hearts for a new world”. We now have the mission of spreading through our local and provincial communities the message of hope and commitment we received in Los Teques.

Our profound thanks to the Norandina Province, to the district of Venezuela (represented by Br. José Luis Sebastián) and in particular to the community of Los Teques for their excellent care and courtesy in the details we encountered daily in our meeting. Thanks, too, to Br. Antonio Ramalho and the General Council for their support and accompaniment of RED.

Thanks to Bros. Mariano Varona (Santa María de los Andes), Horacio Bustos (Cruz del Sur) and José Miguel Caballero (Norandina) for organizing the meeting; to Br. Ismar Portilla (Norandina) for his insights on the presence of Mary as woman and disciple, and to all the Provinces participating in the creation of the Spirituality Network (RED), which is a clear response to one of the themes of reflection for the XXI General Chapter.

“Our present age is characterized by a thirst for spirituality. We disciples of Marcellin believe that our way to God is a gift to be shared with the Church and the world. If we are able to give witness in our daily lives to the vitality of this spirituality, people – particularly youth and children – will feel themselves attracted and invited to take it up as their own way to become “living water” (Water from the Rock, 42).

___________
Br. Rodrigo Espinosa Larracoechea (Secretary)

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