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Ten years after the canonization (I)

31/03/2009: General House - Photo gallery

Yes, already! And all those who were on St. Peter’s Square, April 18, 1999, can say: “It was like yesterday, the great celebration, the tremendous explosion of joy, the pride of being a Marist! We all suddenly became young again and full of dreams.”

The approach of the canonization of our Founder, Saint Marcellin Champagnat had the Marist world bubbling with excitement. Brother Benito Arbués, Superior General, sent the brothers and Marist laity two circulars back to back: The Canonization Approaches, October 24, 1998 and A Letter before the Canonization, April 7, 1999.

Then articles began to multiply in our magazines, a new portrait of Marcellin, the young Founder, began to circulate, then some images and icons, a few of which appeared on t-shirts much to the joy of the young Marists. Very quickly, the portrait of the young Marcellin took on an aura of joyous youth, for Marcellin became more meaningful to young people. Once again books about Saint Marcellin appeared: A Heart that Knew No Bounds, by Brother Seán Sammon, and the one with the same title in Spanish by Alberto Arrieta Garcia, then again Marcellin Champagnat, A Heart without bounds, by Brother Edouard Blondeel. From Rome came A Man for Our Times, and Five Minutes with Marcellin. Robert Masson, on his part, offered us: The Unlikely Ones of God: a major work with a new and profound look at our Founder. The writings of former Superior Generals were revisited: The Founder Challenges His Brothers by Brother Charles Howard and The Calls of the Founder by Brother Basilio Rueda. Three issues of FMS Message, numbers 26, 27, 28, gave up to date information on the event. We were newly inspired by our Founder.

A reflection on the time said: “As the canonization approached there was feverish activity in the Institute. It showed how many brothers are attached to Marcellin, how he is present in their hearts, discretely perhaps, but strongly: admired, looked upon as a model, and loved as a father. If there’s someone of whom we are proud and who we can hold up to the whole world as a model of humanity and sanctity, it’s our Founder, Marcellin Champagnat.” (Five Minutes with Marcellin Champagnat, p. 11). Marcellin is a saint, so current, so close; he’s kept all his youth and his strength and his attractiveness.

Yes. A great joy ran through the thoroughfares of the life, prayer and activity of the Marist world.

Brother Giovanni Bigotto

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