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Marist Bulletin - Number 137


Dominick Pujia, director of the BIS

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Brother Dominick Pujia, director of the Institute’s Bureau of International Solidarity, Rome

Bro. Lluís Serra

Br. Dominick Pujia is 52 years old and comes to us from the Province of the United States. Born in Yonkers, New York he is an advocate for youth – has spent many years in youth ministry. He is the new director of the Institute’s Bureau of International Solidarity, Rome.

In the face of poverty in the world, does BIS “give a fish or teach how to fish?”
BIS uses its programs to teach people how to fish. Our advocacy for fresh-water issues before the EU, through our affiliation with the African-European Faith and Justice Network, aims to establish a world where social development can occur. Our assistance in project funding and development encourages brothers to develop creative solutions for change that go beyond acts of charity.

How does one go about dismantling the structures that perpetuate unjust conditions toward the poorest?
First, develop a sense of solidarity with the poor. Know who they are, their situation. Walk with them. Then, having access to resources they do not have, using those resources to affect changes for the better.

Are the brothers and the Marist laity capable of becoming a voice for the voiceless?
I believe that if they are ministering to people as Marists are called to do, be it in a formal classroom before students or working with homeless children on the streets, they will surely be a voice for the voiceless.

Is there a form of social intervention inspired by Marcellin?
Our mission in education, in all its forms, is a very powerful way to intervene in society. Making “good Christians and good citizens” and making Jesus “known and loved” are a force for change in this world. Today, more than ever, educating young people, especially those most forgotten and at risk, holds the promise of empowering people to establish more just social structures.

What are the most important functions of BIS?
Our advocacy for justice, our presence before international bodies, animation of our provinces, communities and ministries, assisting in project development, awarding small grants that encourage change, and now, our attempts to encourage networking among Marist NGOs, are all linked to our purpose.

What means help you move your work forward?
First, the energy and expertise we have in the dedicated people who work in our office. Letizia Quintas and Stefano Oltolini are the perfect blend of the heart and mind needed for this work. Equally important: the Superior, the General Council, the rest of the General Administration, our province and district leaders, and the Marist brothers around the world. Their interest, encouragement and good will make it possible to advance.

If somebody wants to work with you, how can he/she assist?
Live the words of the prophet Micah (6,8): “Act justly, love what is good, and walk humbly with your God.” Do that where you are and that will greatly increase the effectiveness of our work.

(Marist Echo 48, December 2003)

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