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18 June

St. Elizabeth of Schoenau
1900: the first Brothers leave for Bom Principio, Brazil

Marist Calendar - June

Marist Bulletin - Number 207


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08.07.2005 - Great Britain
A historical turn that is only the first footstep

For many years the Church has asked for the reduction or the total cancellation of the debt that the developing countries had accumulated and owed to the developed ones. In many of his messages for the World Day of Peace, John Paul II underlined how these amounts constituted an obstacle to their development and, in the advent of the third millennium he pointed out that the Jubilee Year 2000 was an opportune time to think about a consistent reduction if not a complete remission of the international debt.
Great Britain, the host country for the G-8 summit, has developed, in view of this coming meeting from the 6th to the 8th July, an intense program to ensure that the countries involved make available at least 0.7 percent of their PIL, with the aim of making 1 percent available. This is the direction taken by the financial ministers in the preparation meeting for the G-8 in view of cancelling the debt that numerous countries have contracted with the International Monetary Fund, with the World Bank and the African Bank for Development for a total of around forty million dollars.
The provision concerns eighteen countries of which fourteen are African. In the next eighteen months it is anticipated that the zero resetting of the debts of another nine countries will take place for a general total of fifty-five million dollars. Another eleven States will profit by some remission as soon as their governments respect the set conditions: real democracy, good government, transparency…
Certainly the initiative can be defined as historical since it unloads States in debt from considerable financial burdens. It is in some ways an inevitable measure considering that many governments cannot even pay the interest of the debt let alone the total amount. It is like amputating a gangrenous leg to save the life of a person.
Basically it is a clear admission of the failure of fifty years of development aid that has been transformed into astronomical debts with the consequent damage for the creditors not only in terms of the money they have given as loans but also the money they have given as donations. The aid has not been invested in activities that are directly or indirectly productive, but instead it has been wasted.
The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has praised the initiative taken by Tony Blair on the eve of the meeting of the G-8, but such a measure is ambiguous if the money that will be made available with this decision is not used for providing opportunities of real and sustainable development for the people of the countries concerned. This can only be guaranteed if basic needs such as drinkable water, hygiene services, basic medical aid, the possibility of education…, are provided.
Unfortunately another possibility exists also: that the money potentially made available will be used not for building life, but for sowing death.

12.07.2005 - Paraguay
The process against a paraguayan official accused of raping and abusing a minor remains open
This official webpage of the Marist Institute has supported the campaign for mobilisation to defend the Rights of the Child and the Adolescent in Paraguay since towards the end of May, concretely in relation to the “Cantero Case”, following the initiative promoted by the NGO SED (Solidarity, Education, Development) linked to the Marists in Spain.
The Paraguayan Justice system had initially fixed the 2nd June as the date for the end of the trial against the sub-officer Gilberto Cantero, presumed guilty of raping and physically and psychologically abusing in 2002 Marisa N. N., a young thirteen-year-old girl who was working as a domestic employee in his house. At that time, the defence attorneys were able to extend the process, putting the trial back until the 14th June and they were also able to postpone until this date the final prescription of the case. This postponement was possible thanks largely to the more than 2000 international petitions that were received from around the world.
Finally, on Tuesday the 14th June the case was reverted to Asunción. The result was deceptive because the trial was not carried out even this time and the case has been moved from Asunción to the court in the city of Filadelfia, in El Chaco. But, on the other hand, in this last judicial session there were three positive achievements that are good news and signs of hope for the futurea ...
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14.07.2005 - General House
Meeting of the Marist Places Commission with the General Council
The Commission entrusted with the task of studying the future of the places that witnessed the birth of the Institute met with the General Council in Rome to discuss the work so far accomplished.
The Commission has met several times at the Hermitage; we had asked the opinions of brothers and of groups that use the places. We then developed the first proposal for the use of the places and evaluated the reactions of the groups asked to comment. All of this material was gathered into a file and sent to all the Provincials so that they, with their Councils, could examine this material and make observations about it by suggesting the things they found to be positive. Having taken this information and observations into account, we started a technical study of the project on a global scale, without entering into too fine a detail, in order to give some idea of the major reality.
With the material developed by the Commission, with the responses of the Councils from Amazônia, Brasil Centro-Sul, Canada, China, Compostela, Cruz del Sur, Europe Centre-Ouest, Korea and Rio Grande do Sul, and with a draft technical plan, the Commission met in Rome to present the project to the General Council.
The Commission is conscious of having provided a service and developed a direction to follow and thinks that their work is now finished.
Now is the time to decide the future, with all that this brings, not only form an economical point of view but of personnel and future vision. The General Conference will be an opportune moment to look at the directions to be taken and also the concrete commitments that these directions demand for this project to advance further.
We know that at one time in the history of the Hermitage it was to be sold to be transformed into an agricultural school and someone intervened to block this decision. Perhaps today we have arrived at a similar decisive moment that will certainly have its repercussions on the future: conserve a house to remember the past or transform it so that it can become a radiating centre for the future. In Vita Consecrata John Paul II wrote: “You do not have only a glorious story to remember and recount, but a great story to build! Look to the future…”

