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Visit of the General Councillors Emili Turú and Peter Rodney

10/05/2007: Lebanon

From the 20th to the 25th March 2007, Brothers Emili Turú and Peter Rodney carried out their canonical visit to the Syria-Lebanon Zone, during which there were various meetings. Firstly with the community and the college of Champville; they visited their installations accompanied by the Brother Director Georges Trad, and they had a familial exchange with the Marist Fraternity of Champville during which the person responsible for the Fraternity, Mr Henri, presented a brief account of the progress of the Fraternity until the present, its objectives, meetings, subjects studied, activities, leaving the door open to dreams and perspectives. The strong point of this moment was the subject of the “identity of the laity” and in particular that of the “Marist laity”. All highlighted the motivation that they had obtained from the regular meetings of the Fraternity, in human, religious and even pedagogical terms.
The General Councillors shared some information about the Marist world, about the next Assembly at Mendes and about the Year of Spirituality that is to start in October 2007. They welcomed with pleasure, as something motivating and unifying for the Marist community, the universal dimension to which the Lebanese are especially sensitive, thus extending the vision of a living Marist world and inviting people to follow it enthusiastically.
They also met with those responsible for youth movements from Jbeil and Champville. Those from Aleppo could not be present due to distance. In the pastoral animation there is the Champagnat Group, the Eucharistic Movement for Young People, the Scouts of Jbeil and of Champville, Young People Against Drugs, the Ecology Group, and the animating group of AA. It is good to highlight that at Champville alone six hundred students belong to these groups or movements, marking also their vitality. The initiatives of Jbeil relative to the formation of the surrounding milieu are very interesting and of a great importance especially to Lebanon; the anti-drug association and the dream of gathering together the numerous former students in the objective of Jbeil are also matters of importance.
All shared their objectives, indicating as the first and most important the “maturity and the human and Christian formation of the children and young people”. It is appropriate to highlight that numerous senior students take part in the animation of these movements and especially that former students presently at university voluntarily combine their studies with helping at formation and work camps and in frequent programming and organisational meetings, as well as their direct participation in the normal activities of the different groups each week.
During the visit of the community of Jbeil, they took advantage of the opportunity to have a meeting with the administration staffs of Jbeil and of Champville. On Friday 23rd, they visited the community and college of Jbeil - Amchit, and particularly Brother José Girardot who at ninety-one years of age could not be present at the meeting with the other brothers at Champville. Brother Georges Trad, the zone leader, accompanied them.
In the afternoon, at Champville, there was a meeting with the members of the administrative staffs of the two colleges of Jbeil and of Champville. All the members of the two teams were present.

They shared what they were doing at the current moment and defined their new challenges. The General Councillors informed them of the positive reception that the preparation of the Assembly at Mendes had received everywhere in the Marist world.
Saturday 24th March was basically dedicated to personal interviews with the members of the communities of Aleppo, Jbeil and Champville, in the community house of Champville.
Sunday the 25th was a special day for the three communities of the region. During the morning there was a three-hour familial assembly during which the General Councillors, after having recalled the objectives and the propositions of the last retreat at Faraya, discussed activities and projects currently in progress for everybody, brothers, fraternities, young people’s movements: state of the Ad Gentes project, the Year of Spirituality, the response to the preparation of the Assembly at Mendes, the world meeting of young people, BIS, the Hermitage project.
Brother Andrés, Superior of Jbeil, insisted “ad gentes”…, and us others when? At the end of the morning, after a break for the group photo for posterity, we had lunch around a large table, not that big by the contents but by the eleven table companions. We remembered the absence of Brothers José and Hilario of Jbeil. Also present, as he is in all the prayers of the community, was the memory of dear Brother Alex, from the Province of L’Hermitage, undergoing medical treatment in the community of Santa Coloma - Barcelona.
After lunch the brothers from Aleppo and Jbeil returned home. The General Councillors, with the community of Champville, attended a Maronite rite Mass that the Eucharistic Movement for Young People celebrates in the College premises each month.
Their visit to the Syria-Lebanon Zone finished with this last activity. We thank them for their presence, on behalf of the Brother Superior General, and for their personal interest.

Brother Emilio Gutiérrez

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