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Presentation of the’ Being Lay Marist’ document and key implications

29/09/2017 / 7732 |

22nd General Chapter: Presentation of the’ Being Lay Marist’ document and key implications

Part of the morning session was taken up with a presentation on the experiences and journey toward defining the Lay Marist vocation and guidelines for animation, accompaniment and formation that are articulated in more detail in 3 documents tabled at this General Chapter. The rest of the day was dedicated to developing the key implications or lines of action for the future of the Institute.


Beginning of work

After the morning prayer, Br. Darren Burge, on behalf of the Facilitation Commission, gave an overview of the revised program for the remainder of this week and the following week. During this time, capitulants will continue working on developing statements relating to God's calls to the Institute and the key implications or lines of action. Time will also be given to a presentation on and the reading of the texts of the revised Constitutions. The election of the Superior and Vicar General will take place next Monday and Tuesday of next week.


Being a lay Marist

Pep Buetas and Tony Clarke, on behalf of the eight lay invitees, and as co-directors of the Secretariat of Laity, gave a presentation related to the three documents on Marist Laity received by the General Chapter: i.e. ‘Being a Lay Marist’, ‘Life Project of the ChMMF’ and Proposals to the Chapter.

Pep Buetas  opened by recalling the call of the last General Chapter that asked for “a new relationship between Brothers and Lay Marists, based on communion, searching together for a greater vitality of the Marist charism for our world.” Pep described some developments that have taken place during the last 8 years in response to this call: Joint formation, courses between brothers and lay people, associations, accompaniment of people and groups, forums, seminars, new communities, shared mission projects, revitalization of ChMMF, etc.

Pep spoke of the request made by the General Council and the General Conference to look more deeply at the aspect of lay association and belonging. Two important meetings were held, one in Rome and the other at L’Hermitage, France. These meetings helped contribute to work of the Secretariat of Laity which was aiming to define who a Lay Marist is, what constitutes the vocation of a Lay Marist, and to establish guidelines for how these people can be accompanied and the formation opportunities required. This process resulted in the latest document, "Being a Lay Marist".

Tony Clarke described the Lay Marist as someone who identifies him or herself with the Marist charism, whether or not they are involved directly in a Marist ministry. They are people who see themselves as Marists and have decided to call themselves "Marists". It is a process that transcends the Institute. The desire is for Brothers and Lay Marists to walk together.


Presentation of the documents pertaining to Lay Marists

Pep then presented an overview of the document "Being a Lay Marist". This document offers guidelines for Provinces and Districts in supporting lay people who want to embrace the lay Marist vocation. It gives guidelines for accompanying these people on their vocational journeys and for the creation of formation pathways that may lead some to make commitments.

The Champagnat Movement of the Marist Family document, fruit of a process of revitalizing the movement was also presented. The document traces the identity of the MChFM and the horizon to which it wants to develop.

Tony then presented the proposals of the Secretariat of the Laity to the Chapter. These proposals related to: the identity of lay Marists, formation itineraries, revitalization of ChMMF, bonding and belonging as lay Marists and formation.

After the presentation, time was given for Chapter participants to share their opinions or ideas about the journey of lay Marists.


Key Implications

The second session of the morning through to the end of the day were dedicated to continuing the work on articulating the lines of action for the future of the Institute. Matthieu continued to facilitate the process of arriving at a clear and agreed on set of statements.

From the 32 indications that came from the 8 working groups of the previous day, five areas were created concerning Marist life: (a) mission; (b) life as Brothers; (c) Brothers and lay people together; (d) government and (e) finances. A sixth group will work on the articulation of the ‘Calls of the Chapter’ and its communication.

These 6 groups will continue working until the end of next week. They have the task of painting a picture of what Marist life will like during the next 8 years, suggesting implications or lines of action, rather than trying to solve problems. Chapter participants chose to work in a group according to their interest. Those areas that have large numbers will be divided into subgroups of about 15 people. Work began in these groups by drawing on yesterday’s statements and other writings related to the indications for the future of Marist life. The communication and Chapter calls group consists of six capitulants.

The day ended with a Eucharistic celebration prepared by the lay invitees. They will finish their participation in the Chapter this Saturday, 30th September.