Hoping against hope

Hope - nothing is impossible for God

Hope is not immediately evident at the moment. The Invasion of Ukraine - with its catastrophic and ongoing consequences; and the release of the recent IPCC Report on climate impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability give us little comfort, and much to worry about. However, our Faith assures us that all history and time belong to God, who has pitched his tent among us, and has given us reason to 'hope against hope' [R.4:18].One significant sign of the Spirit of God being at work in the world came through last week when in Kenya, on 01st of March, 175 countries agreed to a legally binding global treaty to end the plastic pollution crisis.  Countries agree to end plastic pollution in ambitiou...

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Pacific Islands - rising sea - maritime borders

Pacific Islands - risings seas - maritme borders

Francois Grossin sm, in New Caledonia, sent this article - November 2021 - relevant now and in the years ahead. In the Pacific, maritime borders threatened by rising sea levels and land erosion:     With rising sea levels and the erosion of their islands, Pacific states fear that their maritime boundaries will be lowered. They want to preserve their marine spaces or EEZs, Exclusive Economic Zones, as registered by the United Nations. From the Pacific Islands Forum to COP 26, the leaders of the countries affected by the rising waters carried their fight. To avoid losing their exclusive economic zones (EEZs) and becoming high seas areas open to all states, they drafted a De...

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No to human trafficking

Josephine Bahkita - trafficked & Canonized

This week's blog, comes from Fr Kevin Head sm, written as the editorial for February's  Marist Messenger : Human trafficking occurs for many reasons – for work in sweatshops, illegal adoption of children, organ transplants, forced marriages, drug trafficking, begging and prostitution among others. When she was twenty-six, Blessing Okoedion went to Spain from Nigeria with a promise of work in a computer business. However, when she reached Spain, there was no job for her, she had a forged visa, and her traffickers said she owed them $70,000. She had no way to pay, so they sent her to Naples and forced her to work on the streets as a prostitute. Blessing found her way to a shelte...

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Border Town-Sleepy-what's going on?

What's Going On at the Border?

Tony O'Connor, Kiwi Marist, writes from the USA-Mexico Border:    All is pretty quiet here in February. It is colder than normal which makes people sleepy perhaps? Or is there a weariness in the air? At first glance nothing seems to be happening. Lots of planes fly over without our knowing where they are going or who their passengers are. Unaccompanied Central American Minors protected by a US 2008 law are still being allowed to cross the river. But with COVID the centers for minors have them all grounded from coming to religious services here in San Felipe. Trump's Title 42 is perpetuated still by Biden because of OMICRON so they say, which means no to asylum seekers Many peo...

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Nazareth - Family Reintegration Ministry

Reintegration Camp-Marist-Dakar-Senegal

Fr Roger Kasiama sm, Superior of our Marist Community in Dakar, Senegal, wrote this Report at the end of 2021:  Nazareth - Family Reintegration Ministry -  represents the visible face of a project that aims to intervene with children and young people in family breakdown still living on the street, as well as with parents and guardians in order to achieve a healing reintegration into the family.  After a brief break during the winter months, the center's activities resumed at the beginning of October. The purpose of this report is to provide a brief illustrated summary of the achievements of the Nazareth Centre in 2021 THE IMPACT OF FIELD VISITS&nb...

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Marist Project - Bahia, Brazil

Praying and Working for the Project

Our Marist Confreres in Bahia, Brazil are developing a Marian Ecological Project, and send this report:   Humanity at the moment finds itself with an urban environment where contact with nature is increasingly difficult and this is creating social and environmental problems such as: air pollution, destruction of natural resources, local climate change, floods, slips, lack of recreational space as well as psychological difficulties associated with an excess of information and the stress of daily living. This being the case it is necessary to maintain the green space that belongs to the Parish of Our Lady, Mother of God and Humanity (Caetité Diocese) in Palmas de Monte Alto, Bahia. W...

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Marist Contemplative Living

JC Colin - Statue - General House

We continue, for the third month, with words from 'A Founder Speaks' : Jean-Claude Colin sm:   141:4 'Let those who are burning to go out there [Oceania] remember it well. They must not count on themselves, but solely on grace, on prayer, on the spirit of prayer. 141:5Messieurs, without that spirit of prayer we shall not achieve anything anywhere, either on the foreign missions, on the home missions, or in schools. The spirit of prayer softens hard hearts, brings graces, brings enlightenment. Often it will suggest a word, a single word, which goes right to the heart. ... Certainly, we cannot always be on our knees with our hands joined; that indeed is not our vocation. Bu...

