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3 August

Marist Calendar - August

Marcellin’s charism reflected in young people’s faces



Signs are leading our reflection in Buitrago

13/08/2011: Spain

The day started with a surprise, hidden inside a big box. It was a gift that life offered to us in order to carry on deepening our Marist identity as we had done it at the beginning of our encounter. When the youngsters opened the box they found themselves in front of a large mirror on which they contemplated their own faces, their own identity. Starting from this experience, the participants were invited to ask themselves who is hiding behind each face, as an exercise of self discovery. The reference to the masks used in previous days, that hide our true identity, our own self, was obvious.

A round table on youth ministry as it is implemented in different places was the main activity of the morning session. There were four speakers: João Ribeiro Bastos, 18, from the Province of ‘Brazil Centre-North’, Law student at the University of Rio de Janeiro and much involved in youth ministry in his own Province. He developed a full range of pastoral activities that his Province is offering to young people, and the human and technical resources adopted to implement them. Vincent de Paul Kouassi, a Marist Brother from Côte d’Ivoire, in charge of Youth Ministry in that country, shared the different initiatives going on at the service of the Ivorian children and youngsters. Norman Levesque, Canadian, 30 years old, who taught for a while in our Marist school of Laval, is author of a book on ecology and spirituality; he presented with great enthusiasm the work he is doing in the Canadian Church to combine environmental issues and Christian faith; some of these initiatives can be found in www.greenchurch.ca.  Iñigo García Blanco, 38 years old, a Spanish Marist Brother, lives in Fuenlabrada, at the outskirts of Madrid. Together with his Marist community he is running a project called ESPIRAL; they offer education and technical and professional training to children, drop outs, young people in difficulty, marginalized or with problems of social integration.

During the afternoon, several simultaneous workshops were offered to the participants. In a classroom, Helena and Jordi accompanied a group who, through songs, were expressing their deepest faith convictions; the book of songs prepared for this encounter was of great help. Another group gathered in a quiet and welcoming corner softly illuminated. Seated on a carpet, they shared the paths that they have walked in their lives seeking their vocation. The third workshop, inspired in interactive web pages, was named ‘Jesus 2.0’; it was dealing with the personal relationship with the person of Jesus when young people dare to be and to keep in contact with Him. Another workshop introduced different ways to express our own experiences of God. Finally, another group stayed in a room set with touching pictures of the NGO SED. Led by Brother Antonio Tejedor, SED director, and two ladies working for the organization, the group discussed topics on Marist voluntary work, participation in programs of the NGO, and ways of helping people of developing countries.

The evening Eucharist was motivated by the ‘IN’, the third part of our motto BELIVIN’. We were invited to look within us, to be attentive to our inner motivations. The Word of God was proclaimed, ‘You are the light of the world… You are the salt of the earth’. Some questions helped us to reflect and deepen it, ‘Who illumines my inner self? What is it enlightening? Where do I want to go? What am I carrying in my travelling bag? Who are my companions of journey? A soft song was proclaiming once and again, as a background music, ‘I am alive because of Him… No one else may dwell within me… I am alive because of Him’

The same metaphor of the mirrors, used in the morning, came back during the Eucharistic celebration. The altar was decorated with big mirrors reflecting the identity of the participants to this encounter. Such an altar became an image of what the Spirit is doing in each one of us. Marcellin’s charism is reflected in young people’s faces

Late in the evening, a small group of nine pre-postulants, postulants, novices and newly professed Brothers participating to the encounter, invited Bro Emili, Superior General, to have supper together.

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