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Marists: 100 years in Andalusia

03/04/2006: Spain

On the 2nd April of this year the arrival of the Marist Brothers on Andalusian territory, in the south of Spain, will be celebrated. It is 100 years since a community of Marist Brothers arrived in the city of Lucena where they started their educational activities and where they were so well received that little by little they extended their activities throughout all of Andalusia. Today, the brothers are present in all the Andalusian provinces except Almería and its countless children and young people have been educated in the classrooms of their schools.

Celebrating a centenary is an extraordinary opportunity to give thanks to God for the presence of so many educators who have shared the best of their lives with thousands of children and young people in the classrooms and the courtyards of the Marist works in Andalusia. Also, it is a special reason to give thanks to God for the gift of the life of Saint Marcellin Champagnat and for the impact of his charism that energises the Marist educational mission of today.

Even though there is currently no Marist school in Lucena, we wanted to choose this city as the place to hold the celebrations as a tribute to those who witnessed the birth of Marist work in this area. It is true that many of the main characters of this history are no longer with us as they have passed to a better life but there are many witnesses to this educational work. With the celebration of this centenary, we also want to pay homage to those still committed to Marist education today in Andalusia. How well it has been fulfilled that what some have sown, others have reaped. Blessed be God!

The organising commission of this celebration has prepared a full programme of activities in collaboration with the Lucena City Council and some former students to highlight this commemoration. A principal highlight will be the ‘Maristíada’, a sports day for the students and teachers of the Marist schools that the Province of Mediterránea has in Andalusia. The religious dimension of the celebration will be expressed through the homage to deceased brothers, the thanksgiving Eucharist in the church of Saint Matthew and a Marian celebration. The organising commission has also organised a round-table forum, an exposition of photographs, the presentation of the book “Marist Presence in Lucena”, commemorative souvenirs including badges for former students and pieces of pottery, and a celebrational banquet meal.

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