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29 November

Saint Saturnius

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Evaluation of the Conference

 

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General Conference - 29th September

01/10/2005: Sri Lanka

In search of points in common
This day has been one of recapitulation. The Provincials and the District Superiors researched base orientations for the future activities of the General Council. Since the Conference does not have executive powers, the proposals were not voted on, but points in common were sought by responding to a personal questionnaire. The results will be studied at the General Council’s January 2006 Plenary Session. These common points will help the Council to plan the following four years.
There was also an evaluation of the Conference itself, through a questionnaire that each participant completed after some personal quiet time. The dominant impression after these days of fraternity is that a key moment in the life of the Institute has been experienced.

Participants’ Opinions
We responded first to three questions in groups formed according to Regions, and then we shared freely in the general assembly. We noted that the Conference had progressed rapidly and peacefully and that the time had come to make courageous decisions not only for the future but also for the present.
Someone affirmed that, according to him, restructuring had been the most decisive moment for the Institute throughout these last years; it has opened the brothers to internationality and given birth to a new geographical configuration. He highlighted that the project mission ad gentes, the presence of the Institute at the UN at Geneva and the International Marist Mission Assembly were three significant contributions of this Conference. For another confrère, the three key expressions of the Conference were identity, union with Christ and solidarity with the poor.
Another general impression is one of satisfaction thanks to the close collaboration of the Brothers Superior General and Vicar General. The two inspire confidence, joy and hope with the team of the General Council. That explains their good work during these last four years.
Humorously, we recalled famous duos: Laurel and Hardy, Tom and Jerry, Mortadelle and Philémon and we spoke of the two musketeers to finally finish with Seán and Luis! At the end of the session a comic did not miss circulating a drawing of Seán Sobrado and Luis Sammon!
According to another, the Conference was the consecration of restructuring. Its excellent organisation was the fruit of the competence of members of the Institute. Someone compared the Institute to sailing boats that we could see each day from the hotel; they navigate with the sails filled with the wind. The Institute moves ahead, its sails filled with the breath of the Holy Spirit. An opinion less optimistic came from someone whose brothers are notably older. What can be done to motivate, enthuse and help these brothers to discover their mission?
<302a.jpg alt= >A brother saluted the exceptional hospitality of the brothers of the Province of Sri Lanka and Pakistan. He spoke of his admiration for the way in which the Province faces its challenges in an inter-religious environment, as was experienced during the visits to Hindu and Buddhist temples, and during the press conference with the local journalists. This brother also highlighted that it was very encouraging to see the transparency with which the economic topics were treated and the attention given to the poorer Provinces. Someone finally emphasised that we need to support the brothers and laypeople who live passionately for Jesus, in community for mission.

Suggestions to transmit the contents and experiences of the Conference
One of the concerns of the participants is to share with the brothers and laypeople what has been experienced and discussed during these days.
For the General Administration, as well as information placed on the website old.champagnat.org, a CD will be sent to the Administrative Units with photos and the documents produced. But, due to the different situations of the Administrative Units Provincials and District Superiors were asked to make suggestions.
Here are the brothers’ proposals: treat the themes of the Conference during retreats and Provincial meetings, include in the programme of the activities of each Administrative Unit times for sharing what has been experienced at Negombo, as much for the brothers as for laypeople. Three levels of communication can be distinguished: the events, the experiences and the content proper to arouse conversion.

Marial prayer
It continued the spirit of the Morning Prayer. The brothers had summarised in a word or a phrase their experience of the Conference, and had written this on a large board. Little by little the board was covered with varying expressions. Brother Emili Turú who animated the prayer, then asked the brothers who wished to explain their choice.
During the afternoon prayer, the same words were used in a power point. The screen reproduced the calls as emarara, fogo, chiyembekezo, espoir, kabataan, paga-sa ng vayan, mipela amamasin yu, etc. In the different languages of the brothers, a choir of supplications and praise to Mary was raised on behalf of the entire Institute. Each of these calls was accompanied by a Hail Mary.

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