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Marist Training Program - Cochabamba 2013

05/08/2013: Bolivia

In Cochabamba, Bolivia, on June the 30th, a group of Brothers in temporary vows from different Marist Provinces of America (Brasil Centro Norte, Brasil Centro Sur, Río Grande do Soul, Norandina, and América Central) concluded the Marist training course in preparation for perpetual vows.

After four intense months (from March to June), we could summarize this program as an opportunity for personal growth in different areas of life for each of the participants. The mediations it provided, and the personal effort of each brother enriched every moment of the course.

After a few years of journey as brothers, this large space for reflection and prayer enabled us to harvest the fruits we have planted, besides being an opportunity to share our Marist being with other brothers from different countries of the continent.

It was a time of grace, which became concrete in day-to-day life. Workshops, formation activities, personal prayer, retreat time, accompaniment, international community life, apostolic and insertion experiences were valuable elements conjugated together and significantly contributing to the personal growth of each brother.

Regarding the workshops, Brother Emili’s visit and company was quite significant, not only because the Superior General came to share with a group of young brothers, but also for the reason that his visit indicated the importance he gives to formation, allowing us to grasp the institutional guidelines on what it means to be a Marist today.

The company of brothers Josep Maria Soteras and Eugène Kabanguka, general councilors for our region, completed this part of the program, which helped us take a look at the Marist path we have traveled in order to identify its fundamental and significant highlights.

Another important moment of the program was the ten-day insertion experience in the midst of the Bolivian people in different places and missions. I spent this time in El Alto de La Paz. From the outset, the welcoming and fraternal attitude of the Brothers of Christian Instruction, who carry out their mission there, was very meaningful and enriching. After spending these days with them, I would underline their welcoming attitude, the shared work between brothers and lay people, the importance of daily community prayer, and the significant presence they have in the area. The work I did together with a social worker in the remedial education program is also worth mentioning: it was significant because of the love she brings to her job, her involvement with the people she visits and who come to her, and the keen dedication to every situation she deals with, in an social setting where abuse of women, family abandonment, and alcoholism are frequent.

As part of the program, we also had the opportunity to experience prayer through the Ignatian Exercises, and daily personal prayer time, which was a space for silent meditation, mindfulness (Presence of God), and to treasure what the day had left in our hands.

The fraternal atmosphere also helped us live each moment fully, and the international experience was key in helping us realize how wide the Congregation is, the different ways in which the Marist charism is being passed on, but above all, we experienced brotherhood despite coming from different places, cultures and languages.

The great contribution of this program to our lives was the quietness, reflection and prayer time it fostered, which helped us see more clearly the issues, insights, calls and motivations arising from our paths as Marists. We felt the call to integrate ourselves more fully (body-mind-spirit), and cultivate inner silence every day, even among the “most absorbing activities”, as the primary basis to be always aware that we live in God, and keep our eyes attentively open as we contemplate reality.

Brother Juan Carlos Velásquez V.

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