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MaristDistrict of West Africa
DistrictMariste de l’Afrique de l’Ouest
Distrito Marista de África del Oeste
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Dear Brothers,
As you know, the second Marist International
Mission Assembly (MIMA II) took place at
Karen, Nairobi, Kenya from September 15 –
27, 2014. This assembly drew participants from
all the twenty-nine Provinces and Districts of
the Marist world. It was indeed a wonderful
experience of Brothers and Lay in prayer and
reflection. To enable you have the gist of what
happened in Nairobi, we have decided to
publish the day-to-day activities of MIMA II in
this edition. Similarly, the message from MIMA
II will be published in the next edition.
--------------------------------------------------------Report of the Second Marist International
Mission Assembly (II MIMA) September 1527, 2014 done by delegates of the Marist
District of West Africa
Theme: New Marists in Mission
One hundred and twelve (112) delegates from
around the Marist world met in Nairobi, Kenya
from September 15–27, 2014 for the second
Marist International Mission Assembly (II
MIMA). Brother Emili Turu, the superior
General of the Marist Brothers officially opened
the Assembly on the 17th September, 2014 by.
This was preceded by an African traditional
welcome ceremony and a speech from Brother
Emili Turu in which he urged the delegates to
participate fully in all the activities of II MIMA.
The daily topics for discussions included:
i.
Building community
ii. Sharing our journeys
iii. The fire that lights our flame
iv. Brothers and laity in a new spirit of
communion.
v. New Marists in mission
vi. Looking at the world through the eyes of
children and youth.
vii. Birth of a new era for the Marist Charism
viii. Lighting up lives
ix. Bringing the dawn to life
The above topics took the form of dialogues,
workshops, plenary sessions and testimonies.
Daily activities were preceded by Morning
Prayer and meditations dubbed “VOICE OF
THE FIRE”.
After ten days of workshops and discussions
three challenges and opportunities surfaced as
follows:
Challenges:
i. Change of mindset of Brothers in
accepting that the Charism is greater than
the Institute.
ii. Geographical distance between regions,
provinces, districts and even communities.
iii. Financial implications in training.
Opportunities:
MARIST BROTHERS OF THE SCHOOLS (FMS)
DISTRICT OF WEST AFRICA
(TCHAD, CAMEROON, GHANA, COTE D’IVOIRE, LIBERIA AND EQUATORIAL GUINEA)
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i.
The organisation of the two Marist
International Mission Assemblies in
Mendes and Nairobi are in themselves
opportunities for growth.
ii. There is Local and International coordination of networks for greater vitality of
the Marist Charism and Mission.
iii. There is also the potential of young people
to make a difference in the world as
evangelizers.
Communicating the experience
Regional meetings were held to discuss how to
share the experiences from the Assembly. The
African region agreed that;
- Delegates should give reports about
what took place at the Assembly to their
Administrative Units while waiting for
the final Message of the Assembly.
- deadlines for such reports and
meetings to share the experience of II
MIMA should be set.
- Provincial and District Councils should
facilitate the sharing.
Resolution of the delegates of the Marist
District of Wes Africa
The three participants from the District of West
Africa namely; Brother John Kusi-Mensah,
Brother Francis Lukong and Mr. Timothy NumDarkwah resolved to reflect on their experience
of II MIMA when they return home, make a
formal report to District Council and
recommend that a commission be set up to
share the experience of II MIMA with the
District.
Cultural presentations
There were three days of cultural presentations
for the various regions to showcase and share
their cultures and traditions at the Assembly.
The Regions were grouped into three for the
presentations as follows:
i. The Americas
ii. Oceania and Asia
iii. Europe and Africa
The presentations included cultural dances
traditional dishes, drinks and souvenirs.
The African continent was the last to make her
presentation on 24th September, 2014. There
was a short film on the Late Nelson Mandela
followed by a short speech by Br. Francis
Lukong on behalf of the African continent in
which he thanked organizers and delegates for
choosing Africa for the Assembly. After
thanking them for shunning fear, he
congratulated them for their courage and
determination to go ahead with II MIMA.
African art works and carvings were displayed
as souvenirs. Again all non-African delegates
were presented with small drums in the form of
key holders to signify the African way of
gathering people with drumbeat. Delegates
were further treated to traditional African dance
from Nigeria.
Closure
The second Marist International Mission
Assembly was officially closed on 27th
September, 2014 by Brother Emili Turu who
urged participants to share the experiences
lived at the Assembly with Marists back home.
The closing ceremony was followed by a
missioning Eucharist which ended the
Assembly.
Conclusion
It was a wonderful experience having the
Marist family gathered for the Assembly with
Brothers and Lay sharing the Charism. It is
hoped that the consensus reached at the
Assembly will go a long way to strengthen
Brothers and Lay: New Marists in Mission.
MARIST BROTHERS OF THE SCHOOLS (FMS)
DISTRICT OF WEST AFRICA
(TCHAD, CAMEROON, GHANA, COTE D’IVOIRE, LIBERIA AND EQUATORIAL GUINEA)
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Monday, 15/09/2014: Arrival of Participants
The Second Marist International
Mission Assembly (MIMA II): (The
birth of a new era).
September 15 – 27, 2014, Nairobi,
Kenya
DAY-TO-DAY ACTIVITIES:
The MIMA II participants were expected in
Nairobi on Monday, September 15, 2014. On
arrival at the various accommodation centres,
each participant was given a backpack
containing two notebooks, a water bottle, a Tshirt, and three books entitled "Guidlines",
"Songs and Prayers" and "Marist logbook".
