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Phase of integration and the participants getting to know one another



Experience of joint formation at Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux

15/05/2009: France - Photo gallery

The first phase of the experience of joint formation – brothers and laity – at Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux ended on 28 April. This was the phase of integration and the participants getting to know one another and their respective Provinces.

A) Getting to know each other

Following a brief personal presentation, the other participants had to respond and write a word or a phrase expressing the «being and the person» of the person presented. One picked up words or expressions such as: organizer, great worker, openness to the future, apostolic generosity, courage in the face of new challenges, simplicity in action, humility clearly Marist, practical family spirit, joy at feeling oneself Marist in work and spirituality, educator by vocation, pedagogy at the service of the Gospel, constancy and serenity in the face of difficulties, the past and the future shape confidence in God, to feel oneself a catechist of God, man/woman of prayer, determined to live Marist spirituality.

b) Getting to know the situation of the Provinces

b.1) Positive achievements

In presenting the actual state of the Provinces, each one had to explain three achievements and three challenges they faced.
Here are some of the achievements: a good group of leaders; a great willingness to work with laity by allowing them to take on more and more often positions of responsibility; a good relationship among brothers, laity, and the young people with whom we work; good developments in education and the formation of brothers and laity in the sector; many young people involved in the activities and projects outside school; utilization of the Internet with a provincial page regularly opened; a growing number of welcoming communities; development of the Champagnat fraternities; continuing formation of brothers and laity; some new apostolic projects apart from the traditional school; the tradition of voluntary service which has become part of the apostolate in certain Provinces; the Provincial Assemblies on mission are opening up horizons unknown until now; spiritual formation as an integral part of the preparation for mission.

b.2) Challenges

Mention has been made of some challenges: lack of adequate formation for what is happening in the Province; nostalgia for the past; reservations about the shared work of brothers and laity; inability to «invent» new projects; choices and decisions which have not always been the best ones; formation in and knowledge of Marist spirituality; lack of unity among the various activities of the Province; the number of aged brothers in certain Provinces does not permit great apostolic projects for the youth of today; difficulties for laity in taking on certain responsibilities; autonomy of the laity in comparison with the brothers; a greater integration in the new Province of the «old» sectors which compose it; to revitalize the missionary spirit; difficulties in shaping Marist life for brothers and laity at the same time; what will be the expressions of Marist life in the future? How to put them into operation?

These three days of coming to know persons and provinces have helped create a very fine community atmosphere, and have opened the way to the formation process which began on 29 April. The first part of this process is the study and living of the theme «Faith and Vocation».

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