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“A dream come true” in Coronel Oviedo, Asuncion



Brothers and Lay People in Paraguay - Sharing a Formation Experience

25/02/2010: Paraguay

Since the beginning of 2009, we had been dreaming of finding a way to create in FMS Paraguay an experience of Marist formation in which both Brothers and Lay People take part. The Laity Secretariat has been promoting such experiences in order to heighten awareness and dialogue between lay people and Brothers. The dream came to fulfillment in the Casa de Encuentros, a conference center located in the town of Coronel Oviedo about 134 kilometers from Asuncion.

Eight Brothers, six postulants and thirty-six lay people took part in the program. In the group were individuals who live the Marist charism in distinctly different ways. The participants included parents, youth ministers, teachers, administrators, ancillary staff, etc.

The program was led by four lay people (Ignacio Villar, Obdulia Benitez, Aldo Martinez Marisa Armoa) and Brothers Juan Torrelles and Francisco Romero (Pachi). We also had the supportive presence of Raul Amaya, a layman from Chile, and Brother Pau Fornells. Thanks so much, Raul and Brother Pau, for sharing with us your life experience and your familiarity with this developing Marist reality.

Over the six days of the program, we focused upon two broad topics: (1) deepening our faith experience and our different vocations; (2) the ways in which we are moving the Marist mission forward. The days were marked by family spirit, mutual trust and great joy. The upbeat atmosphere came across in singing, dancing, small bits of theatre, a community outing, celebrations.

We who were involved in the program believe that it was a very good experience. We felt that it gave us the chance to listen to one another in depth, and to be open to accepting our disparate experiences. We especially underlined the value of experiences shared by Lay People and Brothers in small communities. The program at Casa de Encuentros helped us feel like a community, close in spirit to one another and ready to move forward together with both our positive points and our limitations.

The small-community experience has helped us to know ourselves better, to appreciate who and what we are, and to adopt new approaches in creating, through our distinct vocations, a more efficacious co-responsibility for the Marist mission. I must stress that the overall experience took place with a keen feeling of confidence in God, who creates history with us every day, and in whose hands we place our fears, anxieties, dreams, failings.

We could sense among us a keen desire to bring together in a common cause, those who are strongly committed and attached to the charism, both Brothers and Lay People.

I conclude with a phrase of Xaverian Father Jesus Osorno, from Yarumal, Colombia: “If dreams are held only individually, they remain merely dreams; but when shared by a group, the dreams come true.”

May Mary and Marcellin help us to “go in haste to a new land,” the new land which Jesus has prepared for Marist Paraguay.

Brother Francisco Romero

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