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General Council explains the changes effected in the Council’s Commissions

08/03/2006: General House

On the 17th February, the General Council organised a meeting with the personnel of the General Administration, brothers and laypeople, during which it shared information on the changes effected in the Council’s Commissions and on the calendar of activities that will occupy the General Councillors in the coming months.

Brother Seán Sammon, Superior General, highlighted in his talk the great efforts in animation of the Institute realised during these first four years of his mandate, as well as the “Marist Vocation Year” which resulted in the arrival of some young men who are going to start formation in Provinces that have not had anyone in formation for some years; the animation of the laity, the work realised by the Commission for the Evangelical Use of Goods, the preparations and launching of the reflection that will end with the “International Marist Mission Assembly” in Mendes, the project of “Mission Ad Gentes” which is hoping to send nearly 200 brothers to Asia in the coming years, and the effort realised in the domain of the formation and development of a document on Marist spirituality.

As for the government of the Institute, one recalled the process of restructuring that started ten years ago, the concern about arriving at administrative autonomy in the Regions where the economy is unstable, the evaluation of the programme of formation and the necessity to revise the “Formation Guide” with the increase of young men in formation after the “Marist Vocation Year”, the need to review the functioning of the Commissions and the creation of new Offices.

Brother Seán noted that the newly created structures respond to the recommendations of the General Chapter in foreseeing the creation of new mechanisms in the area of animation and of government and he emphasised the importance of the new Offices, their Directors and their Secretaries.

Brother Emili invited the brothers and laypeople of the General House to commence the preparation process of the “International Marist Mission Assembly” which will take place from the 3rd to the 12th September 2007 at Mendes (Brazil) and in which will participate close to one hundred brothers and laypeople from the entire Institute.

This Assembly is a significant event in the history of the Institute and it is a privilege to be able to participate in the preparation of this event during which the brothers and laypeople will reflect together on the identity of Marist mission. Two years later, in 2009, there will be a new General Chapter.

The reading of the document “In the footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat – A Vision for Marist Education Today” will deepen the call that the General Council addressed to all the brothers and laypeople, it will contribute to defining the future of the Marist world and it will strengthen the international structure put in place with the restructuring of the Institute.

In the second part of the meeting, Brother Luis García Sobrado, Vicar General, gave some information on the current state of the project “Mission Ad Gentes”. He started by recalling that the development of the mission in the Institute has known three great historical stages which have marked its journey.

The first stage was defined by the providential departure of more than 1000 Marist Brothers from France, forced by the Combes law, which had decreed all the “Congregations of teachers” illegal, to disperse throughout the entire world. This process was reinforced by the creation of International Houses of Formation for brothers who were preparing to go wherever their presence was requested in the world.

The second stage started after the Second Vatican Council when the 16th General Chapter entrusted responsibility to the Provinces. Thus the Districts of Paraguay, Bolivia, East Africa, Korea…

Finally, in 2001 the third stage started. At the 20th General Chapter, reunited under the theme of “Choose Life”, the mission ad gentes was enriched with new intercultural perspectives and gave itself as an objective to respond to a globalised world with a very close collaboration between Marist Provinces.

The spirit of the project “Mision Ad Gentes” encourages the birth of a new presence of the Institute at the service of the Mission in Asia where two-thirds of Humanity live and where there are only 200 Marist Brothers. The new Marist evangelising presences will be involved in educational and solidarity projects which will make the presence of the Institute a more international and more intercultural reality.

The meeting finished with an open forum during which the brothers and laypeople showed the usefulness of these meetings that highlight how we are all committed to the service of a common project and help to understand the complexity and immensity of the horizons to which we are heading.

Brother Seán concluded the meeting by affirming that the world has today the greatest number of young people in its history and that it is necessary that someone open them to the hope of a better world. This was the wish of our Founder. Today, brothers and laypeople, we are united in the same task.

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