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Day 4 April 16 - Closing Word

20/04/2015: France
Mission Assembly- Nairobi 2014

Closing words of Brother Óscar Martin Vicario, Provincial de Compostela, Chairman of the European Marist Conference.

______________

Dear Marists of Europe,

From this house, in January 1830, Fr. Champagnat wrote to Bro. Bartolomé and the brothers in his community. It is a well-known letter. It sounds very attractive to our ears when we reread it 185 years later.  It seems these words of Marcellin are attached to the walls and they are addressed to us, today, the Marists of Europe.

  • Marists of Europe, "I know you have a great number of children. How important is your job and how great it is!"
  • Marists of Europe, "tell your children that and Jesus and Mary love them very much. That the Blessed Virgin wants them all. Mary loves them because she is the Mother of all children," and of all young people entrusted to us.
  • Marists of Europe, "tell them that I love them very much, as well. How much I would  like to have the joy of teaching them and to be able to devote myself to them in a more direct way with the tenderness these children deserve!"

These sentences of Champagnat are inviting us to trust and gratefulness for our history in Marist Europe, a nearly 200 year’s history. They are inviting us to dare in hope, as well.

  • Champagnat speaks of the importance of education and evangelization, and he is inviting us to be brave . . . to be prophets.
  • He is inviting us to hand on to others the love of Jesus and Mary, in a deep, authentic way  . . . to be mystics.
  • And he is proposing to do so out of love for children and the love that exists amongst ourselves, with family spirit ... communion.

So my message at the end is a word of gratitude to you all for this living Assembly that we have been celebrating.  Thank you for your passion in your educational, social and evangelizing work which you are doing day by day in Marist Europe.

Now it is the time for witness and action.  It is the time to answer the calls of the Montagnes whose faces and names we have remembered during the Assembly. Young people, we have said, are asking us to live authentic meaningful lives, to be close to them ... and our response has to be generous and fast.

  • With the prophecy of a courageous Evangelizing action, that thinks first of the needy.
  • With the day by day mysticism of our teachers and our schools: they should find in us and in our schools places of spirituality, as they thirsting for spirituality.
  • We do this with the communion that we recreated around the common table that we rediscovered yesterday, and around the many tables of our schools, our centres and our communities.

Therefore, besides gratitude, I want my message to be a message of courage and of passion. Because the European children still need us today. Because, as we have experienced here, richness and communion can grow in diversity; because we share the dream of Champagnat to reincarnate it in Europe today.

How important and symbolic it is, that this dream is reborn right here.

  • In the Hermitage, a house of God’s presence. In this house we can hear, once again, the voice of this man who was living God continuously; he could pray equally in the woods of the Hermitage and in the streets of Paris ...
  • In the Hermitage, a house of apostolic passion. From this house, many generations of educators set out into mission; from here Father Champagnat sent many brothers to their mission; from here our first Brothers were going in twos to give catechesis to the poorer children ...
  • In the Hermitage, a house of communion. In this house, together with the house La Valla, many brothers have lived a deep experience of brotherhood ... and as the buildings have been renovated, they show to all of us the face of an enlarged tent; a multiplied and reinvented tent which can be the house of all Marists,  Brothers and Lay people.

On behalf of the Board of CEM and of the Provincials; Brendan, Maurice, Ambrosio, Antonio and myself, I thank you all for your participation. Thanks also to the Preparatory Commission for their excellent work.  Thanks to all who have provided services of translation, decoration, animation and the secretariat. Thanks to the Community of this house for their warm Marist welcome. Let us now have the courage to daring in hope so that the new dawn we are waiting for will arise, on our way to the bicentenary; let a new beginning of Marist life happen in Europe.

___________
Brother Óscar Martin Vicario,
Provincial de Compostela, Chairman of the CEM.

Mission Assembly- Nairobi 2014

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