Gift in the Gathering

Assembly2010_logoThere is “gift in the gathering”! This term was used by my friend, Brian Reavey, at the SM gathering in Louisville last month. Today’s first reading tells us that “God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in them.” (1 John 4). It’s easy to feel God’s love when surrounded by the love of family and friends. There is truly ‘gift in the gathering’.

David and I attended the 8th MLNNA Continental Assembly in Hawai’i last week. God’s presence was felt in the gathering, in the music, in the witnessing, in the dancing, in the sharing, and in the praying. And, of course, we gloried in God’s presence in the midst of such spectacular natural beauty.

We were blessed with the presence of our Korean Marianist family. Brother John Ko came with two younger SM brothers, Andrew and Joseph, and 12 lay Marianists. I happily reunited with our friend and Korean delegate from Nairobi, Sebastian. The challenges of language were overcome by the enthusiasm and joy of our sisters and brothers, especially in the richness of their singing. Thank you to Brother Dennis Schmitz who skilfully integrated Korean songs, prayers, and dance into our liturgies.

Thank you to Pi’ikea Hardy-Kahaleo’uni, Jeannie Pinpin and Sr. Yoo Soo Kim, MM for sharing their gift of culture and dance with us in the liturgies. Pi’ikea also introduced us to many aspects of Hawai’ian culture through talks and activities. We learned about the Hawai’ian language and the sacredness of chants. We made leis. We were cleansed in the early morning waves of the ocean. We visited a taro farm. We learned about Hawai’ian flowers. These were not the typical ‘tourist’ shows. Pi’ikea shared deeply and intimately from her heart to ours.

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There was a rich variety of workshops to attend. On Friday we studied the diversity of lay Marianists, and resources and tools for our Marianist Lay Communities. On Saturday, the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative offered a wide range of workshops on social justice issues and action.

Of course, a huge Mahalo or thank-you goes out to Kay Stone, Jeannie, AJ Wagner (President) and the MLNNA leadership team, and all who worked so hard to organize the Assembly and ensure that all the details were looked after each day. It’s always difficult to explain the richness of the gift received in the gathering, but here’s a small attempt…

MLNNA Assembly Photos on Youtube

Gather at the River

Gather at the River

Gathering of the SM Province of the United States – Louisville, KY, June 30 to July 4, 2010

It was a joy and an honour to be with our Marianist Brothers to celebrate the first eight years of the unified US Province, the installation of the new Provincial Council, and to share the gifts and challenges of their strategic plan, Vision 2020. The welcome was warm, the prayer inspiring, and the laughter contagious. As Marianists, we speak often of the importance of ‘reading the signs of the times’. But, what we read often requires difficult discernments. In small group discussions and in “open mike” sessions, the sharing was honest and the listening sincere. The Spirit was alive, indeed!

Click here for my reflections on the Louisville Gathering, and here for a copy of my presentation on behalf of our MLCs.

Louisville 2010

Back: Fr. Martin Solma, SM (new Provincial), Joan and AJ Wagner (MLNNA President), Isabella Moyer. Front: Jean and Tony Fitzgerald (Vision 2020 Facilitator)