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The awakening of the laity in the Church and the international Marist communities



International communities for a new beginning

04/12/2017: General House

An interview with Brother Ángel Medina, one of the formators of the programme ‘LaValla200> international communities for a new beginning,’ by the news outlet Catalunya Religió indicates that the majority of the programme’s participants are young and lay.

“To the call of the superior general inviting lay people and religious to be part of La Valla 200, around 90 people responded,” affirmed Br Ángel. “A third part was religious, but two thirds were lay people, and not exactly lay people aged 50 or 70, but lay people between 20 and 30 years old.”

Brother Ángel also pointed out that LaValla200> shows a change in Marist projects, without losing the original intuition of Saint Marcellin Champagnat.

“We have lived through a great period focused on the environment of formal educationalbecause it was what society needed,” he stated. “At that time it was young people without education and today there are many other young people living on the on the margins of society.”

The programme, which began in 2016, already has six communities in the peripheries of Cape Town (South Africa), Syracuse (Italy), Moinesti (Romania), Sydney (Australia), Tabatinga (Brazil) and New York (USA).

Each community has four members, both laity and Brothers.

In Cape Town, the community is in an area that was prosperous at the time but as the factories disappeared, many families became impoverished.

In Syracuse, a Sicilian city, members work with mainly African refugee youth, helping them to get a job and to be integrated in society.

In Moinesti, they help children of parents who are working in other European countries.

In Sydney, they collaborate with aborigines and immigrants from various Asian countries in the neighborhood of Mount Druitt. They also help children who are not part of the education system.

In Tabatinga, a community in the Amazon between the three borders of Peru, Colombia and Brazil, members help river and indigenous communities, whose children live situations of marginalisation in the populations where they have to go to study after primary school.

In New York, the community works with Hispanic-American immigrants without documentation.
They attend families with parents of Latin origin at risk of being deported and with their children who run the same risk.
Apart from these six communities, there are six Marist brothers and lay people who are working in Asia: in Cambodia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

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