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Annual Meeting of the Marist Asia Conference

03/05/2013: Sri Lanka

The 2nd Annual Meeting of the Marist Asia Conference (MAC) took place at the beginning of April. MAC is the regional conference of the leaders of Asia. It consists of the two Provincials – Brothers Shanthi Liyanage (South Asia) and Manny de Leon (East Asia) - their deputies Mervyn Perera and Robert Teoh. The Superior of Asia Mission Ad Gentes Sector (AMAG) – Luis Sobrado - is also a member. His deputy – Juan Castro – was not available for this meeting so Michael Potter stood in for Juan. Peter Rodney – Rector of Marist Asia Pacific Center (MAPAC) – completes the Conference membership.

This year the Province of South Asia hosted the meeting in Sri Lanka. It was a two day meeting devoted to building closer collaboration. Not only among the Administrative Units (AUs) of the region, but also between the region and the animation initiatives of the General Council and its various Secretariats. So time was set aside to reflect upon and plan for such key areas as Lay Partnership and Mission.

A considerable proportion of time was given to a conversation with Br. Mario Meuti – Director of FMSI – in order to better co-ordinate solidarity and child advocacy across the region. With the opening of the Asia Desk of FMSI as a joint venture between FMSI and the MAC, the presence of Mario at the meeting enabled a valuable exchange, refining the vision of FMSI–Asia, and ensuring that its ministry is well co-ordinated with the Asian Administrative Units. There was a strong sense that the contribution of FMSI–Asia will develop into something quite significant for our life and mission in Asia.

Other areas that were studied in detail during the meeting were spirituality, community development and initial formation. Since its inauguration twelve months ago, the Conference has been keen to make the best use of resources available in Asia towards common goals in Asia. Within that aim has been the hope that the training and skills developed by the region’s participants at the Community Animator’s courses at Manziana could be at the service not only of their own AU, but also, through networking and sharing, at the service of the region. In a similar spirit, the Conference is supporting the Province of East Asia in its development of the Spirituality Center at Lake Sebu, Mindanao.

Little by little, within AMAG there has been solid development of local vocations. Therefore it is most important that the best possible formation programs be in place for these pioneer Marists. AMAG leaders continue to co-ordinate their programs with those already established in the region. The Conference continues to plan for common programs of formation.

As indicated by the fact that this is only its second formal annual meeting, the Conference is in its infancy. So all through the meeting, there was a clear and consistent theme. Among the members there is the firm desire to establish the Conference firmly, to keep it focused on what is achieveable given the reality of the Asian AUs, to ensure that the focus remains on the needs of the region, and to respond to these in ways that are appropriate for Asia.

Caption for Photo:
(Left to right) Bros. Michael Potter (AMAG), Mervyn Perera and Shanthi Liyanage (both South Asia), Manny de Leon and Robert Teoh (East Asia), Luis Sobrado (AMAG) and Peter Rodney (MAPAC).

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