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First profession of Br. Yoandi González



Marist life returns to Cuba

17/04/2009: Cuba - Photo gallery

On 25 March, solemnity of the Annunciation, we celebrated in Cuba an event which brought us joy and gratitude to God, the first vows of Yoandi González Gómez, our first Cuban Marist Brother since the refoundation in 2001.

The celebration was performed in the Church of Saint Peter Apostle, with Mons Emilio Aranguren Echeverría, Archbishop of Holguín and an affiliate of the Institute, presiding; Brother Antonio Ramalho represented the General Council and Br. Hipólito Pérez, Provincial of the Province of Central America, was also present.
The liturgy of the Word recorded for us the disposability of Christ: “Here I am. I come to do your will” and that of Mary: “Let it be done to me according to your word”. It also invited us to rejoice and to overcome fear: “Rejoice” was the Angel Gabriel’s word to Mary and “Do not be afraid”. In the homily, the celebrant stated: “What we are experiencing this evening is a little shoot of life which springs up in the setting of the National Mission which Cuba has launched to join the Continental Mission promoted by the Apparition”. Then followed Yoandi making his consecration as a Marist Brother and binding himself with the black cord with three knots: three arrows pointing to the desire to follow Christ, poor, chaste, and obedient. The offertory chant said: “Here is a boy who has five loaves and two fishes, but what is that among so many? Take this heart…. Take everything I have and everything I am…”. To finish, the Marists present stood around the Picture of the Virgin of Charity and sang with confidence: “We fly to your patronage… Sub tuum praesidium”

It was a packed celebration in which our prayers were fundamentally ones of gratitude and hope. Gratitude to God, to Mary, to Marcellin, to Yoandi’s family present there, to the Superior Generals who accompanied the project from its birth: Brothers Charles Howard, Benito Arbués and Sean Sammon, to Br. Antonio Ramalho who has visited us and animated us throughout these last eight years, to the Province of America Central which has officially adopted us, to the Provinces of Mexico which in the first half of the last century and recently have been generous in supporting our project and which are present here in the person of Br. José Sánchez, to the Provinces of Norandina and Rio Grande do Sul (and Amazonia), and to many brothers, former students, and friends, who from heaven surely look down to take part in our joy and happiness.

We ask the Lord that Yoandi and those who follow him may belong to the race of Louis, Antoine, Laurent, Barthélemy, François, Stanislas, Jean-Baptiste, Bonaventure and the first brothers who with Marcellin gave flesh to the Marist charism in France in the XIX century. We implore his grace that they may continue the presence of Donateur, Marcos, Vicente, Alfonso, Balmey, Eustasio, Robustiano, Braulio, Ignacio and those associated with them who were good news for the boys and youth of the island between 1903 and 1962.

After the religious celebration we made two simple toasts: one with the parish community of Saint Peter Apostle in the district of Cotorro and the other with the family of Yoandi, with our young men in formation and visiting brothers in the house of the Daughters of Charity in front of the sea-wall of Havana. There Yoandi told us that a pet phrase he frequently used in conversation when we made fun of him is: “I am only exaggerating”, but that in the following of Christ, he “desires to exaggerate”.

Giovanni Papini was right when he said: “dreams form part of life, are essential elements of reality, are the highest, most noble and dignified expressions of life. Dreams, when they have the power to transform and create, are more truthful than any other truth and the most exalted form of reality: the dream is life’s reason for being”. Someone else adds, “when one dreams as an individual, it may be no more than an illusion, but when the dream is a collective one, they run the risk of being turned into reality” and I would add: “if it is God who inspires and blesses these dreams”.

Br. Carlos Martínez Lavín

Words of Br. Seán Sammon, Superior General
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