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1900: the first Brothers leave for Bom Principio, Brazil

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Marist Bulletin - Number 217


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29.09.2005 - India
It happened in a village 200 kilometres from Calcutta

Sonia Khatun was an Indian girl of twelve years of age. She lived at Malda, a village 200 kilometres from Calcutta. She died because her mother did not have a rupia to give her to buy a snack at school.
Sonia and her mother lived in a jute tent, one of the many that the government of West Bengal, the state whose capital is the city of Mother Teresa, had given to the poor to repair. The two women had never had a house of their own and lived alone.
Sonias last day started like any other. There was nothing to eat and so she prepared herself to go to school. She had not eaten for days and the hunger had become so intense that she asked her mother for a coin to buy something. Her mother, a widow and without work, had nothing and could not even give her a rupia. She tried to console Sonia and convinced her to go to school where, perhaps, they might have something to give her.
The child apparently accepted this. She took her books and headed for school. On the way, however, bitterness and anxiety took over. Sonia abandoned her journey, reached a building under construction and hung herself on a bamboo structure used as scaffolding.
The public school in India, in various states of the Union, offer one meal a day to the students, but for Sonia and for the other desperate ones of her village this apparently was not the case.
According to a study of the Development Programme of the United Nations, despite the impressive economic growth of India, one half of her children are malnourished.

01.10.2005 - Brazil
2nd Vocational Congress of Brazil

From the 2nd to the 6th September, the 2nd Brazilian Vocational Congress was held in which there were about four hundred participants coming from all the dioceses of Brazil. Two of these participants were Marist Brothers, Luciano Osmar Menezes and José Maria Queiroz Lucas.
The first reflection was on Vocational Anthropology, or the human person in the socio-political, cultural and ecclesial contexts, highlighting the personal Christian vocation, the cultural and socio-political context of vocation and of the ecclesial context. They also deepened the theological foundations of the vocational pedagogical method and the stages of the pedagogy of evangelisation. The importance and the meaning of the planning methodology in vocational animation was underlined, starting from the teaching of the Church and including the social, theological and pastoral foundations for planning.
At the concrete level, the conclusion was reached that is necessary:
1. to have an historical vocational animation;
2. to have concrete methodological indications and a vocational culture where there is an ecclesial climate of conscience of the call and human resources;
3. centres of vocational animation; vocational teams; vocational groups;
4. well prepared animators; subsidies; means; instruments and economical resources.
Besides the reflection given by the assistants, the Congress was enriched by the work done in groups, whose results were, soon afterwards, presented to the plenary session. There was also the opportunity to share each others vocational experiences.

03.10.2005 - Spain
From the 29th October until the 1st November 2005, in Guardamar

Organised by the Continental Mission Team for Europe and the General Councils Mission Commission, a meeting is planned of brothers and laypeople who run social programmes for needy children and young people in Continental Europe.
The people called to this meeting are up to fifteen persons per Province, brothers and laypeople who work with children and young people through programmes of non-formal education and social programmes:
· through specific services and programmes, Marist owned or managed;
· through a community presence of insertion in a needy neighbourhood;
· through a commitment of personal action from the community or Provincial mission.
These are the principal objectives that are proposed:
· to increase our awareness of the presence of social programmes in Marist * Europe and the mutual awareness between persons who work in these environments;
· to share experiences from the scope of educational intervention and from faith;
· to provide some elements of personal formation for the improvement of our personal and collective work;
· to look for ways of mutual collaboration.
In order to achieve these objectives, a tight programme is planned, that includes work in small and large groups, as well as the participation of some people who will help our reflection: Brother Benito Arbués, ex Superior General of the Marist Institute; Father Angel Miranda, Salesian, responsible for the Association Don Bosco International, Brother Gregorio Bartolomé, from the Province of Mediterránea, and Brother Dominick Pujia, Director of BIS.

05.10.2005 - Spain
6th October 1934

6th October 1934. 71 years ago Br. Bernardo was assassinated in Barruelo, Spain. He was 45 years old.
The opening page of his Cause summarizes the event in these words:
The Good Shepherd gives his life for his sheep. (John 10:11)
Br. Bernardo had the heart of an apostle. In all the positions he held, he set up a number of initiatives: choirs, former pupils associations, Catholic Action groups, apostolic movements among the pupils, setting up statues of the Sacred Heart, prayer evenings, open doors, study circles, conferences both cultural and religious, adult education classes, savings banks for the children of the miners, study bursaries, mobile libraries, theatre company, folklore activities, visit to the families of the miners and to the sick, fostering vocations, accompanying the young Brothers … all this on top of his normal work as headmaster and teacher. He wrote to one of his former pupils: Nine hours of
class each day seemed to me no longer than nine minutes, because I got great pleasure in being with the children, and all I was able to do for them seemed little enough.

