Home > News > General House: Interview with Br Angel Medina, director of the El Escorial team

Wherever you go

Rule of Life of the Marist Brothers



  • News
  • 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004
  • Most popular | Statistics
  • Calendar
  • The latest news


Social networking

Marist Brothers

RSS YouTube FaceBook Twitter



Calls of the XXII General Chapter


Archive of updates


Marist Calendar

16 January

Saint Dacian and companions, martyrs

Marist Calendar - January

Brother Formators for a New World



Interview with Br Angel Medina, director of the El Escorial team

10/01/2014: General House

Among the ongoing formation programmes, our houses of Manziana and the Escorial are conducting a special one throughout 2014 for qualifying and preparing Brother formators for the initial stages of Marist formation. The programme is called “Brother Formators for a New World” and is intended to provide a response to the first future horizon envisaged by the XXI General Chapter: to promote a new consecrated life which generates a new way of being Brother.

Brother Angel Medina of the District of Paraguay is the director of the El Escorial team and animator of the team for the Spanish-speaking formators’ programme, together with Br Joarês Pinheiro de Sousa of Brasil Centro-Norte. Here he talks to us about the future of formation and the programme for formators.


Why is the Institute investing in the formation of future formators?

Some months ago the restored house of La Valla was inaugurated. Its design responded to Marcellin’s intuitions to create space for life and, in particular, for the reality of the new Institute which was being born.

I believe that now our religious family also has in mind the same concern of Champagnat, to create “spaces” for Marist life to flourish. Taking as model the recently remodeled residence of the first community, where at the base is the source, the spring which nourishes and sustains it -the spirituality- at the centre, the table which invites to brotherhood and, at the upper level, the opening towards mission, we could take it as a reference point for understanding the value and importance of the Programme for Formators which will take place in   2014, in our houses of Manziana and El Escorial. Moreover, this symbolism coincides exactly with that Pope Francis spoke about not long ago to the participants of the USG: the formation of religious is supported on solid pillars: the spiritual, the communitarian, the apostolic and the intellectual (this last added by the Pope).

To prepare formators from this perspective is to invest in the pillars of the house which has to be in its turn the space where the new life is taken care of and flourishes. At the same time, the investment is a glance full of hope towards the future based on all that is being generated in the interior of our Institute, with a growing awareness of what our lovely world needs from a teacher and catechist such as the Little Brother of Mary. Our life and mission are the base of the confidence in the vocation that is felt without a doubt, and will be felt in the future, by not a few young men. Its care and accompaniment is going to depend in a great measure on the quality of our Brother formators.


Who are those taking part?

The first word that needs to be mentioned is youth, since the average age is around 36. I believe that this is one of the most valuable and hopeful signs, as well as the expression of the positive response to the invitation made by the Institute to all the Administrative Units with the possibility of sending up to two members from each   Province and District. The final number between the two centres (Manziana and El Escorial) is going to be 30 Brothers -15 in each of the houses – from which we can see that there is a broad representation of the Marist world, in particular of the zones of Asia, Oceania, Africa and Latin America. 

The other word would be “sent”, initially by their respective administrative units and, at the same time, by the Institute through the General Council. This is not only something that will happen at the end of the Programme –in fact it will be Br Emili himself who will do the missioning at the final celebration – but because for those taking part, it has been the General Council itself which has made the invitation, has accompanied the process of discernment, and especially has aroused their readiness to take on in their lives the future mission of converting themselves into people who will care for the shoots of new life as a gift of God and the fruit of our commitment.


What are some of the more important elements of the programme?

There is an abbreviation which may sum up some of the most relevant aspects, BFNW, in terms of identity and   perspective: BROTHER FORMATORS FOR A NEW WORLD.

Every formation programme organized for the Institute in recent years has had its touch of “newness”, understood as a response to the new which is happening, not only in RL but in the situations in which we live. This is justifiably one of the components, because as formators of future Brothers, we can situate ourselves with lucidity and breadth of vision in this moment of history, gather the insights we encounter in life and in reflection on the reality in which we move, and the challenges which emerge to living the Marist and Gospel values with coherence and depth.

This same view leads us to accept internationality as a dynamic source for relationships and an invitation to openness of mind and spirit to building up fraternity. Formation for integrating diversity in a harmonious and constructive manner supposes a journey of experiential learning.

Those who will accompany us, the ones called “presenters”, are going to be persons coming from diverse situations and cultures, as much from Europe, as the place where the course is being held, but also from other  continents so that a global vision of RL, the Church and society can be offered. And perhaps one particular feature will be that a very significant group of presenters are Marist Brothers from all over the world, precisely because the Programme is intended to form in Marist life and identity.

Completing this aspect, I note that the General Council forms part of the animating team, a task it has not only carried out in the preparation of the Programme but which it will also continue in the presentation of various themes and dynamics: at the beginning of the course to present the keystones of formation in the Institute at this moment in history; later helping us to discover the profile and identity of the Marist  formator today; and finally presenting the keys of the formation process they should follow in their mission as formators. All this will be animated by the Br Councillors, the Br Vicar and the Superior General.

Finally, I would point out the connection between the two Centres, Manziana and El Escorial, which has characterised the preparation of the Programme so that in the diversity of languages –English and Portuguese/Spanish- the same itinerary of formation can be followed, enriched with the “bridge” experience we are going to have twice during the programme at the HERMITAGE, that is to say, the two groups together forming a single community on the pilgrimage to the Marist places and in encountering the source and roots of Marist life, with Marcellin and our first Brothers. A first opportunity, in June, and then at the final moment of our Programme with the missioning, which will take place at the mother house, as in the time of Champagnat.


Expectations of the programme for future formators?

I am very inspired by what I have perceived in the brief and “virtual” contacts with the Brothers who are going to take part, I think they have already made an interior journey of availability and openness for the experience which we will live. At times I have the feeling that “they are already here before arriving” and this is a reason for hope and confidence for me. And a second feeling would be that “something has to happen”, much more “something important” will happen in the life of the Brothers throughout this experience. The question of Br Emili in his circular, is not precisely so that nothing happens but rather that a personal transformation can take place in the key of fidelity to our charism and to the Gospel, so that something new can happen in our Institute, and for that a privileged space is formation and its formators.

Interview with Br Dennis Cooper, director of the Manziana team

4729 visits