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Beginning of the Marist International Mission - 03 september

07/09/2007: Brazil

A warm greeting by some lively clowns who used the four official languages of the Institute as they went out among the participants to welcome them began the first meeting of September 3rd. They themselves presented the translators who, in turn, gave instructions to all those attending on how to correctly use the translation system. They also introduced the members of the technical team.

This happy group of clowns, composed of brothers and Marist students, was in charge of bringing Brother Claudino Falquetto, Provincial of the Province of Brasil Centro Norte to the presidential table, from which he chaired the Assembly. Brother Claudino, in his greeting of welcome to all of the brothers and laity, recalled the difficult origins of Marist work in Brazil, when Brother Adorátor bought the property at Mendes where this Assembly is being held. He also welcomed everyone in the name of his province and of the other provincials of Brazil. Afterwards he passed the microphone to Brother Emili Turú, coordinator of the Assembly Preparatory Commission, who introduced the members of the General Council and several brothers from the General Administration who are also in attendance, as well as the members of the Preparatory Commission.

Next we heard from Mrs. Érica Pegorer, in the name of the Preparatory Commission. Érica described the journey taken by the Preparatory Commission from when it was given the task of organizing the Assembly up until the present moment. She had words of gratitude for so many who participated in the preparatory steps; she also defined the objectives of this international meeting and manifested hope of responding to the historical challenges that the Assembly has outlined. After she finished, Brother Seán Sammon gave the inaugural address.

Finally, under the direction of Brother Emili the logo of the Assembly was introduced carried by five people who represented five continents and who offered words in languages of each one of the continents: Guarani for the Americas; Cebu for Asia; Swahili for Africa; Greek for Europe and Pidgin of Papua New Guinea for Oceania.

Brother Seán begins the Assembly

Brother Seán Sammon began the Assembly with an interesting reflection, posing a question: Can we say, brothers and laity, that the action of the Spirit of God is still alive in us and does it encourage our life today as it did Marcellin Champagnat? To explain the scope of this initial question he used three key words: charism, responsibility and challenge. (audio: Listen - 21 min | Download - ZIP 20 MB)

Champagnat, besides an old house, two candidates and an empty pocket, had a dream when he began the Institute. And that dream has been growing to this day. We Marist are in 76 countries with 4,100 brothers, more than 40,000 laypeople who touch the lives of more than 500,000 students each year. Today the charism of Champagnat is witnessed more by life than word through presence among children and young people.

The second word made reference to the responsibility of sharing the Marist charism. Brothers and laity, together in the mission: this means the co-responsibility that we must exercise in our mission. To listen and to learn from one another, sharing the spirituality and our apostolates. To extent to which the brothers help the laity to live their vocation, that collaboration will be converted into a grace for our life as brothers.

And the third reference centered on the challenges that brothers and laity together have outlined for the future. The call to the holiness of Baptism belongs to all Christians. The identifying characteristic of the religious in the Church is to be a living memory of what the Church is, and the brother must do this not by being in the nucleus but on the periphery. Form here brothers and lay Marists can share what they have in common respecting the differences that exist between the identity of the brother and that of the lay Marists.

After these reflections we proceeded to learn the hymn of the Assembly. Brother Miquel Cubeles, with a very capable teaching method, did this so that in a few minutes everyone learned the music and then accompanied it with the words in different languages.

Group dynamics to get to know one another

On two occasions the dynamic of small linguistic groups was used to make personal presentations and to share the journeys that were lived through in each province or region of the Marist world. This was done to create a climate of closeness and confidence that was the foundation for the dialog and interchange throughout the Assembly.

“Lata viva”, a young musical group

The strong motivating force of this day was played out by our own Marist students. It is what they do that can carry out the Marist mission in the world. For that reason the music group “Lata viva” brought to the Assembly the voice of the children of the world. The name of the group, “Lata viva” (Live Beat) originates from the musical instruments that they use. They accompany their musical work “Vozes da esperança” (Voices of Hope), prepared especially for the Assembly, with metal or plastic industrial use containers. To the rhythm of their instruments, a dance group executed a choreography in which were depicted several true life stories of children in contact with Marists in all parts of the World, among songs and the pronouncements of the universal rights of the child.

The Province of Brasil Centro Norte has signed two agreements with the educational authorities of São Vicente de Minas and have taken over responsibility for the administration of the small public school of the small village, so that all children of the town attend the Brothers’ school. From there comes the group “Lata viva”, as an action to prevent academia failure and to promote inclusion.

The narration of the life stories of the children of the world, through the faces and voices of these children, brought before the eyes and especially to the hearts of the participants at the Assembly the most alive of Marist mission today in the world as a good starting point to being the work.



Mass

The day concluded with the celebration of Mass, in which the creed taken from the Marist educational document was recited:

We believe in the continuing relevance of his charism.
We believe in our shared mission as Marist educators.
We believe in our vocation to minister to all young people, with a special love for the poor and excluded.
We believe in our mission to lead young people to life-giving values, to build a better world, to make Jesus Christ known and loved.
We believe that, as Mary did for Jesus, to educate young people we must first love them, and love them equally.
We believe in the value of the integral education we offer in our schools.
We believe in the significance of our hopeful and creative presence among young people in all our places of ministry, especially among those most neglected.

The Mass was animated with songs from the musical group “Lata viva.”

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