Towards a New Beginning…

…in our vocation as brothers

For a new beginning as Little Brothers of Mary, as mystics and prophets of a new world, we believe that:

  • we must deepen our experience of God who dwells within and in daily life, and so become God’s passionate witnesses by full and happy lives.
  • we are being invited to make our communities real homes, characterised by genuine relationships that allow us to build bridges between ourselves and with the people we meet around us.
  • we have to embrace a simple lifestyle and experience our vulnerability as a source of fruitfulness and freedom.
  • our vocation implies an availability to go anywhere in our worldwide family, working alongside the poor, especially children and young people, to transform the world.
  • being brothers is a call to be signs of humanity in all its fulness, which implies healing the wounds of our own lives, promoting the dignity of each person, and caring for our common home.

Therefore, we suggest that:

  • Administrative Units launch a program for individuals and communities to reawaken a spirituality and experience of God that is truly integrated and apostolic.
  • we undertake a thorough renewal of our community living, sharing the best of ourselves, overcoming any individualism, working on healthy relationships, creating more occasions to be together … opening our doors to the people around us, developing an intercultural sensitivity so as to build a church with a Marian face.
  • every community, administrative unit and the Institute undertake a discernment on its simplicity of life and closeness to the poor, leading us to adopt concrete actions to move out of our comfort zones.
  • make personal and community commitments to be more present among young people, being proactive in encouraging them to live out their vocation, and renewing our plans for vocation ministry generally.
  • reform our processes of initial and ongoing formation and offer new paths at the level of the Institute and Administrative Units to care for our vocation as brothers: accompaniment, attention to each brother’s situation and stage in life.

…in our mission

For a new beginning, as Marists of Champagnat, committed to the mission of evangelisation and education, we believe:

  • in the cultivation of contemplative practices which give meaning to life, and of being brothers and sisters to offer a prophetic sign in a turbulent world.
  • in our evangelizing mission that urges us to respond to the cries of today’s children and young people in new and creative ways.
  • in our committed, preferential and constant presence among children and young people in the geographical and existential peripheries.
  • in promoting, protecting and defending the rights of children and young people, and in empowering them as agents of transformation.
  • in urgently changing the way we live based on an integral ecology (Laudato Si’, ch. IV).

Therefore, we suggest:

  • promoting a culture of encounter (Evangelium Gaudium, 220) through programs and meaningful experiences of encounters with God, with oneself and with others; establishing simple relationships where everyone is heard and valued.
  • evaluating and adapting our mission of evangelization to the context of emerging realities.
  • building Marist mission networks at the levels of Administrative Units, Regions and the General Administration, which favour innovation and the renewal of our education and evangelization.
  • collaborating with other ecclesial and civil institutions, religions and Christian denominations, to provide an inclusive and integrated response to the cries of today’s children and young people.
  • identifying those who are excluded and displaced (migrants, refugees …), choosing to be present among them, and decisively committing ourselves to defending their dignity and seeking their inclusion.
  • strongly and proactively implementing Child Protection Policies against all forms of abuse that are consistent with internationally recognized agreements which defend the rights of children and young people.
  • developing initiatives for the empowerment of children and young people in all our ministries.
  • creating an integral ecological awareness in all our communities and different ministries, and developing policies at all levels of the Institute that strengthen our commitment to the care of our ‘common home’.

…as Marists of Champagnat

For a new beginning, we believe that …

  • the future for the charism will be founded on a communion of fully committed Marists, brothers and lay.
  • as a charismatic family we should walk together respecting the diversity of the Marist world.
  • all Marists are co-responsible for Marist life and mission.
  • we need new structures and processes that recognize and support our distinctive vocational paths as Marists.

Therefore, we suggest that:

  • each Administrative Unit discerns, proposes and accompanies concrete ways of building up communion as Marists.
  • each Administrative Unit develops a plan for promoting different forms of Marist life, including appropriate strategies for formation, accompaniment and belonging, drawing on the document Gathered Around the Same Table, and others, such as Being a Lay Marist and the Project of Life in Fraternity (CMMF)*.
  • that all levels of government establish and/or strengthen structures for all Marists to share leadership and responsibility for Marist life and mission.
  • create ways forward which respond to the reality of each country and accompany Administrative Units to share with one another the variety of experiences being lived across the Marist world.

* The text Gathered Around the Same Table – the vocation of Lay Marists of Champagnat was published in June 2009. The other two documents, Being a Lay Marist and the Project of life in Fraternity (Champagnat Movement of the Marist Family) were presented to the General Chapter by the Secretariat for the Laity, after a process that involved wide participation. We consider these texts as reference documents for all Marists of Champagnat.

…in our style of governance

For a new beginning, we believe in governance that:

  • engages in a dynamic of spiritual discernment to be constantly attentive to God’s calls.
  • favours prophetic servant leadership and closely accompanies Marist life and mission.
  • puts in place governance structures that are transparent, simple, efficient and flexible.
  • is responsive to emerging calls from children and young people on the peripheries and fosters the care of our common home.
  • promotes inclusion and greater co-responsibility between Brothers and Lay Marists.
  • promotes and strengthens the Institute as a global family and lets go of structures and attitudes that are not supportive of this.

Therefore, we suggest:

  • promoting close personal accompaniment on all levels.
  • continuing the processes of regionalization and promotion of inter-regional collaboration to build a Global Body with structures, processes, and strategies that are agile, simple, and participative.  We do this by way of following up on the process carried out by the New Models project, the contributions of which we acknowledge and support.
  • promoting discernment and a rhythm of life that nourishes reflective and productive dialogue on all levels.
  • identifying and forming leaders, lay and brothers, at all levels, in order to build up co-responsibility for Marist life and mission.
  • that the Superior General and his Council have the flexibility to explore options as to where and how to form community and provide appropriate leadership, as they closely accompany Marist life and mission.

…in how we manage and use our resources

For a new beginning, we believe that:

  • our resources must be at the service of the life and mission of the entire Institute.
  • we must ensure both the sustainability of our Administrative Units and the Institute as a whole, as well as the principles of transparency and accountability at all levels.
  • we must reaffirm the principles found in the Discernment Plan for the Evangelical Use of our Goods* .
  • we need to be a global family in communion and solidarity.
  • people are our most important resource.
  • we must let go of economic models that lead to: dependency and a failure to take into account local economic and human resources and resourcefulness; the self-referential and fragmented use of resources; a lack of transparency, training and professionalism; barriers that interfere with our ability to live and grow as a global family.

* A document prepared by Br Séan Sammon SG and his Council in 2004, at the request of the XX General Chapter.

Therefore, we suggest:

  • developing a plan for the just sharing of human and financial resources at all levels of the Institute, including finding new sources of income and the creation of services and funds to support formation, solidarity, and an expanded mission.
  • develop a plan of action to achieve the sustainability of Marist life and mission at all levels.
  • applying the principles found in the Discernment Plan on the Evangelical Use of Goods, promoting simplicity of life at all stages of formation as well as in the General Administration and all our communities and ministries.
  • developing administrative policies on human and financial resources, in keeping with ethical principles, at all levels of the Institute in the form of a Vade Mecum or Guide.
  • ensuring formation in administration and finances at all levels of the Institute and insisting upon the effective management of resources including: real estate and financial assets; planning; budgeting and controls, external and internal audits; the appointment of professionally prepared personnel to carry out these tasks.