Cardinal João Braz de Aviz is the prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. Here his message to the participants of the 22nd General Chapter:
I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to Brother Emili Turú for providing me with the opportunity to speak to you, on this, the opening of your General Chapter. As delegates you will be with us for over a month and how wonderful that you will also be here as Pope Francis visits Colombia. I thank Brother Emili and all of you for this opportunity. As I review my relationship, I am reminded of the many friendships and dialogues that I have had with the Marist Brothers, I have made many joyful moments and much appreciation. As for Brother Emili, we have had many beautiful moments where we have shared with each other the beauty and the difficulties of the Church’s path and how they served as opportunities to strengthen us.
Now, after a long period of preparation , you are entering into a phase that many of us are entering into, of looking for a Church that goes beyond itself , , of abandoning self-referentiality, to seek more intensely the peripheries, the so-called “existential peripheries,” which Pope Francis has pointed out so vigorously.
With this in mind, the charism of Champagnat is surely lived out in two dimensions: the first entails going out to encounter children and young people, the poor and marginalised, the outcast, these are the most important because they a most resemble the perfect image of the Lord and also this spirit of communion which the Marist Brothers and the laity (and all other vocations) commit themselves to in light of the charism of Champagnat. This is wonderful and a ministry that will bear much fruit.
Naturally, there are many themes that you are going to cover within the Chapter, and we know, as the saying goes, “it is much broader than what we a expect . May this be a moment full of grace, of listening to the Holy Spirit, may the Chapter be a joyful moment for you allowing you to see the new signs of life that the Lord is calling you to consider.
May God truly bless this General Chapter and your time together, may God give every Marist Brother, every Marist lay man and women, a joyful heart and may this be a “new La Valla.”