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Final Phase of the Marist International Assembly

31/08/2007: General House

From January 2006, when the local preparation phase of the International Assembly of Marist Mission began, more than 1000 local groups of Brothers and lay folk—in total, some 20,000 participants—have trod together a long institutional path which today points towards Mendes (Brazil) as its destination. Already everything is ready in Mendes to welcome a good hundred participants in this International Assembly, to take place between the 3rd and 12th of September 2007.

This event is a novelty in the Congregation’s history. For the first time Brothers and lay people are meeting on an equal footing to share the experiences they have lived in the exercise of their mision as Marist religious and layfolk. On a number of past occasions lay members had participated in Marist General Chapters, but solely as invited guests, since the canonical structure of a General Chapter envisages the participation only of Brothers only as speaking and voting members. The XXnd General Chapter requested the General Council to “create those structures which it deems necessary to assure the launch of an international forum of Marist mission” whose purpose would be to assure within the Institute support for the shared mission of Brothers and lay collaborators, and for their evangelising and educative service to children and young people, especially those who are poor and excluded. This 1st international Assembly of Marist mission is a new space, created by the Marist General Council responding the General Chapter’s request to give an opportunity to the numerous layfolk working with the Brothers in their world-wide apostolic work, and to do this by means of a significant group of representatives. (see Choose Life §48.6)

The Assembly proposes to be the opportunity for life-sharing amongst the participants, and for celebrating together God’s call to Marist mission. There is no intention of producing a document, though the possiblity of drawing up some sort of message, or of presenting some conclusions to the next General Chapter, is not excluded.

It is hoped that the Assembly will offer a favourable opportunity for tabling significant experiences of Marist mission, for sharing convictions, for praying together and for pursuing communal discernment processes—enriched by the cultural and geographical variety represented at such a meeting.

The preparation for this 1st international Assembly has evolved through a succession of local, provincial and regional stages. The specific calendar of events at local and provincial level has been arranged by the provinces, according to their respective needs and possibilities. In addition to the local and provincial meetings, three regional Assemblies have been held: in Europe, Brazil and Ocenia.

Given the interest in this historic event, we shall endeavour to offer daily documentation regarding whatever transpires during the days of the Assembly.

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