Tuesday, 16/09/2014: “Karibu” (Welcome)
New Marists in Mission
On September 15, 2014, delegates from the Marist
world arrived in Nairobi, Kenya to participate in the
Second Marist International Mission Assembly
(MIMA II) which took place from September 15 –
27, 2014 at Karen, Nairobi in Kenya. The host team
had left no stone unturned to give the participants
warm welcome. They were accommodated at
1. St Joseph Spiritual Centre, Karen, run by
the Little Sisters of St. Joseph,
2. Roussel House, Karen, run by the Donum
Dei Missionary Family and,
3. Dimesse House of Spirituality, Karen, run
by the Daughters of Mary Immaculate.
The activities of the assembly took place at the
Dimesse House of Spirituality.
The main dynamics of the Assembly was twelve
small communities composed of Brothers and lay
to share their experiences, and reflections. The
twelve days of the Assembly was guided by twelve
symbols: home, hands, table, earth, fire, tree,
horizon, eyes, drums, dance, coals and logo.
MIMA II participants visited MIC on the 16th of
September 2014. MIC is made up of 97
Brothers from all the five administrative units of
the Africa continent. It is also the largest and
youngest community of the Institute. During
this visit the Coordinating Commission thanked
the Brothers of MIC for their support in the
organization of MIMA II in Nairobi. Late in the
afternoon, delegates were given a guided tour
of MIC. After this they were led in grand style
to the assembly hall where the rest of the
activities continued.
MARIST BROTHERS OF THE SCHOOLS (FMS)
DISTRICT OF WEST AFRICA
(TCHAD, CAMEROON, GHANA, COTE D’IVOIRE, LIBERIA AND EQUATORIAL GUINEA)
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of the drums, to where the torches were
extinguished. At this juncture the message of
the XXI General Chapter was proclaimed.
"Together we have dreamt our future and
discovered the fundamental call of God today.
With Mary go in haste to a new land!”
In the hall, Brother Lawrence Ndawala, the
Superior of MIC, welcomed the delegates.
Similarly, Brother João Carlos do Prado thanked
MIC community for their collaboration. This was
followed by Brother Christian Gisamonyo’s brief
presentation. A repertoire of African dances
presented by the young Brothers followed. A festive
dinner crowned the “Karibu” (Welcome) Party.
Wednesday, 17/09/2014: Building community
Earth and Fire
The official opening of the assembly started
with the rhythm of the African drums
summoning the delegates to the bonfire where
an African girl narrated the African perspective
of the Biblical account of creation. The second
great story was that of the Pentecost. At the
end of this story the paschal candle and five
torches were lit. From here, the group moved to
the second stage, accompanied by the beating
Prior to the official opening in the assembly
hall, three Great Books titled Life of the
founder; The Marist Book and the Book of
the mission were opened: The first contained
the following inscription:
To educate children must love them and love
them equally. I cannot see the children without
wanting to tell them how much God loves them.
And the fragment of his Testament: That
among you there be just one heart and one
mind. That it be always told of the Marist what
was said of the early Christians: See how they
love each other! The second contained some of
the Marist virtues: simplicity, family spirit, love
of work and the way of Mary, while the third
was blank and yet to be written in. This was an
invitation to the delegates to begin the new era.
The official welcome
Back in the Assembly hall and in view of the
official opening, the following were called up to
take their places on the stage: Brother Emili
Turu (Superior General), Cardinal John Njue of
Nairobi, Brother Valentine Djawu, Superior of
the Province of Central and East Africa,
MARIST BROTHERS OF THE SCHOOLS (FMS)
DISTRICT OF WEST AFRICA
(TCHAD, CAMEROON, GHANA, COTE D’IVOIRE, LIBERIA AND EQUATORIAL GUINEA)
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(PACE), Brother Francis Lukong, President of
the Conference of Superiors of the African
continent (CSAC), and Brother João Carlos do
Prado, Coordinator of the Preparatory
Commission. All set, a group of smart scouts
sang the national anthem of Kenya followed by
Brother Valentine Djawu’s welcome address.
Brother Emili also welcomed the delegates as
follows: "Thank you for accepting the challenge
of participating in this Assembly. During these
two weeks the entire Institute is here." Then he
raised two questions: What can we expect from
this assembly? And, why was Africa chosen to
celebrate this Assembly? To his first question
he expected "a profound experience of
fraternity",
"more
sensitivity
to
our
internationality, openness to the richness of our
differences and future directions for the Marist
mission". To his second question he pointed
out that the assembly was being held in Africa
because the Institute needed a "change of
perspective”. Africa, despite all its natural and
human resources, is not the centre where
decisions about the economy or geo-political
issues are taken. Rather, it is one of the
peripheries of the world". In the words of Pope
Francis, "the reality is better looked at not from
the centre but from the periphery”. “I'm sure
that this change of perspective will help us to
be open to the novelty and creativity of the
Spirit."
After Brother Emili’ speech, Cardinal John Njue
invited the delegates to be open to the spirit.
On this note he wished them success in their
work.
This session ended with a Maasai folk dance.
After a short break the Assembly was divided
into 12 small groups, each represented by one
of the following symbols: drums, dance,
home, hands, earth, tree, eyes, table, fire,
horizon, coals, and logo. The day ended with
the celebration of the Eucharist, animated by
Brothers from the MIC.
Thursday, 18/09/2014: Sharing our Journeys
The Map of Africa
On the above map of Africa drawn on the lawn,
of the courtyard of St Joseph at the Dimesse
Sisters the delegates placed the stones they
had brought from their country of origin. This
courtyard was the venue of the Morning Prayer
dubbed “Voices of the Fire” characterized by
listening to stories of Africa.
On Thursday, September 18, 2014, the story
titled "The Bright Mountain" was read. "Waku, a
very pretty girl, spent a long time talking to the
mountain”. The more the mountain heard the
words of Waku the brighter it lit. The
delegatess were reminded that "the mountain
MARIST BROTHERS OF THE SCHOOLS (FMS)
DISTRICT OF WEST AFRICA
(TCHAD, CAMEROON, GHANA, COTE D’IVOIRE, LIBERIA AND EQUATORIAL GUINEA)
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of our life, of our assembly, the mountain of our
mission would shine more and more with our
prayer."
