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Together for vitality



Extended General Council with Arco Norte (2)

05/03/2012: Guatemala - Photo gallery

March 1st began with prayer animated by the Province of Canada. The day was devoted to reflection on  « What does being part of this Region mean ? »

The Brother Vicar General, Joe Mc Kee, provided motivation for the work by presenting some avenues: the first part of the day, reflecting on the situation, looking at possibilities of common action; the afternoon, defining future activities for encouraging relations between the Provinces. On Saturday an open forum would be held.

Br Joe began by recalling the progress already made: the Latin American Conference of Provincials (CLAP) in 1979;  the meeting of CLAP in 2004 which admitted the Provinces of the USA and Canada to the organization, leading to the creation of the Region« Arco Norte ».

The Vicar General insisted on one fact: we are convinced that windows are opening for the future, but they will not always be open. We have the possibility of creating something and these are the circumstances, perhaps, that will oblige us to do it.

He then presented two experiences. The first was that of the Region of Oceania, formed by the two  Provinces of Australia, the Province of New Zealand with its Pacific islands, and the District of Melanesia.

The Brothers of these zones are in train of restructuring but in a different way from the restructuring model adopted at the beginning of the 21st century.

The Australian Provinces will form a single Province towards the end of 2012, and the Province of New Zealand and the District of Melanesia will be incorporated in 2013.

For these brothers, it is clear that it is a matter of commitment not simply vis-à-vis the Provinces but with regard to the Region. And the aim is vitality; together they can grow.

A Council of Provincial Superiors has been operating since 2005. It was a Regional Council which set up common commissions in view of animation and vitality.

The second example is furnished by the Salesians. They have opened « Project Europe » given the  diminution of effective personnel in this zone, and so that their presence and mission among youth regain life in the  face of the new « pop » culture.

They have started from looking at the situation in the light of faith and a concern for a more systemic evangelization of youth, which Br Emili had made allusion to earlier.

What is happening in Europe is not without repercussions elsewhere. No isolated Europe! The project pushes the Salesians to form new communities and new preferences, and a new way of being and acting.

And at the same time, a prophetic presence and witness, neck and neck with the laity, in promoting the evangelization of marginalised youth, immigrants... They have paid particular attention to the international aspect of their personnel.

It is not a question of reinforcing already existing presences or of « importing » new personnel, but of starting something new, without great structures. I believe, Br Joe said, that the experience is valuable because of the courage this decision testifies to. It means letting something die so that something new may be born.

Then the Vicar General posed the Brothers of Arco Norte some questions based on the article « Ars moriendi » (the art of dying) of the theologian Johann Baptist Metz.

In 20, 30 or 40 years, the Marist presence will be extinct in certain places. This is already visible in some countries following the  diminution of the Brothers. What matters is the way of living this « death ». We think that we are not in this situation. But we can already take decisions. What is God calling us to at this time?

The rest of the morning was spent in taking the experience of « Project Europe » as a point of departure.

In the afternoon, after the Marial prayer, the participants followed an individual dynamic – drawing or words, cutting up magazines – to express the Region they wanted for 2020.

Then each explained to the others what he wanted to express. This was continued in groups, underlining the most important elements or aspects, ending thus with a new expression in group.

A  « meditative » tour of table allowed those who wished to share something of the experience.

Before the Eucharist, animated by the Province of the USA, time was given for formulating concrete proposals or guidelines which were laid before the altar and can be bearers of life for the Region of « Arco Norte ».

Enlarged General Council with Arco Norte (1) | « Arco Norte »

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