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Christian and Marist Development Program

23/08/2013: Bolivia

A number of lay people from Bolivia – who belong to a group of lay communities following a formation and vocational discernment process – participated in a retreat session animated by Brother Javier, Director of the Secretariat of Laity, in the Marist Spirituality Center of Santa Cruz. This retreat session is part of the program offered by the Province of Santa María de los Andes to the over a hundred lay people who are at the initiation stage of this vocational process promoted by the Province.

The process involves a personal and community journey of Christian and Marist development. In principle, there are four stages for those who choose to take part:

•         The invitation stage seeks to provide information about the lay Marist vocation proposal, and the development process offered in this regard.

•         The initiation stage seeks to promote various personal and community experiences aimed at achieving a better understanding and acceptance of oneself, a deeper and more loving relationship with Jesus Christ, and a discernment of the call to the Marist lay vocation.

•         The deepening stage implies becoming a member of a Marist Lay Christian Community. It explores Marist spirituality, intensifies the experiences of joint formation with the brothers, and emphasizes the apostolic and missionary dimension at the service of the Church.

•         The linking stage has not been implemented yet, but should provide different ways of being associated with the Marist Institute.

There are a number of formation means as part of the initiation stage, which lasts approximately three years:

1.              Organizing and participating in monthly meetings of the lay community, and working on the community project. Christian life becomes mature in community.

2.             Participating in the annual weekend session of spiritual exercises, starting with the Principle and Foundation.

3.             Participating in the annual meeting with members of Stage 2 - Initiation (evaluation, becoming one body, projecting together, etc.).

4.             Taking part in the Marist Spirituality Week. Each member should live this experience once during the initiation stage.

5.             Participating in the Sunday Mass and other sacraments, as to experience the sense of fraternity.

6.             Living personal prayer as an expression of daily and permanent communication with the Lord.

7.             Organizing and/or participating in a biannual meeting with the local community of brothers or mixed community.

8.            Committing to personal accompaniment through the following means:

o    Spiritual Diary (optional).

o    Spiritual, vocational, and faith accompaniment at personal level (optional).

o    Periodic worksheets offered by the Sector team.

o    An interview with the Coordinator of the Sector Team of Spirituality and Laity once a year.

The three-day retreat session took place in deep silence and according to the abovementioned parameters, and was aimed at getting in tune with God’s dream for each person, a dream which becomes a concrete vocation to life and fullness in communion with other fellow Marists. The presence of Ricardo Miño and his wife Silvia facilitated the excellent organization, the musical atmosphere, the animation of prayer, and the conviviality spirit.

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Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia - 2013

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