The first meeting of the small communities was
dedicated to sharing "the experience of the
journey made to MIMA II "and the sprouts of life
and dreams of the administrative units. The day
ended with prayer, thanking the Lord for the
mother earth, and a folk, food, craft and cultural
displays of the peoples of America.
Friday, 19/09/2014: The fire that makes our
flame
In his reflection, “The fire that makes our
flame”, Brother Jose María Soteras’ stated that
MIMA II was devoted to the mission, Marist
spirituality and the new relationship between
Brothers and lay. This was closely followed by
testimonies of Marie Elia (Madagascar) Br
Leonard Brito (Southern Africa) and Matloob
Hayat (South Asia), from Pakistan.
During the first part of the afternoon, six
workshops were held: Interiority (Br Oscar
Martín), Inter-religious experience (Br Michael
De Waas), Experience of God in daily life
(Maureen Hagan), Silence and contemplation
(Br Emili Turú), Gathered around the Word (Br
Michael Green), and Praying from music (Manu
Gómez). The day ended with a Marial
celebration animated by the delegates from
Mexico.
Saturday, 20/09/2014: Brothers and laity in a
new spirit of communion
Saturday, September 20, the delegates reflected
on “Brothers and laity in a new spirit of
communion”, the second call of the 21st General
Chapter asking for a new relationship between
brothers and laity.
Brother Joe McKee helped the Assembly reflect on
what a “new” relationship of Brothers and lay
based on communion meant. In his reflection, he
presented a brief historical summary of how this
relationship had been understood and lived in the
Institute. Using the slogans which had appeared
since 1962, Br Joe referred to a relationship which
began with laity rendering services to the Brothers
up to the time the Institute discovered that it was a
shared mission; gathered around the same table.
“The communion of Brothers and lay is the ideal
we long for” he emphasized. The essential thing is
that we find ourselves re-united under the same
tree of the charism and that we feel called by God
to give a vocational response. The Marist vocation,
consecrated or lay, requires a new way of following
Jesus Christ. There are some lay men and women
who wish to be recognized as Marists. “How do we
recognize lay Marist vocations?” Br Joe asked. The
response to this question is one of the tasks
entrusted to this Assembly.
Brother Joe further talked about the change of
paradigm. For a long time, the thinking was that the
Institute was at the centre and everything revolved
around it. The change of paradigm requires us to
contemplate “the charism as the centre”. The sons
of Marcellin, the Brothers, are the first expression
of this charism. Today, expressions are needed
MARIST BROTHERS OF THE SCHOOLS (FMS)
DISTRICT OF WEST AFRICA
(TCHAD, CAMEROON, GHANA, COTE D’IVOIRE, LIBERIA AND EQUATORIAL GUINEA)
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which also recognize the presence of the charism
in the laity. The celebration of the 200 years of the
foundation of the Institute is an opportunity for a
new beginning, perhaps with different forms, but a
common Marist future.
Brother Joe’s reflection was followed by
testimonies of Rodrigo Sánchez and Estela
Rodríguez and their children Josué and Lucía
(Cambodia), Ana Saborío (América Central), and
Br Arturo Buet (Cruz del Sur) about the challenges
of Brothers and lay.
Exercise of the 5 corners
After the afternoon’s Marian prayer, Brother Tony
Leon talked about “pareidolia”: finding meaning in
images to help the assembly to “see the signs of
God in the communion of Brothers and lay”. Five
concrete themes were proposed: spirituality,
fraternity, mission, vocation and association organization.
The Celebration of communion
The celebration of the communion of the Brothers
and lay was organized by the delegates of the
province of L`Hermitage. They informed the
assembly that “to be followers of Christ today in the
style of Champagnat, we must be committed to the
three fundamental Christian and Marist dimensions:
mission, shared life and spirituality”. After supper,
there was intercultural festivity animated by the
MIC orchestra.
Sunday, 21/09/2014: Outing: (Visit to MIC and to
the Bomas of Kenya)
Sunday was a day of rest for the Assembly. The
morning was spent at MIC, and the afternoon at the
Bomas of Kenya.
After Mass, at MIC, the delegates processed to
Brother Charles Howard Memorial Garden for tree
planting. This was closely followed by a picnic
lunch and a visit to the Bomas of Kenya where they
enjoyed a display of music, dance, African folklore
and acrobatic display.
Monday, 22/09/2014: New Marists in Mission
Envisioning a future world
The “story around the fire” was about a tribe settled
from time immemorial on the side of a high
mountain.
The leader of the tribe, who was very ill,
called his sons and told them: ‘Climb the
holy mountain. The one who brings me the
most beautiful gift, will succeed me in being
the leader’.
One of the sons brought him a special and
beautiful flower. The other son brought a
beautiful multicolored stone. The third son
MARIST BROTHERS OF THE SCHOOLS (FMS)
DISTRICT OF WEST AFRICA
(TCHAD, CAMEROON, GHANA, COTE D’IVOIRE, LIBERIA AND EQUATORIAL GUINEA)
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told his father: ‘I haven’t brought anything.
From the top of the mountain, I could see
the other side, with wonderful meadows and
a crystalline lake. I was so amazed that I
was not able to bring anything. However, I
am now obsessed with that new settlement
for our tribe’.
Then, the old man replied: ‘You will be the
new leader, since you have given me the
vision of a better future for our tribe’.
Each participant conveyed his or her feelings about
the future awaiting the Marist Institute through a
variety of colors, among which the blue of energy
and the green of hope prevailed.
