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Extended General Council – Cono Sur and Brazil – 23 – 26 May - Chronicle I

25/05/2012: Brazil - Photo gallery

Brother Superior General and his Council, with the exception of Br John Klein, met with the Brother Provincials and their Councillors as well as the District Superiors of the Region of « Cono Sur » and Brazil, at  Campinas, Brasil, in the former novitiate house, to start work on the second Extended General Council to be held from 23 to 26 May.

Br Eugène Kabangua, C. G., began the animation of the day with prayer,in the perspective of the presence of the Holy Spirit, the feast of Pentecost, the documents of the General Chapter and « Water from the Rock ».

Br Emili Turú then explained the meaning of  the term « Extended General Council », which appears for the first time in the  documents of the XXI General Chapter. The Extended Council envisages a  triple point of departure: « A new consecrated life which encourages a new way of being Brother », to meet and share experiences which give us strength, and share what we are doing and what we can do. All this through a methodology of participation, in the manner of the last General Chapter (the round tables), leading to the Marial attitude of fraternal dialogue.

The organisation of this Council is as follows : the day of 23/05 was centred on the way of « constructing the Marial face of the Church » (reflection personal and in Council). On 24/05 : share the animation experiences in the various Councils. On 25/05 : implications at the different levels: personal, Council, provincial and interprovincial. And on 26 : open dialogue and conclusions.

Br Eugène then proposed a dynamic for helping the Brothers present get to know one another, through some questions to share in each group.

In the second part of the morning, the Superior General used his first circular « He gave us the name of Mary » to motivate the reflection. He recalled that the first part of the circular makes reference to the question which concerns some Brothers : what is happening to us ? What matters is to give reasons for hope, in a perspective of faith : the changes should be leading to the building of something new.

The second part of the circular proposes a response to the question : what is our place, as Little Brothers of  Mary, in the Church, beyond the apostolic role ? Br Emili referred to the project of the Society of Mary of Fr Courveille and that of Jean-Claude Collin - « to begin a new Church », what  Marcellin knew how to give concrete form to in an original and specific way with the Little Brothers of  Mary.

To reply to this question, Br Emili used three icons: the Visitation, Pentecost and the Annunciation.

He recalled that icons, in comparison with paintings, present the scene in turning towards the viewer so as to involve him in what is happening.

The image of the Visitation is very ancient, from a fresco in a church in Cyprus. It offers the viewer an attitude of service : to carry Jesus to others, to render the world more human, more fraternal, parting from the perspective of Jesus, from below, through service.

To motivate personal reflection, he invited the Brothers to « put themselves in the skin of a vulnerable young person » who is addressing someone who forms part of a decision making council.

What would he say to him? The groups arrived at agreement on several points which they attached to an « apron » (symbol of service). Once the group work was finished, the participants were invited to read the different phrases on each apron. The activity terminated with some free echos and the singing of the Magnificat.

The animation of the afternoon Marial prayer was based on the experiences of the morning.

Br Emili then presented the icon of the Pentecost. He referred to the image of the Church as the  « village fountain », used by Pope John XXIII, where all are welcome.

We have the right to live in a community which is a place where we can develop our human and spiritual qualities. But also the duty to make a contribution by being signs of tenderness and compassion. He posed the question: how can I express tenderness?

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