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Seminar on the identity and mission of the Religious Brother

17/10/2012: Italy

Brothers from 8 congregations met in Rome from 2 to 29 September to live together and reflect on their identity and mission in the Church. From our congregation, 8 brothers from different parts of the Marist world took part.

Following is the open letter written by the participants to all brothers and persons desirous of working for a more fraternal world.

 

Open letter
To all our brothers, partners and associates to all the people who work for a safer fraternal world

class=imgshadowReligious Brothers, belonging to eight religious Institutes dedicated to educational ministry in service to the youth of this world, gathered in Rome for the month of September. Together, we have formed a mosaic of Brothers from five continents, bringing with us our personal histories and rich cultural and institutional traditions. We gathered around the table of fraternity, in a spirit of service, as sons of the same Father, called to be messengers of light and hope.

The objectives of the meeting were ambitious:

•to update the identity and mission of the Brother educator in the Church and the world of today;
•to increase mutual understanding among the members of different Institutes of Brothers;
•to live an inter-congregational experience of reflection, prayer and the common life at this important time in our history;
•to share a common formative experience that would encourage future meetings and subsequent exchanges;
•to encourage our Religious Institutes to meet and pursue a similar level of thinking at the local community level, as well as in the districts and religious provinces;
•to develop materials that would help in prayer and reflection for similar sharing of life experience.

During this conference, we broke the barriers that separated us. We thus shared our rich heritage with ease. We rediscovered the common treasure of brotherhood.

We recognized our unity in diversity; a brotherhood that comes from afar and invites us to live in unity; a brotherhood which wonders about the meaning and relevance of our identity and mission, always open to changes within a newly emerging spirituality. This is the great gift that we wish to share with the Church and the world today. Our challenge is to continue to be a "dangerous memory" of the prophetic Jesus, reminding the Church of its authentic vocation and mission. Due to the horizontal dimension of our vocation as a secular entity, we travel as companions on the journey with the people of God.

We shared our dreams for our Religious Institutes: Brothers, who hear the cry of the poor, respond to specific situations and adapt to the signs of the times; Brothers who bear the Good News of Jesus of Nazareth to all; Brothers who make their communities places of freedom, relationships, deep spirituality, shared mission, and celebration; Brothers who recognize the present faces of God in the Church and in the world, among believers and non-believers.

From Rome, we send you this invitation to dream, to discover the treasure of brotherhood among yourselves and to live it and share it with others. For now, our challenge is to help others live this time of grace that we are experiencing.

We believe that a renewed and authentic brotherhood is possible!

During our days in Rome, we felt accompanied by the Brothers of our Institutes from all parts of the world who followed the course of our session. You have supported our work by your prayers and messages of affection. Thank you for the interest you have shown and your signs of fraternity in our regard.

We also wish to thank the Superiors’ General of our Institutes, their councilors and the members of their Coordination Teams for being the initiators of this conference and accompanying us through the process. It enabled us to live days of profound brotherhood, rediscovering that we are all brothers who have only one Teacher. (Mt 23, 8)

Finally, we return the gift received and the mission entrusted to us into the hands of God the Father, who sent his Son, the unequivocal sign of brotherhood. With the power of the Holy Spirit and the example of Mary, model of listening and openness, we desire to be responsive to the new calls of our time. In response to our Founders, we wish to be faithful to the vocation and the mission that we have received.

Participants at the meeting "ALL BROTHERS”

Edmund Rice Christian Brothers
Brothers of the Christian Schools - La Salle
Brothers of Christian Instruction
Marist Brothers
Brothers of Our Lady of Mercy
Brothers of the Sacred Heart
Brothers of the Holy Family
Brothers of Saint Gabriel

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