Mary-way to peace among cultures

Mary-dialogue-fraternity-culture
​Pope Francis, on the 4th December gave an address to the  participants in the XXIV Public Session of the seven Pontifical Academies.  His words are appropriate for us as Marists in this time of Advent: Mary, a teacher of humanity The Pope reflected on  "Mary - way to peace among cultures" and recalled briefly on how different popes expressed veneration for Our Lady. He recalled the dramatic experience of the two world wars that led Pope Pius XII to uphold Mary as a beacon of peace for a frightened humanity. The Second Vatican Council, he continued, pointed to her as a "teacher of humanity" and a model for the Church in its mission to serve the "deepest asp...
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Prison ministry - lay Marist

Gemma at Digos Prison with her 3 children
Gemma Ando is a Lay Marist engaged in Prison Ministry in Digos, Mindanao, Philippines. She began this ministry in 2006 as a member of Marist Youth when she was in secondary school, under the guidance of Fr Joe McLaughlin sm. Gemma is a gifted musician and singer.She has three children Zedek, Francoise, and Stephen.Her husband died in 2014, when she was six months pregnant with Stephen.He died of heat stroke, as a construction worker.Gemma had won him over to the Catholic Faith, and he had been baptized 5 months before he died. Each Saturday morning Gemma goes to the Prison to prepare the readings and hymns for Sunday Eucharist with the prisoners. Faith sharing is an integral part of this pro...
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Enabling the under-served to reach for Excellence

Serving the Under-served: Board-Staff
​Mrs Karen Dessables, of Marist School Atlanta, shares an inspirational story for us on how an under-served student was enable to reach greatness through the program "Reach for Excellence"      ATLANTA-Reach for Excellence is proud of the success of Brandon Fountain, who first entered the academic enrichment program in 2009. Reach for Excellence is a three-year, tuition-free program, hosted at Marist School for underserved middle school students. As a sixth-grade student it was already evident that given the opportunity, Fountain was determined to succeed. Never one to shy away from a challenge, he eagerly entered the program Through a mix of academic, leadership and community...
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HIV-AIDS Ministry - Ranong

Fr Gil Casio sm - Palliative Care
Fr Gil Casio sm, writes to us from Ranong, Thailand:   Marist prefer to work with the poor and vulnerable, opting for jobs that are unattractive or unrewarding. In 2006, we opted to go to Ranong, a border town across the southernmost tip of Myanmar which serves as a gateway for Burmese migrants to enter into Thailand. It has the highest density of Burmese migrants in Thailand, where many of them are working in the fishing - and its related - industries. It has a moving migrant population, extreme poverty, and migrant fishing population which increases the risks and vulnerability for getting HIV. Our Marist Community recognizes those living with HIV AIDS&nbs...
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a Sandwich - a means of Encounter

Saturday Sandwich for the Homeless
Cosme, a Volunteer at NDF, London, a Marist Ministry writes:     "The sandwich service at Notre Dame de France is a special place". So I was told by my friend Laure a few years ago, at a time when I was looking to give some of my time to help others. I had been somewhat reluctant to go, wake up earlier than I used to on a Saturday morning and meet homeless people. I feared it might make me feel uncomfortable: what would I say, how should I speak, how could I really help? One day, I decided to go, and since then I have always wondered why I hadn't joined the service earlier. This has been a blessing for me in some many ways. The service is open every Saturday for two hours...
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SMNZ Draft Sustainability Policy

Kiwi Marists: Phil Cody & Peter Healy
​Peter Healy sm, a member of the Ecology Commission, has been working, in dialogue with the SM NZ Provincial Administration, to develop the following Draft Sustainability Policy Preamble: This policy sets down for the Society of Mary practical steps for our involvement towards the creation of a life sustaining world.Care of our common home is an intrinsic part of living the gospel today. We will take inspiration and direction from Laudato Si. Mary and her talent for homemaking and gardening in the village of Nazareth can be a model for our endeavors.  Principles: We will live the Spirit of the Society authenically by attending to our way of life and how it impacts on our planet home. We...
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Francis and the Catholic Dormitory of Ee Tu Hta

​ This is a story of a kind of 'sustainable development' by a refugee youngster. Former Mission Centre director, Fr Ron Nissen SM , remembers...   Francis Hsa Ku was a teenager when we first met in 2003. It was at MMC* Hostel, Maera Moo refugee camp, Thailand, deep in the jungles on the border of Myanmar.(*Marist Mission Centre Australia). He was one of the tens of thousands of refugees from Myanmar (then Burma) fleeing the brutality of the military regime. MMC had begun funding the Hostel in 1998. I first visited (on the back of an elephant!) in the rainy season of 1999. Since then the Hostel has continued to receive MMC support and is still known as 'MMC Hostel' despite atte...
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Born beside the bridge: Mexico-USA

