There 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.
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…