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Last day of the Laity Continental Commissions Meeting

 

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Saturday, October 8

09/10/2016: France

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In the sixth and last day of the meeting, the members of the Laity Continental Commissions and guest participants dedicated themselves to reflect on the synthesis of the themes discussed during the week, highlighting especially the topics that still need to be more depth.

 

The morning prayer was animated by Br. Iwu Elias (Nigeria) with a Marian focus, before the image of Our Lady of Victories. Were remembered the Marcellin’s words saying that “without Mary we are nothing and with Mary we have everything, because she always has her adorable son in her arms or in her heart”.

The morning works had several dynamics in different spaces. First, the continental commissions met to the task of indicating which discussed aspects need to be further reviewed and which priorities the region should choose, considering its reality.

During the pause, the Secretariat of Laity gathered the observations of the 5 commissions and grouped the subjects into two blocks: lay autonomy and communion with the Brothers; and possibilities of association. These are two issues interrelated and which need further reflection.

In the following plenary each participant could express his own opinion about the Brothers and laity relationship.

Pep Buetas, co-director of the Secretariat, concluded this stage highlighting that the discussion points that the Marist Brother and Marist lay lives are two sides of the same coin: there is a common core for the two ways of life, that is the Marist charism given by God. He finally remind an idea of Br. Emili, who said that is not necessary to give permission to lay persons live their vocation and that they need to see by themselves if they are prepared to take on a project.

So the group was asked to write two concrete suggestions that express the way how the autonomy of the laity could be achieved. The suggestions were grouped into three blocks: personal and formative processes, co-responsibility and institutional expressions of lay Marist life.

 

In the afternoon, participants met again to deepen the theme Association. After a conversation in pairs, the opinions were shared.

Thinking about the words of Br. Emili, who said he does not believe that the Marist walk can go back, but only move forward, Tony Clark, co-director of the Secretariat, asked the group what is the most effective way to continue building the being a Marist lay, in order to give a face to the lay bonding and belonging. What kind of bonding and belonging should be introduced at this time, after so much path taken?

In plenary, it was noted that the most important thing is the vocational process but nevertheless all way of life needs a structure, however simple it could be. Currently there are several local structures. Considering an international structure, the feeling is that it is still not the time to create something that can cover all existing expressions.

The proposals for the Chapter will be defined in the next meetings of the Secretariat of Laity and any reflections on the continental commissions.

 

After a moment of evaluation, the participants attended a thanksgiving mass hold by the Marianist Priest Antonio Pacheco, who participates in the course “Dawn” with the elderly Marist Brothers, and animated by João Luis (Brazil Center-South). In one of the most significant moments of the celebration, all participants gathered at the tomb of Father Champagnat and put their own signature on the meeting poster, as a sign of commitment to continue faithful to their vocation of Marist lay or Brother.

 

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