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Provincial assembly - Province of LHermitage

22/01/2007: France

Invited to allow ourselves to be enticed by the way of feeling and living as Marcellin did and allowing ourselves to be carried by the heart of this man of God, we gathered at the Hermitage from the 2nd to the 5th January. There were ninety-eight Marists present, brothers and laypeople, coming from Greece, Hungary, France, Catalonia and Algeria; all from different places and ways of living, but with a common experience and desire: to live in the way of Marcellin Champagnat, by sharing his mission.

What we noted in the first place, before even starting the afternoon of the 2nd January, was the richness that is in each place of our Province (the richness that we obtain by working with children and young people); and noting these desires to live and feel Marcellin’s dream which goes beyond the consecrated life. Marcellin’s charism is shared, today, by the Brothers of Mary, lived in community, and a lot of people feel close to us: educators, students, families, former students, voluntary workers, catechists…

It is encouraging to see that Marcellin’s Spirit, lived in the community of brothers, is present in the different groups of laypeople and of Marist fraternities. May this Spirit be lived in community as without community, the Marist mission today has no meaning.

We finished the work of the afternoon by visiting the first Marist community and by celebrating a Eucharist of thanksgiving for the 190th anniversary of the foundation of the Brothers of Mary at La Valla.

In the evening, Brother Pau Fornells, Director of the Bureau of the Laity, enriched us with a talk: Looking at the shared mission, during which he gave us new challenges to continue to journey and to grow in the mission of working with children and young people, particularly with the most forgotten, in a shared way. He invited us, brothers and laypeople, to “read events in the light of what the Spirit is doing in the Church and in the world” and to note that the laypeople feel the same or more “passion for the Marist Charism, Spirituality and Mission” and call us to help them live them fully.

The second day, we started with a time of personal reflection to read the work document produced by the Provincial commission and the do a second reading of the reality which was shared in dialogue groups.

From the “radiography” done in the morning, the analysis of the reality and observations, we worked in the afternoon on the convictions: the vertebral axes which give essence to Marist life.
• Identity: we are inheritors, brothers and laypeople, of one same charism and one same spirituality.
• The community dimension of the Mission:
a. We give mutual support.
b. We want to journey together, sharing faith, life and mission.
c. A pathway we must follow starting with co-responsibility.
d. With a formation that is both common and specific.
• Our lot in the Church is to work with children and young people:
1. By announcing Jesus Christ in a way that is creative and adapted to our times.
2. By welcoming young people and accompanying them.
3. By witnessing by our lives that we love Jesus and his Gospel.
4. By offering experiences and by inviting them to be a part of a community of life.

We finished the work day with a Eucharist in which we were invited to look at “the rock from which we have been shaped.”
After the evening meal, we celebrated in the spirit of a family the feast of the Epiphany: everyone contributed something special from their place of origin to share and we sang Christmas hymns in different languages.
The third day we were invited, from our observations and convictions to carry out these recommendations.
The material developed in this Provincial Assembly will be sent to the European meeting that will take place at Guardamar (Spain) in July, and in the international meeting at Mendes (Brazil) in September of this year.

Brother Xavier Barceló, Provincial, appointed the laypeople and the brothers who will participate in these meetings, once the consultations were done in writing in the assembly.
This was an unforeseen assembly: between brothers and laypeople more than eight hundred persons participated in the different discussions proposed. The assembly had a rhythm that was tranquil, serene, reflective, celebratory and even, once could say, charismatic.

Brother Jaume Bofarull

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