MLC Annual Report

(Front row) Félix Arqueros Pérez, Susan Vogt, Isabella Moyer (Back row) Ernest Kasongo, Bro. Domingo Fuentes, Isabel Duarte Quapper

The report from our MLC International Team meeting in Rome is translated and ready for distribution. The report gives a brief account of our discussions. It also describes the strategies that we are using to accomplish the Challenges given to us in the Nairobi meeting. As you will see, the success of accomplishing these Challenges depends on an international, collaborative effort. I am confident that we will continue to move forward if we do so together.

We depend greatly on the generosity of lay Marianists who are willing to share their translation skills with us. Thank you, gracias, and mérci to Izaskun Arias and Mary Harvan Gorgette for providing the Spanish and French translations of the report.

The reports can be found online at www.clm-mlc.org.

ANNUAL MEETING – NOVEMBER 2010

REUNIÓN ANUAL – NOVIEMBRE 2010

RENCONTRE ANNUELLE – NOVEMBRE 2010

Online Small Christian Communities

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Fr. Joseph Healey, a Maryknoll priest presently working in Nairobi. Fr. Healey is an avid promoter of Small Christian Communities in Africa and around the world. He has collaborated with Bernard Lee, SM and Bob Moriarty, SM. He recently visited Tony and Beth Garascia and the Shekan MLC in South Bend, IN and shared his present research into online SCCs. Tony told him of the Our Lady of the Round Table community, and he wanted to know more. We had a lovely email conversation that sparked a lively dialogue among the OLRT members.

Fr. Healey`s energy and passion for the gift of Small Christian Communities is inspiring. And, our international connections are awesome. Chris, a member of OLRT, found out that her dear Maryknoll Sister friend is a good friend of his. Lorna, our member in Nairobi, went to visit him within days and began sharing the MLC experience in Nairobi with youth from the Our Lady of the Visitation parish. This was all shared on the smallchristiancommunities.org web-site and the SCC Facebook page. An interesting aspect of this initiative is it`s  invitation to be part of an online SCC, using a closed Facebook page. New methods for new times, indeed!

A surprising off-shoot from the energy of these past weeks is a new Blog from the Our Lady of the Round Table MLC. We have been sharing our daily lectio prayers for over five years. We discussed collecting some of our prayers into a book. But, the task seemed too onerous….there was too many prayers, and they kept piling up each day! The idea came to share our online prayer experience with others through a daily blog. The format is simple – one member`s prayer will be posted daily. No personal sharing or prayer intentions will be posted, to respect the confidentiality of the community. Our hope is that it will encourage others to pray the daily readings with us, and perhaps share their prayers, also. We also hope that it will provide a wee window into our online SCC as we learn more about this growing phenomenon around the world.

I invite you to visit us at http://ourladyoftheroundtable.wordpress.com/ .

Rome 2010 – Days 5 and 6

Good afternoon! Yes, it`s true….I`m not writing late at night. Yesterday was a full day of meetings with the World Council. In the evening, the MLC team (with the help of Bro. Michael) packaged all the Chaminade calendars for mailing to our communities around the world. It was a long day, and I needed to follow it with a good sleep….which I did! :-)

During our meetings, we shared the present plans for the Chaminade year. Many resources have been made available online, including these two videos from France and Spain:

http://fortes.marianistas.org/

http://www.chaminade2011.com/

We hope to promote all the initiatives online at www.marianist.org. An intentional effort is being made to use the web site of the World Marianist Family to post linksto the many good works and resources around the world. Brother Michael McAward shared the news of an upcoming update to the web-site. A new design and template will be available in the new year. The purpose of the site is to be a portal to the many sites around the world. We will be collecting content for new pages linking to all the formation centres and resources and social justice centers and projects. Each branch will be working with their regional, national , and local members to collect this content for Michael.

We had a good discussion on communications. Brother Charles-Henri, World Council secretary, is still working on updating and completing a directory for regional and national contacts in all the branches around the world. It is the responsibility of each branch to help him in this task. It is also our responsibility to ensure that the communications are forwarded to all.

Today, we returned to the objectives of 2010-2013 to evaluate the progress made at this meeting. At this moment, writing teams are producing a report of our meeting, and the Christmas Message from the World Council. We decided to have the writing teams by language. This year, one team is French and one Spanish….so I have a few hours off!! Here are Félix, Isabel and Maria José working on the Christmas message.

Rome day 6

A highlight of today was the celebration of Bro. Michael`s birthday. Michael is our travel organizer, taxi driver, visa getter, web-master, translator, pilgrimage and tour director, calendar designer, shipping and handling person…..etc, etc!!! We wish him continued blessings in his life. He is a real gift to our Marianist family! Here is a picture of Michael with a festive outfit from Togo, given to him for the occasion.

Rome day 6 b

Tomorrow we will meet as a team in the morning, and then enjoy the hospitality of our Sisters for pranzo. This will be followed by a trip into Rome. According to Domingo and Félix, we must take time to `sin a little`…..at least that`s how the Spanish was translated to me. ;-)

Cioa!

