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Report of the plenary session of June – July 2006

 

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Meeting of the general Council with the personnel of the General Administration

28/07/2006: General House

On the 14th July, Brother Luis García Sobrado, Vicar General, called the members of the General Administration together to share with them some topics that the General Council had treated during its plenary meetings of June and July.
As usual, the General Council took advantage of these days to make a revision of its community life plan and to deepen the Plan on the evangelical use of good.
The three Commissions of the General Council: Mission, Evangelical Use of Goods and Religious Life occupied a lot of time during the plenary session, as well as the Bureau for the Laity, the Evangelical Use of Goods, BIS and its new presence in Geneva. As well, there was time for evaluations and planning.
Given the importance of certain subjects and the tight calendar of the Council members until the next plenary session, it was decided to create three ad hoc groups to facilitate the reflection and making of decisions of the Council. The first thought about the way of launching the preparation of the 21st General Chapter and the type of collaboration which needs to be established between the General Council and the Preparatory Commission. The second will reflect on the type of interaction that will be suitable in the future between the Marist regions and the General Administration. Finally, the third group will study the possibilities of maximising the property of the General House, in accord with the indications of the 19th General Chapter.
Brother Luis García Sobrado gave the latest information on the project mission ad gentes; firstly, the appointment of Brother Iván Buenfil, from the Province of México Occidental, currently the Director of the International College, as Secretary of the Vicar general, especially in what concerns this project. He also named the brothers who will participate in this project. Because of their age or of their future destination, not all will participate in the sessions at Davao. Some will follow a missiology course which is given twice a year at the Salesian University in Rome; during their stay in Rome, Brother Iván will accompany them directly.
Several documents were the object of study: the General House Staff Handbook and the Vademecum, published in 1992 and which serves as a guide to the Provincials for legal and practical questions. They need to be updated. Finally, the sixth version of the document on Marist Apostolic Spirituality, requested by the 20th General Chapter, is currently being studied throughout the entire Institute by various groups. At the end of August, the writing group will take up the contributions to write another version which will be presented to the plenary session of January 2007.
Restructuring is being followed up in three places of the Institute: Asia, where it is planned to change soon from three Provinces and a Sector to two Provinces, Oceania and Mexico. In the visits to these Provinces one will take up the dialogue with the respective Provincial Councils. As for Haiti, a transfer of jurisdiction from Canada to México Occidental has been started.
Also mentioned were the beatifications of our Spanish brothers killed during the Spanish civil war between 1936 and 1939. According to Vatican policy, the beatifications should be held in the dioceses of origin but the Spanish Episcopal Conference has requested that these be held in Rome. Even though the date and the place are yet to be determined, it is expected that they will be held in Rome in October or November 2007.
As needs for solidarity continually increase and our internal resources are not sufficient, the Council approved a proposal from BIS to obtain a means of financing projects through a programme called “Collection of funds by direct mailing.” It is managed by a company specialised in this area and allows not only for the collection of funds but also for associating the Marist mission with people who have no knowledge of it.
During the Council’s plenary session, a day was dedicated to becoming familiar with “Archivum”, the new system of document and file management of the General Administration which is gradually being introduced.

Contact with various groups
The Superior General and the members of his Council had the chance to meet with five new Provincials and District Superiors from the 21st to the 28th June to treat subjects relative to the government of Provinces and Districts. The participants greatly appreciated this time of sharing between them and with the brothers of the Council to speak of services to be rendered to the brothers and the difficult situations encountered.
The Marist Spiritual Patrimony Commission was able to share its projects and achievements with the Council. This Commission also consecrated a whole day to exchanges with those responsible for the spiritual patrimony in the other branches of the Marist family. The contents of the next Marist Notebooks were fixed as well as the critical publication of all the documents of the Founder, prepared by Brother Paul Sester. It will be published in the collection “Historic Sources of the Society of Mary”.
As well, information was given about the meeting of the International Council of Economic Affairs which studies the finances of the Institute and about the Formators Course that was held in Nairobi from August 2005 until July 2006.

Calendar of Brother Superior General/
Brother Seán Sammon, Superior General, could not participate in this meeting as he was at Mendes in Brazil for a meeting with the young brothers of the three Brazilian Provinces and of the District of Amazônia. It was his first meeting with the brothers of the Institute after the plenary session. His calendar of visits until the end of October follows:
14-17 July: Meeting with the young Marist Brothers of Brazil at Campinas.
18-19 July: Presentation to the General Chapter of the Salvatorians at Logroño (Spain).
27 July - 05 August: District of Melanesia.
05-12 August: Province of Melbourne.
13-18 August: District of Korea.
21-29 August: Province of L’Hermitage.
11-16 September: District of Paraguay.
17-20 September: Province of Rio Grande do Sul.
01-14 October: Province of Brasil Centro-Sul.
18-28 October: Province of the United States of America.

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