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The European Provinces Assume on Common Positions



General Council meets with the Provincial Councils of FMS Europe - V

14/12/2007: Spain - Photo gallery

The Provincial Councils of Europe spent the afternoon of December 7 examining vocation promotion at the Province level. The purpose was to answer the question: What are the main action plans and specific activities that can be suggested for Province cooperation in the vocation area?

The following day, common elements were gathered covering different dimensions of the question. First of all it seems quite useful that the Generalate’s Bureau of Vocations, responsible for vocation promotion in the Institute, continue to work with the local vocation promoters of each Province. In addition a strong note was struck regarding the need to create a “culture of vocations” through structures of reflection and exchange at the European level on the topic of vocations. This implies: organizing meetings with those who feel a vocational call; continuing to meet twice a year with potential candidates already known; encouraging gatherings among young Brothers who are in their post-novitiate stage; every two or three years, setting up a Marist formation session at the Hermitage for young men who are discerning their vocation.

The Seville novitiate was discussed, and it became clear: the Brothers believe that it is an important element for all five Provinces of Europe.

It was suggested that meetings be set up among various groups of European vocational promoters. The goal would be to share experiences and ideas regarding vocation ministry. Emphasis was placed upon the need to offer a kind of formation to those who are involved in vocation work. The formation could take place by means of summer courses of personal accompaniment for both Brothers and lay people. Great insistence was placed on supporting the Mar-Cha Project as a formative Marist dimension for Brothers and lay people.

One could also see that, among the Provinces, a sharing of vocational materials is needed. A common bank of resources could be created. The bank might establish a communication structure by which the European Provinces could get to know what activities are occurring, and thereby to share in them, if such sharing seems opportune. Discussion arose about the proper care of the webpage-heading Vocation Ministry vocacionalmarista.net , and the need to keep it up to date, placing resources in it and managing it from the novitiate community for all of Europe.

Emphasis was given to the document of the European Marist Conference regarding the direction of Marist life (Brothers and laity) in Europe. The possibility was examined as to integrating into its tasks the matter of vocations, all within the spirit of the European Meeting on Mission and within the spirit of the Mendes Assembly. Once the potential common activities of pastoral ministry have been determined among the five FMS Provinces of Europe, the matter of setting priorities will be put on the table.

Cooperation Priorities among the European Provincial Councils

To focus the work, three topics were set up: A) Drawing up and exchanging materials, B) Meetings at the European level for young people searching vocationally, C) Teamwork among the Province vocation teams.

After each of the Councils took some reflection time for itself, the priorities which each had established were put in common. A strong similarity was found in that the first priority was to coordinate the work of various pastoral teams through a stable structure to be set up for sharing ideas at the European level. A second priority was that of creating European youth meetings for those actively engaged in a vocational search. The third priority was to design, create and exchange materials and resources.

Open Forum

After the priorities were agreed upon, an open forum took place over two hours, as a time for the Provincials Councils to dialogue with the General Council.

This Enlarged General Council drew to a close with the Mass of the Immaculate Conception. After Communion, Brother Seán expressed thanks to Brother Manuel Jorques, Provincial of the Mediterránea Province, for the outstanding hospitality that he had extended to the Brothers. Brother Sean then thanked the Brother Provincials and their Councils for the excellent work that had been accomplished. He then distributed to the participants a framed picture of the Beatification logo as a souvenir of the now concluding gathering. Brother Sean also thanked Father Ángel Rodríquez who served as chaplain for the gathering. Also receiving words of gratitude and the Beatification souvenir were translators Brothers Paco Castellanos, Albert Thomé, James Norton, Josep Roura and John Phillips along with Mr. Felipe Pérez. The translators’ efforts had facilitated a better grasp of the unfolding meeting in the three official languages.

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