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Facing the second centenary



The Champagnat Institute at Genoa celebrates 100 years

03/07/2005: Italy

The 6th June is always a special feast day at the Champagnat Institute in Genoa in honour of the feast of the Founder of the Marist Brothers, but this year the date was chosen for the inauguration of the ceremonies marking the centenary of the arrival of the first Marists in Genoa. The bishop of the diocese, Cardinal Bertone, did not want to miss this important appointment with the city’s large Marist family. Many present students with their parents and also many former students welcomed him on this occasion.
During the solemn yet joyous ceremony, Cardinal Bertone spoke of the present-day educational charism of Marcellin Champagnat and recalled emblematic episodes from his life as a Salesian, referring to Don Bosco who came to know the young Marist congregation in some of his journeys to France. He spoke of the educational work of the brothers: the work of scholastic formation, human and religious formation, as well as through various associations including Catholic Action and scouting groups. As regards the scouts, Cardinal Bertone recalled that in 1916, in a Marist school, Mario Mazza founded the first Catholic scouting group in Italy. The brothers at the time encouraged and supported him as they could sense the positive effects of this movement. He also recalled the solidarity work of Family Groups, who regularly help the poor referred to them by Caritas and the police in Genoa.
The most moving moment occurred during the Offertory presentation. Among the various symbols presented was a lit candle carried by Brother Gaetano, symbolising his ninety-five years, most of which have been given to school and the education of children. A long applause acknowledged this as Cardinal Bertone embraced Brother Gaetano after receiving the candle from him.
At the end Brother Manuel Jorgues Bru, the Provincial of the Province of Mediterránea, confirmed the brothers’ continued work of service in the city of Genoa and the patronage of a “Marist Family” with parents, teachers, friends and co-workers, capable of keeping the educational style of Marcellin Champagnat, his dream, alive!

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