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Searching together for a greater vitality of the charism



Third meeting of the American Sub-commission of the Laity

22/09/2014: Brazil

“Searching together for a greater vitality of the charism,” the American Sub-commission of the Laity met in Brasilia from 22 to 26 July. We were given a marvelous welcome by Br Wellington, the provincial community, and our host, Layza Gomes, and began work with hearts full of hope and challenges.

This commission is composed of: Louise Fortier (Canada), Patricia Ríos (México Occidental), Raúl Amaya (Santa María de los Andes), Mauricio Fuentes (Cruz del Sur), João Luis Fedel (Brasil Centro Sur), Layza Gomes (Brasil Centro Norte), Br Daniel Martín (América Central) and Moises Beltrán (Norandina), our co-ordinator. Br Javier Espinosa, of the Secretariat of the Laity, accompanied us as usual.

After the words of welcome and good wishes of Br Wellington, and a time of integration and introducing ourselves and sharing our life stories, we began the task we had in front of us. The agenda “frightened” us a bit.

Br Libardo Garzón, by video-conference, shared with us the organizational model, the nature and the purpose of the CIAP (Inter-American Conference of Provincials). We also learned about the animation plan of the Permanent Council of the CIAP.

Raúl Amaya and Br Javier Espinosa presented to us what had been done at the last meeting of the Enlarged Secretariat of the Laity held in Lima, Peru, and the next projects: a course for lay formators in Rome, the opening of the centres of Manziana and El Escorial to the laity, Meeting of the Continental Commissions (2016), the Lexicon Project, Joint Vocations Ministry, Association and belonging… among others.

Br Javier also motivated us to take time to reflect on our personal presence on the Sub-commission and its scope. Three questions aided us in this reflection: What stands out from my personal experience in this group? What do I feel gives meaning to the mission of the Sub-commission? Looking at the future, what must we refine and improve?

In addition, Br Javier motivated a time for formation. Some of the topics treated were the options for laity and a new paradigm for the vocation of the brother and his role in the works. At the end, we had a rich time of reacting to the topic and sharing our reflections with regard to the theme of the laity in the Institute, in our continent and in each of the provinces we belong to.

The evaluation and refocussing of the Strategic Plan and the drawing up of the Operational Plan for 2014 – 2015 allowed us to give concrete shape to the projects we want to implement at the level of the American continent. These are the 4 projects, which in turn are being developed in strategies, which we wish to work on as Sub-commission:

1. Promote the visibility of the lay Marist vocation and the new relationship between brothers and laity within the processes of provincial government and the structures of continental animation.

2. Promote and accompany the development of processes and experiences of   discernment and study of the lay Marist vocation and the experiences of association and belonging.

3. Promote and accompany the development of processes and experiences which express in a significant way the new relationship of brothers and laity.

4. Increase the community and fraternal spirit among the members of the Sub-commission.

Meetings at UMBRASIL with the sector of Religious Life and Laity and in the Central Office with the Pastoral Committee, enriched us with the sharing of experiences and modes of organization, especially in the area of the Marist laity.

The times for prayer allowed us not to forget the One who unites us and invites us to work for his Kingdom. Creativity and the desire to help each other also helped us grow in faith.

We are happy because what we lived those days, laity and brothers, is really what we wish to live and implement at all levels in our Marist family.

We go away with many challenges ahead. Charged with energy and hope, we leave Brasilia and this community in which we have felt at home. Thanks to the Province of Brasil Centro Norte for receiving us. We hope we have not caused much trouble. Thanks to Br Wellington and the   provincial house. Thanks to Layza for all her attention. Thanks to Br Machado for his inestimable service of translation. We felt he was part of the group. And thanks to the companions of the   Sub-commission for the fraternity and the willingness to help each other and thinking of the whole Continent to live with greater intensity and power the dream of  Champagnat among laity and brothers.


Br. Daniel Martín, Prov. América Central

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