Organizing the day
Brother Maeb oriented the work and reminded the
Assembly that the most important task was
“listening to”, “observing” and “connecting with” the
Holy Spirit’s inspiration for the Institute today. In
order to capture the insights that would emerge
during the day, a group was appointed to act as
antennas for the Assembly, receiving the
participant’s input and, in turn, presenting the
summary to the Assembly for consideration.
New Marists in Mission
Brother Emili began his input by recalling the
contributions of Brothers Jose Maria Soteras and
Joe McKee, and then spoke about the missionary
dimension of the Institute. He paralleled the
General Conference – held a year earlier in the
Hermitage – with the MIMA II. The General
Conference brought together the Brothers who
have been leading the Institute for the past four
years the last General Chapter. They came to take
the pulse of the Institute and envision a project
looking into the future – he said. The General
Conference is a non-deliberative meeting, such as
the MIMA II, but both can share an international
perspective and look into the future of the Institute.
So far we have kept two horizons in mind: being
mystics and prophets. The fact of celebrating the
Conference at the Hermitage emphasized this
perspective. At the General Conference, we asked
ourselves how we wanted the Institute to look like
in 2020 and, in the perspective of the second
centenary of the Foundation, we thought about “a
new beginning”. The five major topics that emerged
at the General Conference were children and
young people in situations of vulnerability, global
availability, interculturality, meaningful life, and
spirituality. Pope Francis in Evangelii gaudium, he
proposed a “pastoral and missionary conversion”
which does “not leave things as they are”, but to go
to the “peripheries”. Regarding this he highlights
“cultivating an inner space”, and having “prolonged
moments of adoration, and of prayerful encounter
with the Lord”.
Workshops
There was time for personal reflection after Brother
Emili’s intervention followed by six small workshops
around the following topics:
1. Internationality (Bro. Ernesto Sánchez).
2. Looking with the eyes of a poor child (Bro.
Álvaro Sepúlveda).
3. Being Church (Alfonso Ruiz de Chávez).
4. Evangelizers among youth (Jack
Stamers).
5. Speaking of God today (Bro. Ismael and
Lucy).
6. Children’s rights (Bro. Manel Mendoza).
The day ended with a cultural evening organized by
Oceania and Asia during which the group shared
cultural, artistic, gastronomic, and Marist elements
from these regions.
Tuesday, 23/09/2014: Looking at the world
through the eyes of children and young people
MARIST BROTHERS OF THE SCHOOLS (FMS)
DISTRICT OF WEST AFRICA
(TCHAD, CAMEROON, GHANA, COTE D’IVOIRE, LIBERIA AND EQUATORIAL GUINEA)
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The young delegates presented the theme "The
youth and the Marist charism”. Each one of them
presented a symbol which identifies the qualities of
the Marist charism. Their symbols spoke of
presence, service, being a light to the world, joy,
justice, community, going back to our basics, the
way of Mary, illuminating the darkness, etc. They
introduced individuals who reflect those values.
Among them were a number of world leaders.
After this, Santa María de los Andes, Australia,
Canada and Ibérica shared their experiences and
organization of New Marists in Mission in their
provinces. The afternoon was devoted to short
experiences of “immersion”. Accompanied by
student Brothers from MIC, delegates in small
groups went to visit the following:
- Don Bosco Center for rehabilitation of boys
- Mother Teresa House – a centre caring for
orphans.
- Kazuri association for women.
- Ennomatasiani Girls secondary school.
- Joram G. Boys secondary school.
- Nyumabani-watotowa
Mungu
an
orphanage.
Wednesday, 24/09/2014: Birth of a new era for
the Marist Charism
What resonates in our hearts?
The work proposed for this day was to review what
had been experienced over the past days. For this
purpose, most of the day was spent in an
atmosphere of retreat and silence. A contemplative
look helped us to "see" beyond the surface and
perceive life in its strength, courage, kindness and
beauty.
Morning Prayer: The arrival of the drum in
Africa
A folk story from Guinea Bissau was used to
illustrate the theme. The tale speaks of white-nosed
monkeys deciding to reach the moon because it
was pleasing and as white as their noses. To get
there, they decided to climb on top of one another
and form a tower until the highest monkey could
touch the moon. But those at the bottom got tired
and the tower collapsed. The one who had touched
the moon, however, was already hooked to it by its
tail. The moon stared at him, saw that he was cute,
and gave him a drum as a gift. Once the monkey
had learned to play the instrument, the moon sent
him back to the earth hanging on a rope and with a
warning: “Do not touch the drum until you have
reached the ground. Only when I hear the sound,
will I cut the rope.” But the monkey was so excited
that he played the drum before setting foot on land.
The moon, hearing this, cut the rope and the whitenosed monkey plunged to the earth and was badly
injured. A young girl found the poor dying monkey,
who still had the strength to tell the story, and give
her the drum. That was how the drum came to
Africa. Since then people have made many drums
and play them when they are happy and also when
they are sad. They are used at celebrations and for
communication
.
Motivation for the retreat
Brother Eugène Kabambuka invited the participants
to listen to their hearts as they contemplate the gift
of the Marist charism. Champagnat was sensitive
to the needs of the ignorant and a spirituality that
made him passionate for Christ. He also found that
gift in our "brotherhood." Africa puts it in the word
"ubuntu," "I am because we are." He also recalled
the acrobats at the Bomas, where each performer
depended on the others. He cited an African
proverb: "If you cross the river along with a
multitude, the crocodile will not bite."
For the personal work time, each participant was
given guiding questions:
MARIST BROTHERS OF THE SCHOOLS (FMS)
DISTRICT OF WEST AFRICA
(TCHAD, CAMEROON, GHANA, COTE D’IVOIRE, LIBERIA AND EQUATORIAL GUINEA)
NB:7-08112014
How do you feel about the future?
What engages you?
What is it that nourishes your answers?
