The Regional Committee meets in person in Mexico City

The Regional Committee meets in person in Mexico City

From February 21 to 26, brothers, lay men and women members of the Arco Norte Regional Committee had the opportunity to meet in person at Quinta Soledad in Mexico City, after two years of work virtually. Undoubtedly, being together in person created a necessary spirit for the week that was full of work, but also for the integration of the Committee, the review and organization of the work has been carried out and the next steps to continue the vision of “walking together as a Global Family” of the Institute.



Above, left to right: Ana Laura Rubio (Central Mexico/Assistant), Iván Chacón (Central Mexico/Vocational Culture), Claudia Rojas (Norandina /Formation of Lays), Br. Gregorio Linacero (General Government), Albert Rivera (USA/ Brothers Today), Irma Zamarripa (Occidental Mexico/Education), Jessica Urquiza (Central Mexico/Communications) and Br. Rodrigo Espinosa (Executive Secretary/Central Mexico)

Below, left to right: Br. Laurentino Albalá (Norandina /Economy), Br. Juan Antonio Sandoval (Central America/Spirituality), Socorro Álvarez (Central Mexico/Solidarity Heart) and Br. Daniel Martín (Central America/Evangelization)


The afternoon of arrival, Br. Luis Felipe González, Provincial of Central Mexico, thanked each attendee for their willingness to travel to this important meeting for the Region and welcomed them to their home. The next morning, the session began with a virtual message from HH. Joao Carlos do Prado and Ken McDonald, where they invited the team to enlighten themselves through the calls of the General Chapter to guide the upcoming regional actions, always focused on the mission of reaching children and young people, especially those on the margins of the world, and as global family. During the rest of the day, the attendees recognized each other not only as Marists, but also as people with life stories that, along with their experiences within their Provinces, would have to create the synergy to define the continuous journey of the Region.



During the week, reflections and exhaustive reviews of the work carried after the Regional Forum of October 2020 were made, to visualize how it responded to the XXII General Chapter and generate the pertinent strategies to make it a reality. The achievements and challenges of each of the regional teams were also shared, their organization was discerned and important adjustments were made to the regional guidelines, starting with the Assembly and each Coordination.

With the question “What is the Region we dream of?”, there was a lot of reflection on the reality not only of Arco Norte, but of each one of the Provinces and Administrative Unit that make are part of it and how this multicultural richness with three different languages is a strength, but at the same time a challenge, to have an adequate and forceful Strategic Plan towards 2026. The next steps will be taken in the General Assembly, in Rome, where Brother Rodrigo, as Executive Secretary, will present the results of the meeting before the Regional Council, formed by the Provincials and District Superior of all the administrative units of Arco Norte.


During the week, the Committee was invited to the Marist Community of Acoxpa in Mexico City, lead by Brother Juan Montúfar, and they traveled to the state of Puebla for a moment of bonding and team building in one of Mexico’s richest places in history, art and culture.


The Arco Norte Formation of lays team close 2021 activities

The Arco Norte Formation of lays team close 2021 activities

On December 2, the regional team for the Formation of Lays met to close the activities of 2021. Despite the challenge of two years in a pandemic, quarantines and isolation, this group of Marists from Champagnat managed to share the lay processes that their provinces and the new district of Canada developed, with joy, hope and creativity. They also carried out the SWOT analysis for the pastoral work of the region and defined the themes where the efforts will be focused in the coming years: Organization, Communion, Formation and Vocation, that will accompany the development of the Lay Vocation Forum.

Along these achievements, perhaps the richest part that this period leaves us is a Marist Arco Norte family with known faces, where each one feels like a bridge between their province and our region.  Br Hipólito Pérez, Provincial of Central America and Coordinator of Arco Norte regional, attended the meeting and invited the team of lays to reflect on three attitudes: gratitude, welcome and creation. The construction of community prayer based on the figures of the manger was also carried out.

