Marist Family - L Si - 7 Yr Action Platform

Invitation to join the 7 Year Journey
Marist Family members, from all branches of the Society, from all around the world, attended a Laudato Si Webinar on 11 February.  The Rev. Dr. Joshtrom Kureethadam is Coordinator of the Sector of "Ecology and Creation" at the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. He is also Chair of Philosophy of Science and Director of the Institute of Social and Political Sciences at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome. His most recent books include Creation in Crisis: Science, Ethics and Theology (Orbis Books, 2014), The Philosophical Roots of the Ecological Crisis (Cambridge Scholars, 2017), The Ten Green Commandments of Laudato Si' (Liturgical Press, 2019).  ...
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Recycling - Mexican Border

Recycling-on the Mexican Border
Fr Tony O'Connor sm writes to us from Brownsville, USA, on the Mexican Border:  RECYCLING ON THE UNDERSIDE AND OVER THE GREAT DIVIDE:     Introduction: It is difficult to write in this time of political transition. Biden's Agenda priority on migration reform will need time. Hopefully the culture will change slightly and gradually, and compassion and some executive orders lead to more moderation. The "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" (D.A.C.A) order will increase help to younger ones brought here to the US when they were kids. COVID properly tackled should gradually allow the border to open fully and maybe asylum seekers will be permitted to cross the bridges o...
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Marists Refugees and Migrants

Migrants, Refugees, Marists
Br Ivan Vodopicec sm is Chair of the SM Solidarity Committee Europe. We introduce today the first of 4 Reflections they have prepared on Marists and Solidarity. The theme is Refugees and Migrants - "I was a stranger and you welcomed me" - Matt 25:38. These Reflections are available also available in Spanish and French [see below] and can be obtained from Br Ivan at   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.      "Marists attend especially to the most neglected, the poor,  and those who suffer injustice."  (MARIST CONSTITUTIONS No.12)        SONNY'S TESTIMONY               A refugee from Nigeria where he almo...
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Educating Young Immigrant Leaders - Ranong

Marist Team and Graduates Ranong - ACU
An historic Day, 05 December, for young Myanmar Immigrants in Thailand. The Graduates in our photo, Left-Right, in this report is from our Marist Asia Foundation Project in Ranong on the Thai - Myanmar border, are  Tint Zaw Lin, Thet Htar Oo, May Thazin Oo, Yoon Thiri, Soe Myat Tun. They have graduated with a Certificate in Teaching and Learning Graduation.  Special Congratulations to this first group of Teachers at Marist Asia Foundation to complete the Australian Catholic University Certificate in Teaching and Learning. Wonderful to be able celebrate your achievement together. Thanks to our ACU Professors back in Australia for sending your messa...
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Which Soul of the Nation?

3-month old Asylum Seeker
Fr Tony O'Connor sm writes from Brownsville, Mexico Border: Here, fear of the effects of COVID on self and loved ones, its restrictions on a free and easy life, are leading to consequences in MENTAL HEALTH. At the same time like in the novel "Gulliver's Travels where half the people crack their egg at the big end and another half at the small end, we have a country completely polarized as if the two halves live in two different worlds, one party standing for the lives of migrants, and against kids in cages, escaping certain death in their homeland; the other for the rights of the unborn; one in a seemingly "dog eat dog" seeking a raw POWER grab "in contrast to the other espousing the ol...
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Hope in the face of no hope

Rodrigo with his daughter & neice
How worse can it get? "Hope in the Face of no Hope" That is what is needed. As we enter the Season of Creation, Tony O'Connor sm sends this tragic story from the USA-Mexico Border it is a call to Conversion we all need to face, we who are the pinnacle of God's Creation, and  in God's Image:We read in the newspaper accounts of sad things that happen. But sometimes the inside story is tragically unbelievable. I send this account because I believe that it goes to the "grain" and prohibits us from saying when we read it "Yeah Right" It also is a call for prayer for this part of the world and for a change in the treatment of asylum seekers which at present according to international and...
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'Give it a go' - 'Echale Ganas'

The Spirit in Covid times - Brownsville
Tony O'Connor sm, writes from Brownsville, on the USA-Mexico border:  You know that the pandemic is affecting you when you wake at 3.00 am every morning with a frog in your throat and butterflies in your tummy. You are even more sure of this when someone says to you "We will get over this and things will get better" and your arms spontaneously float up to the skies in a gesture of praise and as a great sense of gratitude and relief fills your heart. But apart from that, every day you "Echale ganas" "Give it a go" "give everything a go". The article with national coverage "Neither a hurricane nor this pandemic stopped this confirmation" -  https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/...
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A Faith greater than Fear

A Faith greater than our fear
​ "May your Faith be greater than your Fear" [Heb 13:6]     Fr Tony O'Connor sm writes from San Felipe de Jesus Catholic Church, Brownsville, Texas. Here we were : attending Central American Minors in their centers and in the parish; taking food, clothes, and provisions to the asylum seekers over the border; and to the poor "ranchos" on the other side of the river in cooperation with the valiant people there; getting our kids ready for First Communion and Confirmation, 30 R.C.I A. candidates adults and children;fully attended Sunday masses; baptisms; weddings;15 year old birthdays; Zumba; Yoga; Praise; Adoration; adult education; Bible; food bank;social assistance. Then C...
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Easter Triduum at the Border

Tony O'Connor writes from the Mexican Border
Tony O'Connor writes of "Threads of the Easter Triduum at the [Mexican] Border": This past month, everything changed around me and keeps changing as "shut in" has set in on both sides of the border. Things as they were TENT COURTS Here the most notable travesties were the tent courts for the asylum seekers. At 4.30 am they would be lined up on the bridge on the Mexican side. The candidates who had been waiting days, weeks for this moment would be checked for louse, yes louse! Anyone not clean got left behind. Then they were marched over the bridge to the Tent Court, hidden behind a fence by the Gateway Bridge here in Brownsville. No one was permitted to witness the court hearings. Anybody wa...
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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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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, ...
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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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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&nbs...
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Francis and the Catholic Dormitory of Ee Tu Hta

​This is a story of a kind of 'sustainable development' by a refugee youngster. Former Mission Centre director, Fr Ron Nissen SM, remembers...   Francis Hsa Ku was a teenager when we first met in 2003. It was at MMC* Hostel, Maera Moo refugee camp, Thailand, deep in the jungles on the border of Myanmar.(*Marist Mission Centre Australia). He was one of the tens of thousands of refugees from Myanmar (then Burma) fleeing the brutality of the military regime. MMC had begun funding the Hostel in 1998. I first visited (on the back of an elephant!) in the rainy season of 1999. Since then the Hostel has continued to receive MMC support and is still known as 'MMC Hostel' despite attemp...
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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 lit...
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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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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 14th 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 Pathumthani ...
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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 ther...
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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 be...
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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 UNHCR...
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