Final Message of the International Lay Fraternity Meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, July 2006

The final statement prepared at the Arusha meeting follows. It invites us to accept and respond to challenges that had been identified by every continent.

FINAL MESSAGE

AFRICA WELCOMES THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE LAY FRATERNITY CHARLES DE FOUCAULD

This 8th Assembly brought together a group of 100 delegates in Arusha, Tanzania from July 20-31, 2006. Present in 49 countries, the members of the Lay Fraternity had been invited during these last three years to share their experiences on

'The prophetic and apostolic vision of the Lay Fraternity Charles de Foucauld yesterday and today'.

Enriched by these contributions, the 34 delegations in attendance, coming from five continents, were set to listen to each other despite their diversity: geographically, linguistically, culturally and socially...

The inspiration of the reports, the numerous times of meditation and celebration and the sharing of life brought us together, at times conscious of our limitations but also of the unity and friendship that Jesus was able to bring forth among us, as Brother Charles liked to live these.

We have experienced the witness of our African brothers and sisters through their ecclesial life and through our visits to projects linked to the education of children, the promotion of health (treatment of AIDS), the advancement of women,...

In the footsteps of Brother Charles, we intend to be peace-makers in our families, our neighborhoods, countries and continents. Like entire civilian populations, several fraternity members pay a heavy cost because of war and oppression in several countries (Congo, Lebanon, Iraq...).

The courage and the outcry of women, at once concerned about having a dignifi ed place in society and yet victims of the worst acts of violence in certain places, have been heard by the assembly. The growing disparity between rich and poor, the distribution of goods, poor governance,... degrades creation and should provoke us individually and collectively to take action with all who struggle for a world where peace and justice are at the core of relations between men, women, peoples and countries.

Aspiring to live with love and God’s tenderness, as our Brother Charles was able to do, the assembly invites the fraternities to accept some challenges:

  • to deepen the spirit of listening and friendship in our fraternities in order that each one, from wherever they come, be recognized and contribute to the growth of the fraternity.
  • to pursue, with clarity and in mutual respect, dialogue with Muslims, people of other religions and non-believers.
  • to intensify collaboration with all the associations that struggle for the respect and advance-ment of all people, the promotion of peace and the equitable distribution of wealth.
  • to create community in the environment where we live by being open and ecumeni-cal, by respecting each culture in its diversity.by following Brother Charles,
  • to live fully with the love of Jesus while deepening his message, taking time for prayer, sharing Eucharist, encountering each other as sisters and brothers.

We thank the International Team for having enabled the growth of the Fraternity during these past six years as one of the 19 branches of the association of Charles de Foucauld* and for having placed the Little Guide**, a useful tool, at the disposal of the responsibles, for all fraternities and especially for those who are beginning.

Arusha (Tanzania), July 2006

* See booklet: Charles de Foucauld and his Spiritual Family, which came to be published by the Association of Spiritual Families of Charles de Foucauld; Rome; Pentecost, May 15, 2005.

** Little Guide of the Lay Fraternities of Charles de Foucauld; Arusha, Tanzania; July 2006