How do you envision expressions of the
Marist charism in 2030?
Their task was to define three elements or features
of these expressions.




Afternoon
Participants met in their small groups to share their
reflections and report back to the plenary. They
were to envisage various expressions of forms of
the Marist charism in 2030.
A first intuition was to see the expressions of the
Marist charism as a "great charismatic family in the
Church", consisting of "a network of groups or
cells" with "diverse forms of meaningful and
multicultural Marist communities, which share
spirituality, life and mission and where the lay
dimension is evident.” These Marist communities
would be composed of “prophets” and “mystics”
witnessing to brotherhood and communion, “taking
care of and accompanying the Marist vocation".
Another aspect was focused on the creation of
new structures: "creating a larger tent," a "new tent"
with "structures that include all Marist vocations"
and in which "those who identify themselves as
Marist are recognized and respected".
A final aspect of the Marist charism dealt with
issues such as: "strengthening the culture of
solidarity and voluntary networks"; "to promote
mobile, international and mixed communities in
each region with phrases such as "global
availability" "missionary internationalism"; "a
presence embodied in the national and
international peripheries”. And it also strongly
emphasizes advocacy for youth: “Brothers and
lay committed to solidarity and justice"; "defending
the rights of children and adolescents";
"involvement in social and political institutions."
Selecting priorities
In the plenary a number of key themes emerged:
internationality,
mystical-spirituality,
youth,
educational
mission,
vocation,
periphery,
communion, and children’s rights. Each participant
was given two stickers; red (first priority) and yellow
(second priority). Preferences were shown by
placing one’s stickers next to the key ideas
emerging from the group work. The process helped
the synthesis group in their work of producing a
final document of the Assembly.
Evening
After the Eucharist, the Marist regions of Europe
and Africa presented aspects of their culture,
cuisine, art and music. Brother Francis Lukong,
president of the Conference of Superiors of the
African Continent (CSAC), took the opportunity to
warmly thank the organizers for choosing this
continent to celebrate the Assembly.
Thursday,
25/09/2014:
Challenges
Opportunities for the Marist Charism
and
The new era of the Marist charism implies many
things: a true renewal of the Institute; a new way of
being Brothers; a new relationship between
Brothers and lay, new and creative styles of
education, evangelization, defending the rights of
poor children and young people; new fields for our
mission; and the revitalization of our joint vocations
ministry. In this new era, we will dance to the same
Marist Symphony in so many corners of the world.
The “voices of fire” recited a poem telling the
story of Naman:
The shepherds of the Peul Tribe, who guided their
herds playing flutes, had spent the night around the
fire. Flames had danced like vultures. It had been a
beautiful African evening, a night of drums and
dancing.
MARIST BROTHERS OF THE SCHOOLS (FMS)
DISTRICT OF WEST AFRICA
(TCHAD, CAMEROON, GHANA, COTE D’IVOIRE, LIBERIA AND EQUATORIAL GUINEA)
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In the morning, Naman was working the land when
suddenly a child came running with a message:
“The elderly are waiting for you under the Tree of
the Word!” Surprised by this message at such an
early hour, Naman left his daba, a West African
tool, and went to the Tree of the Word. Next to the
elderly, he found a white man smoking pipe. He
was an emissary recruiting men for the war. The
elders spoke: “You are our chosen one, Naman.
Go and prove the courage of the Mandinka
people”. The next day, the drums said goodbye to
Naman as he left in a boat for the main port.
Time went by. The sorcerers consulted the stones
and scrutinized the entrails of animals. They saw
something, but did not speak about it. News of
Naman arrived a few months later: “Naman is well”.
There was a party in the village that night.
But another letter arrived several months later:
Naman had fallen prisoner. This news weighed
heavily on the village. The elders decided that
Naman was thereafter entitled to dance the Douga,
or Sacred Dance of the Vulture, which no one could
do without having accomplished an important
deed.
Challenges
Route Map
The day’s work began with a contemplative
moment before a map placed on the wall of the
Assembly Hall. Through this graphical exercise,
Brother Tony Leon offered new insights on the
routes for the Marist charism. It was a key
journey for the work of the Assembly. The
dance uniting the Assembly began by letting
each participant bring rhythm to his or her own
heart.
Opportunities
Regarding communion, there are promising
opportunities: the “different expressions” of “Marist
identity and bonding” that are emerging; the call to
communion and “joint formation” between Brothers
and lay; and the concrete experiences of “new
styles of community” and “mission in the periphery
of society” already underway across the Institute.
We should take advantage of and enhance the
structures and networks in place within the Marist
Institute to allow us to give our attention to those
who are the reason for our mission: the new
Montagnes of today. The following are other
important opportunities: strengthening the networks
connecting the Marists with different organizations
and groups; opening our doors at the international
level to share the existing “resources”; taking
advantage of the “experience and potential” of an
Institute which is present in 80 countries and is
offering a rich variety of services (such as
international
volunteerism,
international
Challenges and opportunities
The group worked on the challenges in the
morning and on the opportunities in the
afternoon. The question was asked: What are
the challenges and opportunities the Institute is
facing nowadays that will enable us to live the
Marist charism in 2030? The reflection centred
on communion, mysticism and prophecy.
Regarding communion, the Assembly envisioned
the need for “new styles of community life” which
may “enact and promote personal, community and
institutional conversion”. The group saw the
importance of putting in place “the processes and
structures that are necessary” in order to “promote
and accompany the Marist vocation in its different
expressions”, and “recreate the Institute” by
modifying its structures.
On the subject of mysticism, the Assembly
proposed the following considerations: “convey,
through our personal, community and institutional
witness”, the “significant presence of God who
inevitably gathers us”. Put in place “formation plans
and projects” in a continuous and integrated way, in
order to address the new challenges the Marist
charism is facing. Develop and defend the rights of
children in our “educational works and frontier
missions”, as a means for social transformation,
participating in the “public forums” where children’s
rights are promoted. With regard to prophecy, the
Assembly called for a “firm determination” to
defend the rights of children.
