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Meeting of Young Brothers - Brazil Centro Norte Province

02/09/2009: Brazil - Photo gallery

It would be difficult to describe how pleased twenty young Brothers felt at the end of a recent meeting that had brought them together from widely different apostolates in the Brazil Centro Norte Province. The gathering took place at the end of the July 2 -5 Province meeting held at the Marist Catechetical Center in São Miguel, a city near Maceió – AL, about thirty kilometers from Barra de São Miguel, known for its fine beaches and beautiful homes.

The meeting served several purposes for the young Brothers in question. Ultimately however, the formative nature of the meeting proved to be the most important. The bonds which unite us in a common following of Christ were strengthened, helping us to keep Christ as the focus of our religious consecration. This year’s meeting had some Marist Family characteristics as well. First, 2009 is the tenth anniversary of Marcellin Champagnat’s canonization. Second, the XXI General Chapter is approaching, with its theme of “new hearts for a new world,” the kind of hearts we would like to have.

On the first day, Brother Afonso Tadeu Murad, a nationally known theologian, gave a conference on “Forming Religious for Fidelity in a Culture of Superficiality,” a controversial topic dealing with religious life in contemporary society. Afonso surfaced various traits of the contemporary world in the third millennium. He pointed out some of the broader challenges which confront religious life today, in a world that consistently emphasizes “having” rather than “sharing.” Encouraged by the words of Brother Afonso, the young Brothers perceived the need to engage vigorously in creating a world marked by the qualities of generosity and goodness.

On day two, Brother Luicio Gomes Dantas, Provincial Councilor, set just the right tone needed to get the young Brothers to share in small groups. He made use of the technique called, “Life Story and Self Growth.” The morning was given over to the topic, and afterwards the group agreed that there is real need to provide special moments for sharing life and mission. In doing so, we will get to know ourselves a little better, and we will begin to love in the way Father Champagnat described in his Last Will and Testament.

Another part of the meeting was a round table discussion on the topic, “Young Brothers: Living the Future Today.” The session was directed by the following Brothers: Claudino Falchetto, Provincial of Brazil Centro Norte Province; Adalberto Batista Amaral; and Alexandre Lucena Lobo. Brother Luís André da Silva Pereira was the moderator. The first step was to get each participant to express his point of view regarding the proposed theme. The second step was to respond to questions raised by the young Brothers in attendance. The upshot was a proposal to create a document entitled, “Open Letter of the Young Brothers to the Communities of the Brazil Centro Norte Province.” A small group was set up to draft the letter prior to the end of the meeting.

On the last day, we took a boat ride on the Ninquim River up to Gunga Beach - one of most picturesque spots of the region of Alagoas - a favorite place for relaxation and leisure, quite a good match to the spirit which marked our gathering.

To close the day on the right note, Brother Claudino Falchetto encouraged us to live out the options that we have chosen and to make evident the high degree of unity that exists among the young Brothers of the Province, a easily perceived sign that we are journeying together in the same direction.

The end of the meeting found each young Brother feeling both happy and a bit melancholy. For many of us it was the best meeting we have ever had as a group. Now we are all hoping that the next one will be even better.

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