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Final Document of Mendes

03/10/2007: General House

AT THE HEART OF OUR MARIST DREAM
As representatives of each Province and District in the Marist world we, Brothers and Lay people, gathered in Mendes, Brazil, for the first Marist International Mission Assembly. We listened to God, to the voice of children and to one another; we spoke from our hearts of our desire to work together to shape our dreams. At the centre of these dreams Jesus reveals himself as the son of Mary and as the Risen Lord.

We heard the strong voice of Jesus revealing himself to us at the centre of our mission: listen to your heart; listen to the voice within. This is the centre; this is Jesus.

Jesus is in the heart of each individual who feels the call and responds. We find Him among us in our communities. Filled with His love we have a burning desire that unites us with a passion to serve and proclaim the Kingdom. We have all heard this call to holiness. Just as St. Marcellin responded to this call, we too follow Christ as Mary did. We have been captured by the powerful image of Mary bringing Jesus to life, calling us also to bring Jesus to life with motherly tenderness.

Within us are the eyes and ears, the feet and hands, the heart of Jesus. We see Him in the eyes of children, in the faces of the young people we are caring for in our educational and social works and we hear his voice in the cry of those whom we are yet to meet (Mt 25: 34-40).

Christ the Redeemer, from the Corcovado, with arms extended, sends us to embrace children and young people in all the dioceses of the world as Marcellin dreamt.

With Jesus at the centre of our dream and with the image of Champagnat holding Jean Baptiste Montagne, we imagine a future integrating the following five elements:

1 - REVOLUTION OF THE HEART – OPEN TO THE BREATH OF THE SPIRIT
As Marists, we are called to passionately centre our lives on Jesus Christ, developing a spirituality of discipleship. Inspired by Mary, we encounter God in that privileged space where we live our lives with children and young people.

As apostles of the 21st century, we are always searching for new ways to achieve our mission. Our educational and social ministries, and insertion communities are all sacred spaces for conversion. Joined with children and young people, we hear the call of God, and through this we come to know their needs. We are challenged to centre our spirituality in evangelizing, liberating and prophetic action being sure to respect our different cultures.

We need to ensure that our mission is shaped and informed by our rich spiritual heritage, and this will require transformational experiences that enhance our different yet complimentary vocations as Lay Marists and Brothers.

In order to develop this spirituality, we believe that the following points are necessary:
1. Particular and combined formation of Brothers and Lay people at provincial, regional and international levels.
2. The development of new resources and sharing of existing ones to support formation programs and activities, particularly in areas of the Institute most in need.
3. The study of our Marist spiritual heritage, particularly through the documents of the Institute and the Church.
4. The promotion of ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue.
5. Personal accompaniment and vocational discernment for Brothers and Lay people.
6. In addition to existing groups and opportunities (e.g. Champagnat Movement of the Marist Family, fraternities), the creation of new areas of participation to promote our Marist way of bringing the Gospel of Jesus to life, with a sense of partnership.

2 - CHAMPAGNAT MARISTS IN PARTNERSHIP
As Champagnat Marists, we believe that God is calling us now to be partners, men and women, co-responsible for furthering the mission in a spirit of trust, understanding and mutual respect.

VOCATION
1. We believe that God calls brothers and lay people in different ways to share and follow the charism of Marcellin, according to their personal call in life.
2. We feel called to promote a new shared Marist vocational ministry and a combined formation, to deepen both our common and specific vocations.
3. We wish to promote forms of association and ways of belonging to the Marist charism, so lay and brothers may hear the call to live their identity
4. We need to articulate the vision for lay Marist vocation and its organisational structure.

MISSION
1. We are called to work together in radical ways to announce God’s Kingdom to children and young people, especially the marginalised, promoting opportunity for:
* sharing life
* developing different ways of community life
* discernment
* management
* decision making
2. New structures and processes need to be created that emphasise our co-responsibility, respecting the diversity, tradition and customs of each others cultures.
3. To be partners in mission we need to make decisions together, creating ways for representation at Provincial, Regional and General Administration levels.
4. International communication systems (ITC) need to be established, in order to build unity, and be informed of different experiences of shared mission, new projects and networks.

3 - MARIST PRESENCE IN EVANGELISATION
As Marist Brothers and Lay Marists in partnership we affirm that evangelization is the focus and priority of our ministries. Each ministry proclaims Jesus and his message. Therefore we feel called by God to be courageous in:
1. Evangelising through integrating faith and life, and promoting dialogue with different cultures and religions.
2. Understanding and learning from the youth culture and applying contemporary content and processes which draw upon their life experiences, in order to liberate and empower.
3. Committing to our own formation in the education for transformation of youth and families to live and proclaim the Gospel as agents of change.
4. Promoting human and Christian values for social transformation and renewing our works to make them more evangelically fruitful.
5. Immersing ourselves at every opportunity with the poor and the marginalised
6. Being a leaven within a participative, evangelical, prophetic, fraternal, welcoming Church, desiring to develop and share its Marian character
7. Creating Marist communities of life that visibly and effectively evangelise through their family spirit and commitment to mission

4 - MARIST EDUCATION: NEW CHALLENGES
We recognize “In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat” as a referential document, necessary to our educational mission. We are grateful for the dedication of all those who have worked as Marists throughout our history. Their testimony inspires us to respond to the needs of children and young people with creative fidelity to the call of God.

At this moment we want to emphasize particularly the right to education: an education that evangelizes, an education committed to solidarity and to social transformation, respectful of cultures and of environment, and a non-discriminatory education that creates a place for those who do not have it.

We feel the call of God:
1. To complete the Evaluation of Works throughout the Institute, in the spirit of evangelization and in the “Evangelical Use of Goods”.
2. To transform our educational works so that we, Brothers and Lay people, will guide children and youth in such a way that they become people committed to the construction of a society of justice and solidarity for all.
3. To go, in significant numbers, to those places where excluded people live, providing educational opportunities to children and youth, where their right to education is not respected.
4. To promote intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, with respect, mutual enrichment and from a relationship of equality between cultures and religions.
5. To develop a new way to education through Marist networks, at local and international levels, and with other governmental, civil and ecclesial organizations.

5 - ADVOCACY FOR THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE: EMPOWERING THE VOICELESS
We believe that God is calling us to be a strong and prophetic voice for the defense and promotion of the rights of children and young people. This requires that:
1. We guarantee that principles of Catholic Social Teaching guide our work (structures, policies and behaviors).
2. We promote Human Rights in a critical and integrated Marist education, marked by solidarity and inspired by the Gospel in all our institutions and social projects.
3. With courage, we denounce social, economic, political, cultural and religious structures that oppress children and young people.
4. We witness our advocacy for the rights with our lives on the personal, community and institutional levels.
5. We open our hearts to the call of children and young people in our world and promote a strong Marist presence in the poorest regions, accompanying the least favored.
6. We provide opportunities for those whom we serve, to share and participate in the decision making process and invite children and young people to become strong leaders in this area.
7. We create or strengthen Marist networks for collaboration and communication, being respectful of civil society, the legislature, governments and Church institutions at the local, national and international levels.

Mendes, 12/09/2007



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