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Campus ministry and other pastoral teams meet youth and vocation ministry in Arco Norte

08/01/2008: Ecuador

From November 21 to 24, 2007, a meeting took place involving twenty four Brothers and lay people coming came from the FMS Provinces belonging to “Arco Norte,” i.e. the Provinces of Central America, Canada, the United States, México Central, México Occidental and Norandina (Colombia-Ecuador-Venezuela). The participants are all involved with campus ministry, solidarity movements and vocation promotion. The host Province was Norandina, since one of the its countries, Ecuador, is celebrating the Golden Anniversary of the Marist Brothers’ arrival: November 10, 1957.

The purpose of the meeting was (a)” to share the experiences which the participants have had in campus ministry, solidarity movements and vocation promotion”, and (b) “to discover various means by which we may be able to support one another”.

The first day of the meeting served for getting an idea of how of Marist life is experienced in each of the Provinces represented. What are the main challenges facing the Province? What are the objectives and priorities which the Province is establishing at this time? Afterwards the members representing each of the activities (campus ministry, solidarity movements and vocation promotion) in each Province spoke of the pastoral activities which are taking place.

On the second day we were informed about four points taken from the General Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Bishops held in Aparecida, Brazil, May 13 to 31, 2007. The points were: Group Ministries; Education; Vocation Promotion among Young People; Solidarity Movements. Our guide in these matters was Father Lauren Fernández, Society of the Divine Word, who had participated in the Bishops’ meeting in Aparceida. After-wards Brother Luis Carlos Gutiérrez from the Province of América Central presented the conclusions which were drawn up at the end of the International Assembly on Marist Mission held in Mendes, Brazil.

On the third day of the meeting, we examined future plans: challenges, difficulties, and joint activities. The challenges and the proposals which each of the Provinces drew up will be points of orientation and of support in our work over the next few years.

Our final day together was dedicated to enjoying the host city, in the middle of the planet, Quito and its riches: ethnic, cultural, religious and geographical.
Brother José Javier Bometón Aguilar, Norandina Province

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