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International Gathering of Marist Youth



15 – 20 January 2019 - Guatemala

26/01/2019: Guatemala

180 enthusiastic participants from 33 different nationalities descended into ‘Centro de formación Marista’ in Guatemala to celebrate our global Marist charismatic family which includes, the Marist Missionary Sisters, Marist Sisters Marists Fathers and Marist Brothers.  The theme of this fifth international Gathering of Marist Youths adopted was ‘Weaving Life’.

Each of the branches of the Marist family took responsibility of one of the four sub-themes of Weaving Life.

On Wednesday, the Marist brothers presented the theme of ‘Community’.  Brothers Ernesto Sánchez (Superior General), Luis Carlos Gutiérrez (Vicar General)and Sylvain Ramandimbiarisoa and Ben Consigli (Councillors General) provided the input on the ideals and reality of life in Community. The day included a journey to Antigua Guatemala where the fraternity groups developed a strong sense of community through various tasks in this beautiful historic city surrounded by volcanoes.

On Thursday and Friday, the participants were divided into two groups.  One group was accompanied by the Marist Sisters who had the responsibility in sharing the quality of Interiority.  Sr Grace Ellul (Superior General) gave a provoking input in the morning and Sr Anne McCabe guided the participants in an evocative workshop on prayer.

The other theme on these two days was Solidarity.  Sr Georgeanne Marie Davidson, Superior General of the Marist Missionary Sisters, stirred the group with the reality that if we love, we will be sent by the Spirit for the glory of God and for the honour of Mary.  Sr Jhorna Gomes from Bangladesh shared about her experience in working in new cultures.  Later in the day, the group was truly ‘sent out’ to various social works and schools where the participants experienced solidarity first hand, confronting the realities of the local people.  For many participants, this was quite confronting.

The final theme was Mission.  This was led by the Fr John Larsen, Superior General of the Marist Fathers, andFr Juan Carlos Piña.  The gathering was reminded that the mission of the Marist is the work of Mary and that the foundation of our mission is contemplative prayer.  The participants were invited to develop a personal life project with the option of supporting each other in the fraternities after the gathering through social media.

Of course, a gathering for young people needs creativity, drama, music and dancing.  This was abundantly present through the youthful energy and spirit of the youths and the young at heart.

On the final day, the four key themes were brought together through a moving liturgy which illustrated that Mary has shown us the way to Jesus through the weaving of Community, Interiority, Solidarity and Mission.  All are essential parts of being Marists today.  One of the participating Superiors General shared in the fraternity, that she had felt the strongest sense of being Family at this Marist gathering.

A word of thanks to organisation Committee of the four branches, to Br Carlos Alberto Rojas who masterfully facilitated the gathering. Br Jorge Sánchez who led the local teams from the province of America Central and the generous young volunteers deserve special acknowledgements for their generous service in their quiet and unassuming way through these five days.


Br Tony Leon

Br. Ben Consigli, Councillor General

The International Gathering of Marist Youth—Weaving Life— was a wonderful lived experience of the joy God has for each of us, especially our Marist youth. Over five days in the heart of Guatemala City, Marist youth from all corners of our Marist world lived a deep experience of community, contemplation, and solidarity, sharing the richness of the diversity of cultures, languages, and ways of seeing the world around us.  This experience also highlighted how our Marial way of being in the world transcends all geographical or cultural barriers and boundaries. These past days also gave each participant the opportunity to reflect on the unique patterns that God weaves in each of our lives, revealing His abundant love for each of us.

The energy, fraternity, and boisterous spirit of the gathering gave me a sense that our Marist charism is alive and well in the world and points to a future Church which is filled with hope and promise.

Br. Mark Omede, Secretariat of Education and Evangelization

The gathering was inspiring because the theme touches every aspect of life. Marist spirit animated the whole gathering with love and fraternity. The gathering also challenged the participants to continue weaving through specific life project. The whole organization for me was excellent.

Br. Sylvain Ramandimbiarisoa, Councillor General

The four Superiors generals of the four Marist branches help them (the young) to reflect on four basic topics: Community, Interiority, Solidarity and Mission. These are basic Marist values that helped the youth to “Weave their life”, that is to “reflect together” about their life experiences, prepare a life project so that they may contribute to “make a better world”. This objective was repeated as they sung their hymn, “weaving life…. Sewing the future for a whole new world”.

I believe that the participants go back home enriched and motivated to help the others to join them to weave life, to be together as global family in working for a better world.

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