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Marist Brothers’ European Forum Evangelization and Concern for the Least Favored

23/07/2009: Spain - Photo gallery

From July 2 to 5, seventy participants (Brothers and lay people) from the five FMS European Provinces met at the Marist Residence in Valladolid, Spain. The meeting, under the title “Marist Brothers’ European Forum,” had been called by CEM, the European Marist Conference

The goal of the meeting was to establish deeper bonds among the participants: Marists of Europe, people dedicated to serving young people, particularly the least favored, people on the lookout for the most efficacious way of directing our mission and improving it.

The Forum saw itself as a follow-up to meetings held previously: the one on Social Service Programs (Guardamar 2005), and the one entitled “One Heart, One Mission” (Guardamar and Mendes 2007).

The first part of the gathering was given over to reflection on the needs which today’s European youth face in the concrete situations of their lives. To help us in the reflection, two dynamics were employed. The first was listening to a presentation about young people made by a group of students from the University of Alcala de Henares. The second was a series of workshops led by members of the Hermitage Province.

In the second dynamic of the meeting, a large number of Marist experiences were surfaced. They included contemporary school-based responses to students in need, as well as social service projects and non-formal education. The Spanish NGO, “Solidarity, Education and Development” (SED) and the Rome-based “Marist Foundation for International Solidarity” (FMSI) each had the chance to make a presentation that included explaining their goals as agents of Marist solidarity.

The meeting drew to a close with a third phase. Here, the participants were invited to group together by Provinces in order to gather up their thoughts and to offer suggestions suitable each group for its own Province. The gathered suggestions were brought to the Eucharist which concluded the meeting in a joyous mood.

Judging by the comments of the participants, the meeting was quite supportive, one that took place in a spirit of family and with Marist simplicity, one that offered hope and encouragement for finding new and helpful ways into the future.

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