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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Aquaculture Project – Marist Eco-Centre Fiji

Fr Donato & Seminarians - Aquaculture
Donato Kivi sm, Superior of Marist College Suva, writes:      As part of our development at the Marist Eco-Center Dawasamu - some 70 km north of Suva -  some of our community members took time out during their semester break to build two water dams for our aquaculture project. This is an initiative on climate change adaptation, where the aquaculture on land in ponds is an option for the impact of climate on coral reefs (rise in seawater temperatures) that has disturbed marine life. ​ Fish are becoming scarce living inshore where locals use to fish. At the Centre which is situated along the coast, we want to model aquaculture as another way of helping coastal peo...
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Prison ministry - Digos

Fr Pat Muckian sm at Digos Prison
Fr Chris Ganzon writes from Digos, Mindanao, Philipines in regard to one aspect of the life and mission of their community, in the context of establishing a new parish - Prison Ministry:  The Marists have served in the two jails of Digos City, Philippines for the last ten years. We have been chaplains at that time at the Provincial Rehabilitation Jail (PRC) with about 400 inmates and the City jail with about 800 inmates. There has been many developments in Prison Life over the years and we have built a ministry with Lay Marists and parishioners. We focused on getting to know the prisoners, providing catechesis, faith sharing, Sacrament of Reconciliation, celebration ...
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Refugees at General House

Feraz - JC Colin - Mafoud
Here at the General House – Villa Santa Maria – we have two Christian Syrian Refugees with us: Mafoud and Feraz. They came to us through the "humanitarian corridor" , a pilot project carried out by the Community of Sant'Egidio, in collaboration with the Federation of Evangelical Churches and the Waldensian and Methodist Churches, completely self-funded .They have both learned Italian, are employed, and preparing for a new life….. ​ Here is a summary of Mafoud's story: "The place I come from in Syria has always been fully Christian. Despite the war we have never wanted to be involved. However, in 2013 we were told by the Islamic militia 'if you are not with us you are against us', then they b...
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Marists in Tanna, Vanuatu

Mt Yasur, Tanna, Vanuatu, Oceania
​ Fr Ókustino Epokifoóu writes from Tanna Island, Vanuatu, where the Gospel first arrived in the 19 th Century but met strong resistance. Cargo cults are still active – especially the John Frum cult.It is one of the least developed islands in Vanuatu, and one of the most populated – with some 29,000 people who live mainly from subsistence farming. The Marists were called on mission there in the 1980's. Tanna was one of the Islands most devastated by Cyclone Pam [Category 5] in March 2015 – destroying homes, schools and Churches.The current Marist Community are Fr Eneriko Nacolarara [Sup/PP – Fiji], Okustino Epokifo'ou [VSup/Bur -Tonga], and Louis Maite [Vanuatu - Education]. I enjoy the work...
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40 years ago - refugees in Japan

40 yr sketch from a Vietnamese Refugee
Fr Jim Carty sm, Australia, writes of his missionary years in Japan:  The years 1978 and 1979 are remembered as the high-water mark for the flood of refugee boat people fleeing Vietnam. They had to face storms, diseases, starvation, drowning, and real and frequent plunder and rape by Thai Pirates. The lucky ones were either rescued by passing ships or made it to a shore of a safe country. Estimates of the number of Vietnamese people who died at sea according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees , is the staggering figure of well over 200,000. No exact figure is available. The tens of thousands who did survive were accommodated in the many camps established by the UNHC...
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Marist Mission Ranong

Parents and children at Marist Mission Ranong
From southern Thailand, where the tips of Myanmar and Thailand meet, Fr Frank Bird writes.  Marists came to Ranong on the Thailand-Burma Border in 2006 as a result of being pushed out of Myanmar. It didn't take too much research to realise the Thailand Burma Border is a forgotten part of the world suffering the effects of 60 years of military repression creating 9 refugee camps and a large number of Burmese Migrants fleeing to Thailand for a brighter future for their families.  It is estimated there are over 2.5 million Burmese Migrants in Thailand. Ranong is a busy Migrant corridor from Southern Myanmar into Thailand. The stories of the early days of the mission are full of t...
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Mind and Body Wellness

Mary-mother of the new creation
Continuing the blessing of St Paul: "may your spirit, life and body be kept blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" [1 Thess 5:23]                                                                     Mrs. Bobbie Hall,  Class instructor and Department Chair ​writes:                                             ​ Mind and Body Wellness is a new class offered at Notre Dame Preparatory School in P...
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Living Water Foundation - Thailand

Wat Siri students with Brs Jose and Paul fms
Br Paul Murphy fms writes on another Living Water Foundation (LWF) supported school in Thailand:     This school is partially, significantly, and strangely government aided. It is situated near the pleasant surrounds and striking beauty of Wat Sirimonkow in the area of Samut Sakhon about two hours' drive south-west from Bangkok. The two temples (WATS) reflect the spiritual Buddhist culture of both Thailand and Myanmar (Burma). While most of the students are Buddhist there are several Christians too. The school is best described as a day co-educational primary school starting at Kinder and proceeding through to much older children in Grade Six. The school re...
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