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The Assembly Begins to Define the Future

13/09/2007: Brazil

Today, the 8th of September, feast of the Nativity of Mary, began with a very special greeting to Mary. For many of the brothers throughout the Institute the feast of the birth of Mary is the anniversary of their taking of the habit, of their first profession or of their perpetual profession. We also remembered that today Brother Roger Séguin made his perpetual profession in Canada and postulant Yoandy González Gómez began his novitiate in Cuba. All of these reasons brought joy to the hearts of the participants and they thanked the Lord because he has done great things among us.

The morning prayer was done outside, like yesterday, following the rhythm marked by music and all joined hands. The experience was repeated later before beginning the work of the Assembly.

The work of the mandala* is long and fulfilling.

The work of constructing the mandala is the great work of this Assembly. The methodological means is bringing the participants from synthesis to synthesis toward a convergence of thought. Never in the history of the Institute has a meeting been held like this in that so many thousands of thousands of voices from the Marist world resonate through the hearts of the brothers and laity. Constantly the participants are invited to let themselves be guided by the Spirit along all that is being done so that this day’s work is an eminently spiritual work.

The preparatory commission proposes a double performance guideline to discover the story that there is behind the mandala that was built in yesterday’s groups to connect it to today’s work. This has been the first step of the morning. Having before one’s eyes the contributions of the small groups, the Assembly has pointed out what are the elements of the collective mandala.

There has been a great coincidence with different accents: they have spoken of Jesus and of Montagne. Not just any Jesus, but Jesus of Nazareth, the historical Jesus, Jesus the liberator, Jesus of the Beatitudes, who sends his Spirit and gives us the strength for the mission. Others have highlighted that Jesus is our passion.

There has been a reference to the abandoned children, to be attentive to the cries of the children and young people. They also spoke about the structures that perpetuate the problems.

In the second work, equally long, the participants tried to complete the center of the mandala answering this question: To what is the Lord calling us? It’s a matter of discovering the grand directions that will mark the future of the Marists.

All of the collective effort ended, as every day, in the afternoon Eucharistic celebration where the richness that the Lord has shown in the life of this Assembly was celebrated.

Day of Rest – Visit to Rio de Janeiro

Sunday, 9th of September, the participants departed in two buses for Rio de Janeiro to visit the monument of Christ the Redeemer in el Corcovado, the beautiful beaches of this city and the cathedral. The brothers of the community and the presidents of the parents, teachers and of the alumni of the Colegio San José welcomed the visitors and offered them a family meal, later entertaining them with a sample of local folklore that included the sensational dance the “capoeira”. Brother Seán Sammon, Superior General, offered some warm words and posed for pictures with the teachers and students who were present. The participants returned quite happy to Mendes.

The day concluded with Sunday Mass on a theme that celebrated the martyrs of the Institute. The 47 brother martyrs of Spain, whose beatification will occur on October 28th in Rome, took an honored place in this celebration of faith.

*mandala: a graphic and often symbolic pattern usually in the form of a circle divided into four separate sections or bearing a multiple projection of an image.

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