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Marist Europe grows as a Region



Encounter of the Marist European Conference

06/06/2016: Portugal - Photo gallery

The Marist European Conference (CEM) met in Lisbon, from the 23 to 25 of May 2016 in the Retreat House of the Dehonian Fathers, in  Portugal.


One of the themes that had already been discussed in the previous meeting (in Athens, October 2015) was the reflection on the possibility of a Network of European Marist Schools.  The reflection of the Mission Team broadened the project to a European Marist Network of Mission that besides the schools, it will also include social works, youth pastoral ministry…  In order to help deepen this Project, Don Juan Muñoz, lay Jesuit from the School São João de Brito of Lisbon, presented the theme: “Challenges of Education in Europe and experiences of Networking”.  

The Conference took again this reflection considering the future of the Marist mission in Europe.   From where do we come?  Where do we want to arrive?   Today we have good Provincial structures; we should go beyond the structures and create a Marist spirit in all of them; and create it taking into account a common strategy”.  “The networks are persons, not only structures”.  It is necessary to generate synergies and sense of belonging, with relationships, involvement…” 

All the European Teams of CEM presented their reports and plans.  

Another theme that received special attention was that of the New International Communities (NCI).  Brother Ernesto Sánchez recalled some essential characteristics of those new communities, presented by the Superior General in his letter on this Project. 

At present, the Italian Island of Sicily is the only territory defined in Europe for an International Community, with a project to take care of minor migrants who are not accompanied.  This community like all NCI, demands much discernment, in order to assure that it is put into practice well, and requires accompaniment.   CEM also discussed practical questions, especially about the persons who have to be responsible for the following of the next stages. 

In conclusion of the work, the Conference continued with a series of nominations and elected its new President in the person of Br. Tomás Briongos, Provincial of Compostela. 

During the three days in Lisbon, there was time for a program of integration and culture, with the visit to the communities and the Marist works of Carcavelos and Benfica, and to some monuments characteristic of Portugal. 

CEM is constituted by the five Provincials of the region and a member of each Provincial Government: Brothers Tomás Briongos and António Leal (Compostela), Brendan Geary and Gerard de Haan (Central-Western Europe), Moisés Alonso and Alejandro Mena (Iberian), Maurice Berquet and Pere Ferré (L’Hermitage), Juan Carlos Fuertes and Damiano Forlani (Mediterranean).

Besides this group, others participated in all the meeting, Br. Teófilo Minga, Secretary of CEM, and the two General Councilors Ernesto Sánchez y Antonio Ramalho.

For the presentation of their Teams, Brothers Gabriel Villa-Real (Mission), and Ernesto Tendero (Brothers Today) and Teodorino Aller (Communion Laity-Brothers) were also present during part of the meeting.   Br. Juan Carlos, Provincial of Mediterranean, presented the Team Brothers Today.  Br. Jesús A. Rodríguez helped with the service of translations. 

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