New WCMF Logo
Thanks to the work of Brothers Tim Phillips and Michael McAward and our translators in Rome, the World Council of the Marianist Family 2009 Meeting Report and Christmas Message are ready for distribution. Copies of both, in all three languages, can be found at www.marianist.org. We encourage you to read and distribute these messages to all your communities.
The meeting report includes our goals and objectives for the next three years. The Christmas Message is an inspiring resource for personal reflection and for community sharing. It’s a gift to ponder in this season of faith-filled hope and anticipation of a world where peace and justice will reign.
We are also happy to unveil the new logo for the World Council of the Marianist Family, designed by Brother Michael McAward. It’s a stylized (and stylish!) version of the logo from our World Marianist Family web-site at www.marianist.org. Thanks Michael!
Our work in Rome was satisfying, yet intense. When I arrived home the reality of catching up with family and work – and the physiological effects of jet lag and late nights – forced me to put aside the meeting notes and task lists. As I begin to review the work ahead of us, I have to remind myself that our objectives are for the next four years and not the next four days! We are still preparing reports and letters from our meeting. And, of course, they will need to be translated before distribution.
One of the objectives for both the MLC and the World Council is to better share the good works being done at the grass roots in our Marianist family. We will be exploring ways to improve our communications. We will try to encourage networking and sharing of resources and formation materials. We will help to promote projects and encourage collaborative support across the miles. While ideas are being formed into concrete strategies, the good works continue…
- Here’s a follow-up to the November 4th blog post on the MLC Kenya Project. Our friends in Nairobi are continuing their work with the youth of Our Lady of Visitation parish. They provided a retreat for the young people at Komarock Shrine. It was a collaborative effort with our Marianist brothers. Ann Kihagi has created a wonderful Newsletter, full of photos, describing the day’s program.
- The Society of Mary Province of the USA has posted online a series of reflections from some of our 5th International Meeting of MLC participants. An article on our meeting and more good news from the US Province can be read in the fall/winter 2009 issue of ALIVE magazine.
- Susan Vogt (Regional Responsible for North America, Asia, Australia and Ireland) has written some study guide questions for our new document, “Marianist Lay Communities in the Church and in the World”. The study guides are available in English, Spanish, and French.
Now to write my reports…..
Nairobi MLC- Youth Retreat, Nov.1/09
Today was a writing day for the World Council. Our Objectives for 2010-2014 and the Meeting Report are completed. The Christmas Message is an inspiring reflection that leads us to Bethlehem to ponder our gospel call for social justice . Brothers Tim and Michael will be working hard to get all three translated, formatted, and ready for distribution within the next weeks. Comments were made that the three documents reflected well the work and discussions of our meeting. Common threads are woven through all three.
The World Council is bidding farewell to Brother Tim Phillips as he begins a year of Sabbatical. Tim has been an invaluable help to me in the weeks leading to the meetings, and during our time here. Every need was taken care of. Gentle reminders were given when something was overlooked. And his expertise and counsel was always available. Thank you for all, Tim!
The Council welcomes our new secretary, Brother Charles-Henri Moulin, the past provincial of France and now living and working in Rome. You can “meet” Charli in the discussion boards of previous posts.
This will be my last blog while in Rome. Tomorrow our MLC team will meet in the morning. Then, we are off for our annual celebratory dinner at the home of our Sisters. The afternoon and evening will be spent in Rome. Félix has said that he cannot return home without buying something for his teenage daughter!
I’m flying home early Sunday morning. It has been a good week. Thank you to all who have been reading this blog and for your affirming responses. I have been sharing your greetings with all.
World Council of the Marianist Family - Rome, 2009
The morning meeting of the World Council of the Marianist Family consisted of reports from the four branches: Alliance Mariale, Marianist Lay Communities, Society of Mary, and Daughters of Mary. After the intense discussions of yesterday afternoon, it was good to catch up on family news. We shared the gifts of the past year, as well as the challenges that we face. Aging communities in our older foundations are struggling to support the growing numbers of members and communities in developing countries. We discussed how to collaborate in present projects and future visions, especially in the area of formation documents and initiatives. Communicating news among our branches has grown in past years, but it can be improved by the simple process of sharing and expanding our email directories. This will ensure that resources such as the Friday Magnificat and branch newsletters receive a wider distribution.
“Pranzo”, the mid-day meal, was a special feast today. We celebrated the birthday of Rajesh, one of our seminarians. Members of the Council begged for a siesta after the long dinner, so our meeting began a half hour later. We had a full agenda but – miracle of miracles – we still managed to complete it!
An exciting initiative was put forward by Fr. André Fétis (Assistant for Religious Life) for the upcoming 250th Birthday of Blessed Chaminade in 2011. The proposal is to prepare a 13 month calendar (January 2011 – January 2012). Each month will have a specific theme relating to the life of Blessed Chaminade and the Marianist Family. Resources for community celebrations and reflections will be provided by different branches each month and posted online at www.marianist.org. It will be done in the spirit of a true jubilee year for the Marianist Family.
Tomorrow we will be finalizing our Objectives for 2009-2013, and writing the Christmas Message and Meeting Report. Now, as promised, here is a photo from our Indian cultural mass yesterday with our seminarians.
Celebrating Mass with our Indian Seminarians
We had a full table for the first day of the World Council meetings. Several new members were present including our new MLC team and Christiane Barbeux, the new Director of the Alliance Mariale. We began by sharing stories of our personal Marianist journeys, and what the Marianist Family and Council means to us. Common threads wove through our stories even with the diversity of age and geographical location – especially the strong family spirit experienced in the Marianist charism.
