Fr. Lee Sciarrotta, SM – Memories from Australia

Fr. Lee Sciarrotta brought the Marianist presence and charism to Australia. Sadly, he died on September 24, 2010 in Dayton, Ohio at the age of 72. Below is a beautiful tribute from Julie Aherne, MLC National Responsible, and other lay Marianists.

We the Family of Mary, called The Immaculate Heart of Mary, MLC. of St. Jude’s Parish, in Langwarrin, would like to send our Condolences to our Marianist Family, and to the Sciarrotta Family and his friends.

Father Lee will never be forgotten by those who had the privilege of knowing him. He was known for his hospitality, friendship, warm heart, and welcoming manner, and the steadfastness of his Faith. We would like to thank The Marianists of America, for sharing him with us here in Langwarrin. He was a pioneer Missionary in the then bushland of Langwarrin. Father Lee was our first Parish Priest. Here are just a few comments from some of members of The Family Of Mary who knew him.

Don and Pat Larken,
Please send our Condolences, and we will keep him in our prayers.

Paula Stanley.
I have many special memories of Father Lee, and he remains in my heart with much love and prayers.

Christine Flanagan
Father Lee blessed our home. He would often come to see us and make himself at home, and  would have a coffee or tea and have a chat. He was so easy talk too. He would sit at the table and stretch out his legs. We liked him very much, and I will keep him in my prayers.

John and Carmel Russell
He’s the reason why we come to Langwarrin. When we came to visit our daughter here, we met him at Mass. He found out that I was a teacher, he wanted me to start a Religious Education Group in the Parish. He told us about the land, we looked at it and here we are.. 23 years later.  We moved into our house on the Tuesday and he said I’ll be around Wednesday to bless it. We have very happy memories of Father Lee and we will pray for the repose of his dear Soul.

Julie Aherne
I remember Fr Lee’s wonderful hospitality. After morning Mass on a Friday he would invite everyone in for a cup of tea, or coffee. Someone would make biscuits, or he would have something to eat. This was different for me, I have never experienced such openness and hospitality from a Priest. This was one of the reasons why I liked the Marianist’s. He had a special charism that was different to other Priest’s that I had known. He was interested in everyone, and treated everyone the same. With a smile, and was always warm and friendly. We have a lot of wonderful memories of Father Lee, and how generous he was in many ways to our Parish.

These are just some of our warm memories of Father Lee, that we wanted to share with you. How blessed we were to have him as our parish priest in Langwarrin.
Eternal rest grant unto to him O Lord, and May your Perpetual Light shine upon him. Well done good and faithful servant of The Lord. Rest In Peace.

Mrs Julie Aherne,
MLC Responsible for Australia.

To Know, Love and Follow the Founder

Fr. Manuel Cortés, SM, the Superior General of the Society of Mary, has published his 4th Circular, To Know, Love and Follow the Founder. It continues the objective of the previous three Circulars to “revitalize and deepen our understanding and experience of our own charism, our particular reason for being in the Church and in the world”. In order to better understand a charism, one must be intentional in learning about the founder not as a “‘documentary memory’ from the past, but rather, as a living presence which spiritually inspires and motivates”. In using the verbs “to know”, “to love”, and “to follow”, Fr. Cortés stresses that “‘external’ knowledge is not enough. This knowledge needs to be internal, affective, and practical – brought to life”.

chaminade_col_3The Circular carefully describes the relationship between a charism and its founder. The existence of a charism depends on both the holiness of the person of the founder and the inspiration that they received from the Holy Spirit. The future of a spiritual family depends on deepening their knowledge of the founder and their faithfulness to the charism. An interesting example is mentioned of a “recent case of a well known religious institute”. Having followed the news, I had often wondered what effect the scandals of that founder would have on the existence of the institute. If the sinfulness of a priest does not affect the validity of the sacrament, would the same logic be used towards a charism? It is not. Fr. Cortés writes that “the real problem that arises is not the repair of the damage which this dysfunctional life has caused, but rather, the authenticity and validity of the alleged charism which a particular founder bequeaths.” If the link is so close between the sanctity of the founder and the charism, then such gross sinfulness does, indeed, put the existence of the charism in jeopardy. On the other hand, this is all the more reason to rejoice in the Church’s recognition of the sanctity of Blessed Chaminade. We look forward, with hope, to his eventual canonization.

This Circular is a well written, scholarly work but it is also alive with the author’s personal devotion to the founder – a devotion that he promotes for the entire Marianist family. The Circular concludes with the practical call to be “attentive to the historical and documental rigor of our studies”. We need to encourage and support scholars, both young and old, to continue the work that has already been done. This timely Circular is a valuable resource as we prepare to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade in 2011.




