After a two week formation course for lay Marists who travelled from around the world to Rome, participants have returned to their countries encouraged and with a greater sense of what it means to be a lay Marist (read more).
Marie Elia Rakotondranaivo, from Madagascar, told the general house that she has “discovered different realities” from hers and, above all, “lived new experiences.”
“I am now aware that I am not alone, but that others are walking with me,” she added.
“I am more confident, I am ready to move forward and ‘jump’ as brother Emili Turú says,” said Marie Elia. “I am ready to go through with my mission: to make Jesus Christ known and loved.”
The conference included 55 lay Marists and some brothers who gathered at the general house in Rome from May 19 – June 2. Its aim was to teach the laity how to form other lay Marists in their own homeland.
“For me, a very important session was brother Joe McKee’s talk on ‘mystics and prophets’ (because) we could clearly identify as lay Marists what our base is,” said Jude Preman from Sri Lanka.
“This intercontinental experience is most important for our local action,” he added. “Then we can think globally and act locally.”
Elaine Fatima Strapasson, from Brazil, echoed his thoughts noting that “these days were for me a unique opportunity to renew my lay vocation and my ‘yes’ to God’s call.”
“I feel Marist and deeply attuned to Champagnat Marists, brothers and laity,” she stated.
“I appreciate the opportunity to meet so many secular laity that today are Champagnat and to share my life, mission and vocation with them,” added Elaine.
South African Pamela Mary Mills underscored that the encounter was a “deep invitation from God and from the brothers to live our Marist call more deeply, more boldly, more vitally together, side by side, ablaze with one Spirit of Christ.”
“Love, love and more love for the children in the furthest corners of the earth,” she remarked.
Another woman from Latin America, Eliana Rojas, stressed that she felt “at home” and that “the commitment of my lay vocation remains in my heart.”
“This reuniting of the Marist charism has encouraged me to spread it and it is very valuable to know and to form oneself in order to give more,” she said.
Although there are no plans for another international gathering, the lay Marists were invited to do similar gatherings in their own Marist region.