A small virtual toast made by Claudia Rojas C., Coordinator of the Regional Formation of Lays team, closed this beautiful and emotional moment. A special thanks to the secretariat of the lays, to the Provincial Brothers of each of the provinces and the district for facilitating the participation of these Marists of Champagnat, but, above all, we give our gratitude to Jesus, Mary Our Good Mother and Champagnat who continue to walk with us.

Arco Norte Formation of Lays team

Best Practices in Religious Education Regional Meeting

Best Practices in Religious Education Regional Meeting

Last Saturday, October 16, the Best Practices in Religious
Education Regional Meeting was held, organized by the Evangelization
team of Arco Norte, where teachers of different areas like faith education,
religion and catechesis connected from the provinces of the United States,
Central Mexico, Occidental Mexico, Central America, Norandina and Canada.

The objective of this meeting was to create ties between all the Marists of
Arco Norte on the subject of catechesis and religious education in schools,
as well as to help teachers improve and animate, in community, the
experience and mission of accompanying the faith of children and young

During the meeting, there were different presentations of best practices
that, throughout the region, teachers have brought to their classrooms:

Alberto Rodríguez, from the USA, spoke about the online tool
called Edpuzzle that allows you to edit videos for a more dynamic and
interactive class, through questions, creation of quizzes or voice notes,
where teachers and students actively participate in the day's
lesson. Undoubtedly, there are countless digital tools that allow this type of
different and dynamic activities during virtual classes.

Primitivo Villegas, from Occidental Mexico, presented the "Teacher training
program in the Human-Christian area" which aims to manage active
participation, multidisciplinary and systemic knowledge to train teachers
with an ethical project that assumes life in a contextualized, reflective and
critical way, but also in a compassionate and committed one to better
educate their students. This program has as methodologies the dialogue
focused on life experiences, a learning community and a flipped classroom

Jonhy Castillo and Ana Paola Frayle, from Central Mexico, spoke about the
"Virtual Meeting Space" which aims to take a break from the day to day life
to have a moment of interiority about what we are living in these times of
confinement, as well as experiencing an encounter with God through
sharing experiences with their group and finding a meaning of what they’re
going through, making them feel in company, letting all the senses flow to
be able to focus on what God and our heart tells us.

Constanza Naranjo, from Norandina, presented “National and Zonal Marist
Encounters of Schools of Religious Education”, where meeting spaces are
fostered between students from Marist institutions in Colombia, in order to
share knowledge and experiences that allow a bigger vision of the world,

thus how to educate them for the exercise of religious freedom and qualify
them in their spiritual competence. The methodology used was based on
speakers, forums, reports, life communities and guided visits.

Nohemy Cuéllar, from Central America, spoke about the Genially platforms,
a software that allows interactive content through the creation of images,
infographics, presentations, microsites, catalogs, maps, among others, which
can be equipped with interactive effects and animations to use in classes
and have more interaction with students. She also presented Nearpod, a
tool that allows the creation of a guided presentation that incorporates a
multimodal content, and interacts with the audience/students through
activities that allow synchronous or asynchronous work. Another tool
is Quizizz and the use of google sites to generate a microsite to interact even
more closely with the students.

After sharing these best practices, Juan Ignacio Fuentes, from Argentina,
invited us to reflect on how those who dedicate themselves to faith
education feel about their here and now, within the context of the
pandemic that still continues, what their heart tells them and why it is
important that they also have a moment of interiority, to be able to
reimagine education in the post-pandemic faith. He shared the feelings and
drawings of students, which made clear the importance of the role and work
that the teaching team dedicated to catechesis does when working with
their schools.

We must generate: safe places to meet and care, narratives of experiences
favoring expressions, emotional catharsis and learning, moments of
listening to the heart and spiritual experiences, and lively environments of
enjoyment that allow humor and games, shared Juan Ignacio.

Finally, Br. Daniel Martin, coordinator of the regional evangelization team,
thanked the participation of almost 120 people during the meeting,
including speakers and attendees, as well as the rest of the members of the
Arco Norte teams. We take today a lot of work that we can do together,
rethink the image and importance of a post-pandemic God and dream of
forming common themes for our communities, with dialogue on spiritual
and emotional intelligence.

