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Let us celebrate the history, make way….



Our laymen and women come together in Barcelona to celebrate Saint Marcellin

17/06/2011: Spain

The celebration on Saturday, June 4th, 2011 was very simple and profound. A large mural some 12 meters long and 1.5 meters wide provided the backdrop and scene in the meeting hall of Immaculate College. In the mural, six frames measuring one meter by eighty centimeters, in the form of a mosaic rectangle, formed a “Life line”, from the beginning of Marist life up to today. In the first frame was a yellow stain or spot which symbolized the start. From there followed Marcellin; Brother Francois, successor of Marcellin; Brother Basilio Rueda, Superior General from 1967 to 1985; Brother Virgilio Leon, Provincial of Cataluna from 1966 to 1974; Brother Henri Verges, martyred in Algeria in 1994; and a double image with Brother Ismael Valls, presently in Mission Ad Gentes, and Nereida Ruiz, who worked with BIS in Tanzania from 2008-2011.

In the room, six tables, with symbolic objects about each one of these six persons on each, together with short biographical sketches, was the venue of the meeting.  The sixty people who were present could sit down to freely share responses, sentiments and dreams about what the mural meant to them.

For a while I withdrew a little from the scene. I had the feeling that I was observing what took place in the synagogues of old and among ourselves, the Christians, when we share the Word: on top of each table was found a life filled with God. The way in which the people looked at each other, spoke and listened to each other…; the tone of voice; the respect which was so palpable…. All exclaiming: God is present here.

The Word of the Gospel was proclaimed (Matthew 20: 20-26, The Sons of Zebedee and the meaning of “service”).  Then stickers were pasted on the images on the mural containing reflections that each of the participants wanted to emphasize and the song “You will be the Champagnat of Today” was sung. We gave each other the sign of peace and the finished with a festive aperitif. There was no discussion or homily… we got to know each other, listen to each other, discover and get to love the rich patrimony which we share and which propels us to a future filled with hope.

Finally, Pep Buetas, the representative of the Secretariat of the Laity, expressed words of sincere gratitude while dramatically saying: “Today we are able to feel like Brother Francois who, elected Superior General, recently witnessed the death of ‘his father’. A deep human sentiment of being orphaned, coupled with a real worry about an uncertain future was felt by this good man… but at the same time, his heart was filled with an indestructible confidence in God and Mary and he knew how to continue with the project. This same feeling of worry is familiar to many of us who can feel dizzy faced with a new and uncertain future. May the faith and the heart of our good Brother Francois be the light that guides our steps.”

I believe that last Saturday we lived a true Easter celebration that we can apply to other Marist endeavors. This was made possible because of the enthusiasm and generosity of the whole team that prepared it and through the blessed circumstances in which we came together at Immaculate.  We found ourselves to be a nucleus of people who met each other at Immaculate College, but for a long time had been a complex and fruitful network of friendship and tenderness, of love for all that is Marist, of spirituality and faith for the future.

Joan Puig-Pey
Immaculate College Laity
Secretariado Comunion hermanos y laicos

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