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1957, the first Marist Brothers set out for Ecuador

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The International Assembly warms its engines



In Mendes the final details are finished to begin work

06/09/2007: Brazil

We are now reporting from Mendes. Bit by bit they have been arriving, from the four corners of the world, brothers and laity who are participating in the International Assembly. There are a few exceptions with some people who have had difficulties with visas. The house at Mendes, hidden in the midst of an incredible natural setting, has opened its doors expressing a very warm welcome. Some of the larger rooms are already prepared so that is all ready to go. There is a serene and calm activity. A group of students from the Marist Colegio of São Vicente de Minas (Minas Gerais) put a nice note on the beginnings of the meeting. They are rehearsing the chiming of their original musical percussion instruments. Several plastic containers and large tins which are normally used for the transport of different liquids are the instruments with which they keep the rhythm of their dance.

Among the participants there is an ambiance of readiness, enthusiasm and collaboration. Old friends meet again. It is seen in the warm way they greet each other. Others come from distant countries and it is the first time that they are meeting. Difficulties are very shortly overcome. We are very different by culture and by language, but similar in ideals. Today these men and women are united by one heart and one mission. Marist brotherhood and its international mission are evident. There is an atmosphere that expresses the desire of making this a positive and important experience.

One of the preparations has been the work of organizing the dynamics that will be used in the groups. Personal rhythms of small linguistic groups and of the large group that meets in a general assembly are taken into account. A total of 10 groups have been formed for the first part of the Assembly. This task is organized through the leaders of the small groups coordinated by Mr. Collin Quine and Brother Emili Turú. The richness of the personalities that take part in the Assembly calls for a particular attention to the way the small groups and the large assemblies are conducted so that the desired objectives can be reached.

Let’s remember that the objectives proposed by the Assembly are not of the pragmatic or organizational type, but alive and from the interior experience from listening to the Word of God. It can be said that this Assembly is looking for a great experience of Marist life from how one has been living the Marist mission in each province and in each country. For this reason there are some moments put aside in the dynamic to examine one’s own feelings and share them with simplicity and transparency.

To give an appreciation to the reader we can present some numbers which give an idea of the complexity and richness of this Assembly.

Representatives by official languages: Spanish 37, English 33, Portuguese 14 and French 11. There are also 18 support staff persons from Brazil, 7 Brothers translating, 2 Brazilians hired as translators, the chaplain (a Marist Father) and the Director of Communications for the Institute.

Administrative Units are distributed as follows: The Superior General and his Council plus the Preparatory Commission (17 people); 2 representatives for each one of the Provinces of: Southern Africa, East Central Africa, Canada, China, USA, West Central Europe, Madagascar, New Zealand, Nigeria and South Asia (20 people), 2 representatives from each of the Districts of: Paraguay, Western Africa, Korea, Amazonia and Melanesia (10 people) and the rest of the provinces (48 people).

By continental regions the number of representatives is as follows: Africa 13, Americas 40, Asia 10, Europe 20 and Oceania 12.

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