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Celebrating the Bicentenary of the Institute

17/09/2017 / 7668 |

22nd General Chapter: Celebrating the Bicentenary of the Institute

Saturday, 16th September, everyone associated with the General Chapter celebrated with Marists of the Norandina Province, the Bicentenary of the Institute, which the General Council wanted to celebrate in three moments: January 2, June 6 and during the Chapter.


Celebrating with laity and Brothers of Norandina

The Marists of the Norandina Province feel very proud to be able to host the General Chapter participants in Colombia. They have shown their affection in a number of ways. Today, especially, they expressed their love and dedication for Marcellin Champagnat’s charism in the creative program they prepared to celebrate the Institute’s Bicentenary.

Many people from countries associated with the Province wanted to come to celebrate the Bicentenary with the Chapter participants, however, space was limited and only a few could be present. The members of the Marist family who came to participate in a way represented not only their own Province, but the entire Marist world. In all, almost 400 people attended the celebration.

Representatives came from 13 Marist Colleges of Colombia, 28 fraternities of the ChMMF, social centers and the Province administration services. There were 70 people from Medellín alone: the Novitiate community and the young people who had participated in the Chapter session of last Thursday. Some postulants from Loja, Ecuador also participated.


“Alborada”open the day

It is a tradition in Colombia to begin certain feast days with a Marian prayer, praying the rosary in procession. The laity of Colombia organized the early morning Marial prayer, which begun at the road entrance of the La Salle Conference Centre, where the Chapter is held. The statue of Our Lady of Fourvière was carried in procession. This statue had moved around the three countries of the Norandina Province as part of the Province’s Bicentennial celebrations.


Plenary Session

While the Colombian Marists prepared the fiesta in the courtyard, the Chapter participants met for their morning session to share their presentation they had prepared on each of the 8 trends that exist in the world today. The goal was to develop an awareness of these areas and try to glimpse what the reality will be like 10 years from now.

The work of the group was summarized in words, symbols, garbage materials, and a Power Point presentation. Each group presented their conclusions. The presentations (Power Point) can be downloaded from the following links: economic, political, health, educational, environmental, religious (and spiritual), sociological (population) and communication technologies.

Feast and Mass

At the end of the working session, the Chapter participants joined a large number of members of the Marist family in the plaza. In this space, different Marist groups of Norandina Province had organized a stand showcasing typical products and samples of Marist activities. It was a time to meet, to relax, to enjoy the music and dance.

The Bicentenary Mass was celebrated in the Chapter Hall at 12.30 pm. The Apostolic Nuncio of Colombia, Ettore Balestrero, a former Marist student in Genoa, Italy, presided. In his homily, he left three tasks for the Brothers: to help sanctify the people with whom they are dealing; to keep strong their service of the Church; to witness to the power of Christ's love.


The party continued in the afternoon.

After the Mass, everyone enjoyed a delicious lunch together at Casa De La Salle. In the afternoon, a lively program of song, movement, folkloric dance, testimonies and brief introductions was enjoyed with affection and enthusiasm. The Marist College in Manizales also gave special theatrical presentation telling the story of Marcellin Champagnat and our Marist

Brother Emili received some gifts from participants and took the opportunity to thank the Norandina Province for hosting the General Chapter and the special Bicentenary celebration. As a gesture of gratitude, Brother Emili gave Brother César Rojas, Provincial of Norandina, an icon that was painted in Greece, that represented the three symbols associated with the 3-year preparation for the Bicentenary: Montagne, Fourvière and La Valla.

The program concluded in the plaza. Brother Emili and the General Council led the singing of happy birthday while the bicentennial cake was cut.

The fiesta finished with dancing and a fireworks show. After the energy and excitement of the day, people bid farewell to each other with a sense of joy of being Marist, belonging to this great Marist Family and being able to share the gift of the Marist charism.