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Opening party of the II MIMA: Wednesday, September 17th

17/09/2014: Kenya - Photo gallery
Mission Assembly- Nairobi 2014

The grand opening party IIAIMM started by summoning all the participants of the Assembly with the African drum rhythms. The road to the party is accompanied by the movement of the whole body. The party starts in the feet that can’t help but to start dancing. The entire community walks to the beat of the drums to meet in the place where celebration will take place.

 

Earth and Fire

The path leads to a bonfire around which a narrator tells two great moments of our spiritual history which gives meaning to our lives. An African girl explained the Biblical account of the creation as seen by the culture of this Continent. This poem includes the creation of Mount Kilimanjaro. The land on which we live is a great gift of the Creator, the Maker of all. This is the reason for which the story ended with the delivery of five containers filled with soil, one for each of the regions of the Marist geography. One of the elements of the logo of the II MIMA namely the earth was also highlighted.

The second great story was that of the Pentecost. They were all together in community as the fire from the Holy Spirit descended upon them and inflamed them all with His love. At the conclusion of this story the paschal candle was lit along with five other torches to represent how the Spirit spreads throughout the five Continents. Along with the torches one of the participants took in his hands the symbol representing the flame, which is also part of the logo, joining the procession who carried the containers with the soil. 

The entire group moved then to a second stage, always accompanied by the beating of the drums, where the fire transferred all its energy to the earth through the torches being extinguished upon the contact with the soil. This gesture meant to allude to the efficacy of the Spirit that dominates the face of the earth. In this space of reflection and celebration were proclaimed some fragments of the Message of the XXI General Chapter to the brothers, lay people and the young drafted in Rome in October, 2009: "Together we have dreamt our future and discovered the fundamental call of God today. With Mary go in haste to a new land!”

The third scenario showed three books whose words give life and nourishes the spirit of the Marist today: The Life of the founder of whose zeal has been mentioned when he said: To educate children must love them and love them equally. I cannot see the children without wanting to tell them how much God loves them. And the fragment of his Testament: That among you there be just one heart and one mind. That it be always told of the Marist what was said of the early Christians: See how they love each other! The second great book was titled The Marist Book. The inside of this book contained some of the virtues characteristic of the Marist brothers: simplicity, family spirit, love of work and the way of Mary. The third volume only contains the title as it is yet to be written: The Book of the mission. To fill this new book one has to take into consideration how much it has been written on this subject over the last 200 years of the Institute. To compose a new chapter of this book we will have to find the novelty that the new Marists in mission bring, which is the slogan with which the II MIMA has been summoned. For this to happen, the animators invite the participants to enter the great hall where for twelve days they will listen each other and where they will also try to follow the sounds the Marist drums will produce to make everyone’s heart beat. 

 

The official welcome

Back in the room where the Assembly meets the simple protocol of the official welcome has begun. A group of scouts smartly entered the room and has sung the national anthem of Kenya. Then Brother Valentine Djawu, Provincial of the Province of Central and East Africa spoke a few simple words welcoming all these people to Africa.

Brother Emili Turu, Superior General also welcomed everyone on behalf of the Institute. "Thank you for accepting the challenge of participating in this Assembly on behalf of many other Marist worldwide. During these two weeks the entire Institute is here." Then he raised two questions: What can we expect from this assembly? And, why was Africa chosen to celebrate this Assembly? To his first question he replied that it can be expected "a profound experience of fraternity" that makes us "more sensitive to our internationality and more open to the richness of our differences" and also to expect "future directions for the Marist mission globally". To his second question he pointed out that the II MIMA was held in Africa because the Institute needs a "change of perspective. Africa, despite all its natural and human resources, is not a center where decisions about the economy or geopolitical issues are taken ... is one of the peripheries of the world" and said, in the words of Pope Francis, "the reality is better looked at not from the center but from the periphery. I'm sure -he said- that this change of perspective will help us to be open to the novelty and creativity of the Spirit."

Brother Emili put an end to his speech with these words: "I have been told that I had to do the official opening of the Assembly, but I think it is more important that each of us is open to the Assembly, to the Spirit along with Mary who pondered everything in her heart. All participants then plunged into a deep silence for a short moment. This is how the journey of this II MIMA begun.

Then spoke the cardinal Archbishop of Nairobi John Njue who acknowledged that his vocation was the result of the missionaries. "We are the fruit of obedience of the missionaries," he said. He encouraged the Assembly to surrender to the "essence of their vocation" which is "to invite people to surrender themselves to the Lord." He concluded by wishing a successful work of this II MIMA.

Brother Francis Lukong Yufenyuy, President of the Conference of Superiors of the African continent and brother João Carlos do Prado, Coordinator of the Preparatory Commission joined the Cardinal and brother Emili on the simple stage from where the Assembly was chaired. On behalf of the participants, brother Ismael Valls Pujol from the Asia District, Ms Sarah Nowlan of the Province of Australia, Mr. Juan Andrés Navarro Achard, from the Province of Cruz del Sur, and Anthony Young Anil Kanath, from the Province South Asia were also present.

This party concluded with a folk dance starring two young people from the Maasai tribe.

 

Building Community

After a short break the proposal to initiate the integration of the participants was set forth. The Assembly will work over the coming days as a community of communities. This has divided the participants into 12 small groups and they have been invited to go to meet others, to welcome and celebrate life. They will try to form communities so that they can tell the stories of life, so that they are the narrators of the life and passion of their community, their province or district.

Each community will be guided by a symbol whose set will guide the reflection of these days: 

1 have heard the beat of the drums that bring us together. 

2 The Dance invites us to move with the same melody, but with different steps in harmony. 

3 Nairobi receives us as a home, an open door house. 

4 We meet and shake our hands, sign of brotherhood. 

5. We bring the experience of our land, of our province or district. 

6. We admire life, we share the fruits and embrace the shade that welcomes us under this Marist tree on African soil. 

7 We open our eyes to this international reality that challenges us. 

8. We share on this table our personal and institutional wealth. 

9 The fire helps us to purify, to look at the essence of this life that unites us. 

10. We look together, with hope, the horizon of the Marist charism. 

11. We will be burning coals

12. To live like New Marists in Mission (logo).

 

Marist logbook


After the meeting of the 12 small communities each participant was invited to write their thoughts and impressions in their Marist logbook during a personal time of silence. Every afternoon a half hour will be devoted to fill the pages of this book.

The day ended with the celebration of the Eucharist, animated by a chorus of brothers from the MIC, praising the Lord for allowing us to live a beautiful day. 


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AMEstaún, 17 September

Mission Assembly- Nairobi 2014

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