Homeless children & Covid-19

Fr John Guo sm with Staff of BAPAS
Fr John Guo sm is the Acting Director of Balay Pasilungan Incorporated, a Marist project for homeless children in Davao, Philippines.   Following are some excerpts of their Report as they face the pandemic.The work of BaPas is currently being impacted by COVID-19We are closely monitoring the impact of the pandemic of COVID-19 around the world and our BaPas  Crisis-Response Team is meeting regularly to assess and how to respond collectively to the situation to ensure the safety of the children and staff of BaPas. Davao City COVID-19 Situation The whole country is in lock-down. Davao City has a total population of 1,825,450 is in lock-down since March 16. The lock...
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Covid-19 Francis prays for the world

Pope Francis' Prayer for the World
Pope Francis prayed for the world last Friday evening here in Rome.    Here are some excerpts of his meditation:  "When evening had come" (Mk 4:35). The Gospel passage we have just heard begins like this. For weeks now it has been evening. Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void, that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air, we notice in people's gestures, their glances give them away. We find ourselves afraid and lost. Like the disciples in the Gospel we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm. We have real...
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Corona virus in a Time of Climate Crisis

Maori life-force stones
Fr Peter Healy sm, NZ, reflects on the new corona virus in a time of crisis:   At our last Māori mass here in Ōtaki, Aotearoa New Zealand we named and blessed three kōhatu mauri or life-force stones.This is a traditional Māori practice for helping people focus and ground their intentions. Our three kōhatu mauri called Te Whenua, Ngā Wai and Te Tuarangi, represented our land, our waters and our universe and heavens.The kōhatu when blessed were given the task of embodying for our community a collection of concerns and hopes.  The kōhatu Whenua was tasked with holding the corona virus within the context of the larger issues facing our earth community.We named inequality of income...
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Corona virus - a Faith response

At this time when the whole world is preoccupied with the Corona Virus Covid-19, how are we, as People of Faith, called to think, pray, and act?  God's name, and nature, is revealed to us as "I am with you". This is the name of the God who began the unfolding of Creation some 13.8 billion years ago; who formed our planet some 4 billion years ago, brought about the human emergence some 200,000 years ago, revealed this name to Moses some 3,500 years ago, to Isaiah some 2,700 years ago, and married himself to us and his creation some 2000 years ago in the person in Jesus - the eternal, generative Word, become flesh.Our God is with us in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.God ...
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Australia down under & under attack

Koala in the Aussie fires 2019-20
Fr Jim Carty sm, Australia, writes this report on the 2019-2020 extremes of fire and flood:  Australia rarely makes the international News cycle - we are "down under" and out of sight. Sadly, when we do hit the headlines it is often for wrong or horrible reasons. At the moment we are big news and sadly here are the reasons why:1. Australia is perhaps more than any other nation the "canary in the coal mine" when it comes to the reality of climate change world wide - and what an ironic analogy that is, because of our continued emissions from coal-powered power plants and the fact that Australia is one of the leading coal exporting nations in the world. FIRE2. Bush-fires rag...
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A letter from Thailand

Br Paul fms, teachers and students at 'Hope
​ Br Paul Murphy fms, Australia, recently sent this letter from his mission in Thailand:    A grey ribbon of narrow road, hedged by brush and swamp, snakes ahead running from 'somewhere to nowhere' until it bursts upon the shore of the Gulf of Thailand where finger wharves encompassed by tiny trawlers bob and ebb on a grey green sea. I had just come two hours south east from Bangkok to 'Hope's' most beautiful school at Wat (temple) Sirimonkon on the edge of the region of Samut Sakhon.  Wat Siri is a beautiful, loving school surprisingly part funded by the Thai government and nestling on the side of two active temples, both Buddhist - one Thai, the other Bur...
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Beloved Amazon - Pope Francis

Pope Francis - beginning - Amazon Synod
​ A few days ago, Pope Francis released his post-synodal exhortation Querida Amazonia - Beloved Amazon. This week's blog is a 'taste' of a few gems of the four Dreams Francis offers us: a Social Dream; a Cultural Dream; an Ecological Dream; and an Ecclesial Dream. His concluding prayer is to Mary, mother of all creatures. The full text can be read   here    CHAPTER ONE - A SOCIAL DREAM"a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor". We do not need an environmentalism "that is concerned for the biome but ignores the Amazonian ...
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World Inter-faith Harmony Week

