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Report of the General Council on the winter plenary session

22/02/2007: General House - Photo gallery

The General Council met with the members of the General Administration during the morning of Friday 16th February, for information on the activities carried out in the plenary sessions of January and of February, known in the General House under the name of the winter session. All the brothers and laypeople of the General Administration attended this information meeting.

Among the news communicated we should note firstly the convocation of the VIII General Conference, in which the Brothers Provincial and District Superiors of the Marist world will participate from the 24th May until the 2nd June 2007 in Rome. And secondly the convocation of a “Marist Year of Spirituality” which will take place during 2008 as a preparation for the General Chapter.

As well as these pieces of news, the destinations were given of the brothers who formed the first group who were prepared at Davao to participate in the Mission ad gentes. Four brothers will go to Bangladesh: Marti Enrich, Ewald Frank, Mark Poro and Hilario Schwab. Three will go to Cambodia: Francis Attah, Brian Kinsella and Bernhard Tremmel. Two will go to Canada: Félix Roldán and Miguel Angel Sancha. And the Brother Superior General is maintaining “in pectore” the name of the country and the destinations of Brothers Clement Nwadike, Hugo Rivera, Patrick Betkou and George Valle who will go in twos in different cities.

The brothers who compose this new institutional structure will have the support and the accompaniment of Brother Barry Burns who has been appointed Superior of this Mission ad gentes Sector in Asia. He has the responsibility of the animation of all this Sector of the Institute, seeking places where the new missionary communities will be established and co-ordinating the activity of these brothers. At the current time, a second group of thirteen brothers coming from eleven Marist Provinces representing ten countries is being prepared at Davao.

We were also informed of the possible opening to laypeople to participate in the Mission ad gentes project in the company of brothers for a period of six months, one year, three years or six years once the economic conditions, insurance, etc. have been determined. These laypeople will follow the same process as the brothers in Davao, though it has not been decided if they will live in the same house or different premises, especially if they are married.

On the 1st Marist International Mission Assembly, planned for the 3rd to the 12th September 2007 at Mendes (Brazil), we learnt that 20,000 people have met in the local preparation phase belonging to more than 1,000 different groups. In these meetings, held on all the continents, the participants in the Provincial preparation phase were appointed and in the Provincial preparation phase those who will be the participants in the 1st International Assembly. Pictures were shown of meetings held in Canada, Brasil Centro-Norte, Hermitage, Rio Grande do Sul, Ibérica, México Central, Mediterránea, América Central, Brasil Centro-Sul and of the Co-ordination team of the region of the Pacific.

It is planned that the 1st Assembly will be composed of thirty-one brothers and thirty-one laypeople (one respectively for each Administrative Unit of the Institute), plus one layperson for each of the sixteen Administrative Units with a greater apostolic presence: eight members of the General Council and the members of the Preparatory Commission: four brothers and three laypeople. To this group of participants will be added fifteen people entrusted with translation and other auxiliary services.

On the beatification of Brothers Bernardo, on the one hand, and of Laurentino and Virgilio with forty-four companions on the other hand, we are waiting for the communication of the date of the celebration of the beatification of these brothers and of twenty-two causes which will total 494 martyrs of the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939. The Spanish Episcopal Conference decided in February 2006 to maintain the twenty-three causes in one group, to have one ceremony of beatification and to ask the Vatican that this celebration be held in Rome. During this time, some documents are being prepared to help us get to know these brothers; these documents are being developed for personal and community prayer and some joint actions are being co-ordinated with those responsible for the other twenty-two causes.

Information was also given on the Master Plan for the Hermitage. The profound reasons that motivate this transformation were highlighted: the house of the Hermitage is the reliquary of Champagnat. It was he who constructed the house and organised its facilities. Everything speaks of his personality. In building a house, he built a community, a congregation. With Champagnat a history started that has not finished; a history that must be projected in the future facing new challenges with the sensitivity and heart of Marcellin. The Master Plan for the architectural or educational projects which are being undertaken must take into account these primordial values.

The meeting finished with the calendar of the activities of the General Council until June 2007.

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