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What are the 4 things that God is calling us to for a New Beginning?

27/09/2017 / 7820 |

22nd General Chapter: What are the 4 things that God is calling us to for a New Beginning?

The 20th day in Rionegro was a day of listening to what God wants the Marists to do. The lines of action were identified for the Institute to enter its third centenary.


Start of activities

After the contemplative prayer and breakfast, participants gathered in the chapel for Mass at 8:45 am. The work session followed in the Chapter Hall.

Br. João Carlos do Prado, Chapter Secretary, oversaw the vote on the Minutes for the first week of the Chapter (8-16 September). These minutes, a summary of the activities of the Chapter, was approved unanimously.

Br. Lindley Sionosa, a member of the Facilitation Commission, reported on some organizational and program matters. He also informed participants that copies of Brothers Emili’s Circulars (2009-2017), available in book form, are now available. This publication was organized by Br. Antonio Estaún. Orders for the book have already been sent to the administrative units. Shipment of copies of the book will soon be made.


Four lines of action

Chapter facilitator, Matthieu Daum, introduced the process to be used during the day. The goal was to identify four calls that God is asking for a “New Beginning” of the Institute. Several steps were part of the process to achieve this goal.

The work for this first session drew on the elements discovered yesterday. Participants were encouraged to use new and creative language to describe these calls. Using well-used terms was discouraged: e.g. not to use words like Jesus, Mary, La Valla, Montagne, Champagnat, charisma, structures, administrative units, general administration, contemplation, mission, school, education. Using words that already have well-known meanings in people's minds, does not help encourage Marists to engage in creative dialogue.

The steps of the process to identify God’s 4 calls began with participants individually reading the God’s calls words. Then, in pairs, participants shared their response to the question: “What are the 4 things that God is calling us to for a New Beginning?” Each pair, having agreed on which 4 calls, then tried to achieve the same goal at the table group, writing the calls in sentences. Once this was done, 2 table groups combined to repeat the same activity

The morning sessions concluded with each group reading the 4 elements God desires for a new beginning of the Institute.

The ultimate objective of the whole process was to reduce 32 propositions to 4. To help achieve this objective, a representative for each table group led the activity and prepared to present the final result.


Afternoon session

The afternoon session began with a largely contemplative 20 minute Marial prayer. After this everyone gathered in the amphitheater for a group photo.

Back in the chapter room, the 8 representatives of the groups presented the 4 calls to the assembly:

1. For this new beginning, God is calling us to fullness of life, radically open to God-s love in our lives. This impels us to abandon our comfort to live in the emerging world

2. For this new beginning, God is calling us to imagine a new paradigm of being a global family of brothers and sisters

  • In mutually supportive relationships,
  • Creating homes,
  • Prophetically witnessing to welcome, inclusion, and the sharing of resources

As a parable of communion

3. For this new beginning, God is calling us to reimagine creatively and radically our way of living as Brothers so as to live in a Community of healthy adults who live simply in deep and inclusive relationships nurtured by a spirituality of the heart.

4.For this new beginning, God is calling us to be prophetic witnesses, through significant and creative ways that promote human dignity among the realities facing children and Young people and developing an awareness of caring for creation, so that they can become agents of transformation in the world.


Deepening reflection

These four proposed calls are not the finished product. They are a synthesis that will help to deepen further reflection. Having identified these calls, the facilitator invited participants to reflect what feelings they were now experiencing after having listened to the 4 sentences.

Matthieu then asked everyone to name important elements from the previous day that are missing in these 4 sentences. A moment was given for personal reflection, followed by group sharing and finally sharing in the plenary group.

Among the elements indicated as being absent were: Formation; Marial colour; Marist; poor (peripheries, youth, children); Availability for mission; Marist as support for the people; strength in ecology; brother-lay relationship; clearer language.


Next steps

After having identified the missing elements, Matthieu, the facilitator, asked participants to name the areas of Marist activity that need to be better articulated and included in the lines of action. The plenary indicated several elements: Brother's identity and mission; community life and prayer; brothers and lay people walking together without resistance; charismatic family: brothers and lay people sharing; how one lives the vows as Marists; presence among children and young people and the defense of their rights; what kind of government; economic solidarity; the belonging of the Marist laity; education; finance; ecology; formation according to the reality of today; Communities.

The members of the Facilitation Commission will consider all this material at their evening meeting and tomorrow present a proposal for how all these key elements will be integrated into the calls.