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General Chapter: Hear the voice of the Spirit of God



Interview with the superior general, Brother Emili Turú

04/09/2017: General House

Brother Emili Turú ends his service as superior general of the Marist Brothers during the General Chapter that will begin on September 8 in Rionegro (near Medellin). A few days before the beginning of the Chapter, Brother Emili answers our questions.


A General Chapter is always an important moment for the life of a religious Institute. Does the fact that it is taking place in Colombia have a meaning?

This year 2017 we are celebrating the bicentenary of our foundation. The slogan for both this year’s celebration and the previous two years of preparation has been: “A new beginning”. When speaking of a new beginning ... we wanted to visualize it also geographically, with the novelty of a Chapter outside the headquarters of the General Administration, which is where the previous 21 Chapters have been celebrated.

We wanted to take the Chapter to one of the world’s “peripheries” and Colombia is one of them, since it is living the consequences of an armed conflict since 1960; one of these consequences is, for example, the large number of internally displaced persons (more than 6 million).

On the other hand, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the convocation of the Second General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate, which took place in Medellin. We know that the conclusions of this Conference profoundly marked not only the Church of the continent but the universal Church.

Also, in Colombia we have an important Marist presence, which has helped and will help in the thousand logistical aspects that need to be addressed for a good development of the Chapter.

These are the main reasons that have led us to choose Colombia as the site of our Chapter!


What, concretely, do you expect from this General Chapter? 

May we, the participants, in the Chapter be able to hear the voice of the Spirit of God, who speaks to us through the “signs of the times” and urges us to give creative answers to the urgent needs of today's children and youth.
The Pope reminds us in Evangelii Gaudium that we must overcome this kind of “ecclesial introversion” that seeks above all self-preservation. In fact, one must remain in a permanent state of mission. This is what gives us life and opens us to the future.
I think we have to ask ourselves honestly, as Champagnat did 200 years ago: where does the Church need us the most at the beginning of the 21st century? ... and act accordingly!


What do you mean by “signs of the times?”

The participants in the Chapter will decide what “signs” speak to us today with particular force, but to me it seems that there are some situations that are authentic outcries and that will certainly be part of our discernment.

For example, I think of the 65.6 million people around the world forced to move from their places of origin; we cannot be indifferent to the fact that half of those people are under the age of 18. I think of the urgent and essential “global ecological conversion,” because the future of the planet is at stake.

Another important “sign of the times” is the emergence of a mature and committed laity, which must have its own leading role ...


Finally, some facts about the Chapter?

The capitulars will be 79, representing the entire Marist Institute. In addition, as a guest, a group of 8 lay people (for 3 weeks), as well as a group of 6 young Brothers will participate.

The Chapter opens on September 8, and will last six weeks. As the Pope will be in Medellin on the 9th to meet with religious, we will also participate in that meeting: it has been a happy coincidence! A day has also been planned to meet with young people from Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, to listen to them and share experiences.


May the Chapter truly be a moment of grace for all Marists!

Thank you very much, we count on the prayers of all the readers!

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