MARIST BROTHERS OF THE SCHOOLS (FMS)
DISTRICT OF WEST AFRICA
(TCHAD, CAMEROON, GHANA, COTE D’IVOIRE, LIBERIA AND EQUATORIAL GUINEA)
NB:7-08112014
communities, educational exchange programs, and
economic solidarity, among others).
To facilitate our mystical dimension, we must take
advantage of people’s “thirst for spirituality” and
desire to develop their “inner space”; the living
testimony of many Marists (lay, Brothers, young
people). Other opportunities include CMI and FMSI
and the international Marist networks that are in
place in the fields of education, pastoral ministry,
and solidarity; appreciating the importance of our
“human and material resources”, and the fact that
we are “present in different cultures.
Our prophetic attitude can count on “young
people’s leadership”, on their “creativity and
audacity” as evangelizers. Our foundation, history
and reputation, our image, presence and
experience educating in 80 countries, has an
enormous potential, which we must put at the
service of the Church and the Gospel. Our
presence in the world of education can change the
world.
The session concluded by asking each participant
to express his or her priorities regarding the issues
discussed, by using a red label to indicate the first
option, and a yellow label for the second.
Drafting the final document
Four members of the Assembly – from the
Americas, Africa, Oceania and Europe, and a
member of the Central Commission, developed a
synthesis of the inputs that have emerged during
the day in order to include them in the final
document. The day concluded with the celebration
of our Marist world’s cultural diversity.
Friday, 26/09/2014: Igniting up Lives
This poem motivated the day:
Igniting lives, dreaming together of a better
world for children and young people
Igniting lives with a vision full of hope.
Igniting lives with Champagnat’s same
boldness and creativity.
Igniting lives as part of God’s loving plan for
our world.
Igniting lives with respect for creation.
Igniting lives as part of a project of solidarity
with all human beings, especially the
marginalized.
The legend of Bamako
We listened to an African narrative, The Legend
of Bamako, as part of the “voices of fire”:
Long, long time ago, when the night was dark,
gloomy and impenetrable, and the moon was
not shining, a young woman named Bamako
lived in the village of Bamako. She was very
beautiful and kind.
One day, some soldiers who came from the
north attacked the village of Bamako, and all
those nearby. They only fought at night, hiding
during the day. Bamako’s friends confronted
them bravely, but they did not know how to
fight during the night.
One night the god N’Togini appeared to
Bamako and said: ‘Djambe, my son, who lives
in a cave by the river, has been in love with
you for a long time. If you agree to marry him,
he will take you to the sky, where you will
shine every night. Your people will not have to
fight in the dark, as you will light up the night’.
Bamako, very bravely, followed the god’s
instructions without hesitation. Djambé took
her to the sky, as his father had promised. The
brightness of her big eyes illuminated the dark
sky.
That night, the villagers achieved a decisive
victory and expelled their enemies. Since
then, the bright face of Bamako has been on
the sky every night.
MARIST BROTHERS OF THE SCHOOLS (FMS)
DISTRICT OF WEST AFRICA
(TCHAD, CAMEROON, GHANA, COTE D’IVOIRE, LIBERIA AND EQUATORIAL GUINEA)
NB:7-08112014
The plenary session began by studying a
synthesis of the challenges and opportunities.
This was followed by the reading of MIMA II draft
document and avaluation.
The day ended with “Asante Kwaheri” (“thanks
and see you soon!”) party characterized by
dancing and ‘thank you’ to the organizers and the
Sisters from the three where the participants
were accommodated.
Saturday, 27/09/2014 : Bringing the dawn to
life
Father Ananzi
One last story has been heard in the space
“Voices of the fire”. It was the African story of
how wisdom was spread through the world.
Once upon a time in the Cameroons there lived
a man called Father Ananzi who possessed all
the wisdom in the world. The fame of his
wisdom extended throughout the whole land,
even to its most remote corners, and everyone
came to ask his advice and learn from him. But
some people began to behave badly and
Ananzi became angry with them. So he thought
of a way to punish them. After lengthy and
profound meditation, he decided to deprive
them of wisdom, hiding it in such a distant and
unknown place that no one could find it. And so
putting all his secrets in a pitcher, he sought to
hide it in the top of a tree. But when his son,
Kweku Tsjin, saw his father going so
mysteriously and cautiously from one place to
another with his pitcher, he thought to himself:
“This thing that my father is hiding must be
something important”. And he proposed to
watch his movements carefully. One night,
when everyone was asleep, the father came to
a clump of palm trees, looked for the most
slender of them and began to climb with the
pitcher of wisdom tied on top of his head. While
he was climbing, the pitcher which contained all
the wisdom in the world did nothing but roll
around. The ascent was becoming very
complicated. His son, Kweku Tsjin, began to
shout to him:
— “Father, why don’t you hang this precious
pitcher on your shoulder? Climbing like that,
with the pitcher on your head, is going to be
impossible!” When Ananzi heard these words,
he looked down and said:
— “Son, I thought I had put all the wisdom in
the world in this pitcher, but now I realize that
my own son is giving me a lesson in wisdom”.
And disillusioned he dropped the pitcher of
wisdom on a stone and it broke into a thousand
pieces. And, as can be imagined, all the
wisdom of the world spilled out and spread to
all the ends of the earth.
Helping the dawn to be born
MARIST BROTHERS OF THE SCHOOLS (FMS)
DISTRICT OF WEST AFRICA
(TCHAD, CAMEROON, GHANA, COTE D’IVOIRE, LIBERIA AND EQUATORIAL GUINEA)
NB:7-08112014
Brother Emili Turu: The Superior General of
the Marist Brothers.
