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What God is asking of the Marists today



Wednesday, September 16th

16/09/2009: General House - Photo gallery

Starting from today, the chapter assembly advances on two fronts, with a vital rhythm which appears slow but is efficient. It is working out an expression of collective consensus as the instrument which is going to guide the life of the Institute in the coming years and, at the same time, building up the communion of hearts of the capitulants. A slow process, or so it appears to those used to organizing institutions with procedures for efficiency and productivity. The assembly progresses at a rate set by the Spirit. At the first session of the morning, the Central Commission outlined the methodology to be followed during the day. Fundamentally it consisted of bringing together the themes which had most touched the heart during the retreat day. From these elements would begin the collective construction of the fundamental call. The process responds to these four questions: What does God want of the Marists today? What is He calling us to? How to recognize this call? How to respond to what God is asking of us? This is the compass pointing the direction for the next days in the chapter hall. It was also announced that the afternoon of Friday and the morning of Saturday would be dedicated to reflecting on some issues that are pertinent to the Marist laity and to the Brothers at the same time

The work in the chapter hall

A first dynamic has been to present the members since the tables were new. In addition to presenting each participant shared about how he felt during the first days of the Chapter.

The preliminary phase was for each around the tables to share what he/she had felt most important during the retreat day of 15 September. This was like returning from a feast and sharing first impressions.

The second phase of the morning session was devoted to sharing, in groups of two or three, the basic motivations which affect them at these times. All these p
ersonal contributions were transferred to the tables, where they were placed in common.
In the afternoon session, the capitulants were asked to define the themes raised in order to begin naming the needs they felt. This exercise was a first grounding, on paper, of what was moving in the heart of the assembly. Each of the ten tables nominated a secretary who collected the contributions of the participants. From these contributions, a report was composed and presented to the assembly at the end of the afternoon. The methodology consists of enunciating three themes the table considers important and providing reasons for each. The same secretaries are responsible for summarizing the contributions from the tables at the end of the day, for proposal to the chapter at the working session of the next day.

The tables speak

On listening to the contributions which each secretary presented to the hall, as the result of the afternoon’s work, some words began to resonate, repeated in almost all the interventions, but with different nuances. Conversion of heart, the lay Marist vocation, commitment to the poor, religious consecration, identity of the Brother, living a radical life, spirituality, authenticity of life, Mary as model, brothers and laity walking together, the identities of brothers and laity, Marian hearts, animation and government in the service of mission, etc. Expressions which, although somewhat lacking definition, announce what will be the basis for discussion over these next days. It is hoped that the assembly will further clarify these themes and examine them closely to establish priorities. The work has just begun.

Notes along the way

Today the assembly rejoiced in the perseverance in vocation of Brother Felim McCrann, of the Province of West Central Europe, who died in Athlone at the age of 95, after 80 years of life in religion. Fernando Larrambebere, Argentinian layman, Director of the Provincial Solidarity Office of the Province of Cruz del Sur, was congratulated on his birthday. The Brothers of Canada announced the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the arrival of the Brothers in their country. And the fiesta of Mexican Independance was celebrated appropriately at various moments during the day.

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