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Provincial meeting of the Province of « Mediterránea »

26/01/2011: Spain

All were at the: directors, careers advisers, ministry co-ordinators and community superiors. The house was full: 130 participants. We had gathered to speak about « what is coming back to us »: evangelisation. And we wanted to do it « UNDER THE BRAND OF THE NEW ». Even if this was only a logo – said Br. Aureliano – it was already a challenge.The opeing prayer, animated by Br. Benito Hinojal, centred us on our institutional sources: « You will be Champagnat today », and the Gospel recalled that « Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elisabeth. » (Lk 1:39-40)Br. Antonio Giménez welcomed those present and indicated the starting point for the Assembly: « Go in haste to a new land! » He told us of the need of a new message for a « new land », of the changing of attitudes and motivations among the young and of our continuing challenge to evangelise in a changing world. He laid stress on the titles of the talks, so suggestive in their wording.« A TROUBLED WORLD » was the first talk by Pedro José Gómez, Professor of World Economy at the « Complutense » University of Madrid. His « calling » is being a catechist and parish animator, and he spoke to us about this. He began his exposé with the words of José Antonio Pagola: « Jesus is not the property of the Church, he is the patrimony of Humanity. »He affirmed that much is said about climate change, but that cultural aspects and ways of life have changed even more. At the level of catechetics, if the climate has changed, we also need to change the agriculture and the sowing. There is a cultural shift of the Christian message. The Church projects an outdated image, which is warped as well. There are numerous institutions and persons giving witness of their love, sacrifice and solidarity. We have to preach a Church for the poor, starting from a simple life.« A LITTLE WORLD OF QUIXOTES » was the talk by Oscar Alonso, of the University of Alcalá de Henares. It is from « quixotism » as a philosophy of life that the educator and the catechist (educator of the Gospel) act. A line of pastoral-educational conduct has to ask two unavoidable questions: where are we? And where do we want to arrive? Ask yourself if what you are doing today is bringing you closer to the place you want to be tomorrow.At the level of school planning, we need also to evangelise the teachers with the help of a programme of accompaniment.- It is necessary to analyse our life and our work in the light of the Gospel of Jesus.We need to improve the language, the content, the celebrations of the religious process; internal processes were needed with ideas capable of arousing enthusiasm, all supported by the example of life.Br. Javier Grajera, from his formation and experience, is familiar with the «troubled world » of our youth and the « little world of Quixotes » of our school ministry. In his talk, « THE PERMEABILITY OF THE SKIN », he cast a critical look over our actions and results and proposed five important points for a catechetical programme: BASED ON EXPERIENCE rather than on notions: starting from significant human experiences, encouraging personalized and experiential learning, instigating experiences and contacts. At the service of life: making alive and thus learing to be. CHALLENGING rather than inherited: cultivating interiority and openness to transcendance, provoking and raising questions, proposing the novelty of faith and experience. Come and see: novelty and rupture.CONNECTED rather than isolated: communal responsibility and shared experience, family and community, closeness of the Church, presence of the Risen Christ.PERSONALISED rather than standardised: favoring the personal option, searching for the exercise of freedom. Attentive to processes more than programmes, diversified.ACCOMPANIED rather than static: with the force of witness in the community and with the qualities of a good teacher in the fields of hermeneutics, maieutics and propaedeutics.After each of these talks, the groups met to study the exposé and exchange experiences. With so large a participation coming from Spain, Italy, Lebanon and Syria, this was found very rich. Each group secretary sent the conclusions by e-mail to Br. Juan Carlos Fuertes. He then presented the team summaries to the assembly and made everything available to readers on the web site of « Maristas Mediterránea »At the close of the afternoon on the first day, Br. Ventura Pérez Marín, in Spain for a holiday, told the participants of his « ad gentes » experience in Thailand. He spoke about the difficulties inherent in the language and culture. One had to forget what was « at home » so as to be open to new customs, new ideas, new life experiences. Stripping the Gospel of its « western » framework to make it comprehensible and visible in new lands.The afternoon of the second day was devoted to the presentation of the document « A FRAMEWORK FOR EVANGELISATION IN MARIST ESTABLISHMENTS ». This is a document born « from the life and vision of a group of persons » convinced of the value of the work they are doing, and also born « from the consciousness of feeling ourselves a Province » and starting from a dynamic framework, supple and open. After the reading, the groups met in local teams to programme their application in the corresponding establishments: a whole new road open to the future.Brother Provincial closed the assembly by thanking all the participants for their collaboration; the organisers for the magnificent work of preparation and the development; the participants for their open and generous spirit in the mission of evangelisation; the personnel of the Residence for their professionalism and and their attentions; the translators for their persistence and constancy, etc. « The Framework for Evangelisation is in your hands, « he said. “As from today, you are the protagonists! »The closing Eucharist focussed the participants on the Good News of Jesus, the Risen One and Saviour.__________Guardamar, 13-15 January 2011.

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