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Brother Seán Sammon at the closing of the International Assembly



More than a hundred missionaries are sent to all of the continents

15/09/2007: Brazil

“A change of heart is the fundamental condition for any renewal of the Marist mission,” said Brother Seán Sammon, upon concluding the International Marist Mission Assembly in Mendes (Brazil). More than a hundred brothers and laypeople received the charge of spreading throughout the world what they have lived and shared during these days.

At morning prayer the document that carries the result of the work of all these days was placed at the feet of the Good Mother.

Last of the works

The final document, which will be published when it has been edited in a definitive form in the four official languages, gathers together the dreams of the assembly for its journey in the next years. “With Jesus at the center of our dream and with the image of Champagnat holding up Jean Baptiste Montagne, we imagine a future that integrates a revolution of the heart and conversion, the Marist presence in evangelization, Marist education and the defense and promotion of the rights of children and young people.”

Report on the reflection carried out by regions

At the end of the morning reports were given on the meetings held by the regional groups, making obvious the great richness and at the same time the diversity that exists in the entire Marist world. The Assembly has been an opportunity to stretch bonds and to open new perspectives for the future.

The General Council questioned by the Assembly

The participants had the opportunity to formulate a series of questions for the members of the General Council during the first session of the afternoon. During the responses, Brother Maurice Berquet presented a panorama on the Evangelical Use of Goods, which was a mandate of the General Chapter. Brother Luis García Sobrado commented on restructuring, affirming that even though it is early to see the results, the indications are interesting. An example: Marist Africa, before restructuring, was lead by non-African brothers; today all of the major superiors are African. Also, it is certain that, with restructuring, the distances have multiplied and have very much underlined the internationality of the Institute.

On what the International Assembly will be involved in facing the future, Brother Emili Turú said that the General Council has not yet decided anything. The topic will be addressed in the plenary sessions of the Council during the upcoming month of January. Meanwhile some resources and a related issue of the FMS Message will be sent out.

Referring to the question of formation, Brother Antonio Ramalho presented some criteria that are followed in initial formation within the Institute.

Relative to the impact that this Assembly will have in the animation of the Institute, Brother Seán Sammon spoke of structures of animation that directly involve the General Council, citing as an example the upcoming meeting of the extended General Council that will occur with the provinces of Europe. The topic that they will study will be vocation ministry, but certainly there will also be a reflection on the Assembly.

Someone commented that we have excellent documents in the Institute, but why aren’t they put into practice? On this topic, Brother Théoneste Kalisa said that a document gives life and enthusiasm in its development and application, similar to what occurred in this Assembly. Now this will have to be brought to the educational and mission environments so that it can generate life in each place.

Asked a question about the strengths and weaknesses of lay Marists today, Brother Pedro Herreros showed that it is not easy to answer, since the world reality is very diverse. Perhaps it will be necessary to have another international assembly. And speaking about the position of the Council regarding the ownership of the laity in the Institute, he said that there are already some links like the Champagnat Movement of the Marist Family. There is still some ground to be covered in the future.

Time for thanks

Brother Emili Turú and the Commission that organized the meeting spoke of the relevant role that certain Marist institutions played in the development of this Assembly. In the first place, UMBRASIL, with Brother Wagner in charge. Secondly, the Marist province of Brasil Centro Norte, with its provincial. Finally, the house at Mendes. When they were thinking of an appropriate place to have the Assembly then decided not to look for a hotel, “we have a home as a hotel,” said Brother Turú, showing much gratitude.

He had words of gratitude for the work of the translators, secretaries, support personnel, house keeping staff, and the kitchen, laundry, clearing and reception services etc. highlighting that “Brazil is the paradise of details.”

Brother Seán Sammon gave thanks to the Preparatory Commission, giving a small gift to each member. Finally, Brother Claudino Falchetto, Provincial of Brasil Centro Norte, host of the Assembly, indicated that “in the beginnings of the Marist work in Brazil, Mendes received many missionaries; today Mendes sends missionaries throughout the world to spread the Marist mission.”

Closing Mass

In the celebration of the closing Mass we had a sending prayer for new missionaries. Each one received a symbolic coin with the charge to make it increase. The embrace of peace was also the gesture of goodbye. That same night the participants began returning home. Everyone carried luggage filled with memories but, above all, a heart full of dreams and living satisfaction.

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