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ChMMF of the Province of Rio Grande do Sul

07/12/2010: Brazil

After the 4th Meeting of the Marist Institutes of Higher Education, organised by the ‘Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul’ – PUCRS, in Porto Alegre (Brasil), from 5 to 8 October 2010, Brs. Josep Maria Soteras, General Councillor and delegate of the Superior General at the meeting, and Teófilo Minga took part in a meeting of the ChMMF of the Province of Rio Grande do Sul which took place on 9 October.Despite the great « bridge » for the feast of Nostra Senhora Aparecida, some 200 members of the movement were present, so the organizers considered it would be a « little meeting ». Had it not been for the bridging period – practically a week of holiday – there would probably have been some 500. In many parts of the Marist world, 200 participants would have seemed quite a large number. This led Br. Josep Maria to say that « in Brasil, even what seems little is big ». In fact, it was a pleasure to meet 200 members of the ChMMF.Br. Josep Maria made a presentation of elements of the General Council programme, and called on each one to take part, according to possibilities and circumstances, in putting into practice certain of its objectives in his Province and country.There is, for example, the Marial face of the Church. Every Marist, lay person or brother, is called by the Chapter to be the sacrament of the Marial face of the Church. This is not only the privilege of some: the vocation of any Marist cannot be understood without the presence of Mary in his/her life. To act so that Mary becomes present in his life is the sure way of giving birth to this Marial face of the Church we are called to construct by vocation and charism.In the same way, one could talk about rediscovering and delighting in one’s own vocation. At first glance, one might think this applied only to brothers « disenchanted » with their Marist life. But it could certainly be extended to all Marists, laity included, in the sense of living the Marist vocation with great joy and enthusiasm. And if this were so, this example would inspire other persons to enter on the Marist way, where they would find the meaning of their own existence, the realization of their dreams and hopes. To tell the truth, we should develop more and more new ways of living the Marist charism.Another important principle is the Rights of Children. There too we have a principle which is not the province of the brothers only. Every Marist, whether he is working in education, health, art, politics or in any other field, should have reference to children, knowing they have rights to education, health, recreation, love, in short everything that helps them grow, so that they become active and responsible subjects in the construction of a more just and human society. But to do this, we have precisely to defend the child in situations where his RIGHTS, whatever they are, are ignored.It is the same with internationalism and pluriculturalism. More and more the Marist Institute is showing this international and pluricultural face, for example in many of the communities founded in these last few years. Numerous recent experiences of formation have also had this international and pluricultural character. The whole current experience of mission AD GENTES in the congregation is perhaps the best example of these values. It is clear that they are also a call to live an attitude of humility in regard to cultures different from our own, and of openness with regard to certain aspects which do not precisely coincide with our ideas. This was the moment when Br. Teófilo intervened to emphasise the example of the new communities of the Sector AD GENTES: they are all international and, as a result, their elements come from the most varied cultures. However, the Co-ordinator of AD GENTES emphasised that equally as important as the different cultures was the centrality of Christ in the life of the missionary.But this requirement or right or duty was not specific to the Marist missionary in the limited sense of the term. Every member of the ChMMF, from the fact of being Marist, is called to make Christ the centre of his or her life. This may be an excellent way to awake in the interior of the movement, and indeed outside, missionary AD GENTES or other vocations. On the occasion of celebrating its de la célébration 25 years of life, the ChMMF is called more and more to take on within its organisation – and in the life of its members – this missionary dimension. This is a heritage of the Institute that we must not lose. May the ChMMF help us to rediscover this dimension with an ever more powerful apostolic force and zeal.It is said that without the missionary dimension the Church is not the Church. And if we apply the same principle to the ChMMF? We are certainly on different theological planes. But seeing that the ChMMF is an integral part of the Marist world, it is difficult for us to envisage it without this missionary dimension. Could that not be one of its objectives for the next 25 years?________________Porto Alegre, 11 October 2010Br. Teófilo – Co-ordinator AD GENTES

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