07.10.2005 - Spain
Laurentino, Virgilio and 44 other brothers

These extracts allow us to come to a deeper appreciation of Brother Laurentino.
Throughout these days full of problems during which all of us or nearly all of us experienced long periods of great worry, ... my thoughts had been constantly on the people and the good works of our beloved Province; wanting to be in nearly continual contact with the brothers, particularly those who had to suffer from the messy situation in which they found themselves. I wanted to console them, encourage them, … understand them and share with them my hearts religious affection that I felt for them as a father more than ever before during these days of mourning.
In these critical moments may our attitude not be such that is given to sterile lamentation… Let us be religious in work, word and feelings, particularly in these moments when the Lord wants us to feel a little the light weight of his adorable cross... So let us pray fervently, study intensely and methodically… devote ourselves unconditionally to God and to our work…We are living in a precious time. Now we truly feel ourselves to be disciples of Christ; a thousand times happy to be judged by the Lord worthy of suffering for Him.
His final words to his brothers imprisoned with him, a few hours before being shot, are a farewell until heaven: May God be our help; I have done all that is pos-sible; I have lived with you through the pains and the bitterness of the revolution. Let us be reunited in heaven.

08.10.2005 - Brasil
Launching of the Marist Youth Ministry

The month of August undoubtedly marked a turn in the Province of Brasil Centro-Sul, especially in the area of youth ministry. During this month, the 3rd Ministry Assembly and the 1st Marist Youth Ministry Assembly were held at Curitiba.
Representatives from all the groups were present, among them the liaison personnel and ministry assistants, students and former students, from universities, directors and invited guests such as Rezende Bruno from the Youth House at Goiânia, and Fathers Hilário Dick and Antonio Frutuoso, all experts in youth ministry.
The climate that reigned during these days of meeting was certainly harmonious and serious. The young people who formed the majority of the assembly proved that they deserved the support of Marist Youth Ministry (MYM).
MYM was launched before an assembly of more than 200 participants. It was a celebration that will be remembered for a long time. We could not start this festivity without first praising God for MYM and at the same time putting it into his hands. For this reason, Father Hilário Dick celebrated the Eucharist which was the climax of the day. The participants included the directors and co-ordinators of the schools of Curitiba. Brother Tercílio Sevegnani pronounced the final words: I declare that the MYM is officially implanted in the Province of Brasil Centro-Sul. A cocktail was served to the invited guests and the there was a pyrotechnical show.
We know that this is just the start of a long process started in 2004 and that it will be called to renew itself constantly. We know also that MYM is only one of the programmes in the grand Provincial ministry plan. Our mission will continue. The work cannot stop. The success of this enterprise does not depend only on the liaison people of the units, but also on the young protagonists who will give their special colour to MYM.
For that and for many other reasons, we wish success and a long life to MYM.

11.10.2005 - Sri Lanka
Process of restructuring of Marist Asia

From the 3rd to the 5th October, a group of fifteen brothers met at the Tudella (Sri Lanka) novitiate. These brothers were representatives of Marist life in Asia (two members of the Provincial Council of China; four from the Philippines; four from Sri Lanka and Pakistan; two members of the District Council of Korea; three members from the Sector of India). Also participating in this meeting were Brother Seán Sammon, Superior General, and Brothers Peter Rodney and Emili Turú, General Councillors.
This meeting was held in a context of a process that had it origins in the Extended General Council meeting at the end of the visit of the General Council to the Provinces of Asia (2003) and that had developed through different activities throughout these last two years.
During the meeting, information on the vitality of the region was studied, through data from each Administrative Unit, as well as possible models of restructuring. Finally, in an ambience of discernment, the group dared to select, by order of preference, those models that, in their opinion, could contribute to realising a greater vitality in Marist life and mission in Asia.
In the following months, the Superior General will write a letter to the brothers of this Marist Region, communicating the result of the meeting and inviting them to contribute their own reflections. In this way, it is hoped that the General Council, in its next plenary session of January-February 2006, can have sufficient elements to make a decision concerning the future configuration of the Administrative Units in Asia.

13.10.2005 - Argentina
Awarded the distinction of Divino Maestro

Each year, the Higher Council of Catholic Education, CONSUDEC, honours teachers and people who are distinguished by their contribution to Catholic education: lay teachers, religious, priests, and people recognised for their life of devotion. Many Marist Brothers have already been honoured. On the 23rd September of this year, Brother Ramón Gregorio and Mr Agustín Pereda, a Marist lay teacher, received the distinction of Divino Maestro.
Brother Ramón Gregorio received this award for his work with children and adolescents in the schools of Marcellin Champagnat and Santa María de Belén. For forty-two years, he has fulfilled his tasks with attention, conviction and a great deal of love for the children who are less well off than others.
We give thanks to God that there is still a lot of energy to change things and a lot of love to serve, in this Argentina that needs men and Christians like Agustín Pereda. He was teacher and then director of the primary school of Champagnat College in Buenos Aires for thirty-seven years. Now retired, he remains an example as a teacher and Christian engaged in a task that is not always easy due to the demanding environment in which it is accomplished.
Brother Agustín Martínez, Vice-Provincial, and Brother Eugenio Magdaleno, Director of Champagnat College, have expressed on behalf of us all our gratitude for these two lives given to the service of children and adolescents of Argentina. They did this during a meeting of brothers, teachers and friends in the meeting room of Champagnat College. Each one of these men were given an image of our Good Mother, even though we know that their intention is to continue their work of love close to the preferred ones of Jesus, Mary and Marcellin.

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