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Missionaries from the time of Fr Champagnat

19/03/2007: General House

First Group of Missionaries Commissioned
Our Institute has had missionaries from the time of Fr Champagnat and there are still many brothers who volunteered for overseas missions who have now become a part of the province they helped begin! There are many brothers who are in missions connected to their province. But, with Bro. Sean’s call for opening of new missions, particularly in Asia, a new group of Brothers are being prepared and sent to these new presences.

Among the countries that are going to receive these new missionaries are Algeria, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Canada, Cuba, Haiti, Korea, and Melanesia and another country in Asia.

Over the past few months, 17 Brothers were being prepared in Davao City, Philippines under the direction of the Orientation Team - Brothers Tim Leen, Alfredo Herrera and Roy Deita, and 3 brothers in Rome under the direction of Brother Ivan Buenfil, for new missions. Although the focus of the present “Ad Gentes” initiative is Asia, there are many other countries that have been asking for assistance for many years now and for whom Brother Sean and the Council want to be of assistance.

Some of these new missionaries will be able to provide support in already established areas such as Algeria, Haiti and Cuba. The province of Canada, which has been a most generous province to missions in Africa throughout the years, asked a number of years ago for missionaries to come to their country to help revitalize Marist life there and establish a “new presence” of Marist life in the country.

At this writing, some of the brothers are in their mission countries, but others are awaiting the slow process as we try to understand all the visa requirements, etc.

The following Ad Gentes Brothers have been assigned to the following countries:

Algeria – Brothers Mick Sexton (Melbourne) and Germán Chaves (Santa María de los Andes).

Bangladesh – Brothers Marti Enrich (L’Hermitage), Ewald Frank (West Central Europe), Mark Poro (Melanesia), and Hilario Schwab (Cruz del Sur).

Cambodia - Brothers Francis Attah (West Africa District - Ghana), Brian Kinsella (Melbourne), Bernhard Tremmel (West Central Europe)

Canada – Brothers Felix Roldán (Santa Maria de los Andes), Miguel Angel Sancha (Iberica)

Cuba – Brothers Jesús Bayo ( Santa María de los Andes) and Carlos Scottá (Rio Grande do Sul)

Haiti – Brothers Anthony Njolovi (Southern Africa), Ernesto Benavidez (Cruz del Sur) and Bonifacio González (Mediterránea).

South Korea – Brother Gerry Brereton (USA).

Other Ad Gentes missionaries, Brothers Patrick Betkou (Madagascar), Clement Nwadike (Nigeria), Hugo Rivera (Mexico Occidental), and George Valle (Philippines) will be going to other country in Asia very soon.


Second Group of Davao

On January 15th, Bro. Luis Garcia Sobrado went to Davao to officially begin the second group of Brothers who will be going through this next stage of discernment to see if God is calling them to “mission fields”.

The participants in this group presently in Davao number 13. They are Brothers Vigilio Bwalya (Southern Africa), Jean-Pierre Cotnoir (Canada), Santos Garcia (Norandina), Maria Antoney Jeyaraj (Sri Lanka – India), Geoffrey Kelly (Sydney), Javier Peña (Mexico Central), Michael Potter (New Zealand), Richard Roy (Canada), Antonio Sanchez (Compostela), Eugenio Sanz (Iberica), Ramon Serra (L’Hermitage), Andrew Sikelo (Southern Africa), and Miguel Vielva (America Central)


New Asia Mission Ad Gentes Sector

At the January plenary sessions, the General Council approved a proposal to make the new communities formed in Asia into a Sector so that they could be cared for easier until they are eventually placed in one of the future restructured Asia provinces.

We see this process of eventually moving one of the new presences over to one of the already established Asia Provinces to be a lengthy one. We want to ensure that the new mission will not be a “burden” to an Asia province in that many administrative details would have to be attended to, perhaps to the detriment of the Asia Provinces who find themselves right now in the midst of a restructuring process.

This sector would only include the communities being formed in Asia. While other countries mentioned earlier in this update are having Mission Ad Gentes brothers sent there, they are under the supervision of the already existing province/district superior and they will function in these places likle Haiti, Canada, Algeria, etc, as Brothers

Asia Mission Ad Gentes Sector Superior

At the January plenary sessions, the General Council approved Brother Barry Burns (New Zealand) as the Sector Superior effective immediately until August 31, 2007. We are grateful to Barry for accepting this appointment in which he will help assist the Brothers from the 1st and 2nd session in Davao for placement in the new countries.

As Sector Superior, Barry is in charge of helping the transition of each brother into his new mission country. He will also accompany each brother pastorally and do much follow up work on how the mission is beginning.

The first year of a brother going to mission focuses on language and culture study, so Barry will help these brothers get settled and get into a language school in their mission country.

Barry has served the Institute in a variety of leadership roles. He has been novice master, Vice Provincial, Provincial, and most recently served on the team for the formators course in Nairobi, Kenya. Barry will serve in this capacity until a Brother from Asia is named to this position.

Team in Rome

Brother Luis Garcia Sobrado, Vicar General, and Brother Michael Flanigan (USA), coordinate much of the activity of Mission Ad Gentes in Rome. Luis is the coordinator of the entire Mission Ad Gentes project. Michael is the Delegate of the Superior General to Bishops and church leaders, as well as to the Brothers in the discernment process in Davao for future mission. Brother Iván Buenfil, as from September 2006, is helping the team particularly with the accompaniment of the young Brothers who have showed interest for this MAG project.

Bro. Luis speaks with every provincial and district superior about each brother who has signed up for Mission Ad Gentes. He then accompanies each brother individually until the time when the Brother agrees that he would like to go to the next phase of his discernment - the program in Davao.

Bro. Michael prepares the Brothers for the Davao discernment phase, making sure they have all the necessary things in place to be able to begin. When the Brothers have been just a little past half way through the Davao program, he begins a discernment with them about what countries might suit them. He then makes his recommendations to Brother Superior General about placements in countries.

Bro. Michael also is in charge of finding the new missions. Often times, countries have been recommended to us by other religious as being very much in need of Brothers. Sometimes Bishops contact him directly after hearing about our Ad Gentes initiative in Asia. Michael has so far visited Bangladesh, Cambodia, North East India, Indonesia, Thailand, and two other countries in Asia. After visiting the countries, Michael makes the recommendation to Bro. Sean and the Council about which countries he believes we should enter.

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