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Saint James of the Marches

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Ibérica Province



Provincial forum on identity and vocation of the laity

20/07/2012: Spain - Photo gallery

This is the motto that has accompanied us during the three-day provincial forum on identity and vocation of the Marist laity.

The forum was the endpoint of a process of reflection on the document "Around the same table: The Vocation of Marcellin Champagnat's Marist Laity" that took place in 15 different locations, involving more than 370 people. But it was also an important starting point of a pathway that we see ahead of us, which we brothers and lay people must build together.

That is the reason why brothers and lay people from different parts of the Province - 75 adults and 22 children in total - gathered in this space of encounter, dialogue and shared reflection. There was much anticipation and excitement.

The first day was mainly focused on the vocation, recalling how we approached the Marist charism, sharing our vocation stories in small groups, to find out that we had elements in common. We had to find a symbol that mirrored what we had shared in the group.

We enjoyed a time of sharing experiences with a brother and a Lasallian lay person who helped us perceive other realities that are similar to this journey that we brothers and lay people walk together in the same charism, but which also has its own peculiarities. We also had a moment of presentation of the new lay realities that are emerging in the Marist world, which made ​​us feel part of something bigger. We concluded celebrating the vocation, giving thanks to the Lord for the call we received and inviting us to continue caring for and sharing it. The celebration included a moment of presentation of the symbols expressing the dialogue in the groups in a creative way.

On the second day, we were invited to reflect on several aspects: formation, mission, communion, community and bonding. The five thematic workshops helped us in a very participatory and dynamic way to think how to care for and develop each theme from our personal reality to find answers to our present and future. Later on, based on the conclusions drawn from the workshops, we were asked to perform an exercise to enrich a draft document made from the final syntheses collected by the groups that had worked on the document "Around the same table." There are many challenges for the future: there was much talk about formation, respecting the different personal or local paces to help awaken the call and strengthen the options, generating or changing structures so that brothers and lay people can gather as members of the same family, how to make ourselves visible in our own reality by forming Marist communities of reference; we asked ourselves what kind of sign or public gesture would help express and acknowledge being a lay Marist, form leaders who will accompany lay community experiences ...

The third day was an invitation to fix the challenges that we found out through this forum, both at the local and provincial level. The work was done by areas, more or less close. Despite the peculiarities of each of the areas, there were matching elements, which suggested us that the journey we started with this process has awaken the desire to continue.

The meeting ended with a sending celebration. We listened to parts of the Open Letter at the end of the document that we want to make happen, and received soil and seeds in return, an expression of the fact that we must take care of all this new life that is being born.

We believe that was not just another meeting for several reasons: what we worked on is the essence of our being Marists, the dynamics allowed us to deeply share among brothers and lay people a genuine desire to respond to the invitation by the provincial chapter, that is "something new is possible", in a family, simplicity and proximity spirit.

We appreciated the presence of the brothers of the Provincial Council, as well as brother Ernesto Sánchez from the General Council. We also thank all the participants who found the time to participate in the forum, despite their end-of-course busy schedules.

At the beginning of the meeting we placed our work in the hands of Mary, and in the final celebration we made a humble gesture to devote ourselves to Her; we reminded ourselves, like Marcellin, that "She will continue to do everything among us."


Lardero, June 30th to July 2nd, 2012

Marist Laity Commission - Ibérica Province

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