Cristian - born beside the bridge
​ Fr Tony O'Connor sm, wrote recently from Brownsville, USA:   This is Cristian He was born in Matamoros yesterday morning. His mother "Jessica" had been living on the bridge on the Matamoros (Mexico) side for some time awaiting asylum now that illegally the US government leaves them in Mexico with all the risks of living in the street the Mañia (gangs) and hunger, thirst, heat, and rain . By rights little Cristian should be a US citizen but thanks to Trump he is a little Mexican Honduran chamarco. His mom from Honduras is 23 years old and does not want to live in the bridge it would be too dangerous for Cristian. Efforts are being made to find a place to stay for this li...
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O.C.E.A.N - one community embracing all nations

Wilai - Stateless - with Friend
​Fr Jim Carty sm recently gave the following address at Marist Cerdon College, Marylands, NSW: "We are one we are many"- a wonderful song by Bruce Woodley which captures the theme of today. This school Cerdon College Merrylands represents an example of what the world could and should become- for it is a microcosm where there is respect for diversity, equality for all and strives to be united as one, in its commitment for the common good of the school, Australian and beyond. And you have the added blessing of the protection of the Patron of the College- Mary, mother of Jesus, Mother of us All. As the Entrance song was sung, the flags of the 81 nations representing the 81 nationalities wh...
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Web of life - ecumenical - inter-religious

The web of life
​Donato Kivi sm, presented the following homily [abbreviated here] at an ecumenical and inter-faith celebration at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Suva, 17th September:       We are here because environmental protection is a concern for all of us – we are concerned about the well-being of our environment because it touches our very being as humans living on this planet we call home. Our environment covers many areas like food security, health security, energy security, economic security, social security, cultural security and so forth. This all comes down to our human security. The first couple, Adam and Eve who Jews, Muslims and Christians believe as their first par...
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The Bugey in Brazil

Kiwi Marist, Fr Patrick ('Paddy') O'Neil SM , writes about the Marist mission in Bahia, Brazil , inspired by the pioneer Marists' first missions in the remote and rugged Bugey mountains of France. ... The Mission of the Marist Fathers in Bahia, Brazil began in 1987 after much research in order to find a Diocese that was in a poor area of the country where we could offer support not only in Parish Ministry but also to the Diocese as a whole. The idea was to re-model our Marist origins in Bugey among the rural poor. Eventually the Diocese of Caetité in the southwestern area of Bahia State was chosen. At the time the Diocese, which is the same size as Holland, had 35 parishes but only twelve pr...
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Marists in Ranong - Critical Times

Marist Mission Ranong - Critical Times
Fr Frank Bird sm, Director, writes:   Our Marist Mission in Ranong, Thailand, has been supporting Burmese Migrant children and families since 2006. In the past few weeks we have had some challenges that remind us just how vulnerable Burmese Migrants are. An order was issued from the Department of Labour in Bangkok to search and scan all 10 Burmese Migrant Learning Centres in Ranong. 32 Burmese Migrant Teachers were arrested and deported. With the 9 other Migrant Learning Centres, we closed our Preschool and Secondary Education Programmes to protect and keep our Burmese staff safe from the possibility of arrest. Sadly around 3,000 Burmese children have now been without the oppo...
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Beginning at home -- caring for our planet

​ From Sydney, Australia, Ron Nissen shares an initiative of the Marist Family JPIC Committee… Living on the Pacific rim brings ecological issues very close to where we live, especially the dramatic effects of climate change on rising sea levels for our island neighbours. These people were the first we knew in the pioneer missions of the Society of Mary. Indeed, our own sunburnt and flood-ridden country is suffering as never before from environmental changes. And so we couldn't – nor would we want to – ignore the challenge of Laudato Si. It is a key ongoing item on our agenda. Two questions Beginning with our own domestic scenes we asked two questions: 'What are we doing?' and 'What mor...
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Season of Creation - A Prayer

All Life is interconnected and inter-related
God of Deep Time, God of the ever-expanding universe, God of Light of the Supernovas, and of the Darkness of the Black holes of our Universe, God who Resurrected Life after 5 mass extinctions of earth, God who knew us before we were born, and gave us our name and our place in this Universe, You know our predicament at this point in time, You gave us a mind to discern the signs of the times: The disruption in climate, The loss of biodiversity, and the fragility of our future, The fear of the stranger and the protection of borders to keep out our brothers and sisters. Darkness is not dark for You, and night is as clear as the day. In you we place our trust. Show us how to think, and what to do...
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Season of Creation - sustainability practices