We reviewed the Who We Are as the World Council, as well as the Objectives for 2005-2008. It is time to formulate the World Council Objectives for 2009-2013. We will be listening carefully to the “signs of the times” in our discussions. This will help us discern our goals for the next three years.
Bro. Ed Violett, SM, Assistant for Temporalities, is leaving for San Antonio tomorrow so the Finance discussion took place today. Never an easy topic! All branches are experiencing difficulties from the global financial crisis of the past year. Our MLC branch is still struggling to meet the annual expenses of the international team as well as Family Council obligations. There is a consensus that we must discern carefully our expenditures as a Council.
After the meeting, we attended an Indian cultural Mass with our Seminarians. I hope to have a photo for you tomorrow. (I forgot my camera, but Domingo and Susan have photos.)
Again, I thank you for all the uplifting and inspiring emails and messages. They are keeping this tired woman energized!
Our Marianist “Three Offices” of Temporalities, Religious Life and Education are a wonderful organizational tool for a leadership team. The Society of Mary and the Daughters of Mary elect their leadership members to a specific Office. This ensures that qualified persons assume each role so the proper balance of skills for specific tasks may be maintained. Our international team is chosen by geographical region. When a team meets for the first time, we need time to recognize the gifts that each member brings. We can only hope and pray that there will be a good diversity of talents to work with.
Team at work
After a full day of meetings, it is clear that our present team is blessed with many talents that are needed to address the issues and challenges of the next four years. Ernest, a teacher by profession, is passionate about Marianist formation. Isabel’s back-ground in business administration was put to use today. She formulated a process to identify the main goals/vision for our next four years and how to plan a strategy to achieve them. Susan’s deep experience with social justice programs is an invaluable resource for us. Félix is modeling true Marianist collaboration and leadership by forming working teams in Europe to help him with his tasks as Regional Responsible.
We are planning to divide our team of six members into the “Three Offices” to provide a better focus to our work. It is a model that is faithful to our Marianist heritage. It is a model that works. We are in the middle of the process, but all the pieces seem to be falling into place. Stay tuned…..
Tomorrow we begin our meetings with the World Council of the Marianist Family. Thank you to all who have been sending greetings and prayers across the miles. We appreciate your support, and know that the prayers are working!
This morning we received a warm welcome at the Pontifical Council for the Laity. We met for one hour with Msgr. Miguel Delgado Galindo. He was interested in hearing about the reality within each of our Regions, and reminded us of the importance of balancing solid lay formation with social justice work. It is in our personal encounter with Jesus Christ that we find the truth of our lay vocation. We are called to sanctify the world by living our Christian faith in all aspects of our life, in the Church and in the world. His words affirmed the vision and challenges of our new document.
We ended our visit by greeting our old friend, Prof. Guzman Carriquiry. It was an opportunity to thank him for his help and support of our meeting in Nairobi.
Our new International Team has finally met, in person, for the first time. We all arrived safely in Rome on Saturday. Thanks to Brother Tim Phillips and Brother Michael McAward, each of us was greeted at the airport with a friendly face and a ride to Vial Latina. What hospitality!
Bro. Michael - our trusty guide
Today, we began our time together with a one day retreat – a walking pilgrimage through Rome. Brother Michael McAward was our “numero uno” tour guide. In one day, we visited all four major Basilica’s and many sights in between. Michael’s passion for history shines in his energetic story telling. Along with general information, he added many little known and fascinating facts. And he managed to do it in English and Spanish. Félix then translated the Spanish into French for Ernest. We were quite the cosmopolitan group!
Team at St. Peter's
Brother Domingo Fuentes, our assessor, planned a short prayer time at each basilica. We began the day with mass at St. Mary Major. We then reflected on the Annunciation story, and prayed for all Marianist vocations. Isabel offered special intentions for Latin America. We then went to St. Paul Outside The Wall where our prayer focused on mission and Mary’s words at Cana, “Do whatever He tells you.” We joined Ernest in praying for our Marianist family in Africa. At St. Peter’s Basilica, we prayed close to St. Peter’s tomb asking God to give us the faith we need. Susan offered prayers for North America, Asia, Ireland and Australia. We ended the day at St. John Lateran, praying for communities true to the Spirit of Pentecost. Félix led us in prayers for Europe.
We arrived home tired, but energized. We were impressed with the sights and richness of history. We were inspired by our prayers. And in the enjoyment of each other’s company, community was begun.
Tomorrow we are off for a meeting at the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and the work of our meetings will begin…
Cioa from Roma!
I’m surrounded by unpacked suitcases and piles of unfinished reports. I’m leaving for Rome this week, yet I wanted to post this short blog before I go.
One of the issues that the International Team will be discussing in our Rome meeting is how to promote and support Marianist social projects around the world. My mind is filled with ideas. Maybe a web page that will list all of our projects with links to contact information, project descriptions and updates, newsletters, and concrete, practical ways to support each other both spiritually and materially? Maybe an online donation site will be possible? I look forward to discussing all the possibilities with both our team and the World Marianist Family Council.
Interacting with youths and children during a social activity. “They speak and we listen”
Meanwhile, I have received the final proposal for the MLC Kenya project that I mentioned in a blog on September 23 titled Nairobi Faith in Action. It is a project to help at risk youth in Nairobi by nurturing them spiritually through small Christian communities, educating and forming them in vocational skills, and giving them opportunities for healthy social activities and leisure. The MLC in Kenya have accepted the proposal put forward by Ann Kihagi and Lorna Mueni Kilonzo. The next step will be acquiring donors and financial support. Please take some time to read the MLC Kenya Project Proposal. It is an inspiring document, written with compassionate charity and professionalism. Heart and mind are in balance in true Marianist fashion!
I will try to send news from Rome, with updates on our meetings. We count on your prayers. May the Spirit of Wisdom guide us all in our tasks!