16.07.2005 - Chile
Promoting innovative and useful social action
In June, the Marist solidarity foundation, Gesta Fundación Marista por la Solidaridad de Chile (www.fundaciongesta.cl), launched the programme “Zero Indifference” aimed at promoting solidarity initiatives for micro-projects undertaken by Marist secondary students in Chile. The programme includes a competition fund and an accompaniment plan for the students’ micro-projects.
The objective of Zero Indifference is to promote innovative and useful social action by Marist students and to make them more socially aware. The projects can be of any nature, provided that they include solidarity action such as holiday camps, school support, help for the sick, etc. They serve very poor students or adults, people in desperate situations, to only mention a few examples.
Zero Indifference will fund the better projects according to the clarity of their objectives, the coherence of the project, the support of people of the College, the cohesion in the group, etc. A jury composed of Marist Brothers and members of Gesta will determine the criteria for selection. The maximum contribution per project will be 300,000 pesos, equivalent to a little more than 500 US dollars.

18.07.2005 - Spain
First Profession of Eduard Olivé in Les Avellanes
A brother once told me: “All that comes along passes on and life continues.” These words have a great significance for me in my life. The Novitiate started, it finished and life must continue. But… will it continue in the same way? I hope not! Two years of an intense encounter with God in a personal and direct way should not allow me to remain unchanged, without any effect on me. I must say that the Novitiate, done at Seville, was a true gift from God, a grace that is hard to describe only in human terms.
This stage has been achieved. Another stage starts with my first profession. It is a new step that is a new YES to God’s call to live as Mary did and as Marcellin did committed to young people. And this public commitment demands that I continue the Novitiate experience each day, that I continue making my attitudes and conduct more Christ-like, that I become more Christian in order to give true witness to the Love of Jesus for the world and all people.
When I think about the journey I have taken during these last few years, it is an experience that really astonishes me. God is really a “box full of surprises” who, when we leave ourselves open to God’s plans, takes us on pathways that we never expected. But we can always journey with confidence, because no matter how difficult the journey, God’s fidelity is real, and Jesus walks beside us, before us and behind us… My experience of God’s love, feeling truly loved by the good Father, is something that I cannot express adequately in words.
Thus, I was asked to give a testimony and I can only say that I am incapable of explaining very much. In effect, God does not become LIFE by explaining about God but by living God. God did not enter my life by words, but by life itself. I hope that I will be able to speak about God throughout my life.

22.07.2005 - Brazil
Volunteers from Brazil in East Timor
Among the five signs of the times that Brother Seán, Superior General, indicates in the letter convoking the next General Conference, the second sign appears as:
We have affirmed the importance of the mission ad gentes. However this fundamental aspect of our lives is progressively losing its force in recent times.
Over a year ago, the Provincial Council in the Province of Brasil Centro-Norte was thinking that it was opportune and relevant to make a concrete gesture in terms of the mission ad gentes, as a response to the longings and requests of brothers and laypeople wishing to give some of their own time to help those in needy areas.
The challenge was posed in 2004 and now, after having completed the selection and preparation process, five laypeople and brothers have left everything to work in East Timor as volunteers, close to the community of the Australian brothers who have been there for some time. They left on the 9th June for Australia to complete their preparation. During July they will move on to East Timor.
The volunteers are: Leandro Trajano de Oliveira, Edelves Rosa Luna, Geraldo Oliveira Costa, Eliana Venâncio Resende, Lucimar França de Santos Silva and Brother Raimundo Barbosa.
We pray that the peace and serenity known by those who follow Jesus will always be in their hearts and that this missionary experience will fulfil their baptismal consecration.

