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Fraternity of Our Lady of the Assumption completes 20 years

31/05/2009: Brazil

The foundation of the Fraternity, O. L. of the Assumption, took place on 8 December 1988, when the seed of the Champagnat Movement of the Marist Family was sown at a meeting in Apipucos, Recife, with the participation of some people from the “Colégio Cearense Sagrado Coração (Marista Cearense)” and other Marist centres, who felt attracted by the spirituality of Saint Marcellin. The animator of the meeting, Br. Achylles Scapin, pointed out that such a group would be an extension of the Marist Institute, fruit of a happy idea launched at the XVIII General Chapter of the Marist Brothers in 1985 (Constitutions, 164.4).

It is fitting to point out that the group was set up after the message of Br. Charles Howard, in 1990. This Brother welcomed the new members of the Marist Family, saying: “at the closing of the Champagnat Year, I receive you into the Institute as a gift from our Good Mother and I bless you from the heart.”

At the beginning of the 90s, other persons were invited to become acquainted with the Life Project of the ChMMF. Starting from this, the group began to grow, feeling themselves part of the Marist Family. We can say that this feeling grew stronger after the circular of Br. Charles Howard in 1991, and the publication of the Profile of a Fraternity.

The process continued through regional meetings co-ordinated by Br. Achylles Scapin. In the meetings, the group began to become more familiar with the four characteristic elements of the ChMMF, according to Br. Charles Howard: Spirituality, Charism, Communion and Mission.

At the end of the decade, the group felt it necessary to tie itself to concrete gestures of solidarity. From the year 2000 up to now, we have observed a quite significant spiritual growth, especially because of the regional retreats made each year. Fundamental elements during this period have been the reformulation of the Life Project, the Circulars of the recent Superior Generals, the Catechumenate and the Year of Marist Spirituality.

The Fraternity makes steady progress, seeking autonomy and identity. Each year, we take note that we are moving ahead under all aspects. It is appropriate to underline the creation of the Provincial Co-ordination Team, the construction of the Internal Regime and the Formation Plan, which supply us with help for the deepening of the spirituality. Our assessor, Br. Nuestro Salatiel Franciscano do Amaral, visits us twice a year.

In the Fraternity there is one person (member of the Fraternity for two years) who maintains the relationship bond with the Province of Central-North Brasil. Without a doubt, we observe that all are following steadfastly and with commitment. It is an unequivocal proof of fidelity to Marcellin’s charism. We are insisting on the date for the Movement to inaugurate a new reality: that of the Marist laity.

Many brothers have already realized that we are an extension of the Marist Institute, and so we have received a lot of support. Among them, we emphasize the Assessors at the provincial level, the Provincials, and the directors of the Colegio Marista Cearense, the pre-Postulancy, the Novitiate, and the Facultad Católica of Ceara.

Among the times important for our fraternity, we mention the annual retreat, the fortnightly meetings, the circulars of the Superior Generals, the pastoral visits of the Fraternity’s Assessor, the activities of the members in parochial ministry, the concrete gestures of solidarity…

Each time we feel more identified with the Movement. At the last meeting of the year, in December, we laid down new measures and programmes for the following year. On completing 20 years of the Fraternity, we are convinced that the ChMMF has done us much good, especially because we are trying to base our lives on the study of Marist and ecclesial themes, in prayer, fraternal communion and solidarity.

Currently we count on twelve participants: Flamarion Lopes, Fausto Guimarães, Madge Schaumam, Sebastiana Pina, Allan Alex, Mauricélia Nascimento, Norma Lúcia and the married couples, Graça and Edmilson Michiles, Francinete and Apolônio Fernandes, and Fabiana Nobre and Heráclito Vieira.

Each one tries to live as best possible and in his/her own style the charism of Saint Marcellin, which is made up of three elements: spirit (way of living human values), spirituality (way of living spiritual values) and mission (way of living apostolate-service in the Church).

During these 20 years, we have contributed to the creation of two new Fraternities. They are like our daughters. We continue supporting them whenever it is necessary.

Despite a way of growth, success and spiritual maturity, we recognize that we are still not prepared for an act of CONSECRATION. We request, therefore, the XXI General Chapter to designate a commission to draft, in conjunction with some lay people, the content of a PROMISE to be made publicly, voluntarily and freely by the members of the Fraternity in the presence of the parish or Marist community.

________________
Gonçalo Flamarion Lopes e Silva
Animator of the Fraternity/ Affiliate of the Institute

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