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Meeting with young people

15/09/2017 / 7256 |

22nd General Chapter: Meeting with young people

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Within the dynamic of understanding today’s contemporary world, the General Chapter today opened the door to the world of young people. 25 young people, leaders of youth ministry and other pastoral works of the Province of Norandina filled the Chapter Hall with life and energy.


Young people in the Chapter

From the beginning of this week, 25 young people from the three countries that make up the Province of Norandina Province (Colombia, Venezuela & Ecuador) met in Rionegro to prepare for today’s meeting with the participants of the General Chapter. Three young people were from Venezuela; three from Ecuador and the others from Colombia. Their presence represented all the young people of the Marist world. A recorded video was also shown to the assembly, that contained messages from young people representing different regions of the Marist world. Later in the day, Brother Emili reminded everyone this was the first-time young people had ever been invited to participate in a General Chapter.

The young people animated the two morning sessions with singing, dancing, prayer and reflection. They also presented “A Message to the Marist Brothers of the Schools from the Marist Youth around the World”.

During the first session, young people joined Chapter participants at the small tables. There were introductions and the young people heard from the Chapter participants why the Institute wanted them to participate in this important meeting. In turn, the young people shared their feelings about being invited to the Chapter. Other questions shared at the tables included: What is the history of your association with the Marist Institute? What is the best thing about being a Marist?

Message from young people to the capitulants

The second session focused on the reading of ‘The Message’ prepared by the young people for the Chapter, and for the whole Institute. The message was read in two parts: the first emphasizing the social situation of young people today. The second part emphasized their proposals for how a New La Valla might be built in the Institute from their perspective as young people. After each part, Chapter participants and the young people reflected together on the message at their tables.

Young people say that today's reality:

is submitting them to a culture of death, to a society where war and violence has destroyed their hopes and dreams, where many of them do not have an opportunity to raise their voices against the injustices of our world. Today’s world has denied them the opportunity to live their childhood and adolescence, leaving them feeling like slaves in a world that proclaims freedom.

From the perceived reality, the young people proposed to the Institute:

We believe that in educating and evangelizing young people, the focus should be on accompaniment.

We require your help and guidance to face of the situations and problems that the modern world is confronting: homosexuality, abortion, early pregnancies, suicide, racism, discrimination, intolerance, unemployment and the destruction of the environment.

Click here to read the message.


Becoming aware of the appeal of young people

In the afternoon session, after a moment of relaxation and prayer, the Chapter participants and young people divided into their own groups to each reflect on what they had experienced in the morning sessions.

Jimena Grignani and Gabrielle Giard invited the Chapter participants, at their tables groups, to share what had most moved them, and what may have had them moving a little out their comfort zones.

In the second session of the afternoon, the Chapter participants and young people returned to the Chapter Hall to continue the sharing together. This session concluded with an “open microphone” where anyone could express to the assembly what they heard and valued from the day.

What was very clear from the general feedback was, thanks to the presence of the young people, many things were discovered during these days of researching what is new in our world. Conscious of this, the Institute seeks a way of being, a new La Valla, which is in harmony with today.

The young people demonstrated courage in being able to delicately touch various elements of Marist life with depth and prophetic courage. They invited Chapter participants to a profound reflection on a way of living Marcellin Champagnat’s charism. There is an emerging world of youth waiting for the presence of the Marist charism.


Thanksgiving ends the journey

With the conviction that the Brothers need the young people and young people need the Brothers, the whole group gathered for the Eucharistic celebration in the chapel at 6.45 pm. This Eucharist concluded what was a very significant moment in the Chapter so far.

In his reflection after the Gospel, Br. Cesar Rojas said that, "the experience you have lived today is not something you have earned, but it is a gift from God. It's a commitment". Br. Emili Turú thanked the young people and reminded everyone of this same commitment; a commitment that can be summed up by the three icons that accompanied the preparation of the Bicentenary: Montagne, commitment to life; Fourvière, commitment to communion; La Valla, commitment to the roots of our spirituality.

Jóvenes para tocar los sueños (H. Aureliano García, Marista)