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18 June

St. Elizabeth of Schoenau
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Marist Bulletin - Number 316


The Marist mission no longer can be limited to the Brothers, but will be carried out by Brothers and laypeople together

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During the course of the International Marist Mission Assembly held in Mendes September 3 to 12, 2007, Brother Claudino Falchetto could be seen among the participants spontaneously conversing with them. His role as Provincial of the hosting province where Mendes is located meant that he was in charge of welcoming the participants and delivering heartfelt words of thanks at the conclusion of the work. During one of the breaks I was able to chat with him for a few minutes.

AMEstaún. Brother Claudino, what does the holding of the Assembly in one of its houses signify for the Province?
. In the first place a great joy of being able to be present and to unite ourselves with the entire Institute in Mendes. Somehow the center of the Congregation moved for a few days to Mendes. The Assembly did not begin on the second of September; the Assembly began two years ago when the idea was launched and all of the provinces and districts of the world began to prepare, on the local and provincial levels, what we are now celebrating on an international level in Mendes.

That is a spiritual type of preparation, of reflection, of sharing experiences; but, here you’ve had to prepare to receive the participants, who together with the support personnel number more than a hundred people. What has it meant for the Province, from the point of view of material preparation, that this international meeting is being held in Mendes?
Those here can perceive through the signs, the materials, the decorations, through all that can be seen, what it has meant to have everyone here. Behind all of this is the organizational work of a group, that was approved by the General Council, with members of my Province, who agreed to prepare the whole infrastructure; that is, to prepare the house, the atmosphere, bring materials from all parts, and, especially, communicate with the employees and those in charge of the house so that everything could be carried out satisfactorily.

There is a group of people who are normally working here in the house, but a team of brothers and laypeople have also come to help with the work of the Assembly. How many are they?
Yes, certainly. The house has its usual staff, but a group came to help temporarily. In the Province we formed a group of about 15 people, brothers and laypeople, to support their work.

We’ve almost finished the Assembly. Everything has developed according to plan and with a great deal of satisfaction. What is your impression of this international group?
Everyone is very satisfied, brothers as well as laypeople. I’ve heard neither complaints nor regrets. God has blessed us with a very good time, with the atmosphere, the weather, the richness of nature, with so much life, birds… All of this also contributes to the meeting. As for me, I see it as a blessing, as a grace from God for myself and for the people who are working. I’ve heard different laypeople and brothers from the Province, who are working, and they also consider it a privilege to be able to be here to participate and listen and experience this international Marist meeting

In the works accomplished one is already glimpsing courses for the future, still they are not very concrete, but surely they have surely already raised some hopes in you. What are the future intuitions that arise from this assembly?
I have at least two certainties and then many intuitions, many courses, many dreams. The first certainty is that the centrality of mission cannot be anything but Jesus Christ. That is seen very clearly in the development of the mandela, in the group work, in the atmosphere: Jesus Christ is the center. But an incarnate Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ who has a face, who has presence among those of our mission, especially the most needy. And the other certainty is that the Marist mission, of the Marists of Champagnat in the world, no longer can be limited to the brothers, but will be carried out by brothers and laypeople together. And the laity, certainly much more numerous than the brothers, makes it visible together with the brothers.
The intuitions are several. This combined work, this shared mission, has many facets: for example, in the area of formation there are wishes and desires of structures of formation combined of brothers and laypeople and also a shared spirituality; of mixed communities, of the brothers and the laity uniting forces so that the mission is shared even more with the poor. This is where things are going.

Brazil just celebrated, some years ago, a Marist centenary, the centenary of the arrival of the brothers to this country. In the coming years, is another centenary of Marist life as fruitful as the one lived before assured?
Actually, it has already been ten years since we celebrated the centenary of the arrival of the first brothers in Brazil. The brothers who preceded us built an enviable material, cultural and spiritual patrimony in Brazil. Today the Marist Institute, the name “Marist,” the “Marist” symbol are present in all of the States of Brazil and the brothers and the Marist mission are recognized by the Church and by society as a strong force in religious life and in education in the country. This being the case, I hope that the next 100 years, which we are already living, will be as fruitful as the first. This is going to demand of all the brothers and laity many, many dreams, much dedication and a lot of work.

Thank you. And through Mary may it become a reality in this land.

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