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24 November

Saint Andrew Dung-Lac and companions

Marist Calendar - November

3rd Annual Meeting

 

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Marist Asia Conference

21/05/2014: Thailand

The leaders of Asia recently gathered at the end of April for their 3rd Annual Meeting. The gathering was in Bangkok hosted by the Marist District of Asia (MDA). The Marist Asia Conference (MCA) is a arrangement whereby the leaders of Asia can meet regularly to plan regional initiatives together and  co-ordinate the sharing of resources.

This meeting was the first to be attended by Ms.Agnes Reyes, who has joined the Conference as a full member. Br.Mike de Waas, the General Council’s link to Asia, was also able to attend, thereby assisting the Conference to remain linked to the priorities and directions of Br.Emili and the Council. 

The meeting was also joined by Mr.Marco Blanco, who is regional co-ordinator in Asia for FMSI. Marco has just completed his first year; and what a full year it has been! His attention has been devoted to two significant priorities: the implementation of Child Advocacy and Protection policies, as well being the focal point for sourcing funding for projects in the region. Each priority is a considerable task in its own right. Mike de Waas is also the chair of FMSI, thus giving the meeting an excellent opportunity to ensure clear communication between MAC, FMSI –Rome, FMSI-Geneva, FMSI-Asia; and to set clear priorities for Marist Asia.

This being the 3rd Annual meeting, much time was also given to reviewing progress in other areas that have been priorities of the Conference since its inception. Regional co-operation in Initial Formation continues to be a focus, especially in light of the re-opening of the International Novitiate at Tudella, Sri Lanka this month. The leaders would also like to see in place a regional program of preparation for Perpetual Profession. Co-ordinating program dates with the differing school holidays around the region is the challenge. 

Much progress is being made in the area of Partnership in Mission.  The region’s Laity Commission has been very active, and is a clear example of the fundamental approach of the Conference: sharing of programs, resources, combined formation activities – with one area assisting others needing support - in ways that are appropriate for Asia – shaped by the limitation of resources within the region. 

Similarly in the area of community development. Under the guidance of the respective Administrative Unit (AU) Councils, the regional graduates of the Community Animators program in Manziana, are using their skills and training within their AUs. The Conference is keeping an eye on how to keep these Brothers networked and exchanging experience around the region.

Another area of great importance and significant potential is the development of Asian Marist Spirituality. This 3rd Annual meeting re-affirmed the commitment made to the Institute at the General Conference last September: that the leaders of Asia will devote attention to the articulation Marist Spirituality shaped by Asian culture and experience, for the benefit of Marist life and mission in Asia, and the enrichment of the whole Institute.

Overall, the meeting concluded with a mix of feelings.  It is pleasing that the Conference is developing its own style and culture. The manner of meeting is developing. Conversation is increasingly frank and honestly expressive of regional realities.  Despite the limitations of the region, especially in the restrictions of personnel available as resource people, and of finance which limits face-to-face contact, there is much satisfaction with the steady progress that is being made in regional co-operation. 

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Photo - from left to right: Br Chinna Devadoss (South Asia), Br Peter Rodney (MAPAC), Mr. Marco Blanco (FMSI – Asia), Br. Mike de Waas (General Council), Br Pat Corpus (East Asia), Br Juan Castro (MDA), Br Robert Teoh (East Asia), Ms. Agnes Reyes, Br Shanthi Liyanage (South Asia), and Br Michael Potter (MDA). 

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