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General Conference - 28th September

30/09/2005: Sri Lanka

A tour for the Institute’s webpage
The day’s work started with a presentation of the Institute’s webpage by Brother A. M. Estaún, Director of Communications, and by Brother Emili Turú. This instrument of communication and work forms part of the service to the Institute entrusted to the Department of Communications created to <300.jpg alt=Sri Lanka – 28.09.2005 hspace=5 vspace=5 align=right>communicate the programme, the reflection, the orientations and the actions of animation and of government of the Superior General and his Council. These objectives are achieved through various periodical printed publications such as FMS Message, FMS Echo, Marist Notebooks and the circulars of the Superior General. There are also publications sent electronically such as FMS Update (only for the brothers), FMS Marist Bulletin (for anybody who wishes to subscribe) and the Marist webpage old.champagnat.org that includes an abundant amount of information of many types.
By using a direct connection, different contents of the webpage were highlighted. We started with a global vision of the map of the site that consists of nine different sections: Home, Marcellin, Marist Brothers, Youth, Commissions, Solidarity, Publications, Links and the Reserved Area. These nine sections group together another sixty subsections such as the Marist Library, News Archives, the Founder’s Biography, Marist Places, Marcellin in art, Prayer, the Plan of Chapter Commissions, new Links and other less known entries such as ‘Intratext”.
Even regular visitors said that this presentation made them aware of sections and possibilities of which they were not aware before.
The section with several surprises was the Reserved Area where one finds information proper to the brothers. It is not well known and you need to subscribe by filling in a small form which is then sent to Rome and validated within forty-eight hours. The abundant information of this section comes from all the houses of the Institute and includes numerous documents, publications of the Superiors, etc.
Five hundred brothers now have access to the Reserved Area. It is hoped that as they get to know it better, more brothers will subscribe and use this section.

The brothers of the Conference go to school
The brothers went to Maris Stella College, Negombo, to visit the students and the teachers of this school which represented all the Marist schools of Sri <300a.jpg alt=Sri Lanka – 28.09.2005 >Lanka, even though small delegations of these schools were present at Negombo to meet the participants at the General Conference.
The brothers were welcomed under the statue of Our Lady by Brother Michael de Waas, Provincial of Sri Lanka and Pakistan, and the teachers of the College. Accompanied by the fanfare Hevisi of the College, they were accompanied to the door where the students were waiting for them. Brothers Seán and Luis personally greeted all the teachers. In addressing the students, Brother Seán alluded to his own experience as a student when he wanted the lessons to finish quickly, but, he said, it was also for him a time to dream about his future, and he invited the students to dream Marcellin’s dream.
The delegations that had come from all over the island met the brothers in the gymnasium. Brother Superior General lit the lamp that lit Marcellin’s statue for the whole meeting. A song of welcome was then intoned and a prayer said. Brother Seán repeated the story he had told the other students and then the students and brothers shared in small groups. Brother Demetrio, Provincial of Cruz del Sur, said that when he said he came from Argentina the students could not find this country on the map but when he mentioned Maradona their eyes lit up. At the end, everyone had coffee together and the students of the college performed traditional dances.
The brothers’ stay was brief, but there was a beautiful unity among them, the students and all the school’s personnel. The depart saw an exchange of some e-mail addresses, autographs and affectionate greetings. For all associated with Stella Maris College and the brothers of the Conference, this will remain a memorable day. On behalf of the General Conference and the entire Institute we express here our most sincere gratitude to the people of Sri Lanka for having made this experience so rich.

The report of the Postulator General
Brother Giovanni Maria Bigotto, Postulator General, gave a report on the activities of the Postulation team.
This team meets one week each year and consists of five brothers: the Postulator who follows all the causes, Brother Mariano Santamaría who follows the causes of the martyrs in Spain, Brother Alain Delorme who is in charge of the cause for Brother Henri Vergès and Brother José Flores García who is working on the cause of Brother Basilio with the help of Brother Jorge Flores Aceves.

Tasks of the Postulation
The Postulation realises two tasks in the Institute. Firstly, it is our link with the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints at the Vatican. It prepares the positio, which is the study showing the heroicity of virtues; it participates in meetings of the postulators and in meetings of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints; it follows the stages of a cause: diocesan tribunal, Roman phase (decree of validity, study of the positio by the theologians, by the cardinals, decrees of heroicity, of miracle, of martyr etc.)
Secondly, it assures the spiritual animation of our religious family by making our models of sanctity known and by publishing books, brochures, holy cards, posters, prayers, etc. It fixes the times of prayer in the Institute to recall our models and to create times of reflection on holiness; it also prepares conferences, seminars, writings, etc.

Where are our causes up to?
<300b.jpg alt=Sri Lanka – 28.09.2005 hspace=5 vspace=5 align=right>In the Institute, there are two types of causes: the confessors and the martyrs. The confessors are Marcellin Champagnat, François, Alfano and Basilio. Brothers François and Alfano are venerable. The decree on the heroicity of their virtues recognises that they practised the Christian virtues at the highest level. Brother Basilio’s renown for holiness is very great. His cause is open, and the diocesan tribunal at Guadalajara is already finished. In 2006, we think we will open the rogatory tribunals in Spain, in France and other places. After this will come the Roman phase.
Here is the current situation of the martyrs: Brother Bernardo, we are waiting the date of his beatification; the group of Laurentino (45) are at the final stage with the meeting of cardinals and Bishops; the group of Crisanto (67) has its positio already at the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints to be studied by the theologians; the positio of the group of Eusebio (58) is in the final phase. As to the cause of Brother Henri Vergès, this is included in the cause of the martyrs of Algeria and is not yet open.

Possible progress
Great progress is perceived in communication and collaboration. The Postulation regularly gives news concerning our models of sanctity. One example is the collaboration for distributing the work of the Postulation: books, leaflets, cards, posters and especially the celebrations that honour our models and create more unity in our religious family.

The Year of 2006
Brother Bigotto recalled that the year of 2006 will be a little bit special for the Postulation because the tenth anniversary of the death of Brother Basilio and the martyrdom of the four brothers at Bugobe will be celebrated. There will also probably be some beatifications.
Brother Bigotto concluded by inviting all the Marist family to do more to place our Marist models of sanctity in our hearts and in our prayers and to send news and suggestions to the Postulation.

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