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Marist LSi Project - Cameroon

Fr Luigi Savoldelli sm - LSi - Cameroon

Fr Luigi Savoldelli sm, sent this news, at the end of last year, from District's Laudato Si Project in Cameroon:  Dear friends of the poor, I hope you are all well. Here in Cameroon the rainy season is ending, thank God this year has been more lenient than in previous years and has not done much damage. The work, in accordance with Pope Francis' Encyclical Laudato Si, continues well, young people and families participate with commitment and enthusiasm; now we are working to build a third chicken coop of 9 x 20 meters and for the canalization of the water in order to be able to bring it to all points of the project (houses, farms, plantations ...). The work we are doing no...

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New Year - signs of Hope

Mary - Mother of Hope

1.  Unpatented Shot Dubbed 'The World's Covid-19 Vaccine' Wins Emergency Approval in India "This announcement is an important first step in vaccinating the world and halting the pandemic," said Dr. Peter Hotez, a U.S.-based vaccine scientist. Jake Johnson     - Common Dreams   December 28, 2021 An unpatented Covid-19 vaccine developed by the Texas Children's Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, and the pharmaceutical firm Biological E. Limited received emergency-use authorization from Indian regulators on Tuesday—news that the jab's creators hailed as a potential turning point in the push to broaden global vaccine access. "Our Texas Children's Center does ...

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Christmas in Context

Christmas in Context

We celebrate Emmanuel 'God-with-us'. He will work with us, through us, and in us to bring about "a new heaven and a new earth". He is already totally committed - faithfulness is his nature. Having become human flesh himself in Mary's womb, and been suckled at her breast; having been sustained by the fruits of the earth, and the crops of the land; having drunk the rain waters of the heavens; and having given himself to us in the form of bread made by human hands: then he will never fail us. Our role is to do our best not fail him, or any of his creatures. An integral ecological conversion calls us to live with a profound respect and a deep humility for who we are in the web of life, and ...

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Christmas - an Outback-Bugey

By Sister Mary Farrelly SM - writes of her mission in outback Queensland I love a sunburnt country, A land of sweeping plains, Of ragged mountain ranges, Of drought and flooding rains. I love her far horizons, I love her jewel-sea, Her beauty and her terror – The wide brown land for me! A stark white ring-barked forest, All tragic to the moon, The sapphire-misted mountains, The hot gold hush of noon. Green tangle of the brushes, Where lithe lianas coil, And orchids deck the tree-tops                                    And ferns the wa...

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Marist Contemplative Living

Advent - Hope and Promise

This month's blog builds on last month's, where we ponder our Founder's own words on Contemplative Living.  All quotes are from "A Founder Speaks": 39:19 'Keep well in mind that you must direct your house by prayer. That is very important. Everything by prayer. 47:2 'When you want to obtain something, you do the same [procession] in Heaven, making a round and passing all the saints in review. I make a halt before the holy patriarchs, the holy apostles, the prophets, the martyrs, the bishops, the holy women, the virgins, the confessors, and the holy innocents – yes, especially the holy innocents. I am very fond of turning to them; I pray to them with special affection. They are...

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Our Time of Transformative Action

Time for Transformative Action

Peter Healy, Kiwi Marist, writes:  Manaakitia a Papatūānuku tō tātou kāinga/Let us care for Earth our common home. The Dicastery For Promoting Integral Human Development has released the Laudato Si Action Platform for "preparing a future" together. This Platform is an invitation to the whole Church to undertake and deepen our ecological conversion over the next seven years. As the Dicastery release puts it, "assisted by a multi-year rollout process, the action platform will be dedicated to assisting local communities on their journey towards integral ecology through actions based on global knowledge and local realities." Every Catholic is called to engage; families, parishes and di...

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Dismantling the Communal Sin of Racism

From Communal Sin to Communal Grace

Our Lady of the Assumption Marist Parish, Atlanta, Georgia have begun a new program: Dismantling the Sin of Communal Racism:  They recently published this article: Peace and love to all from Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church (OLA) in Brookhaven, GA. We send our prayers for hope and healing to all, as we join in combatting the urgent crisis of our time. We are beginning a journey to dismantle the communal sin of racism in our church, our school, our parish, and our community, and we appreciate the opportunity to share our work and to seek the prayers and guidance of all. Our Identity We are a parish and congregation born in 1951 in the north Atlanta suburbs, amidst Jim Crow...

