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The murmur of the Gier

 

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Meeting of the Enlarged Bureau of Laity

29/06/2011: France

The murmur of the waters of the Gier accompanied the first meeting of the new Enlarged Bureau of the Laity, held at the Hermitage from 30 May to 5 June 2011. Speaking of the Hermitage, Br Jean-Baptiste says that Marcellin, « after having seen everything and closely examined it, found nothing more suitable for a religious house ». The proximity of the Marist places, under the guidance of Br Benito Arbués and destination of an interior pilgrimage, was the meeting’s source of inspiration. In building the house of the Hermitage, Marcellin built a family. For Tony, Agnes, Sylvain, Ana, Linda, Fabiano, Raúl and Javier, coming from five continents, the experience of the meeting meant knowing our families, listening to our vocation stories, appreciating our cultural accents and giving proof of our Marist heart. These days contributed to building brotherhood and creating communion.

In the course of our meeting, we were able to realize the statement in Around the same  table: « Not only is there a place at the table for each one, but we need the others at our sides. » At certain moments of deep reflection, echos of the developments of these last years in the Institute arose with force: our Marist future is one of communion; brothers and laity, we can contribute to the birth of a new era for the Marist charism; from this new  relationship the lay identity and the brother’s identity can  emerge with more force; the Marist charism is a gift we share with the whole Church; preferential attention o poor children and young people projects our missionary passion…

Our work agenda was dominated by the revision of the Action Plan for the three year term. We reworked this Plan, indicated matters of urgency, detailed the courses of action, reflected on the implications for each member of the Bureau and revised the calendar. Two meetings programmed required greater attention. First there was the Regional Meeting of teams or commissions for animating the laity, or rather, for the new brother-laity relationship. They will be held in Curitiba, Guatemala, El Escorial, this year of 2011, and in  Asia and Australia at the beginning of 2012. The second meeting is intended to be a time of serious reflection on the lay Marist vocation, at Institute level, and is programmed for October 2012.

As this was the first meeting with the new members of the Bureau, the agenda was a heavy one. We recalled the horizon of our Bureau coming from the General Chapter. We spoke about the updating of the Champagnat Movement, processes of joint formation, a better linking up of the lay people, itineraries of conversion for brothers as for laity. We pinpointed the more backward Regions of the Institut in this respect. We noted the different  rhythms of the lay movement, in the Provinces as much as in the Regions. We dreamed of sustaining every shoot of Marist life and charismatic novelty emerging in our  Regions.

We consecrated a whole afternoon to dialoguing about mixed communities. The presence of Br André, of the Mulhouse community; of Arturo, with his experience in Bolivia and at La Oliva; of Gianluca and Rosa, of the Giugliano community, and of Annie and Br Diogène, of the Hermitage community,  enriched and inspired our exchange.

The murmur of the river, the vegetation of the valley savoured to us of fertility, of life offered. To recall the beautiful experiences of vitality spread around the geography of the Institute, to share with the groups from Manziana and the Escorial, representing a great variety of Provinces and cultures, to appreciate the details of the welcome we received from the community of the Hermitage, to celebrate the feast of Saint Marcellin, all this was like a harmony coming from an orchestra, which joined the murmuring of the Gier. It recalled what Br Jean-Baptiste said: « the valley of the Hermitage is a picturesque and most delightful spot, especially in the spring. » Despite some rain, the days at the Hermitage had a tone of spring. For the members of the Enlarged Bureau of Laity, these days were tinted with communion, hope, the future, newness.

_________________________
Raúl and Javier.
Bureau of Laity
7 June 2011

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