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Year Montagne - October 2014 – July 2015


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That encounter with the young Montagne was an event that profoundly marked Father Champagnat’s life, and clearly brought about the birth of the Marist Institute.

On October 28, 2014, anniversary of Father Champagnat’s meeting with the young Montagne, we will begin the ‘Montagne Year’. It will coincide with the celebration of the year of Consecrated Life in the Church worldwide. This first icon will accompany us until July 2015. It will be a reminder of the importance and urgency of our mission, as relevant today as it was in Father Champagnat’s time. Inspired by our Founder, who walked for several hours from La Valla to this place, we feel the same call to get going and meet the new Montagnes of today, wherever they may be.

The insistent call of Pope Francis to leave our own comfort zone in order to reach all the “peripheries” in need of the light of the Gospel (EG 20) echoes in our ears. In the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (49) he states:

I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life. More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: “Give them something to eat (Mk 6:37)”.

What burned in Father Champagnat’s heart as he made his way back to La Valla after encountering the young Montagne? What energy pulsed through him, leading him to found the Institute just a few months later? We might ask, are we not called to travel this same road again, allowing ourselves to be deeply challenged by the situation of the young Montagnes of today?

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