Marists in Inter-faith Dialogue 2019
World Inter-faith harmony week, 2020, has just been celebrated 01-07 February.Fr. Hermes (Larry) Sabud, SM, Chair of the Marist Inter-religious Dialogue Commission prepared this paper for the occasion. 1. What is World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW)?The United Nations (UN) on October 20, 2010, recognizing the need of dialogue among different faiths and religions and their contribution for peace in the world, has proclaimed the first week of February of every year the "World Interfaith Harmony Week" between all religions, faiths and beliefs. The UN encourages "all States to support, on a voluntary basis, the spread of the interfaith harmony and goodwill. The celebration based on the love of G...
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Water: essential, fundamental

Fr Luigi Savoldelli's Well - Cameroon
Water: essential, fundamental, universal human right. With this title Fr Luigi Savoldelli sm, Italian Marist in Cameroon says "I wanted to start this, my first article, on the experience that I am living with my brother Africans and the people of Cameroon, resuming a passage of the encyclical "Laudato Si" by Pope Francis. In the context of this encyclical, the agricultural project that we are sharing is part of the Marist community of Cameroon and a group of local poor families.Among the elements of the project an important aspect is that of water, a vital and essential element for human life; In order to respond to the need to be able to guarantee to the local community, which will gather a...
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Unusual Kindness

The Holy Family is still among us
The theme this year, 2020, for the week of Prayer for Christian Unity [18-25​ January], has been "Unusual Kindness" - words of St Paul, when given this experience during his own shipwreck off Malta. We share in this blog, in a timely way, stories from Tony O'Connor sm, working with People on the Mexican-USA border, who so much need those experiences of being shown an "Unusual Kindness". ​ "MILD MODERN DAY TORTURE"?Juan from Salvador, 16 going on 17, a tall stocky lad, well-spoken and decent hearted , arrived two weeks ago , crossed the river and was picked up by the border patrol a couple of hours from here. Is now in a center for migrant minors. They took him first as they do to all, t...
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Laudato Si - Marist Family 2020

Cristina smsm, Anne sm, Ben sm, Ángel fms
This Year, 2020, is the 5th Anniversary of 'Laudato Si' and the 50th Anniversary of 'Earth Day'.On 11th January members of our Marist General Councils - Cristina Giustozzi smsm,  Anne McCabe sm, Ben McKenna sm, and  Ángel García fms,  met together to reflect on: 1. What are our General Chapters calling us to do? 2. What is happening in our Branch of the Society?  3. What Resources are we using?  and 4. How can we support each other and work together?     What are our General Chapters Calling us to do?Each member shared on their work and commitment to 'Laudato Si' within their branch of the Society ...
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Light that darkness cannot overpower

Light - Nativity Petrus van Schendel
Jim Carty sm,  leader of our jpic Australian group, has written the following Christmas letter: Chiaroscuro is an Italian term applied to those paintings where the central figure or feature is bathed or suffused in bright light (chiaro) surround by dark (oscuro) indistinct sometimes threatening, foreboding figures or features, suggesting danger, uncertainty- the nativity story as described in the Gospel is the focus of thousands of artists using this technique. Two such paintings by the same artist capture well this contrast:The calm before the approaching storm and all its concomitant fears. The nativity with its promise fulfilled, offering the light of hope and possible peace in a fra...
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There is always Hope

Centro Hispano Marista Graduates 2019
Dr. Leticia Valencia, program director of Centro Hispano Marista​  writes: Centro Hispano Marista is a ministry that provides affordable, bilingual, GED preparation classes for adults in Atlanta. Each Tuesday evening between 350 and 400 students arrive for classes taught by wonderful volunteers. Since its inception, the Centro has helped 290 graduates achieve their GED, or equivalent of a high school diploma, which has opened them the doors to higher-paying jobs, college, and job promotions. We have just celebrated our 2019 graduation on December 10th - see the cover photo! Although our program shrunk and had difficulties in the past, we keep seeing the potential in adult...
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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 aspir...
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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 proc...
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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 ...
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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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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 litt...
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