Fr William Rowland sm, President of Marist School, Atlanta, USA recently sent this plan from his Staff, for the Season of Creation.   " We met yesterday to discuss ideas on how we here at Marist can best observe and honor the Season of Creation. Our idea is to focus on different sustainability practices each week. Below is an outline of the schedule: Sept 2-6 – Introduction of the Season of Creation through morning prayers and announcements Sept 9-13 – "Sorting Waste" – We will send a video made by Emma McEvoy that instructs students on how to properly sort their waste at lunch to foundations and advisories for viewing. Members of the environment club will also help students s...
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Saving Economy or Saving People?

'You are concerned about saving your economy in Australia … I am concerned about saving my people in Tuvalu,'" - Mr Sopoaga [Prime Minister of Tuvalu, South Pacific]. ​ Ross Flint, Anglican Priest and Marist Associate, writes from Launceston, Tasmania: ​ Pacific Islands Forum: How Enele Sopoaga and Scott Morrison lost when Australia scuttled Tuvalu's hopes  at the Pacific Island Forum, Tuvalu. 13-16 August 2019 https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-18/pacific-islands-forum-2019-climate-change-focus/11417422 The Prime Minister of Tuvalu went fishing on Thursday morning. Up before dawn, he'd arranged for a dozen Tuvaluan men to join him in a demonstration of traditional fishing methods for ...
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Eco-Retreat - “Laudato Si – What is mine to do?”

Retreat Group - Anne & Terry front centre
​ This small report is from Ben McKenna, on the joy, privilege and challenge in attending a recent Eco-Retreat, at An Tairseach Ecology Centre , Wicklow, Ireland. It ran from 15-20 July, and was given by Anne and Terry Symens-Bucher, husband and wife team, Franciscans, who hail from  Canticle Farm, California. "An Tairseach" is Gaelic for "Threshold" – a word rich in meaning for growth and progress in life, personally, communally, and globally – in this era of the Anthropocene where we are being called to Care for our Common Home. The Dominican Sisters began their project some 20 years ago: an Organic Farm and Ecology Centre, for Education, Sabbaticals, Retreats, Courses and A...
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Talad Thai Market - Pathumthani Province, Thailand

Talid Market - A Lottery of LIfe...?
A reflection by Br Paul S Murphy fms        The eight-lane, north-bearing mirage of motorway leapfrogs the struggling world below. I fly like a bird soaring above the reality and melee. This speedway could take me to charming, exotic and even reverenced places like the old Siam Kingdom's Capital Ayutthaya sacked in the 14 th century by the Burmese but never rebuilt, or to the tourist mecca of Chiang Mai or much further on to the new attraction at Chiang Rai made famous by the exploits of the cave boys (the 'Moo Pa - Wild Boars') football team and the heroism of those called upon to save them. But none of these interests me today. I am heading to the province of Pathumthan...
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Marist among Migrants on Mexican Border

Kids in Marist-Brownsville with Blankets for Migrants
Fr Tony O'Connor sm writes from Brownsville on the Mexican Border:  Since our first blog 04 February 2019 nothing has changed. All written about San Felipe, and especially our work with the needy and migrants is still true, is still happening.   Yet in another way here on the border everything constantly changes. Nothing is ever the same. Each day the plot thickens and our indignation, constant tears and prayers continue and come closer to a certain desperation or at least a profound frustration. The Northern Triangle: Guatemala; Honduras; y Salvador:   Feelings are for so many people who escape the Northern Triangle: Guatemala because "the food does not grow th...
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Marist Commission for Inter-Religious Dialogue

Marists for Inter-Religious Dialogue, Thailand, April 2019
Fr. Hermes Bajao Sabud, SM  - Superior of our Marist Community in Ranong, Thailand, has written this Article for us.   The full title is:  "Marist Commission for Inter-Religious Dialogue and Reconciliation (MCIRDR)"  A missionary Church:     "Dialogue is mission, and mission is dialogue." This expression has been inspiring many missionaries to commit and engage in promoting good relationships among peoples of different cultures and faith traditions. Ad Gentes states that "The pilgrim Church is missionary by her very nature, since it is from the mission of the Son and the mission of the Holy Spirit that she draws her origin, in accordance with the ...
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