Canada is now a “Young” Marist District

Canada is now a “Young” Marist District

“Life is a movement forward!” This is the title that could be used to introduce the Assembly of Canada that was held from July 30 to August 1. Indeed, August 1, 2021, is a pivotal date for Marists in Canada, lay people and brothers. The Province of Canada became the “District of Canada“, while the AMDL (Association Mariste des Laïcs) became the Marist Association of Champagnat of Canada (AMCC), an entity bringing together brothers and laypeople in the pursuit of a common ideal.

The passage from “Province” to “District” is, at the level of the Institute, a sort of “novelty”: we are more used to experiencing the opposite – passage from District to Province – or the regrouping of two or three Provinces into one. The General Council had therefore foreseen a canonical structure adapted to North America: the District of Canada is thus attached to the two Provinces of Mexico (Central and Western) and to the Province of the United States, which assures the canonical link: these three Provincials, with the Superior of the District, form the “Council of Governance”. It is in this capacity that the three provincials – Daniel O’Riordan (USA), Luis Felipe Gonzalez (MC), Louis Enrique Rodriguez Santana (MO) – participated in the meetings throughout the weekend. Brother Ernesto Sánchez, Superior General, and Brother João Carlos do Prado joined the Saturday (July 31) morning session.

These are not “banal” events: they imply not only changes of statutes, but an invitation to a new beginning. It was therefore appropriate to experience them in a spirit of continuity and openness to the future. Two people – Félix Roldan (a brother) and Pedro Chimeno (a layman) – were responsible for the organisation of the weekend. They worked with a team of brothers and laypeople, young and not so young, to draw up a programme which included information, of course, but also reflection, exchanges and courses of action. And even if the health measures imposed by the COVID-19 are becoming more flexible, this meeting had to be carried out via Zoom: the organisers and the participants were able to adapt well to this. As will be seen, the Assembly consisted of 4 blocks of 2 hours each.


Friday, 30 July – 1st block: “Dare”

The opening of the Assembly of the new “District of Canada” was done jointly by Brother Gérard Bachand, outgoing Provincial, and Mr. Jacques Boudrias, President of the Lay Association.  Brother Gérard took advantage of the occasion to recall the road travelled since the first “Forums” in the 1990s bringing together brothers and laypeople of the former Province of Iberville up to the crossroads where we are now, where laypeople and brothers meet “around the same table”.

There was then a slide show presenting the major stages in the life of Brother Gérard who has animated the Province over the last 7 years and ensured the passage from Province to District in the context of the pandemic, with all that this implied in terms of work, consultation and virtual meetings. The tribute was touching, and above all well-deserved! Bravo and thank you, Gérard!

Then a team of young Marists, with the help of a video “Dare”, asked us: “Why am I participating in the Assembly? What contribution do I want to make to ensure the success of the process that we are undertaking? Then, in workshops, everyone was able to share expectations and the contribution they intend to make.


Saturday, 31 July – 2nd block: “Daring to give birth

The session opened with a talk by Brother Ernesto, Superior General. Inspired by the theme of the day, he invited us, brothers and laypeople, “to read today’s reality with the eyes of God, to be beacons of hope and to dream God’s dream for us, in our context here in Canada.

Following this word of encouragement from Brother Ernesto, a first video was presented, “Who is the teenager of 2021“. Following the picture drawn by the young adults, the participants took time for personal reflection in light of the more technical part.

There was first of all a moment of reflection and interiority to carry out this new stage of unity between laypeople and brothers under the umbrella of the Association of Marists of Champagnat of Canada.

Firstly, the address by the president – a layman – gave a brief history, with the help of a slide show of the road travelled to arrive at this new entity where together we will be called to give witness to the values bequeathed by Marcellin. Then we moved on to different items on the agenda: election of a president and a secretary of the assembly – reminder of the responsibilities assigned to the members of the Board, presentation of the candidates and election. The 7 elected members are: Jacques Boudrias, Fernando Castro, Michel Beaulac, Claudine Cholette, Jessica Bonneau, Brothers René Mailloux, Gilles Hogue. Together, they will share the various responsibilities of the Board at their first meeting on August 12.


