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Entry to the novitiate Marcelino Champagnat in Cochabamba

23/03/2014: Bolivia

On Saturday 8 March, Oscar Chávez (Bolivia) and Javier Villanea (Chile), both of the Province of Santa María de los Andes, entered the interprovincial novitiate. They were accompanied in the celebration by the brothers of the neighbouring community of Ticti Norte and the Provincial Council who guided them in their decision and joined them at this moment so important for their lives as disciples of Jesus and Marcellin. 

Br Raúl Shönfeld, Master of Novices, welcomed us to the novitiate. We informed him of what we desired of the Church and the community of the Little Brothers of Mary: to continue our journey in the Marist life, now at the novitiate. Seeking to be disciples attentive to the Word of God, as were Mary and our Father Marcellin. This moment introduced the celebration of the Word and the subsequent Eucharist.

At the time of the homily, Br Antonio Peralta, Provincial, gave us a warm welcome to the Institute and invited us to reflect on the Gospel of the 1st Sunday of Lent (Mt. 4: 1-11) which related the experience of Jesus tempted in the desert. He referred to the desert as an experience of founding love and also of pain. He invited us to come out of this time of formation “with the nostalgia for the desert”, like Jesus who, in spite of his intense mission, desired to turn to solitude and silence to pray and experience the intimacy and love of his Father. The desert of the novitiate is a sacred space for listening to and experiencing the word of the Father “You are my beloved son” and for allowing Him to mould in us the heart of a BROTHER. 

After Br Antonio’s words, Br Saturnino presented us with the Constitutions which we received in the hope of shaping our life by them.

At the end of the celebration, we addressed our brothers. Oscar, insisting on the desire to live an encounter alone with God but at the same time forming community with Him, incarnated in the Brother, asked them to help him live this relationship. And Javier referred to the house of La Valla, desiring to live an experience of intimacy with God and Marcellin as in that house of the 1800s. He thanked God for the persons who had accompanied him in this time of searching. He entrusted himself to the company of our Good Mother. 

We are grateful for the fraternal welcome of the Marist family and ask them to accompany us with their prayers on our journey as Little Brothers. We ask them the favour of commending our families, especially our parents Oscar and Ángela, Patricia and Elgin.

In the photo, from left to right: Br Raúl Shönfeld, Oscar Chávez, Javier Villanea and Br Antonio Peralta.

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