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Golden Jubilee of the Little Brethren of Mary

Founded on July 2, 1971 by Fr. Antonio Piacentini, MCCJ, the Little Brethren of Mary celebrate this year their golden jubilee anniversary. They share with us in this article the history of the movement, its identity, and some key moments of the golden jubilee’s celebration.

The Little Brethren of Mary is a movement of faithful laity, men and women who strive to live according to the Gospel by following the path of Our Lady as they work in the missionary activity of the Church as Christian leaven in the world. 

The inspiration of founding the Movement emerged in the climate of renewal in the Church after the Second Vatican Council, in the years 1967-68. The spirituality of St. Charles de Foucauld and René Voillaume gave greater impetus and a more concrete perspective to the Movement. 

The Little Brethren of Mary recognize, in its history, the connection that unites it with the charism of Saint Daniel Comboni, Apostle of Africa, receiving thereby a strong openness to the mission “Ad Gentes”. 

After careful reflection and dialogue with the superiors of his Institute, Fr. Antonio Piacentini of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus started the Movement at Todos Santos, B.C.S., Mexico, on 2 July 1971, after the first seminar of the “Days of Light”. This was the date of the birth of the Movement.  Msgr. Giovanni Giordani, Prefect Apostolic of La Paz, B.C. gave his written approval on July 6, 1975, and Monsignor Adolfo Suarez, President of the Episcopal Commission for the Lay Apostolate in Mexico, gave his approval in 1983. On 2 July 1991, the Pontifical Council for the Laity decreed recognition of the Little Brethren of Mary Movement as an international association of the faithful. And since August 2016, this association is under the care and custody of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life.

Identity
This Movement arose intending to help its members to transform their lives, listening, loving, and living the Gospel and making it known, loved, lived, forming groups of a Christian life.

The Little Brethren of Mary seek to follow these Five Ideals:

1.    Read the Gospel every day, meditate upon it, and savor it, because blessed are they who listen to the word of God and observe it.

2.    Follow Christ as the only Lord and imitate Him as the only model that His life may continue in us.

3.    Embrace the poverty of Christ to be filled with Him, opposing the spirit of consumerism of the world.

4.    Pray in a profound and prolonged manner with the Gospel in hand, following the invitation of Jesus to pray always, without becoming tired.

5.    To do apostolate in a family and other situations with the testimony of life and to spread the Gospel, forming groups that help to live in newness of life.

The Little Brethren of Mary are present in the following countries:

Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, Hong Kong (China), India, South Korea, Italy, Mozambique (Africa), and the Philippines.

Golden Jubilee In The Philippines
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the foundation of this Movement of the Little Brethren of Mary. With deep joy and grateful hearts, the members of the Movement thank God for this gift to the universal Church and for making it possible for them to meet together even during the world health crisis, to celebrate the Golden Jubilee in some Dioceses and Archdioceses in the Philippines.

On July 2, 2021, the event was held in the Diocese of Legazpi, on July 3 in the Diocese of Daet, and Archdiocese of Lingayen – Dagupan, on July 4 in the Archdiocese of Caceres and on July 11 in the Diocese of Imus, with a solemn Eucharistic celebration officiated by the respective Archbishops and Bishops. Following the health protocols did not hinder the members to communicate the joy they had in their hearts as they felt the presence of God from within uniting them as one family. Then in a prayerful atmosphere, everyone sat down like Mary at the feet of the Master listening, meditating, and sharing the Word of God. The experiences of life shared by some members manifested how in the many struggles in life the practice of the Five Ideals helped them to remain faithful and lead their families to a closer relationship with the Lord. 

Golden Jubilee In Hong Kong
The 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Movement was celebrated on July 1, 2021 in Hong Kong. However, the restrictions due to the COVID 19 pandemic shortened the time of the celebration. It was a grace-filled moment for all the members. Chinese and Filipinos gathered together praying and sharing the Word of God. The celebration was crowned with the Holy Eucharist presided by Most Rev. Monsignor Javier Herrera from The Holy See Study Mission and five co-celebrant priests. This memorable occasion was showered with abundant blessings  through the Papal Blessing and plenary Indulgence granted to all the participants who made this celebration a very special one.

Golden Jubilee In India
The members of the Movement in India were grateful to God. Despite the present situation of the coronavirus pandemic, God granted them the grace and opportunity to celebrate the Golden Jubilee. They gathered in two small groups on July 2 and July 3, 2021, in the house of the community. The members who participated in these gatherings were  happy and their courageous response was greatly edifying. Together they meditated on the Word of God and reflected on the writings of their founder. 

The thanksgiving Masses with Plenary Indulgence for the 50th anniversary of the movement was officiated by Most Rev. Dr. George Antonysamy, Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore at Santhome Cathedral on July 24, 2021, and by Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Kariyil, Bishop of Cochin at Joseph’s Church, and Chirackal on July 27, 2021. 
 


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