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Joint Formation exploring the new relationship of Brothers and Lay

11/06/2017: Philippines

Gathered for the purpose of reflecting together our distinct gifts of vocation and discerning creative expressions of our Marist mission, nineteen (19) participants, brothers and lay, took part in a Joint Formation experience on May 18-21, 2017 in Tamontaka, Maguindanao. This activity was part of the East Asia Province Marist Bicentennial Celebration.

The Joint Formation was aimed at enriching the vocations as brothers and lay through personal faith encounter, exploring the new relationship of Brothers and Lay in communion and determining new ways of collaborating in the Marist mission.

The four-day formation experience developed a sense of community among brothers and lay where there was in-depth sharing of faith and vocation stories, fears, hopes and gifts in living one’s distinct vocation. And considering the trends and challenges of the Church in Asia, the Joint Formation experience provided the participants an opportunity to explore mission priorities where brothers and lay can work together with new vitality.

The formation experience ended with participants hoping for the replication of the same process of formation to as many brothers and lay in the sector and the province. 

Some participants voiced out their meaningful experience:

“Meaningful experience for me were the reflective prayers, information and sharing of insights and communion between brothers and lay.”

“Each day is full of symbolism which brings more meaning to the topics being discussed.”

“It opened my heart to better understand lay Marists working with the brothers.  I admired their honesty to express their fears, hopes and gifts in relating with me as a brother.”

“This formation serves as a bridge of understanding between brothers and lay Marists…”

 

A Statement from the Participants

We, the Marists of Champagnat, participants of the 2017 Philippine Sector Brothers and Lay Joint Formation Experience, gathered as a family from 18-21 of May 2017 in Tamontaka, D.O.S., Maguindanao, Philippines, to:

  • be enriched in our respective vocations as brothers and lay through personal faith encounters;
  • explore the new relationship of Brothers and Lay in communion; and,
  • determine new ways of collaborating in the Marist mission.

The Joint Formation Experience gave us profound opportunities to:

  • develop a sense of community among brothers and lay;
  • share our faith and vocation stories, fears, hopes and gifts as we live our respective vocations;
  • deepen Champagnat's charism and mission as Marists;
  • identify the trends and challenges as articulated by the Church in Asia; and,
  • explore mission priorities in which we can work together with new vitality as brothers and lay.

To establish greater communion between Marist Brothers and Lay, it is essential that

  • joint formation programs be offered to as many other brothers and lay in the Sector/Province;
  • new missions be carried out where both Marist Brothers and Lay Marists can work together as an expression of doing the mission of Jesus; and,
  • find avenues where both the Brothers and Lay continue to share their stories of faith and vocation.

Grounded on the realities of Asia, the participants of the 2017 Joint Formation Program desire to invite schools/ministries to consider the following: 

  • revisit the curriculum, particularly that of Religious Education, and makeCreation theology/spirituality a part of it; thus; making it responsive to the needs of the young and the society.
  • adopt a school for  Indigenous Peoples and strengthen school programs for them;
  • revisit alternative education programs for those students who are financially disadvantaged;
  • encourage active involvement of both the Brothers and the Lay in the community extension services; and,
  • intensify support to the street children of Marcellin Homes in General Santos City.

The participants of this Join Formation see the following possibilities and hope for the Marist Education Committee to consider: 

  • creation of a Marist Presence Center in every Marist campus to intensify the Brothers and Laity’s presence.
  • coming up with a Unified Green Policy for observance in all Marist Campuses to address environmental concerns;
  • designing a standard Lay Formation Program for all Marist institutions;
  • intensification of information dissemination on the Volunteer Program; and,
  • identification of a two-year project to address relevant issues in the society and the specific needs of the youth as a concrete response to the calls of the Marist Mission Congress.

Furthermore, we recommend and support the following ideas:

  • expansion of the CMMF membership to include non- school personnel;
  • preservation of the Marist identity in our institutions and community:  charism, spirituality, core values; and,
  • study of how to establish a community where Brothers and Lay live together in prayer and  mission.  

With Mary our Good Mother, we lay in her guiding hands each step we take towards a future of deepened appreciation of our distinct vocations, a valued sense of communion, and commitment to greater vitality in doing God’s mission in the way of Champagnat.

Through the Holy Spirit, we look towards the dawning of a new beginning with great hope!

 

(Participants of the Joint Formation Experience, Philippine Sector, May 18-21, 2017)

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