Sunday, 1 August – 4th block: “Daring to walk together

Before entering into the celebration of this last stage, Br. João Carlos do Prado, Liaison Councillor of Arco Norte, and Br. Dan O’Riordan, Provincial of the United States, reiterated to the brothers and laypeople of the District their support and their involvement in the new reality that we are called to live.

The rest of the District Assembly was a long moment of celebration presided over by Mgr Alain Faubert, auxiliary bishop of the diocese of Montreal and a Marist who has always been involved. Inspired by the text of the Gospel where Jesus invites his disciples to “cross over to the other side”, to a pagan land (Lk 8, 22ff), he invited the Marist family to “dare to go to meet our world of today, different from that which we have known, in order to respond to the emerging needs of our time”.

Then came the conclusion of the whole Assembly with the handing over of “powers”. In a highly symbolic gesture – in connection with Robert Lebel’s song whose words lend themselves very well to such a circumstance: “Like Him, to know how to set the table, like Him, to tie on your apron, to get up every day and serve out of love, like Him! Brother Gérard Bachand took off his apron to pass it around the neck of Brother Gaston Robert, superior of the new District. Brother Gaston Robert then addressed the assembly. Inspired by Psalm 126, so dear to Marcellin: “If the Lord does not build the house…”, he invited us to enter together with confidence into this new adventure that is opening up to us. He took the opportunity to present the Council that will support him in his mission of animation and accompaniment:  Brothers Bernard Beaudin, Félix Roldan, Jacques Bélisle and Gilles Lacasse; Brother Roger Guertin will be in charge of the District bursar’s office. And he concluded: “Mary, keep us together, brothers and laypeople, united in the same enthusiasm, so that the Marist charism may live on, according to the founding spirit.

And Mgr Alain Faubert concluded this three-day Assembly with the final blessing and the sending off to the mission.

Brother Gilles Hogue





A New Beginning , Communities La Valla 200

A New Beginning , Communities La Valla 200

By Rodrigo Gris Castro, Marist lay

 Participating in the new LaValla200> communities was a great experience full of learning and challenges. We make “global availability” a reality, boldly responding to emerging needs, creating intercultural communities that serve youth on the margins of life. By participating in the new communities’ program, with my wife Argelia Hernández, we were partners of the Spirit, we raised our hands for something new, exciting. This is our way of understanding the call of the “Annunciation”, of responding to the daily invitation to “Be a Marist”.

“There is no viable future for international religious orders unless they seriously undertake the transition from international to intercultural”, Anthony Gittins.

Each of the participants in the program received the invitation in different ways: through discernment, walking with uncertainty, but somehow with the ability to respond and fulfill the mission. People told us that it is the courageous and generous leave the comforts of the family, their own culture, language and family to live and work in a foreign land. Maybe it is, but with the eyes of faith, the way that we have before us is an opportunity given by God, not only to serve in a life-giving way, but also to receive much, sharing the experience of being part of a great Marist family.

In 2016, we began our training for the LaValla200> program and for 4 years our community located on the outskirts of Sydney, Australia, we worked closely with the Diocese to solve the problem of young people who, due to various situations, dropped out of school, participating in meetings with the directors of the educational system to find solutions to the urgent situation of young people. We also worked closely with the local parish, with Jesuits, through the activities of the parish, sharing and celebrating with the family spirit.

Thanks to the accompaniment of Brother Lawrie, we understood that a formation was necessary when we arrived in Oceania, a different culture. We were far from home, we had to learn a lot and adapt. The language was an ever-present challenge. Learning English and Spanish was a priority for us, although Australian English became the primary language used in the community and, by necessity, in our ministry. Language, although intimately related to culture, was only the tip of the iceberg as we learned many differences between ourselves.

Confront sexism in some of the communities, food preferences, understanding time, family relationships, stress management, grief and mourning, overcoming various illnesses, connections with people outside the community, spirituality and forms of prayer, Understanding how communication works, attitudes to money, adaptations to culture, conflict management, and a host of emotions were just some of the differences we observed and had to learn from each other.