At the end of the assembly, Brother Emili talked
to the participants about “awaking the dawn and
helping it to be born”. He pointed out that the
Assembly was “one step more towards the dawn
of a new beginning for the Institute.
He offered the participants the “image of the
swamp” to express where we are going as
Institute. The space in which we are called to
carry out our mission is similar to a swamp or
marsh, which is found between land and ocean,
in a marginal locality, where no one would
normally go to live. If someone is there, it is
because he has been excluded, he goes there to
find others who are sunk in the mire, without
possibility of a future; a place of danger, disease,
where you do not know what is beneath your
feet. There are no tracks, but you have to move
forward. It is hard to walk in the mud; it requires a
particular strength not to give up, not to turn
back. At the same time, it is a place of
biodiversity, full of life; a mysterious place which
recalls the creation of the world, with the Spirit
moving over the chaos, offering the possibility of
a new creation, a new beginning.
With the word “swamp”, he gave 5 important
elements for our journey:
“S” for “spirituality”
“W” for “we”
“A” for “at risk”
“M” for “Mary”
“P” for “pledge”
He concluded by quoting the words of Brother
Francis Lukong who, in the name of the Marists
of the African continent, had said some days
earlier: “Thank you for coming to Africa. Fear
did not make you stay home”. “I too” –said Br
Emili- “allow myself to repeat in the name of the
Institute: thank you for accepting the invitation
and taking risks. We sensed that coming to Africa
was going to make the difference. We know
today it was the right decision”.
This was followed by tributes of gratitude to the
Central Commission for the hard work achieved,
the General Council for the drive it had given to
the MIMA II, and the participants themselves for
their enthusiasm and efficiency.
The morning finished with the Eucharist of
missioning. The first reading was the history of
the promise of Fourvière. In the offertory
procession there were twenty-nine posters, one
for each province, district or sector announcing
the beginning of the triduum, with the Montagne
Year (2014-2015), which will lead the Institute to
the celebration of its bicentenary.
After communion, Br Emili proceeded to send the
participants out to carry the good news of the
Assembly to the whole Institute. The gesture
began with the reading of the anecdote in which
Champagnat presented Br Jean Pièrre Martinol
with a roll of blessed bread to take with him on
his journey. But Br Jean Pièrre kept it in his bag
in order to share it with the brothers. This roll of
blessed bread is the message of the MIMA II
which all the participants will take away in their
suitcases to share with the communities.
Together with the bread to share, they each
received a decorated ceramic plate, the
handcraft of African women.
MARIST BROTHERS OF THE SCHOOLS (FMS)
DISTRICT OF WEST AFRICA
(TCHAD, CAMEROON, GHANA, COTE D’IVOIRE, LIBERIA AND EQUATORIAL GUINEA)
NB:7-08112014
-------------------------------------------------------------------BROTHER JOHN PHILLIPS PASSED ON
the seriousness with which he promoted
education in Cameroon.
--------------------------------------------------------BROTHER JOSE ANTONIO RUIZ’S
FUNERAL CELEBRATED A TYPICAL
GHANAIAN STYLE
On September 1, 2014 Brother Brendan
Geary, the Provincial Superior of the Marist
Province
of
West-Central
Europe
announced the death of Brother John
Phillips. He died on Sunday, August 31,
2014 in Glasgow at the age of 82 and was
buried in Saint Peter’s Cemetery in
Dalbeth, Glasgow on Saturday 6th
September 2014. Brother John Phillips was
the principal of Sacred Heart College,
Mankon, Bamenda in Cameroon from 1970
to 1988. He will be remembered by the
Cameroonian Marist Brothers and the
students of Sacred Heart College, Mankon
for his sense of humour, dedication and for
Even though Brother José Antonio Ruiz‘s
mortal remains laid thousands of miles
away from Ghana, a symbolic burial and
funeral rite was performed to honour him.
This happened on Saturday, 30th and
Sunday, 31st of August 2014 at Trede,
Kumasi beginning with a memorial mass
and ended with a thanksgiving mass to God
for the life of Br. Antonio. In attendance
were priests, religious, Marist Brothers,
friends, Parish Choir, Bishop Sarpong's
cultural troupe, and the faithful of Sacred
Heart Parish, Trede, and the Chief of SabinAkrofrom, Chief of Mpehi in Offinso, Chief of
Buokrom, and staff members of our
schools, former students, friends and
sympathizers. The occasion was spiced by
the performance of 'Kete' drummers and
dancers.
MARIST BROTHERS OF THE SCHOOLS (FMS)
DISTRICT OF WEST AFRICA
(TCHAD, CAMEROON, GHANA, COTE D’IVOIRE, LIBERIA AND EQUATORIAL GUINEA)
NB:7-08112014
--------------------------------------------------------------THE VISIT OF THE GENERAL
COUNCILORS TO CHAD
Brothers Ernesto Sanchez, C.G., and
Antonio Ramalho, C.G., accompanied by
Brother Francis Lukong visited the Brothers
in Chad from September 4-11, 2014. This
second lap took them to Koumra where the
Brothers have a community and a secondary
day school. The third and last round of their
visit to the District of West Africa will be in
Cameroon from December 8-18, 2014.
at 9.00 a.m. in Saint Joseph’s Cathedral Big
Mankon, Bamenda in Cameroon. In
attendance were the Auxiliary Bishop of
Bamenda Monseigneur Agapitus Nfon,
priests and religious, teachers and students,
the Shesans and ex-students of SJCC,
Mbengwi and SACC, Bafut. The theme
chosen for the Golden Jubilee celebration is
“Journeying in Faith and Hope”.
