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18 September

Saint Joseph of Cupertino

Marist Calendar - September

‘Post Perpetual Gier Programme’ leaves Marists renewed, stronger



Programme for middle-aged Marists finishes with positive feedback

23/09/2015: General House - Photo gallery

Brothers who took part in a programme for middle-aged Marists aimed at encouraging them affirmed it has fortified them.

“The course was a time of grace, it has helped me to strengthen my consecration and deepen my roots as a Marist,” said Br Alfonso Junior Chiquini Méndez, of the Province of Mexico Occidental. 

Another participant of the course, Brother Mark Ikechukwu of the province of Nigeria, highlighted that “the Gier is a spiritual renewal, a concrete way of getting in touch with our patrimony.”

The ‘Post Perpetual Gier Programme,’ which took place from Aug. 13 – Sept. 20 with brothers from around the world in their 30s and 40s, hoped to see them through difficult times, according to one of the organisers.

“We felt there was a need for some input at this age group since it’s a moment in many brothers’ lives where they’ve had a war with big questions of sustainability with consecrated life,” said Brother Tony Leon, one of the programme’s organisers, in an interview on Aug. 26.

It took place in the general house in Rome for the first two weeks, then in L’Hermitage, France, for another two weeks, and the final week back in Rome.

Br Alfonso underscored “the part that I liked best from the course was definitely my stay in L’Hermitage and the weekend visit to Taizé.”

“The first because it was a longing I had had for several years and the second because it is a symbolic place where God touched my most sensitive heartstrings again,” he added. 

Br Alfonso told how the first two weeks have included “workshops focused on looking at my character, and have stressed the importance of achieving a balance between the apostolate and spirituality” and added “an important call was made to us to be authentic and congruent.” 

The next two weeks in L’Hermitage, France, allowed the 20 Brothers to “discover the Institute’s treasures and pray in what we consider is the Marist reliquary.” 

The Brothers visited the Marists sites of Maisonette, La Valla, Lyon and Marlhes, spent a weekend praying in Taizé and visited the FMSI offices in Geneva.

“The Brothers explained to us the process of preparing their reports to the UN and we made a reconnaissance visit around the UN facilities,” Br Alfonso continues. 

During their last week in Rome, they took part in the International Congress for Young People in Consecrated Life – as part of the Vatican’s initiative of the Year of Consecrated Life – , which he described as a “very interesting and beautiful encounter with other youths that, like me, vibrate with Jesus and that following him gives meaning to our lives.” 

“We were invited to be flexible but faithful to our founders and that Pope Francis himself has motivated us to live in the culture of the definitive since God acts like this, always loves us and does not put an expiration date,” said the Mexican.

In an earlier interview, published Aug. 5, assistant director of the secretariat Brothers Today, Br Hipólito Pérez, noted “it’s the first time this programme runs and it will possibly be repeated in two years if the experience and its evaluation are positive and if there are enough candidates.”

Br Mark noted that going to L’Hermitage was “the most important aspect because I was able to get the spirit of the Institute and it was like knowing my own history and origin.”

“The Gier programme is a revival hour or moment,” he went on. “We are re-energized to move with passion in haste to the new land.”

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