24.07.2005 - General House
The Brother Superior General and his Council have held their Plenary Sessions in Rome
The Brother Superior General and his Council have held their Plenary Sessions in Rome.The General Council shares its animation plan with the brothers and laity
The Brother Superior General and his Council have held their Plenary Session in Rome during the month of June. This has been a chance to evaluate the experiences and signs of life that they shared with the brothers and laypeople during their visit to the works and communities of Arco Norte.
During the morning of the 30th June 2005, once they had finished their session of meetings, they met with the brothers and laypeople who work together in the General Administration to share with them some of the results of the tasks they had carried out in their visit to the Provinces of Norandina, América Central, México Central, México Occidental and the Sectors of Haiti and Cuba, together forming the Region of Arco Norte. They also shared their preparatory work for the General Conference and the calendar of events already planned for up to and including 2009.
This meeting, held just before the General Council departed for their annual retreat, started with the welcoming words from the Superior General who outlined the proposals of the meeting that aimed at, among other things, clarifying the Marist Mission through the use of a common language; he encouraged everyone to maintain their openness in continuing their collaboration in this work that concerned everybody and he thanked everyone for the effort and dedication given to this work.
Following this, brother Luis García Sobrado explained the objectives of the General Conference which is being prepared through the efficient collaboration of various teams of the General Administration.
Brother Maurice Berquet described, through words and images, some of the experiences of the brothers during their visit to Arco Norte. And finally Brother Pedro Herreros led an evaluation of the work that each person does at the service of the Institute’s General Administration.
The seventeen brothers and seven laypeople, who together form the support team of the General Administration, valued this information very highly and showed their satisfaction for the work environment and collaboration that is evident in the General House.

26.07.2005 - Germany
In a few days the young people will arrive
The World Youth Days Cross arrived in Cologne accompanied by a great number of young people on the 19th March 2005.
The welcoming celebration was followed by a pilgrimage to the Cathedral and by the celebration of the exaltation of the Cross on the Place Roncalli in front of the Cathedral. Hundred of lights were placed at the foot of the Cross, before which passed more than 3,000 people of all ages, each one placing their own light with the others. For Father Ulrich Henne, in charge of the Diocesan Youth Ministry and secretary of the World Youth Days, a dream had just been realised: “During the last two years, I was able to be a witness to so many journeys of this Cross throughout Europe and Germany. I saw how many people were attracted by this Cross, prayed before it, deeply touched. Now the Cross has reached this spot where the next World Youth Days will take place.” And Hennes concluded: “May hands touch this Cross! May prayers and intentions, may it hear the supplications and concerns be heard by it, may it see sufferings and tears!” A procession in the ancient city of Cologne accompanied the Cross for the nocturnal vigil in the church of Saint Martin. The prayer vigil lasted until morning and showed that now the spirit of the World Youth Days has indeed arrived in Cologne.
On Palm Sunday, the Cross was transported to the church that is the place of the tomb of Adolph Kolping, one of the patrons of the World Youth Days. The archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, recalled in his homily the symbolic acts accomplished by the many representatives of numerous countries who had brought a bit of soil from their own country to the place where the ceremony of closing of the World Days of Youth will take place. “Here, we place our feet on the shoulders of others. We know they will accompany us because they have added their own land to ours,” declared Cardinal Meisner. “When in August, we will celebrate the great feast of faith in our city of Cologne, we will do so with the same land under our feet and with the same sky above our heads. The World Youth Days’ Cross and the icon of Mary have already arrived in Cologne after a long journey throughout Europe and Germany. Cologne is the city of the Magi and so must be and remain the city of God. During these days, the sky above Cologne must open so that the star that guides young people to Christ becomes visible.”

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