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28 November

Saint James of the Marches

Marist Calendar - November

Restructuring as seen by the General Council



VIII General Conference

26/05/2007: General House

The question that the General Council posed to the Brothers Provincial and District Superiors about the way in which they have seen restructuring in their Provinces was today directed to itself and responded to before the Conference.

The Brother Councillors, in their interventions, highlighted some positive indicators about the present time in the Institute. Firstly, they recognised that in our Institute, for the first time in many years, there have been more professions than departures; even though this is not yet an assured fact. But this indicator shows us that we are in a significant phase of the process. In our Provinces, vocation projects have started with processes and people responsible for these. The conviction is growing that the choice of vocations is one of the aspects that defines restructuring.
They also highlighted that in some sectors of the Institute, the brothers are happy with restructuring because the Province has progressed well, even if there is still some resistance to this modification being detected. There are some sectors where people are already working in total peace and serenity. One of the greatest challenges of this process of modification is that of integrating all the brothers and ensuring that they are open to the international dimension as a source of life. There is still some way to go in this area.
Restructuring is an element for animation when we discover that the problems of some Provinces are the problems of others, because there is only one Institute. If this perception does not exist we run the risk of many brothers being enclosed again within the borders of the Province even though it has been restructured. From there comes the importance of regionalisation, which helps to go beyond Provincial limits. It will be necessary to review the role of the General Council in the accompaniment of both Provinces and regions, so as to follow these processes in a closer way. In the future, it will be necessary to adapt our schedules in order to be able to be there where important steps are going to be taken.

They noted the concern for finding new leaders who encourage the life of the Provinces and the need to form them and accompany them. On the other hand, the direction at the level of the communities must also be strengthened.

When we go beyond a federal conception of restructuring and the desire exists to be organised by an integrated structure, we thus share human and material resources. This way of proceeding is enlightened by a sense of interdependence and belonging to a living body of which we are all a part. For that, even geographical restructuring also influences economic and financial management. The creation of funds or other formulae of support is a sign of fraternity and of evangelical solidarity.

Brother Seán finished this round of information from the Councillors by recalling that restructuring is at the service of the mission, that is to say that all of this institutional effort must lead young people to God. That is why the motto of the Conference refers to Marist leaders as bearers of fire and of passion. “What puts fire and passion in my heart?” wondered Seán. Announcing Jesus to others. Often – he said – I have found this passion in the brothers who animate youth groups, in the brothers and the members of the laity who work with the poor and who nourish their spirit through intense moments of prayer. If we extinguish this fire it will be necessary to seek it where it will be. If we do not have this fire, there will be no love for the Marist mission. We need more brothers and laypeople who live the experience of Jesus and Mary so that together they can pass this on to young people.

Through these encouraging words the works of the morning and of this week were finished. In the pine gardens of the house we celebrated a “churrasco” prepared by Marcelo and Pedro and assisted by several brothers. During the meal we shared as a family; groups were also formed who would leave the next day for a Sunday outing to Assisi, Subiaco or the Castelli Romani.

And this chronicle also took some time off, with the team of translators. Monday, God willing, we will return to the task.

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