Rome 2010 – Day 4

Today we began our World Council of the Marianist Family meetings. We welcomed Agnes Senou from Togo. Agnes and Christiane Barbaux are members of the Alliance Mariale General Council. It was the first time two members attended the World Council meeting. There is much growth happening in the Alliance Mariale especially in the areas of communication and formation. Greater use of the internet has allowed more personal communications around the world. A booklet has been published to help new aspirants to the AM. Work is being done on a second booklet for those in formation. The reports from the Society of Mary, the Daughters of Mary Immaculate, and our MLCs high-lighted continued growth and new projects around the world. One of the most valuable aspects of our annual meeting is the chance to `catch up on news`. Often, connections are made around the table during our conversations. Mutual challenges are addressed, and possible collaborative opportunities are recognized. A more detailed report will be available at the end of the meeting.

Ernest, Charles-Henri, Marica, Isabella, Félix, Bina, Susan and Domingo

Ernest, Charles-Henri, Marica, Isabella, Félix, Bina, Susan and Domingo

A happy activity each year is to share `pranzo` (the always delicious and leisurely mid-day meal) with Marica Testa and Cherubina (Bina) Coppola, the national responsibles of Italy. Today we had the opportunity to toast Marica on her 81st birthday! The Fraternities in Italy are a model and inspiration to us all. They financially support the FMI work with street children in India, work with the poor in Albania, youth in Italy, and a re-forestation project in Ecuador. They produce stunning newsletters and magazines, and special booklets to commemorate their consecration ceremonies. They are also faithful supporters of the International Organization. I was presented with the Italian translation of my circular, and was humbled by the enthusiastic response that was given to it.

Meeting with the seminarians

Meeting with the seminarians

Another happy annual activity is our evening with the Marianist seminarians in Rome. The Brothers are a true international community, coming from India, Togo, Mexico, Spain, USA, Congo Kinshasa and Congo Brazzaville. We discussed the need to work together to help start and nurture new Marianist Lay Communities in all countries where there is a Marianist presence. The conversation was honest and very insightful for us. We learned how difficult it is to journey with a new MLC when the brothers move frequently. The support of all the brothers is important, as is strong formation for both religious and lay women and men. Also, it is difficult to journey with a lay community if a person has not had an experience of Marianist Lay Communities themselves. Domingo shared his desire to study the issue of forming strong assessors or spiritual counsellors among both the lay and the professed. There was a real energy in the conversation, and seeds of ideas were planted. Knowing that the brothers rise early for prayers and classes (and being tired ourselves!), we tried to end the meeting at a reasonable hour. But the conversations continued around the room for some time after the meeting ended. Always a good sign!

Rome 2010 – Day 3

We have completed the third day of our MLC team meetings. There were many items on the agenda, and we had to discern which to prioritize. The Challenges given to the team are many, but there is only so much that we can do! And, as we discussed at our meeting in Nairobi, the Challenges for this term are not to be completed by the team alone. Therefore, we are forming teams to address the three main issues. An International Youth Team will network and support existing Marianist youth initiatives around the world. An International Justice and Peace team will work to promote present Marianist social justice projects around the world. An International Formation Team will gather links to online formation resources, and other lay Marianist formation materials. Some of our countries do not have an internet presence, but have formation materials and manuals that can be shared with others. They just need a web-site to upload them. A member of the international team will work as a liason with each group, but the initiative will come from the group itself. Our hope is that greater involvement in our global work will promote a greater understanding of our international dimension.

We continued our discussion on finances. A clear set of guide-lines for team expenditures was drafted. A final copy will be attached with the annual report.

Tomorrow we will join our brothers and sisters of the FMI, SM and Alliance Mariale for the meetings of the World Council of the Marianist Family. It was another long day, and the jet lag doesn`t get any easier. The alarm clock is sounding more annoying each morning……so, good night for now!

Rome 2010 – Day 2

We began the day celebrating the feast of `Tutti i Santi`…All Saints! We depend on the prayers of all our communities, especially that great communion of holy women and men that have gone before us. We are truly strongest when we pray and work together.

Isabel, Susan and Domingo

Isabel, Susan and Domingo

Our meetings began with regional reports. Slowly but surely, we are collecting the basic data and contact information for our Marianist Lay Communities around the world. Thank you to all the national responsibles that sent their reports. We cannot do our work without you. Each regional responsible also shared the successes and challenges of the past year, as well as a summary of their regional tasks for 2011. Data is important, but the `heart` of our work is centered on working together with our national responsibles and, through them, with our MLC on the local level. It is encouraging to hear of all the good works that are being done by lay Marianists around the world. And, it is sobering to ponder the many needs that exist.

Ernest and Félix

Ernest and Félix

Our concerns included struggles in effective and timely communications with some countries. We are a world-wide community of communities, but this international dimension is not always understood by all. This is a challenge that we must address as a team. How can we improve our communications? How can we promote a sense of ownership, support, and responsibility for the work that is done on the international level? Finances are a constant worry. Presenting a clear and simple report of our incomes and expenses is vital. Isabel is re-working our existing template. The team accounts will be available in January for the December 31, 2010 year-end. It will include a list of countries that have paid dues, and the expenses of our international organization.

It was a long day, and the agenda will be full again tomorrow. But, the spirit of the team is good. A blessing, indeed!