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Second meeting of the American Sub-commission of the Laity

15/09/2013: Paraguay

The American Sub-commission of the Laity, created a year ago by the Inter-American Conference of Provincials to reflect on the processes for brothers-lay communion in the three American regions, met at Coronel Oviedo, Paraguay, from 22 to 26 July. Those taking part were : Louise Fortier (Canada), Patricia Ríos (México Occidental), Br Balbino Juárez (América Central), Moisés Beltrán (Norandina), Layza Maria Gomes (Brasil Centro-Norte), Raúl Amaya (Santa María de los Andes) and Mauricio Fuentes (Cruz del Sur). Fabiano Incerti (Brasil Centro-Sul) was not able to join us for personal reasons. The Director of the Secretariat of the Laity, Br Javier Espinosa, was also present. We thank him very sincerely for his presence and his contributions.

The family spirit which characterizes us was evident at every moment. Br Chema Custodi was waiting for us and welcomed us at Asunción at « ungodly hours »… We were truly at home ! The brothers constantly supported and helped us on the spot and contributed to the meeting’s success… It is such experiences which foster « an international horizon in our minds and hearts, a greater awareness of the internationality of the Institute », which guarantees the revitalisation of the charism in a spirit of communion between brothers and lay people.

The first item on ouragenda was an ample sharing of the dimensions of our lives, an exercise which strengthened our friendship and sense of family, through knowledge of personal situations and the situation of our countries and Provinces.

The basic work was the drafting of theStrategic Plan. After reflecting on our weak and strong points in the continent, we expressed our convictions, as well as the mission and vision of the Sub-commission. We proposed for ourselves the following objectives for the next three years : reinforce the community and fraternal among the members of the Sub-commission. Promote and accompany the development of the Marist lay vocation. Develop processes which encourage the new relationship between brothers and laity, based on communion. Provide impulse and accompaniment for the new ways of living the Marist charism. Encourage and support different expressions of community life of the Marist laity. Promote and accompany the structures of animation at provincial and regional levels.

We gave some time to sharing on the process of revitalisation of the Champagnat Movement of the Marist Family, animated by the Secretariat of the Laity. We shared the challenges which have risen at the first stage : to have plans of formation, animation and accompaniment teams, to form leaders and move towards a greater autonomy for the laity, arrive at a connection with youth ministry, respond to the calls of the XXI General Chapter, act so that the the members of the Movement feel themselves bearers of the charism. As a Sub-commission, we feel called to accompany this process.

We had the opportunity to meet representatives of the Marist laity of Paraguay. The meeting, genial and innovative, took place once more in a great spirit of family. We felt united by the same inspiration inherited from Marcellin Champagnat, reinforced in the mission and expressed in the shared life of brothers and lay people.

This second meeting helped us clarify better the presence and participation of the Sub-commission in the Marist processes of America, in collaboration with the International Secretariat of the Laity. We are making progress, the ideas are clearer, as well as the objectives and the commitments. We take note of the richness we can draw from collaboration with other sub-commissions, especially that of Brothers Today.

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Balbino, Layza, Louise, Mauricio, Moisés, Patricia, Raúl

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