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25 November

Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Marist Calendar - November

16 to 20 August 2009

 

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Meeting of Provincials of Arco Norte

11/09/2009: Canada

During these recent years, the provinces of the Institute, at the invitation of the General Council, have been regrouping themselves into 7 large Regions, in order to share the life, challenges, and needs of their respective milieux. The region of Arco Norte counts six Marist Provinces of some 685 brothers. The meeting of 16 to 20 August brought together: Norandina (Laurentino Albalá), Central America (Hipólito Pérez), Mexico Central (Fernando Mejia Pérez), Mexico Occidental (Ernesto Sanchez Barba), United States of America (John Klein) and Canada (Bernard Beaudin). But because three of the Provincials had had their mandate extended because of the General Chapter, they were accompanied by their designated successors: Libardo Garzón Duque (Norandina), Ricardo Uriel Reynozo (Mexico Central) and Ben Consigli (United States of America). Brother Pedro Herreros, general councillor, also joined the group for the occasion.

This was the second meeting of the Provincials of Arco Norte since the enlarged General Council of last Autumn. The first was held in Guatemala, in March 2009; as well as becoming more familiar with one another, the Provincials had presented their Province, the challenges, and the projects underway. The aim of this second meeting was relatively simple: while getting better acquainted, the Provincials had lengthy exchanges on the challenges facing the Region and its Provinces, and outlines of possible solutions and cooperation envisaged at the inter provincial level. And as the meeting was held in Canada, Brother Bernard had planned a programme to allow the Brothers to visit several communities and certain important works of the Province. Thus, two days were spent in the enchanting surroundings of Camp Marist on Lac Morgan, in the service of youth for more than 50 years, and the following two in the region of Québec and Montréal, in order to meet as many Brothers as possible and to go to the heart of projects full of hope for the Province: Vallée-Jeunesse of Valcartier, for young people in difficulty at school or in society, and the communities of hospitality and accompaniment, the fruits of the last Provincial Chapter. Time and distance prevented them from seeing the places of insertion of the two « Ad Gentes » communities in Canada, but Brother Pedro was able to pay a visit to the community at Gatineau.

It was important, we believe, for the Provincials to become better acquainted with the Marist Province of Canada with its challengers and needs. The Canadian Provinces have often been perceived as favoured from many points of view, but the effects of the quiet revolution of the last 40 years have radically changed the face of society and Church. Québec has lost the reference points of its deep Christian culture and its powerful Catholicism: coming into contact more directly will have allowed better discernment of how inter-provincial cooperation may become a stimulant for our reciprocal places of insertion.

It must be considered that this meeting of the Provincials of Arco Norte answered a need for sharing and collaboration, for very soon after their return to their respective Provinces, the participants expressed their satisfaction with this first contact on Canadian soil: « marvellous experience, very rich; feeling of belonging and brotherhood; family spirit and the welcome of the Brothers; richness and adaptation of the Marist mission today; unforgettable moments… the province of Canada has a vitality and a power of adaptation which must be admired… I have been filled with hope on seeing the hopeful serenity of the old Brothers, their very brotherly joy and their great sense of humour… I have been greatly impressed by the amiability, kindness and generosity of the welcome received in all the communities visited… I have noticed among you that, in spite of aging, one can be fruitful in adapting, as are the communities of hospitality… I make myself the clear echo of a promise to help Marist life in Canada with the Brothers of my province. First of all and above all: God! » These are some of the testimonies of gratitude received from the participants.

For Brother Bernard Beaudin and the Canadian confrères, it was a pleasure and an honour to have welcomed this important delegation of our Arco Norte Region. The participants, as well, wish by means of these lines, to thank the Brothers of the different communities which welcomed them: Résidence Laval, Maison du Lac, the communities of Rawdon, Château-Richer, Valcartier, Drummondville, the Fraternité Notre-Dame and Willowdale. All recognized that they were among brothers. Finally, let us say that the Provincials agreed to profit by the General Chapter to be able to meet again and see how, in practice, to follow up on certain paths of mutual aid which were traced out during these days of meeting, exchange, and reflection.

An opportunity was offered them to visit and pray at the Sanctuary of Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré and at the Oratory Saint-Joseph of Mont-Royal. The mother and the spouse of Mary received the mission of communicating with our Ordinary Resource and presenting the bouquet of intentions and prayers offered to give the Brothers and lay Marists of Arco Norte and the whole Institute a NEW HEART FOR A NEW WORLD.
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F.G.H. / bb

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