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First Marist Congress with Participation by the Young People of Chile

13/10/2011: Chile

The first Marist Congress in which the Marist Youth of Chile participated, organized by the Colegio Nuestra Señora de Andacollo de La Serena, was held from July 4 to July 6. During this pioneer experience, more than 180 young people from the Marist schools of the country shared their experiences and ideas to mark the 100th Anniversary celebration of Marist presence in Chile. 

Respect, knowledge and debate around the rights of children and adolescents, especially among the most vulnerable, was the central theme which called the young audience to this Congress.  Previously 12 Marist schools of Chile addressed these themes in their classes, and their representatives brought their conclusions to contribute to the discussion. 

During the three days of meeting and debate different reflection workshops occurred such as one titled “100 Years of Love,” given by Brother Pedro Marcos.  Also the young people shared with Francisco Estrada – a Marist alumnus and lawyer who is noted for his work in favor of children and young people – and other presenters like Francisco Villalón and Ulises Contador who tackled other themes for youth participation.   

There was also time to visit tourist places of the area and to share art in a café concert.   To finish their work, the young people prepared a “Rights Fair” in the Parque Espejo del Sol de Las Compañías, in which all of the children and young people of the area were able to participate.  The final Eucharist was presided over by Archbishop Manuel Donoso, Archbishop of La Serena, assisted by the Vicar for Ministry and Communications, Father Marcelo Gallardo.

This experience aimed to take up again Marist involvement with young people, since St. Marcellin Champagnat was very young when he began to work on his great dream of founding the Marist Congregation, as well as his successors and the brothers who came at a very early age to our country.

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