We also had to understand the unique community dynamics that living with people of different age, gender, and marital status entails. It was important for us not only to tolerate and accept differences, but to deeply understand and ultimately celebrate them.

Brother Emili in his letter “The future has the heart of a tent”, addressed to all the Marists of Champagnat, wrote: “Would you dare, like Champagnat, to take the risk of a new beginning?” Community is worth living. Let’s celebrate a new beginning, let’s celebrate being lay people and Marist Brothers with global availability. What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

“The invitation to leave ourselves out of love for God and neighbor is presented as an opportunity to share, serve and intercede, the mission that God entrusts to each one of us makes us go from the fearful and closed self to the self-rediscovered and renewed by the gift of himself “, Pope Francis.

Let us live a new Marist beginning, with the joy of the gospel. Let us have that global availability, it is worth going out to meet, leaving our comfort zone, without fear of being different. Many times, Pope Francis reminds us that the Church is not a welfare organization, a company, an NGO, but rather a community of people, animated by the action of the Holy Spirit, who have lived and are living the wonder of the encounter with Jesus Christ.

XVIII Provincial Chapter of Central Mexico: same mission, new and great challenges!

XVIII Provincial Chapter of Central Mexico: same mission, new and great challenges!

With the theme “Same mission, new and great challenges!”, the Province of México Central held its XVIII Provincial Chapter from 22 to 24 July. During the celebration, Br. Luis Felipe González began his service as Provincial, and the members of the Provincial Council were elected for the next three years. Brothers Juan Carlos Robles Gil, Irapuato community; Juan Jesús Franco, Pachuca community; Hugo Émerson Jiménez, CUM CDMX community; Luis Felipe González, Provincial; Juan Montúfar, Acoxpa CDMX community; Rodrigo Espinosa, Querétaro community and Marco Soto, Ixtaltepec community.

In addition to the capitulants, Brothers Ernesto Sánchez (Superior General), João Carlos Do Prado (General Councillor), together with the incoming and outgoing Provincial of México Occidental, Brothers Luis Enrique Rodríguez and Miguel Ángel Santos were present. And also 6 lay Marists from the Province of México Central.

On the first day, 22 July, Brother Luis Felipe González took up his mandate as Provincial and thanked Brother José Sánchez for his service during two three-year terms. For his part, Br. José Sánchez (Pepe) commented on the work done in the last three years. He highlighted the progress of the mission in the works, the organisational structure of the Province, the issues of government, management and administration.

During his participation, Br. Ernesto Sanchez, thanked Br. Pepe for his service: “We take with us the way in which Pepe led the way in a time of uncertainty, he managed to build teams, to encourage, to organise and to push… Thank you Pepe”.

On the second day, the proposals of the different working commissions were reviewed:

  • Marist life and mission: brothers, laity and formation
  • Marist mission: education and evangelization
  • Management, animation and government
  • Financial matters

At the conclusion of the approval of the lines of action, the brothers thanked the lay Marists for their participation in the two days of work.

On Saturday 24th July, the Brothers continued with the study and approval of the Norms of the Province.  This was followed by the election of the members of the next Provincial Council.

Before concluding the Chapter, Br. Ernesto said in his message: “I take away with me a very beautiful experience of fraternity, with the atmosphere of dialogue and harmony that was experienced during these days. The lines of action that you propose touch on the key points of the broad mission that you have in this Province… Let us put our energy into what generates life and future, in synergy with lay people, especially for the most in need. God is asking us to do this, and we have to move”.

Luis Enrique, incoming Provincial of México Occidental, emphasised that “something very important for us is to recognise what follows, and how good it is that we can continue to walk together. What it is up to Luis Felipe and me is to create a Marist Mexico. We are two Provinces, but in a Marist Mexico with the same mission, and new and great challenges. And after planting a tree symbolising the challenges and dreams of the new Council, Br. Luis Felipe González, the new Provincial of México Central, said: “May this tree represent the commitments and actions that we take with us in this Chapter”.

Photos / Video