Meeting in Freising of the “Brothers and Laity” Commission
The meeting of this European Commission took place from Friday 1st April till Sunday 3rd April at the Cardinal Döpfner Diocesan Centre on the Cathedral Hill at Freising.
The participants, Brother Teoderino Aller (Compostela), Pep Buetas (L’Hermitage), Joseba Louzao (Ibérica), Marta Portas (L’Hermitage) made use of the nearby airport for their journey from Spain; also present was Brother Javier Espinosa (Laity Commission) from Rome. Wolfgang Hacker (West-Central Europe) organised the meeting. Due to illness Brother Ventura Perez (Mediterránea) was unable to attend the meeting but on the Sunday did take part in a telephone conference.
Once the last of the participants had been picked up at the airport on Friday around 10 o’clock, the group took the opportunity for a quick look around the centre of Munich. In the fine weather places such as the Marienplatz, the food market and the famous tower of St. Peter’s Church gave the guests a good taste of Munich.
Back in Freising the first item on the timetable was a video conference with Ana Sarrate (Ibérica) which reported on the Champagnat Movement of the laity. After an evening devotion and the evening meal which followed it, the participants took the opportunity to mingle in the Korbinian bar with those members from the earlier Provincial Chapter meeting who were still present.
Saturday began with morning prayer. After breakfast at 8.30 the second session took place. The topic for this session and those that followed was the preparations for the world meeting of the commission to take place in L’Hermitage from 2nd to 9th October of this year. Meanwhile, several documents which had been mailed in advance were now discussed among us. There were three themes in this initial stage of the preparations:
- Proposals from the General Council
- Initial and on-going formation of lay persons and Brothers
- Bonding, belonging and community
The run of the day was characterised as a series of meetings interrupted only by the lunchtime break. The exchanges took place mainly in Spanish and from time to time Pep Buetas had to give a resumé in English or, on the other hand, translate into Spanish the contributions of Wolfgang Hacker. By 6.30 in the evening we had dealt with two of the three topics and so we could look forward eagerly to the time after supper from 8.30 when the Barcelona v Madrid match was live on TV.
After Sunday Mass and breakfast the work was done on the third of the themes for which Brother Ventura was able to be joined in on video link. Towards 12.30 the meeting was over.
It remains to be said for the record that Brothers and laity realise the following of the Marist ideal in their lives in a variety of ways so that it is not easy to establish either an initial or an ongoing formation programme or set out the criteria for bringing the Brothers and laity together, that is to say to determine what belonging to the Institute means.
Grateful for the exchange of ideas among themselves, the participants departed around 2.30 in the afternoon having agreed to a video conference at the end of June to discuss the details of the second phase of the preparations.