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A School with an edible forest

First School in Mexico with an edible forest

This news comes from the Marist Affiliated 'Franco-Ingles Colegio' in Mexico.   A 1.5 min overview of the school and its projects can be seen here "The first school in Mexico with an  EDIBLE FOREST where students learn" Edible forest. Production of fruit trees and shrubs, aromatic and medicinal plants. 5 Sections:Succulent | section reproduction and marketing 2020Development of aromatic and medicinal plants | transformation, reproduction and commercialization 2020 Edible forest (fruit trees) | Production start in 2021.3 learning paths.Edible shrubs (blackberries and raspberries) | Start of production 2020-2021 EDIBLE FOREST AND LEARNING TRAILS CONCEPT Unit price Quan...

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Marist Contemplative Living - our Founder Speaks

Jean Claude Colin-General House Statue

Perhaps there is no better way to celebrate the Anniversary of Jean-Claude Colin than to encounter him again in his own words. All quotations below are from A Founder Speaks. Suggested reading - Lectio Divina style: Doc 9:3 In a word you must live in complete detachment from everyone, detach yourself from any judgements that others may pass on you. We should exist before God, as if there were none but he, seeing him alone, walking boldly by faith. If people are wanting in virtue it is because they lack courage, because they do not pray as they ought. Do not be self-seeking in meditation, otherwise you achieve nothing. It was prayer which made the saints. If you get nothing out of it, neither...

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Aboriginal Spirituality

Art - Australian Aboriginal Peoples

Fr Paul Sullivan sm, Director of Marist Mission Centre, has worked for many years with the Indigenous People of Australia.  He recently gave some input to our Marist Commission for Inter-Religious Dialogue. Paul began by quoting the work of W.E.H. "Bill" Stanner CMG, an Australian anthropologist who worked extensively with Indigenous Australians. Stanner quotes an Aboriginal elder as saying: "White man got no Dreaming - Him go another way"; and he quotes Captain Cook's Journal: "they do not have the things that we have for contentment, for example …. …… and ………… yet they have contentment' …..'what we need for contentment – they regard as superfluities'. Stanner claims that Abo...

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Life - let go, or take away?

Kevin Bates sm, Australian Marist, reflects on Euthanasia 'Voluntary Assisted Dying' and Palliative Care:   Some time ago, "A Current Affair" ran a poignant piece telling the story of Gabe Watkin, a Queensland woman suffering the effects of Motor Neuron Disease. She had been pleading with Queensland Health for access to a surgical procedure that will likely extend her life. At the time of the broadcast, Queensland Health's Ethics Committee had kept Gabe and her family waiting twelve months before declining her access to the tracheotomy she was seeking. All Gabe wanted as she said herself was the right to live. The Queensland Government at the same time was preparing its Right to Di...

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Earthshot Prize Awards

Earthshot - A Decade to heal the Earth

The Earthshot Prize is awarded by the Royal Foundation to five winners each year for their contributions to environmentalism. It was first awarded in 2021 and is planned to run annually until 2030. Each winner receives a grant of £1 million to continue their environmental work.  Justin Taylor SM presented the following text from recent BBC News :  There were five winners announced in London, each receiving £1m. Prince William was joined by stars including Emma Watson, Dame Emma Thompson and David Oyelowo for the ceremony at Alexandra Palace. Ed Sheeran, Coldplay and KSI were among the acts that performed - and in keeping with the eco message, the music was powered by 60 cyclis...

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Marist Contemplative Living

God needs Dry Wood

Fr Frank Bird sm, waiting to return to NZ, writes from Ranong, Thailand:  God needs dry wood As a Marist venturing down the contemplative tradition, I have been deeply struck by an image used by St John of the Cross: God needs dry wood. I think John of the Cross means that the fire of God's love needs to be physically warm and visibly bright, so it can be a real experience for others. This image has captured my imagination ever since the Marist Renewal experience at Le Neyliere in 2017, and the past few years while here in the Marist Mission in Ranong, Thailand. I think the Church, Mary, the Society of Mary - also needs me to be dry wood. I think contemplative prayer and practice i...

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