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The Identity of the Religious Brother



Meeting intercongregational - Events of the first week of September

18/09/2012: Italy

Sunday, September 2nd, the General House of the De LaSalle Christian Brothers received the 39 representatives from eight (8) Congregations: The Brothers of the Christian Schools, the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers, the Brothers of Christian Instruction, the Marist Brothers, the Brothers of St. Gabriel, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, the Brothers of the Holy Family, and the Brothers of Our Lady of Mercy, who came to Rome to participate for one month at the session on "The Identity of the Religious Brother in the Church and in the world today."

Monday, September 3rd, began the initial phase: welcome, presentation of programs, etc.

Yes! BROTHERS ALL! But who are the Brothers with whom we shall create this experience of formation here in Rome? The list of names which we received during the preparation began to acquire faces. And little by little, we are getting to know each other informally with our various language skills. The day passed amidst presentations, familiarization with places, and receiving various bits of information for a better sharing of life among us this month.

Brother Juan Andrés Martos, the Superior General of the Brothers of the Holy Family, outlined the journey laid out before us: BEING A BROTHER and urged us to live this month as a gift of God with one another, with our eight congregations, and for the Church:

“Dear Brothers: we hope that this opportunity reinforces the bonds of collaborations between our institutions, and favors the mutual understanding between participants and nourishes the common reflections about our vocation of Brother in the Church. As was already indicated in the invitation letter: may we live during these days an intercongregational experience of formation that might help us to reflect, pray and live together at this important moment in our history.”

After the opening talk was the presentation from the coordinators. Then, the participants introduced themselves to one another, followed by a presentation of the daily schedule of activities for the session. The day ended with a tour of the guest house.

At the opening celebration, we found ourselves as pilgrims in Brotherhood before the Master who, more than 2000 years ago, inaugurated this adventure of building brotherhood by breaking through all its barriers.

On Tuesday, after the presentation of the theme of the session was revealed the illustration of the logo of our meeting: Jesus Christ washing the feet of the apostles as a sign of service, love and especially the gift of giving his life for us.

Our motto: "All Brothers" challenges us to grow and give life through the mission given to us. Like Christ, we are all brothers in the service of others.

We continued the day by sharing details of our personal lives.

The afternoon was devoted to hearing of our personal histories as a brother and sharing among ourselves; at times it was a very moving experience. Our linguistic group work day ended with evening prayer in the style of "lectio divina".

Wednesday, Sept. 5th was spent on the identity of the Brother’s vocation as a man of God and the intense desire to share this vocation with those with whom we minister.

Group work and presentations were the major points of the day: the organization of the entertainment of our community and sharing challenges and expectations of our meetings together.

On September 6th, a group of brothers started our day with prayer, giving thanks to God for the gift of life and for this time of fellowship given to us.

Then Brother Hugo Caceres Guillermo Dávila introduced us to the world of Creation Myths presented with a lot of creativity by four participants with narrated powerpoint cartoons: an African myth by Brother Marcel Ngor- Diene, a European myth by Brother Juan Carlos, an Asian myth by Brother Joseph Arokiaraj, and a Latin American myth presented by Brother Jose Camilo Alarcón.

These presentations were followed by fruitful discussions in language groups. Though this sharing we learned a few things that can help us live brotherhood: the acceptance of diversity, seeking harmony with creation, the need to make brotherhood visible, and experiencing our sexuality lived in love and respect for each other.

Activities ended with a liturgical celebration during which the Brothers were invited to the universal brotherhood around our Brother Jesus.

On Friday and Saturday, Sept. 7th and 8th, Brother Kipoy Pombo, a Josephite Brother of Kinzambi, a native religious congregation of the Democratic Republic of Congo, gave a remarkable presentation on the socio-cultural Brother in a globalized world. "We were born into a society and a church different from those of today, in another context of human relationships. How we can faithfully inculturate our fraternities in this context is our challenge.

That same day, we also participated in a beautiful Eucharist, imitating the manner of celebrating as the disciples of Emmaus, organized by the Christian Brothers of Edmund Rice, who earlier in the afternoon presented the essence of their congregation.

The day’s activities ended with an evening party organized by the Celebrations Group and it was a great time of community sharing and great joy, especially as it was the day commemorating the independence of Brazil.

What a joy to live in Brotherhood!

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