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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Breakfast+ for our Homeless

Serving the homeless at St Pat's
Sr Fidelis sm, gives us this good news from St Patrick's Church Hill, Sydney:  Geography played a significant role in our planning Saturday mornings for our guests who sleep on the streets locally. St. Patrick's Church's local area would be familiar to many, either from visits or from tourism displays.  We  are located almost beneath the southern pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the route to Central Station at the southern end of the city passes by Hyde Park and the main retail centre, and skirts Darling Harbour. It is noticeable that there is very little service in terms of food for the homeless here in Harrington street compared to areas near Central Station and ...
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Centro Hispano Marista - helping adults get a second chance for education

Second chance for adult Hispanic students
Atlanta is a vibrant city in the Southeast of the United States with an increasing Hispanic immigrant population. Foreign-born residents have felt the anti-immigration rhetoric in the political environment, particularly those young adults who did not know they were not citizens until they tried to get their driving license later in life. The state of Georgia has an estimated 22,180 people who fall into this category and that are eligible for "Differed Action for Childhood Arrivals" or DACA protections. In 2018, according to the Migration Policy Institute, only 35% of the eligible population participate in the program. To be eligible for DACA status, the solicitant must have entered the Unite...
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Ecological conversion: the future of our world

Pope Francis & Greta Thunberg - 17 April Vatican
After the final no there comes a yes, and on that yes the future of the world depends . The above quote, and this article, are presented by Peter Healy sm, NZ, member of the SM Commission for Ecology. These words from the poet Wallace Stevens, are favourite lines of Al Gore the ex American vice-President. He uses them in his environmental campaigning.The nos we hear all around us are many and varied."No, things are not that bad.No, a solution will be found to all this. No, all we need is faith in God.No worries, I can carry on as usual, it's the really bad guys who need to change.No need to to do anything I'll be dead and buried by the time it's a real problem".We hope these nos are growing ...
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St Dympna - for victims of abuse

​ Michael Whelan SM, Parish Priest of St Patrick's, Church Hill,  Sydney established the St Dympna Community in May 2018.   The purpose of the community is to provide a hospitable gathering for victims an  survivors of sexual abuse who want to be part of the Catholic community, but do not feel comfortable attending Mass. The community, of about 12 people,  meets once a month for prayer, sharing scripture, and anointing with oil.   St Dympna is the patron saint of the nervous, emotionally disturbed, mentally ill and sexually abused. Her feast day is May 15th. Saint Dympna (also: Dymphna, Dimpna ) was the daughter of a pagan Irish king and his Christian wife ...
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Sattahip - Superficiality hides the reality

Thailand - Burmese migrant children
Paul Murphy fms, Marist brother writes on a mission in Thailand:   The sweet smell of the sea and the pristine azure sky creates a positive impression. Sattahip is just 30 minutes south of the sex tourism playground of Pattaya - not that it counts for anything to our migrant families. So, take a right turn off the highway onto a long, narrow, winding road and you soon realisethat this road to the coast is a one way in but a no way out for scores of Burmese migrant families. ​ Somehow, they survive in absolute destitution and squalor, eking out a living drying hundreds of tons of silver-sided sardines for Asian markets. There is no factory here as all the salting, cooking, dryi...
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Peace, people, planet, partnership, prosperity

Address of Pope Francis
​This week we   share the address of Pope Francis to participants at the International Conference on Religions and Sustainable Development Goals held at the Vatican from 7 to 9 March 2019. I greet all of you gathered for this International Conference on Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainability and Inclusion When we speak of sustainability, we cannot overlook how important it is to include and to listen to all voices, especially those usually excluded from this type of discussion, such as the voices of the poor, migrants, indigenous people, the young. I am pleased to see a variety of participants at this conference bringing a wide range of voices, of opin...
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Street boys - new life - Dakar

Marits students, Toulon, with street boys
Fr Christian Abongbong writes from Africa:  Giving meaning and orientation of life to street boys in Dakar - Senegal In the year 2005, the Marist family (Fathers, SM Sisters, SMSM and Lay Marists) in Senegal started an association for the rehabilitation of street boys in Dakar city and also for home economics for girls in the poor neighbourhood. Keur Nazareth, as it is known now as "Nazareth Centre", takes care of street boys in Dakar. Since obtaining legal status from the Senegalese government, the team at the Centre has been working tirelessly for the rehabilitation, family and social reintegration of street boys. It is worth noting that this phenomenon is a big social problem in Sene...
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Bridging the gap

Burmese refugee youth, bridging the gap towards tertiary education
​ Beginnings In 1998, Marist Mission Centre Australia began supporting a small hostel in the remote refugee camp of Maera Moo in the jungles of the Thai-Burma border.  Since then, a generation of Burmese youngsters have had somewhere safe to live – and the beginnings of education. In 2011, several young men and women from Maera Moo, 'graduates' of MMC Hostel, sought help to bridge the gap between their rudimentary camp high-school education and the possibility of tertiary studies.  In the meantime, in 2004, MMC had helped set up Australian Catholic University's ambitious initiative of an online diploma course on the Thai-Burma border. 'How can we get into the ACU course?' , the Mae...
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