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Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

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The Role of the Marist Laity in Greece



Meeting of Brother Pau Fornells with lay people

06/11/2009: Greece - Photo gallery

Since Vatican Council II, the laity, men and women, have been considered as having a vocation through baptism, and have thus rediscovered their specific place in the Church.
In the heart of our Institute, the role of the laity has already been approved and more and more recognized. Nevertheless, efforts still have to be made to clarify the identity of the Marist laity from the moment it shares the charism of our Founder Marcellin Champagnat and, in consequence, becomes co-responsible for the apostolic mission of the Marist Brothers.

Within the framework of this reflection, which has been going on for some time and continues in all the Provinces, Brother Pau Fornells, who heads the Bureau of the Marist Laity and who co-ordinated the project of drawing up the document entitled « Around the same table», came to Greece on 30th October. During his stay in Athens, he first visited the two Marist establishments, the Lycée Léonin of Néa Smyrni and the Lycée Léonin of Patissia, and spoke to the students – young men and women – who, aware of the various social problems, had already taken part in meetings and activities concerning the defence of the Rights of the Child. The following day, Saturday 31 October, he had a meeting at the Lycée Léonin of Néa Smyrni with 150 of the teachers and staff of the two Marist schools, who had expressed their desire to hear him and ask him some questions. After a brief introduction by the Director General of the Lycée Léonin of Néa Smyrni, Br. Mathieu Lévantinos, and the presentation of his work by the representative of the Brother Provincial in Greece, Br. Ignace Capétanios, Brother Pau spoke on the topic of the Marist Laity throughout the world. During his talk, he emphasized the necessity of the laity becoming more and more active in the Marist mission especially among the most impoverished and neglected youth. This involvement should not be limited to a simple collaboration with the Brothers nor even with the lay partnership; it is necessary for lay people to feel themselves truly co-responsible in the task of educating the children and bringing them to Jesus Christ after the model of the Virgin Mary. At the end of his talk, he referred to the common road being travelled hand in hand by the Brothers and lay people in the mixed communities, in the educational works, or in the activities of social solidarity.

Then Brother Pau met with the members of the four Marist Fraternities in Greece, was informed about their activities, and expressed once again his admiration for their mixed composition (Orthodox and Catholics) and their ecumenical spirit.

All of us members of the Marist Community in Greece, Brothers and lay people, thank Brother Pau for his visit among us and his contribution towards the clarification of the identity and role of the laity, and we wish him ‘bon courage’ in his mission.

Nicolas Dessypris
Professor of Literature at the Lycée Léonin of Néa Smyrni

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