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Saint Marcellin Champagnat Square

 

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Homage to the Founder of the Marist Brothers

13/06/2006: Spain - Photo gallery

The Marists arrived in Malaga in 1924. Several hundreds of brothers have worked uninterruptedly for eighty-two years and nearly fourteen thousand students have passed through the halls of the college. Six of them gave witness to their faith by their martyrdom in 1936, during the Spanish civil war.

Mr Fernando Orellana, President of the Association of former students of Malaga, summarised the work of the brothers: “Many of their former students have helped to transform our society and our city by making it more just, more supportive and more fraternal. From among them have come three out of the last five mayors of Malaga, rectors of the University, Vicars General of the diocese, renowned professionals and above all else, a multitude of honourable citizens.”

It was some former students of Malaga who promoted the initiative of dedicating a square to Father Champagnat. In January 2005, they started the process with the local authorities. Three months later, the mayor (a former Marist student) signed the decree by which an urban space was named “Saint Marcellin Champagnat Square”.

It is an area that has been totally renewed, situated very close to the college and bordered by administrative buildings. The work commenced mid-May. The final result is a tranquil place forming a small garden of shrubs, lawn, palm trees and little pathways. Benches and seats invite the citizens to spend some restful time there.

During the afternoon of the 2nd June, this new place was inaugurated, blessed by the Vicar General representing the bishop. Mr Fernando Orellana opened the ceremony in which the Mayor and Brother Manuel Jorques, Provincial of the Province of Mediterránea, took part.

At the centre of the square, a monument to Father Champagnat has been placed, formed from a monolith of marble, whose lower part remains rough as a symbol of the difficulties that Marcellin experienced during his life. The upper part is well polished and reflects the human and spiritual maturity of Champagnat; where you can read his name with the dates of his birth and death, the symbol of the three violets has been placed also. The monolith is surmounted by a bust of Father Champagnat in bronze, showing him to be young and full of vitality. It was paid for by the subscriptions of former students.

They wanted to offer this monument to their city in homage to the Founder of the Marists. The second oldest brother in the Institute (101 years old), Brother Antonio Zorita, a child for six years in the neighbouring college, unveiled the effigy of Saint Marcellin.

In his talk, Brother Manuel Jorques thanked the municipal corporation in the person of the mayor, Mr Francisco de la Tour, for the designation of this new square. Brother Manuel saw in this gesture a gauge of the affection of the city of Malaga for the Marist Brothers.

Finally, hundreds of collaborators headed towards the college to participate in a Eucharist in honour of Saint Marcellin. This was celebrated by Mgr Francisco González, Episcopal Vicar. Then, at the end of the afternoon, a lively ball to which everyone was invited brought together the members of the Marist family of Malaga.

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