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Inter-American Marist Apostolic Spirituality Network - Guatemala hosts VII Annual Meeting

04/05/2012: Guatemala

From April 11th to the 17th, our group of 17 brothers and nine lay men and women gathered at the Marist Formation Center, formerly the Marist University Residence, in Guatemala City. Actually this was the seventeenth annual meeting organized by the NETWORK since its inception in Chosica in 1996. In 2006, the Provinces in Canada and the United States joined us. Thus we became the INTER-AMERICAN NETWORK and this was our Seventh Meeting.

Faithful to the guidelines of the XXI General Chapter, as a NETWORK of spirituality in America we have proposed “animating the call to conversion on our spiritual journey with Mary by means of a program promoting reflection and accompaniment.” (Horizonte: A Marist Brother, new heart for a new world, Action proposal 1)

As our Meeting progressed in its experiential, participative and high-spirited way, we prayed, reflected and celebrated “our conversion through the eyes of children born into poverty.” We did this by means of splendid sojourns (to the Marist School in Chichicastenango where Br. Moisés Cisneros was assassinated and to areas where we could meet directly with the inhabitants of native villages and become familiar with their cultural riches, including the wide variety of their multicolored craftwork). Through presentations about the lives of children and young people in our own countries as well as true stories of vulnerable children that we condensed in a Booklet, we have been deeply moved and motivated to become much more involved in their midst.

From day one, we were accompanied by a cross with the white linen shroud of the Resurrection. This enabled us to contemplate Christ crucified in each poor and vulnerable child and young person that we met. And also the risen Christ, present in so many current and newly emerging signs of hope and life that we see sprouting up but which are in need of rich soil to nurture them and produce the fruits of the Resurrection. Becoming involved with the boys and girls and the brothers who are working in these poverty-stricken areas, and witnessing the work being done by the Little Sisters of Champagnat and some lay women whom we met, we have seen and felt evidence of the Resurrection. Every day we adorned the cross with various symbols that summarized the experiences that we were living. During the celebration of the Eucharist on our last day together, we placed our ID photos on the cross to express our resolve to take personal steps toward conversion and humility and to have our provincial structures promote and encourage an incarnate spirituality, one committed to our being true prophets in our societies.

We are grateful to the Province of América Central for hosting our Meeting. Thanks to the excellent organization and simple lifestyle of its brothers, the Province greatly facilitated our working together in a highly positive atmosphere of brotherly love.

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