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Marist Asia Conference

 

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5th Annual General Meeting of the Asia Region

13/05/2016: Thailand

The leaders of the Asia Region gathered again in Bangkok, Thailand, for their Annual General Meeting, from 30 April to 1 May.

The Conference and its Annual Meeting serve as a forum for planning and co-ordinating regional activities and the exchange of expertise and resources.  In the sharing of activities that takes place during such meetings, the participants come to an intimate knowledge of the bigger picture of just how much regional co-operation is already in place.

Initial Formation might provide some of the most obvious examples of regional vision:  

* The International Novitiate at Tudella, Sri Lanka (South Asia, Marist District of Asia (MDA), District of Melanesia, Province of Australia). 

* The support by the China Sector of the Province of East Asia for the Postulancy of MDA in Davao, Philippines. 

* The program of Preparation for Perpetual Profession at Lomeri, Fiji (East Asia, South Asia, and the District of the Pacific). 

The Conference has in place three commissions: Laity, Mission and Spirituality, and their work has been significant. 

The Laity Commission has been especially active in being a catalyst for the formation of Lay Marists.  Their needs across the region are so diverse that the Commission maintains its focus on the situation of individual Administrative Units, within the wider context of the vision and priorities both of the Institute and the Church in Asia.

Following its organisation of the highly successful Asian Marist International Mission Assembly (Asia MIMA) in Sri Lanka late last year, the Mission Commission is now planning ways of carrying forward the Assembly Message.

The Spirituality Commission presented its first reflection paper: Marist Spirituality in the Context of Asia. It drew forth a very fruitful discussion during the Meeting, such that the Conference has requested the Commission to arrange for similar dialogues at local levels around the region.

A fourth commission –Formation - was inaugurated by this meeting. One of its first tasks is to organise a Regional Initial Formation Colloquium on the theme: Marist Formation in a Multi-cultural Community. A significant number of formators from all across the region will gather at MAPAC early in December. 

While the Annual Meeting was in progress, meeting at the same place was the regional New Models team, with the two facilitators from Rome: Br. João Carlos do Prado and Luca Olivari. Significantly, the vision of regional co-operation being developed by the New Models team, was already happening in the MAC annual meeting in next room!

For a number of the participants this was their 5th and final meeting. Having been in the Conference since its inception, they offered a valuable perspective on the development of the Conference. As they shared their experience, phrases such as the following were mentioned often: “expresses the unity that exists in the region”,  “development, openness, freshness, thinking with one mind”, “a free environment to talk – like a family”, and “to support one another in projects, to move as a region”. 

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Photo:

Front row:  Robert Teoh, Mike de Waas, Pat Corpus, Agnes Reyes.
Back row: Juan Castro, Isma Valls, Roshan Silva, Peter Rodney, Madura Bulathsinghala, Shanthi Liyanage.

 

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