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24 January

Saint Francis de Sales
1810, death of Marie-Thérèse Chirat (64 years old) Marcellin’s mother

Marist Calendar - January

Message from the Faraya House in difficult times



The teachers from Champville and from Byblos meet for the first time

18/07/2006: Lebanon

Faraya is a pleasant place situated in the Christian zone about thirty-five kilometres to the northeast of Beirut, capitale of Lebanon, at the foot of Mount Misar. Its altitude of 1250 metres above sea level assures splendid views of the mountains and the valleys.

At the present time, the country is plunged in a profound sadness while persons of good will are seeing their efforts to assure a future of peace, of prosperity and of hope for the younger generations bordering once more on failure.

The material deterioration of the country such as the destruction of infrastructures, means of communication, etc. is worrying. It becomes unbearable to be the powerless witness of ominous consequences of political decisions that have put in place leaders who follow their own partisan and sectarian interests. The people remain vulnerable in this devastating game of interests and fears.

In this atmosphere of national sadness and of contained rage, there is a new experience in the Marist Lebanese milieu. It concerns a ten-day study session of the document “In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat – A Vision for Marist Education Today”.

This meeting was carefully prepared for several months after an exchange with the Council of the Province of Mediterránea. Brother Onorino Rota, one of the members of the animation team of the session, had already been blocked in Italy from coming as well as Brother Mario Meuti. Brothers Santiago Fernández and Teófilo Minga had just arrived in the country.

No teacher has missed the meeting; even the one who could not arrive the first day for family reasons arrived after the Sunday rest day. Brothers Emilio Alastuey and José María Romero are also animating the session.

Because of the special circumstances of the country, we have received and we are still receiving many messages, knowing that you carry us in your hearts and your prayers. We thank you most sincerely for that.

Dear brothers, who are concerned for us and who follow the news everyday, be reassured! We are in a secure zone where there are no structures that could be taken as “military targets” whose proximity could put us in danger.

We are following faithfully the anticipated plan until the end of the 23rd July. This was not just the decision of the animation team, of Brother Georges Trad, delegate of the Brother Provincial in Lebanon, or of Brother José Remiro, inspirer and animator of the meeting, BUT the decision of each one of the participants, brothers and laypeople. It is the first time that the teachers of the colleges of Champville and of Byblos have come together and some do not even know each other. They have created a group for work, for friendship, for exchange of experiences and of life which has proved to be surprising and admirable. We are not going to renounce this richness. We are not going to waste this occasion of continuing to continue to deepen our charism, our identity and our mission. We are doing so with joy, in an atmosphere of study and of serious work and with a very befitting serenity if you take into account the circumstances. In the morning, we pray at the start of our work and we close the day with Mass. There is neither fear nor trouble. Our confidence is in the Lord and the Good Mother who maintains our morale at a high level. We are helped in that by knowing that our brothers of Jbeil, of Amchit and of Champville are in a secure region.

We will not be careless. If the circumstances get worse and put our lives in danger, we would suspend the session. But that is not the case at present and with the help of the Good Mother we will maintain the joy we are feeling in allowing us to delve into the richness of our Marist documents.

Brothers, you who read this message, wherever you are, we thank you and we ask you not to dramatise our situation too much. For us, the real drama is the one that innocent people of this country are experiencing and we entrust them to the Lord.

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