The Brothers and some students of Saint
Albert’s College, Bafut
------------------------------------------------------------FIFTY YEARS OF MARIST PRESENCE IN
CAMEROON
The Brothers and some students of Saint
Joseph’s College, Mbengwi
The Golden Jubilee LOGO
The celebration of the fifty years of Marist
Presence in Cameroon was launched on
Saturday, October 18, 2014 with Holy Mass
The Brothers and some students of Saint Pius’
College, Tatum
MARIST BROTHERS OF THE SCHOOLS (FMS)
DISTRICT OF WEST AFRICA
(TCHAD, CAMEROON, GHANA, COTE D’IVOIRE, LIBERIA AND EQUATORIAL GUINEA)
NB:7-08112014
Equipped with UNICEF-developed
awareness materials, these girls go from
door-to-door in Monrovia, to educate
their parents, family members and
friends about Ebola and how it can be
prevented.
The Brothers and some religious
Marist mission in Cameroon started in 1965
when the Brothers from the province of Great
Britain came to English-speaking Cameroon
and started running Sacred Heart College,
Mankon in the Archdiocese of Bamenda. The
same year those from the province of Quebec
came to French-speaking Cameroon and took
over the running of Collège Stoll d’Akono in the
Archdiocese of Yaoundé.
Marist schools
namely; Saint Albert’s College, Bafut, Saint
Joseph’s College, Mbengwi and Saint Pius’
College, Tatum continue to feature prominently
in the Catholic Education Agency in the
dioceses of Bamenda and Kumbo.
------------------------------------------------------------LIBERIA:
Signs of Ebola decline in Liberia offer
‘glimmer of hope Information from Brother
Washington Tekay:
In August, the streets of Monrovia were
strewn with bodies and emergency Ebola
clinics were turning away patients.
Today, some of the busiest treatment
facilities are now only half-full. Beds in
those treatment units are empty. New
Ebola infections have declined in recent
weeks. The number of people who
become infected after coming into
contact with Ebola sufferers is sharply
lower. The public education program
warning about contact with infected
patients is taking hold. Funeral business
is off by half. This is the sign that the
spread of Ebola in Liberia may be
declining. However, it will take months
before Ebola is totally gotten rid of.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will
address the nation next week. She may
likely extend the State of Emergency for
another 2 months: November December. In this case, the schools may
open in January 2015. Movement in and
around Monrovia is smooth but limited to
other regions of the country. One may be
tempted to say that life is normal. Deaths
that are still occurring: 2,705 persons
have died so far. Normal activities are
taking place except the school.
MARIST BROTHERS OF THE SCHOOLS (FMS)
DISTRICT OF WEST AFRICA
(TCHAD, CAMEROON, GHANA, COTE D’IVOIRE, LIBERIA AND EQUATORIAL GUINEA)
NB:7-08112014
---------------------------------------------------------BIRTHDAYS:
November, 2014
3rd Ivo Njongai
11th Kevin Ngoran
11th Valentine K. Meyanui
11th David Cooney
19th Erong Sebastian Kanguri
23rd Joe McKee, Vicar General, worked in
Cam.
rd
23
Birkem Pascal Funsa
rd
23
Alfred Ngaro Sadjinan
th
24
John Kusi Mensah
th
26
Seán Sammon, (Former Superior
General)
th
29
Philip Ninfaasie
th
30
Andrew Iwuagwu, (F.Sec.Sup,Ghana)
December, 2014
3rd
Antonio Ramalho, Link General
Councilor
rd
3
Mbiatem Eyong
5th
Isaac Kpulika
th
11
Michael Telewa
st
21
Daniel Osei Kwadwo
th
26
Tano Pokou Komenan
th
30
Evaristus Mbiydzenyuy
January, 2015
2nd
Emmanuel T. Bongben
6th
Elvis TardzenyuyTomla
th
13
Jose Luis Elias (he worked in
Korhogo)
th
18
Cyprian Gandeebo
th
24
EmiliTurú, Superior General
th
26
Francis Amoako Attah
February, 2015
2nd
Martin Nguma Mbeng
rd
3
Blaise Beguerem
th
19
BrendaneTombir Sunjo
20th
22nd
24th
26th
Francis Verye
Anthony Doe Siryeh
Manuel Acal (worked in Monrovia)
Joseph Kwame Mammah
--------------------------------------------------------CALENDAR OF ACTIVITIES: November,
2014 to June, 2015
November, 2014
3 – 7:
District Council Meeting, Accra
11 – 17:
Canonical Visit Novitiate City
21 – 27:
Canonical Visit: Korhogo Cty, CI
28 – Dec. 4: Canonical Visit: Bouaké Cty, CI
December, 2014
8 – 18:
Cameroon: Visit of Gen Councillors
22:
Final Profession, Tatum
January, 2015 District House, Accra
February, 2015
9 – 12:
CSAC AGM, MIC, Nairobi, Kenya
13 – 14:
Workshops, MIC, Nairobi, Kenya
15 – 18:
Student Brothers, MIC, Nairobi
23 – 2 Feb:
Canonical visit: Tatum City, Cmr.
March, 2015
3 – 9:
17 – 21:
22 – 27:
Canonical visit: Bafut City, Cmr
Canonical Visit: Kwadaso Cty, Gh
Canonical Visit: Buokrom Gh
April, 2015
13 – 15:
April, 2015:
Novitiate Board Meeting (Kumasi)
District Council (Date/Venue???)
June, 2015
7 - 12:
10,
Novitiate, Kumasi
First Religious Profession (Trede)
July, 2015
Date ????
District Council meeting
August, 2015
3 - 7:
6th District Chapter
MARIST BROTHERS OF THE SCHOOLS (FMS)
DISTRICT OF WEST AFRICA
(TCHAD, CAMEROON, GHANA, COTE D’IVOIRE, LIBERIA AND EQUATORIAL GUINEA)
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