Week 2 Recap
On Friday, September 15th, the General Chapter participants dedicated themselves especially to the exploration of today’s reality, an essential step required before attempting to find any solutions.
The facilitator of the General Chapter, Matthieu Daum, led participants through the U-Process, a dynamic process that is being used throughout the Chapter. Some questions were posed to the group, laying the foundations for the Institute's ability to adapt to a changing world including:
What will exist in 10 years that does not exist now?
What exists now and will exist in 10 years?
What exists today that will not exist in 10 years?
What do we need to find out more about?
To create this vision, the facilitator invited the participants to explore eight trends: Economic, Political, Health, Educational, Environmental, Religious (and spiritual), Sociological (population), and Communication Technologies. Each participant could choose one of the above trends to deepen the reflection. The afternoon was spent with participants working in these newly created interest groups. They were given the task of presenting the vision of these tendencies with a symbolic element and a reflection in a PowerPoint presentation.
On Saturday, September 16th, everyone associated with the General Chapter celebrated the Bicentenary of the Institute with Marists of the Norandina Province, which the General Council wanted to celebrate during three moments: January 2, June 6, and during the Chapter Meeting.
Many people from countries associated with the Province came to celebrate the Bicentenary with the Chapter participants. The members of the Marist family who came to participate in a way represented not only their own Province, but the entire Marist world. In all, almost 400 people attended the celebration.
Representatives came from 13 Marist Colleges of Colombia, 28 fraternities of the ChMMF, various social centers, and the Province administration services. There were 70 people from Medellín alone, including the Novitiate community and the young people who had participated in the Chapter session. Some postulants from Loja, Ecuador also participated.
It is a tradition in Colombia to begin certain feast days with a Marian prayer, praying the rosary in procession. The laity of Colombia organized the early morning Marial prayer, which began at the road entrance of the La Salle Conference Centre where the Chapter is being held. The statue of Our Lady of Fourvière was carried in procession. This statue had moved around the three countries of the Norandina Province as part of the Province’s Bicentennial celebrations.
While the Colombian Marists prepared the fiesta in the courtyard, the Chapter participants met for their morning session to share their presentation they had prepared on each of the 8 trends that exist in the world today. The goal was to develop an awareness of these areas and try to glimpse what the reality will be like 10 years from now.
At the end of the working session, the Chapter participants joined a large number of members of the Marist family in the plaza. In this space, different Marist groups from the Norandina Province had organized stands showcasing typical products and samples of Marist activities. It was a time to meet, to relax and to enjoy the music and dancing.
The Bicentenary Mass was celebrated in the Chapter Hall where the Apostolic Nuncio of Colombia, Ettore Balestrero, a former Marist student in Genoa, Italy, presided. In his homily, he left three tasks for the Brothers: to help sanctify the people with whom they are dealing; to keep strong their service of the Church; to witness to the power of Christ's love.
After the Mass, everyone enjoyed a delicious lunch together at Casa De La Salle. In the afternoon, a lively program of song, movement, folkloric dance, testimonies, and brief introductions was enjoyed with affection and enthusiasm. The Marist College in Manizales also gave special theatrical presentation telling the story of Marcellin Champagnat.
The fiesta finished with dancing and a fireworks show. After the energy and excitement of the day, people bid farewell to each other with a sense of joy from being Marist, belonging to this great Marist Family, and being able to share the gift of the Marist charism.
Sunday September 17th was a free day for the Chapter Delegates.
On Monday September 18th, the reflection focused on our institute, trying to develop a knowledge of ourselves as a global body. The capitulants and guests were told that over the next few days they should be reflecting not only on what they are experiencing in today’s Institute, but also what the reality is likely to be 10 years from now.
On Tuesday September 19th, the chapter devoted its 12th day to the laity and to the report on the economic situation. The two morning sessions were led by 8 lay people invited to the Chapter. In the afternoon, Br. Libardo Garzón presented the economic reality of the Institute. These sessions were not moments for decisions and approvals of documents, but the continuation of the awareness of the Institute as a body.
On Wednesday September 21st, the focus of the morning’s session was a presentation given by Brother Emili Turú where he addressed 5 themes key to the life of the Institute: An Institute ‘going forth’, Safeguarding of children, Dancing with dinosaurs, formation, and Being lay Marists. In the afternoon session Chapter participants analyzed the answers to the questions of Monday’s session.
On Thursday September 22nd, the delegates again broke into work groups to look deeper at specific areas affecting Marist Life. The areas were: Brothers and Laity, Finances, Mission, Ecology, Spirituality, Formation, and Government.