The General Administration of the Marist Brothers, through the Extended Secretariat of the Laity, has chosen this 19th March to launch the process of the International Forum on the Lay Marist Vocation, coinciding with the feast of Saint Joseph, patron saint of Marists and also a beautiful model for laypeople, from whom we can learn so much.
The International Forum that we are inaugurating today, and to which all the Administrative Units of the Marist Institute are invited, will be a beautiful four-year journey of reflection and shared discernment among laypeople, laywomen and brothers. The themes of the Forum are pertinent current and future issues related to the vitality of the charism and our journey of communion as a Global Charismatic Family.
Objectives of the Forum
The objectives we want to achieve are:
1. To deepen our understanding of the Marist vocation with particular emphasis on the lay Marist vocation.2.
3. To review and offer formation and mentoring pathways for laypeople to grow in their vocation.
4. To reflect on and propose possible ways of making a formal commitment to the Marist charism.
5. To know, reflect, explore and propose possibilities of juridical structures (civil and canonical) for Marist laypeople.
This journey of reflection and discernment has several stages beginning in March 2021 and ending in November 2024. A dialogue process open to all at Marist Brothers Province and international levels will be a feature. For Provinces, small group meetings for reflection are foreseen and, at the international level, a face-to-face Forum will be held in Rome from 4 to 11 November 2022 and a virtual one in November 2024. All Administrative Units will attend, with 3 representatives each (2 lay people and 1 brother).
Forum Stages:March to June 2021: (AU level) Launch of the Forum and getting organised within Administrative Units.
July 2021 to June 2022: (AUs level) Local and Province reflection meetings (in person or virtual).
November 4 to 11, 2022: (International level) International Forum in person, first part. Rome.
December 2022 to June 2024: (International level) Reflection, analysis and discussion. International groups for further study and developing proposals.November 2024: (international level) Virtual International Forum, second part. Closing of the process and final document.
We would like participants to be people who are already committed to growing as Marists. To this end, we provide the following criteria:
1. Lay men and women who identify with the Marist charism and who have chosen to discern, deepen and cultivate their vocation, valuing the diversity of its expression within the Province.
2. Lay men and women who have made a formal commitment to the charism, those who are members of a Marist association, members of lay movements such as the MCHFM and similar movements.
3. Lay men and women who are undertaking formation as Marists under the guidance of mentors appointed by the Province or District.
4. Marist Brothers, especially those working with lay Marists in regard to discernment, mentoring and formation.
In those Provinces or Districts that do not yet have structures for helping lay people to grow in their Marist vocation, we suggest that you set up one or more groups of laypeople and brothers who want to discuss, reflect and discern together on the topic.
The relevant Province group for Marist laypeople, in dialogue with the Extended Secretariat of the Laity, will coordinate and organise the process and make arrangements that suit their own reality and possibilities.
Soon, the Forum Guide will be sent to all Provinces with the information and criteria needed for organising the local phase and participating in the international phase. We are communicating this good news today for all of us to prepare our minds and hearts to welcome and participate in this wonderful consideration of the lay Marist vocation.
On the website and other social media of the Institute, as well as in other means of communication, you will be able to access all the information related to the International Forum on the Lay Marist Vocation (#MaristInternationalForum).
We place this Forum process in the hands of Mary, our Good Mother. She will accompany us on this journey and help us accept this new gift of the Spirit confidently.