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Celebration of the birthday of Br Emili Turú in the General House

31/01/2012: General House - Photo gallery

On Sunday 29 January, we held our celebration of the Superior General’s birthday, transferred from the 24th when he was away in Australia. It began at 11:45, in the General Council chapel, with Mass celebrated by the chaplain, Fr Carmelo de la Cruz, assisted by the other priests of the house and attended by all the brothers of the council and the community of the General House.

Br Antonio Ramalho pointed out how the chapel of the General Council reminded us of our origins and of Fr Champagnat, and it was here that we offered our Eucharist for Br Emili. Article130 of the Constitutions tells us that “As successor to the Founder, the Brother Superior General gathers all the Brothers of the Institute around Christ”. So here we were all gathered around the table of the Lord in the name of all the brothers of the Institute. As a sign of this, the celebration was multilingual, as was the participation of all.

Basing himself on the Gospel, Fr Carmelo said in his homily that authority comes from the person and how this authority finds its justification only in the service of others, as the reading of articles 121 and 122 of our Constitutions reminded us.

The prayers of the faithful were read by Brs Michael de Wass, Josep Roura and the Benjamin of the house, Marcelo Bonhemberger.

During the offertory, Br Emili lit some incense sticks as symbol of his self-offering. The beautiful Marian hymn “Salve regina sorella”was sung at the end of the service.

During the festive meal, along with toasts and birthday anthems, Br Joe Mc Kee, Vicar General, in brief but heartfelt words, described the simplicity of Br Emili and the gift he represented for the Institute. He recalled how, after the General Chapter, at the retreat held in Nairobi, he came to know him better, and perceived “the richness of his personality”. And of how the “round tables, which characterized the last General Chapter, have become, I believe and we believe, a symbol of your   style of government, of leadership”.

He referred to his capacity for dialogue, his interest in others, his sensitivity and availability to the brothers, all in the style of Mary. He alluded to the circular on a subject very dear to our Superior General: “to be the Marian face of the Church”, a true challenge for all, an authentic program for life. And on this road BrEmili walks with us.

Br Joe said that the Superior General’s trips show his desire that his presence be a stimulus for brothers and lay Marists. And how his presence and his messages have found an echo in many people. Among the Superior Generals it is much appreciated, and contributes to all understanding better the richness of our being brothers in the Church.

He thanked Br Emili for his brotherhood and friendship, seeing that being brother is not a title but a program of life, as he himself had experienced. How people feel comfortable with Br Emili: “This is brotherhood and friendship”.

Through his words, Br Vicar General interpreted the feelings of the General Council and of the brothers. Finally, he stated that Br Emili was a gift made to us by the Blessed Virgin.

Br Emili replied graciously and joyfully that he had marvellous companions, and for that reason, he said: “being Superior General is not a burden but a privilege”.

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