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Third Provincial Chapter of the Iberica province

14/01/2010: Spain

The Iberica province celebrated its third provincial chapter December 27-29, 2009 in Lardero (La Rioja). There were 37 brothers capitulants present, along with councilor general Br. Antonio Ramalho, delegate of Brother Superior General, and six invited lay people. At the beginning of the sessions the Chapter installed the new provincial, Brother Ambrosio Alonso.

The chapter work itself was carried out in two morning sessions and another two in the afternoon, with half-hour breaks between each. Since the beginning of December, the capitulants had made use of a 90-page booklet carefully compiled by the preparatory commission. It contained the results of the surveys carried out in different sectors of the province, and the reports of the commissions and provincial teams. This document briefly explained a number of themes for possible consideration by the Chapter with a view to setting forth major themes; it detailed the work plan for the Chapter; and it summarized the documents arising from the XXI General Chapter.

The methodology used in the proceedings was that of “see, judge, act”. The first day consisted in a perception exercise and listening to the various feelings and voices from around the Province, in a retrospective of the past three years, using the results of the surveys conducted by the preparatory commission, as well as five reports developed by certain commissions or teams: province priorities, the expanded council, the Mission Commission, the educational works commission and the commission on spirituality. At another point other reports were considered: that of the Technical Team of Brothers, vocation ministry, publications service and the commission on finances.

The second stage was devoted to throwing light on the realities described in the documents and judging them from the viewpoint of Marist identity and the calls of the Institute, the Church and society, to begin a discussion of each theme with respect, a listening heart and from various points of focus. Six themes were considered, namely: 1) a deeper understanding of the vocation of the Marist Brother of Champagnat; 2) Marist mission in a “new land”; 3) Brothers and lay Marists “gathered around the same table”; 4) structures of animation and government; 5) encouraging vocation ministry; 6) the progress of restructuring. An attempt was made to seek new overviews that will guide the province in the coming years.

The final day was dedicated almost entirely to the development of the major themes for action that the provincial chapter suggests to the provincial leadership for the next three years. Doing this is to return to the original fount so that its life-giving water can satisfy the thirst of today’s Marists or, paradoxically, increase it.

At the first session of this final day the work was done in six groups, gathering together the personal work on the theme done at the end of the previous day. Each group was to reach consensus on three or four major themes. In the second session, everyone listened to and saw projected the various major themes presented by each of the groups. Then a long period of time was devoted to an exchange of reactions on what had been presented.

There was clear agreement on the major themes, with a variety of shades of meaning and insistencias in the method of directing their content. In both cases the inspiration of the calls of the XXI General Chapter was obvious.

Three major themes were put forth, having practically universal support.

a) A consecrated and community life that promotes a new model of being a Brother;
b) Brothers and lay people gathered around the same table;
c) Marist mission in a new world.

Brother Ambrosio Alonso, new provincial of Iberica, will be accompanied in the application of these major themes and in his service of animation and governance by Brothers Abel Muñoz, Alberto Oribe, Alfonso Fernández, Carlos Martín, Ernesto Tendero, Moisés Alonso and Samuel Holguín, who constitute the new provincial council, elected by the provincial chapter.

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