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The Voices of Children Call Us to Solidarity



Advent and Marist Solidarity 2006

02/12/2006: General House

“Children are not passive recipients of our charity or protection, but active citizens with rights who should participate in their communities and societies. But lacking a political voice or representation, children are easily left out of discussions on public policy.” This statement from the State of the World’s Children Report 2006 (Unicef) captures the theme for our Advent Solidarity Reflection Booklet, “The voices of children call us to solidarity”.

This year’s reflection booklet has become an avenue for children’s voices around the Marist world to be heard. Twenty three children, or in some cases groups of children, have shared with us their reflections on life, the world around them, and their concerns and hopes for the future. We have incorporated their reflections into a format for reflection that includes a daily reading from the scriptures of Advent, points for personal reflection and a closing prayer taken from the liturgy of the day.
Each child’s reflection on their particular situation in life is unique. However when they talk of their concerns and hopes for the future, regardless of whether they are in developed or developing countries, their gender, or their age, they are also remarkably similar. As you spend time each day reflecting on what they have shared with us, you will be impressed with their ability to remain hopeful and focused on a future which is better than their present. They are truly resilient young people.

We want to offer a sincere word of thanks to these young people. Thanks also to those brothers who made it possible for us to hear from them. Where it was not possible to receive one specific reflection, they sent us a reflection based on a series of interviews and discussions they had with a group of young people. In two situations, clearly indicated, brothers prepared reflections based on past experiences, observations and discussions with young people. In all cases, it is the voices of young people who speak to us in this year’s Advent Reflection Book.

Before closing, we offer a word of welcome to all who will use these reflections especially those who may be new to the mission and ministry of the Marist Brothers within the church. Please pray and reflect with these young people. It is our sincere hope, that all who use this reflection text during Advent will be moved to act for the rights of the child everywhere.

In prayer and solidarity,
Br. Dominick Pujia, Director of the Bureau of International Solidarity (BIS)
Ms. Sara Panciroli, Administrative Assistant
Br. César Henríquez, Child Rights Advocacy Officer
Ms. Angela Petenzi, Projects Coordinator

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