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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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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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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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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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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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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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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On the Mexican Border at Brownsville, Texas

Tony O'Connor with Soup Kitchen team
  As Peter Chanel, the pro-martyr of Oceania was dying he said "Death is good for me" and this week on the Southern border, in this parish begun by the Marists in 1996 we will hear a similar refrain on this our patronal feast, from the young Felipe de Jesus, our patron and a migrant, the Proto- Martyr of Mexico, one of the Nagasaki martyrs of February the 5th, 1597. He was a Franciscan seminarian returning from Manilla to Mexico to be ordained and was shipwrecked and joined Pablo Miki and companions. He died repeating over and over again the name of "Jesus" "The night is slipping by so quickly. Tomorrow I will die executed on the cross, but I am not afraid." Here in the Rio Grande Valle...
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