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VI Marist Provincial Assembly of« América Central »

29/11/2012: Guatemala - Photo gallery

The VI Provincial Assembly of« América Central » was held from 4 to 7 October in the Marist Formation in   Guatemala city. The participants – brothers and laity from Costa Rica, Cuba, el Salvador, Guatemala,  Nicaragua and Porto Rico – arrived one after the other to share experiences and opinions on the theme of « Revitalisation of the province ».

The Assembly opened with a delicious supper and convivial gathering, followed by the opening meeting. Br Hipólito Pérez, Provincial, provided words of motivation and presented the 13 lay persons who would share this experience with the  68 Brothers.

The work of the second day centred on reflection and the Marial attitudes of listening and searching.

This work was only the beginning of a day which bore abundant fruit. The encouragement of Br Emili Turú, Superior General, was a great help to the participants in their reflection.

Strong stress was placed on  discernment. A discernment which presupposes ‘lowering the guard’, living some deep experience of faith which helps one understand what it really means  ‘to be free’, taking the liberty to imagine things other than what is deemed ‘correct’, not drawing boundaries for fear of the judgement of others, and, finally, exploring our own reluctance to say « yes » to what God asks of us.

So it is necessary to confront many challenges : centre one’s search on the road to undertake towards becoming men and women of God for others ; respond to the call of children and youth, giving preference to those who are poor; review animation, structures and presences, and form communities of brothers on criteria promoting  vitality for the mission. To succeed in this reflection, we needed spirits and hearts open to work as a family, seated around the same table.

The third day called us to be realistic : to establish courses of action in order to succeed in revitalising the province. A proposal was made for guiding the provincial journey over the next few years, while seeking a greater involvement of the laity in the Marist mission in Central America,  Porto Rico and Cuba.

But first it was necessary to look at the existing communities and presences. For this purpose, a little analysis was offered of the situation of other Provinces to help guide brothers and laity towards their own evaluation and to make projections for the future : needs and relevant solutions.

Many knew the stamp that, as Marists, we have left on numerous students, lay people, missions, etc., in the course of these years. All the same, times have changed and the needs and challenges prove more and more numerous. Who better than young people themselves to be able to explain these needs which are the fruit of a reality totally different from that of preceding years ?

This was the opportunity to reflect on the priority of Vocations Ministry. Two former pupils animated this session by exposing their point of view on the subject.

The participants  posed them many questions. The young people proposed courses of action and encouraged us to continue the work already under way and to « open new ways of life ».

They shared with us their concern about the current situation – lack of vocations -, and proposed to support the brothers. This was a moment of reflection, but above all a moving moment. A time to  confirm our proposal.

These times of listening, study, reflection, and meeting were good preparation for the participants to unite in celebrating the Brother jubilarians : Zósimo Pérez Mañueco (75 years of religious life), Martiniano Conde Pacho (60), Marcelino Ganzaraín Gómez (50), José Antonio Alonso Laso and Victoriano Escudero Escudero (35), Óscar Mazariegos Paz (25), and César González Torres (15).

Gathered as family, we celebrated a fine and fervent thanksgiving Mass, followed by a shared dinner  accompanied by a musical group formed by the teachers of the « Liceo Guatemala ».

The fourth day was centred on « Presence (they joined in continuous prayer with Mary) ». It was the right moment to present the « Marist Provincial Communications  Office», which is already involved in two projects  : the ‘new’ institutional image or label, and the creation/updating of the local web sites of each school establishment or different work.

This fact filled the hearts of the participants with great expectations, for it means unconditional support for the different projects under way in the Province.

The closing Mass marked the Assembly’s final point. Br Hipólito Pérez encouraged us to continue our work in the Province, strong in the conviction : « With Mary, as brothers and sisters, we open new ways of life in our lands ».

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