This and That

Dear friends,

September in North America marks the end of summer and the beginning of autumn and the new school year. After the leisurely months of summer, it`s a good time for making resolutions! I hope to post on this blog more faithfully in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, I`ll try to play `catch up` by giving some quick updates to things that have crossed my desk recently.

  • Isabel Duarte has returned from the 3rd Congress of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities of Latin America and the Caribbean. Thirty-two movements were represented at the four day congress, along with six bishops and several lay persons involved in diocesan organizations. She is encouraging all the CLM in Latin America to study the Final Document and to discern how to live out its goals and objectives. As Isabel writes, `the laity are receiving a strong call of the Church at this moment in history.`
  • Sr. Marie Joëlle Bec, the Superior General of our FMI Sisters, has shared the latest newsletter from the FMI Sisters in Ranchi India . It`s full of beautiful, colourful pictures of the Sisters studying, working and celebrating. This year, they are welcoming 12 new candidates and 7 pre-novices. The courage of beginning a new foundation with few hands and resources is being rewarded greatly. Our Sisters continue to be a model and inspiration of `audacious faith`!
  • Press Releases and reports from the recent Congress of Asian Catholic Laity in Seoul, Korea are available online at the Pontifical Council for the Laity web-site. And, while you`re at the site, there are many new documents posted on the Women`s Section
  • Work has begun in preparation for our annual leadership team and World Council meetings. We will be in Rome from October 31 to November 7. An objective on both agendas is to develop two international, all branch web-sites. One will be for Formation resources and links and the other for Social Justice projects and works. MLC-CLM national report templates have been sent out to begin collecting the necessary data from our lay communities. We are also hoping to finally have a basic MLC directory showing the contacts and statistics of each country.
  • I`ve been working on updating our web-site at . Thanks to a tip from a dear friend (thanks Tony!), it was brought to my attention that a fancy new design I had tried was incompatible with Safari and Chrome. Well, it`s been re-designed yet again! The web-site is VERY simple, but hopefully it will be easy to use and functional. Our purpose is to provide information about the International Organization, basic information about each country, and post the links to the many wonderful, national Marianist web-sites around the world.
  • Speaking of wonderful Marianist web-sites…. Agora Marianista, the famous web-site of the Marianist Family in Spain has premiered it`s new look this week. Congratulations to Nano and all our friends in Spain for this gift to us all. (A small fact – Agora Marianista is one of the most visited religious internet sites in Spain, if not the most!)

Please feel free to contact me or any member of our international team with news and views of things that are happening in our Marianist world. And know that you are all in our hearts and our prayers!



Ecclesial Movements in the Church

Isabel2-98x125Isabel Duarte Quapper, our Regional Responsible for Latin America, is attending the III Congress of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities in Paraguay , September 2-5, 2010. This Congress is sponsored by CELAM, the Episcopal Congress of Latin America. Also attending are Fredy, her husband, and Kini Becerra from  CLM Peru. A questionnaire was sent to all delegates and participants prior to the Congress. These questions followed up on goals and issues discussed at the previous Congress. Each lay association was asked to identify the strengths and gifts as well as the challenges and weaknesses that they face as lay women and men in the Church and in the world. A summary of the responses was distributed. The answers are honest, direct, and reflect a serious pondering on the present situation of the laity in Latin America. You will see that our CLM have a strong and visible voice in Latin America! Thank you to Isabel and all the CLM leaders for their collaboration on this document. It promises to be a rich and vibrant dialogue at the Congress. We will be united in prayer with Isabel, Fredy, Kini, and all the participants in Paraguay.

Another important congress is taking place in Seoul, Korea from August 31 to September 5. The Pontifical Council for the Laity is holding a Congress for Asian Catholic Laity on the theme “Proclaiming Jesus Christ in Asia Today”. Sadly, we will not be participating directly in this Congress. But, we can join all our Marianist sisters and brothers in Korea, Japan, India and the Philippines in following its progress on the PCL web-site.

National, Continental, and International congresses for the laity are important opportunities for us. Our participation allows us to gather with other faith-filled men and women to dialogue, to pray, and to discern how we can work together as one Body of Christ in mission for the world. It gives us a voice at the ecclesial table and allows us to share our Marianist gifts more concretely in the Church. Our team continues to work on our continental and international relationships with the Church. And we can all work to form and nurture them on the local and national levels.

(Monsignor Miguel Delgado Galindo, of the Pontifical Council for the Laity has a Blog on Ecclesial Movements and their importance in the Church. It is in Spanish, but translates well with the Google instant translation tools.)