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Religious vocations in the Marist District of Asia

17/07/2019: Thailand

The Marist District of Asia has been growing little by little since 2006. It owes its development primarily  to the Lord of the harvest who has sent us vocations in the countries where we have begun to work. Another great influence in the awakening and growth of vocations is the unwavering faith of so many families who have endured pain and suffering to maintain the faith of their ancestors; They are the Church of martyrs which continue to be a seedbed of vocations ... I also believe that the simplicity of life and the passion of our brothers to be where the needs are greatest has also been a flame that communicates fire and burns in the hearts of young people who are passionate about the work of Marcellin.

From the beginning, we have seen the need to work in vocational ministry in each country in a different way, because in certain places working for religious vocations would appear to be working against the growth of local clergy.
In other countries where we work, our missionary presence is not legally accepted and we have to live discreetly and work without raising many waves. Despite all these problems, the brothers have insisted on taking ownership of the lifestyle of each country. The language, the culture, the mentality and the way of living the faith have demanded that we become one with those to whom we were sent and so today, with great satisfaction, I can see the brothers who have been in the missions for more than 10 years, talking and writing fluently those languages ​​which, at first, seemed encrypted and incomprehensible languages.

Communication is the basis of this meeting to carry out the formation of our local brothers. That is why we have also insisted on the need to have a common language in the District and that language is English. From the time of their Aspirancy the study of English is required, and that study continues throughout training. Thus, at the end of the post novitiate, we have brothers who have experienced what it means to be part of the global family.
We thank all the Marist world for the support they have given us during these years, because the training is costly and it is thanks to the fraternal help of all of you that we have been able to continue the initiation into the religious life, living in rented houses and, sometimes, moving the house of formation from one place to another, according to the needs.

Today, thank God, we have our Postulancy in Davao, Philippines, open to other Provinces, an International Novitiate in Sri Lanka, of which we are a part, and an International Training Centre called MAPAC (Marist Asia Pacific Centre) for the Post- Novitiate.
The aspirants are in three of the countries where we work: Bangladesh, with four aspirants; India with three; and Vietnam with nine. At the end of their aspirancy, young people who are accepted pass on to the shared Postulancy in Davao.
There are twenty Postulants. Twelve in their second year: eight from East Timor (Province of Australia) and four young people from our District (1 from Vietnam, 1 from Cambodia and 2 from Bangladesh). In their first year, there will soon be 8: five from Vietnam and three from India. During the first year, the applicants focus on the study of English and training for community life. During the second year they focus more specifically on vocational discernment and more concrete formation on aspects of Marist life.
The Novitiate has the capacity to receive twenty novices; currently there are eight novices in their second year (7 from Vietnam and 1 from China). There are ten first year novices (1 from Vietnam and 9 from East Timor).
After the Novitiate the brothers follow professional studies in Manila, Philippines. At present the group of young brothers studying in this centre is composed of 18 brothers of various Administrative Units. Our District has five brothers in their first year and three in their second year.

It is a great joy to be able to see clearly the fruits of this vocational and training work, considering the first six local brothers currently working in different communities. Two of them prepare, along with thirteen other brothers of other Administrative Units, to make their perpetual vows following the specific programme  for this purpose in Fiji.
When we finish describing the vocations in the District with a panoramic view, we have no choice but to sing with the Psalmist "We are happy because the Lord has been good to us " (Ps 125).
Bro. Juan Castro - Superior of the District

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