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Lusaka, 8 – 15 August

 

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Southern Africa Marist Assembly

29/08/2012: Zambia

Sixty-nine Brothers from Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi and Angola converged on St Dominic’s Seminary, Lusaka for an Assembly from 8 to 15 August. The Province was delighted that the Superior General and Vicar General accepted the invitation to attend and animate the gathering. Their very presence was a source of encouragement to us. The Province is very grateful.

The first and last of the six working days dealt with the Province. To begin with, delegates were helped to understand the status quo by means of colourful collages of houses and works on display round the meeting hall. This exercise enabled everyone to get an idea of the diversity of situations and ministries in our countries. Other sessions enabled us to reflect on our communities, vocation ministry and financial situation.

The next four days were animated jointly by Brothers Emili Turú and Joe McKee. On the first day, they invited us to go “back to basics” and reflect on the meaning of our faith in God and consecrated life. Subsequently, they devoted a day to each of the fundamental calls of the 21st General Chapter: (a) New ways of being a Brother; (b) A new relationship between Brothers and Lay Marists; and (c) A highly significant presence among poor children and young people. Their presentations and “assignments” challenged us to change – in the words of the slogan of the General Chapter – to form New Hearts for a New World.

To wind up on the final day, Br Joe Walton, Provincial led the Brothers of the Province to further reflection, particularly for the future.  Brothers were also invited to compare what they experienced with the objectives of the Assembly.

The methodology used during the Assembly involved considerable use of “round table” discussions in small groups usually with about six members each. Very enlightening were two sessions when the Brothers from Rome answered written questions on aspects of the Institute, ranging from the realities of our Brothers in Syria and Ad Gentes, through lay Marists, and to vocations ministry.

The Assembly concluded with Holy Mass celebrating the Assumption of Mary during which twelve young Brothers renewed their vows before Br Emili and Br João Torcato marked the 60th anniversary of his first profession.

The long-term fruits of the Assembly remain to be seen. As Brother Emili would put it:

Brothers,  the future lies in your hands

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