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“If you want to go far, go with others”

 

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Workshop on laity - brothers

25/11/2013: Kenya

In a recent Workshop promoted by the Secretariat of the Laity in mid-October in Nairobi, we were reminded of the African saying: “If you want to go fast, travel alone. If you want to go far, go with others”. Laity and brothers from all the Administrative Units of the African continent had the beautiful experience of seeking to look far ahead to the horizon of African life in Africa and Madagascar, and from this arose a powerful desire to journey together to become organized and promote a greater union between brothers and laity and between the provinces.

The Workshop, animated by the members of the Secretariat, Tony, Pep, Sylvain and Javier, brought together six laymen, a laywoman and seven brothers from Ghana, South Africa, Madagascar, Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Nigeria and Kenya. The MIC was represented by one of the formators, Br Eugene Ezwugu. For three days, it studied the major topics concerning co-reponsibility and the lay vocation, the new relation between brothers and laity, formation processes, the future of communion for the Marist charism. If there is certainly a long way to go, the Workshop left a feeling of hope in the perception that we can go far if we go together.

This is how two of the participants expressed it:

“We have just completed the formation workshop on the communion of brothers and laity in Nairobi. I go away with great satisfaction because all the Administrative Units of Africa have been represented with brothers and laity, and we go with the African commission of laity and brothers already set up, with a layperson as president. I am convinced, as the last General Chapter expressed it, that the Marist future is a future of communion between brothers and laity. We have experienced it and I commit myself personally to making it alive where I am”. (Br Rémy Mbolipasiko Dikala, PACE, R.D.Congo).

"Three days in Nairobi, together with the Marist Brothers and the Lay Marists of Africa and Madagascar; the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Champagnat. In three days we saw the creation of a new awareness a new form of living the Marist Charism between Brothers and Lay People. We arrived as people who knew that we shared something but we weren’t sure how to articulate it. We left with the confidence that we could face the future together - without taking anything from each other; yet enriching each other; in a way of fraternal equality. The legacy of Father Champagnat continues in our continent. As Africans we know, 'If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together' As Marists, we go together." (Mike Greeff, Lay Marist, Southern Africa, South Africa)

The meeting proposed the setting up of the Commission of Laity and Brothers for Africa and Madagascar. This was formed by Br Elias Iwu of Nigeria, Mr Mike Greeff of Southern Africa, Br John Kusi-Mensah of West Africa, Br Rémy Mbolipasiko of PACE, Br Ernest Randriatsoalaivoav of Madagascar and Br Sylvain Ramandimbiarisoa of the Secretariat of the Laity. The commission appointed its co-ordinator in the person of Mike Greeff, the layman in the group. 

This Commission will be at the service of the Conference of Provincials, to accompany the processes of the new relationship in each Administrative Unit, in communion with the  Secretariat of the Laity and the other continental commissions. 

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