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Second European Assembly of the Marist Mission

 

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April 14, the second day of the Assembly

15/04/2015: France - Photo gallery
Mission Assembly- Nairobi 2014

Today (April 14, the second day of the Assembly) was devoted to prophecy, a prophecy which we want to live and to put into practice in communion. The guideline of the day is, in fact, to be prophets in communion. Communion is a key theme throughout the meeting. We are "Marist Europe;" we want to think, to live and act as a Marist European family. This is why in the idea of ​​networks often surfaces in different reflections and sharing in groups, i.e., to be capable of networking when we think of the Marist mission in Europe.

The day began with morning prayer in the garden: "a voice of fire" around an open tent that seemed to hide a treasure. It was the theme of our prayer, inspired by Matthew 13, 44: The kingdom of heaven is like a hidden treasure in the field; the one finding it goes and sells what he has and buys that field; he wants to own the treasure. A simple representation gave a Marist dimension to this gospel story: the hidden treasures in the field are the Montagnes of today. They should be in the heart of the Marist mission; they should be those we are searching for. By coincidence we are living the Montagne Year, on the road leading us to the bicentenary. Living this and the next two years, having in our minds the horizon of the third Marist centenary, means for us an invitation to go out to meet the Montagnes of today. We are not waiting them to come to us. This echoes among us the words of Pope Francis: we are a "Church moving forward". The background is a word as old as the Gospel. Perhaps we have forgotten it a little bit: "Go into all the world and make disciples  . . .". It is the Lord calling us to move.

Today's program was conducted in two main phases: 1) to have an overview of European youth today; 2) and secondly to discover the Montagnes when we dream of a Marist Europe at the beginning of the third centenary of the Congregation. It is the "new beginning" for Europe to which we are all invited.

Angel Domingo, a Marist layman from the Province of L'Hermitage, helped the Assembly to discover some faces of young people in Europe today: "When I was asked to address this issue I felt a great responsibility. I ended up discovering that the situations in which young Europeans are living are varied. There are many inequalities and differences on several levels: the social, economic, cultural and religious contexts are very different from one country to another and within the same country”. However, Angel added: "There are several key elements that show a common basis for today's youth in Europe. I’ll mention three:

  • In general terms we can speak of openness to spirituality, although this concept remains somewhat diffuse among many young;
  • We may speak of fragility: in the European crisis, they feel very insecure about the future, even if they have not lost hope;
  • They are the young people who live in the age of informatics, communication and intercommunication. This abundance of communication does not necessarily mean more communion and solidarity among them”.

Trying to get down to concrete points, there were moments to share the question so often heard in Marist circles: Who are the Montagnes of today? The exchange was wide, long and deep, and sometimes repetitive.

Mariliza Krtiicoú, of the Greek sector of the Province of L'Hermitage, taking into account the situation that her country is going through, shared as follows: "As I return to my country I carry with me a sense of responsibility: to discover the daily prophetic calls, challenging me to become the visible presence of God among my fellow citizens”. And she continued saying: “In my country, especially in Athens, each person facing an impasse is often a Montagne. We do not immediately discover their fragility and needs; we do not see the Montagnes of today very easily: a student who for reasons of modesty hides his need for affection; a child or young person in the Social Centre who always remains silent”.

Mariliza, however, does not fall into discouragement and continues:

"Today we cannot go back on issues of communion and responsibility when we think of Brothers and Lay people. New horizons are ahead of us. We shall proceed with courage trying to respond to new realities following our Marist principles without fear of rejection. To hold on and to move forward: this is the prophetic way. "

The same enthusiasm is shared by brother Robert Thunus from the Province West Central Europe, and a member of the Preparatory Committee of the Assembly. He shares some of his feelings and hopes with us: "I am really pleased with the enthusiasm of the participants when we speak of Montagne. This topic and this reality touch their hearts. It is no longer possible not to move ahead in the search for new projects responding to the needs of today’s Montagnes”. And he lays down some practical ideas, an echo of what was heard in several groups:

  • As from now on we have to learn to work how to network; we have to use the knowledge of other people, working like us with those who are most in need.
  • We must give the possibility to all Marists of Champagnat to have direct contact with the poor we meet, and with whom we are working; we have to train them to deal with these situations and accept that they can volunteer for projects beyond our borders.
  • To continue on the path of the bicentenary during this Montagne  year also means the ability to enthuse lay people in "Montagne Projects". In doing so we are being faithful to the project of Champagnat in his encounter with the Montagnes of today. Faithfulness means also this ability to discover and to start working with the Montagnes of today.
  • I see in Marist Europe further development of social projects, without forgetting our work in the schools. In the social area where we work with the Montagnes of today we are not concerned only with the social dimension; it is also important not to forget the spiritual dimension that these young people, in one way or another, are asking of us. In this sense, being a mysticism (which we will discuss tomorrow) completes prophecy; and prophecy is fed by mysticism. Marists of Champagnat are called to cultivate the balance between mysticism and prophecy, between spirituality and mission.

The day came to a close with a prayer of great beauty, mystical and symbolic, "around the fire." The subject was Montagne. The idea and the reality of Montagne brought unity to the whole day. The treasure we discovered in the morning was there again. To the vague and imprecise faces that were presented to us in photographs, we gave the name of a Montagne whom we knew. And to signify even in a deeper way our commitment to these Montagnes of today we "got our hands dirty” on pieces of charcoal placed there for that purpose. Many of the participants in the groups said that we must roll up our sleeves and enter the struggle to find the Montagnes of today. They may be very close to us. With Mary, singing her Magnificat, we welcomed and then left our embrace to the Montagnes who are desperately waiting for us. It was a very full day: Many of the Assembly participants will remember this day for a long time.

First day, 13 April

Mission Assembly- Nairobi 2014

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