A big thank you to those of you who were able to join us last week for our April Gathering at Heidelberg West.
To our hosts Brothers Doug and Barry – thank you. The two of you always manage to personalise any event that you organise! Our thanks are also extended to Bev Stammers and her wonderful helpers, Monika and Catrina, for the delicious supper that they provided.
Our opening prayer was fittingly centred on service, as this was the focus of the evening. As Marists, we have spent some time discerning how we can be of service to those in our immediate community. Br Doug spoke briefly about what was already happening in our area and the needs and shortfalls that hopefully we will be able to address. After a short survey of interests, gifts and skills, which was initiated, conducted and tabulated by Br Barry - we identified five main interest areas:
- Supporting children at risk
- Working for the rights and welfare of refugees
- Helping and supporting ministries and parishes in our local area
- Finding ways to nurture and deepen our own and collective spirituality through study, prayer and meditation
- Fund-raising and personal involvement, to support both the Santa Teresa community and the annual Holiday Programme.
After some discussion time in small groups, the leaders of these groups shared something of their discussions with us. We now look forward to reading their reports and hearing about their progress in moving things forward.
Below is a reflection by Br Doug:
REFLECTION ON MARIST ASSOCIATION GATHERING ON APRIL 18TH AT HEIDELBERG WEST
Each month the Melbourne Marists have a gathering. This month it was held where three Brothers have a ministry living and working with the marginalised. It was a fitting place to look at how we as individuals and as a group could be Marists in a ministry to the marginalised. The first thing to find out was did we really want to do this. It became clear we did. People were introduced to this concept at our March gathering so our aim was to continue planning our future ministries in this regard.
Our prayer was centred on the Gospel passage about “you did this to the least of my brethren you did it to me”. Our refection was on three scenes – The Good Samaritan – The Wedding Feast of Cana and the Washing of the Feet. The Wedding Feast reminded me that Mary was the first disciple we looked up to. She had made a request to Jesus because there was a need. Mary is central to our Marial way of life. The Good Samaritan scene inspires us to act and the Washing of the feet made me think of the example given to us by Pope Francis.
We then had time to reflect on how we could use our talents in this area. It was important to know each one’s individual interest so that their interest and our combined efforts would be in line with each other. We also went back and looked at the support our Lay Marists had given to our efforts prior to the Association being formed. It was very much centred around the work of the Marist Brothers of the Schools. However, we are now in a new era, and the “Tent” has been expanded and we as an Association (Brothers and Lay) are challenged as Marists to expand the “tent” and live our Marial life as one – We now have our daily prayer app on the Net - our Marian Lecture coming up - and our Pilgrimages etc.
The crux of this gathering was to begin a plan on what we could develop in Melbourne here, working with other groups if need be, to carry out Champagnat’s dream and his exhortation to us in working with the poor. I reflected recently on two quotes from our Marist Calendar:
- From Monday of Holy Week: Loving the poor as he did, Our Founder wanted to send us more especially to them, without excluding others. His first followers by their austere life-style, lived very much on the level of the people they were serving (C.33)
- From Tuesday of Holy Week: Concern for the poor impels us to search out the root causes of their wretchedness, and to free ourselves from prejudice or indifference towards them. It makes us become more responsible in the use of our resources. (C.34)
We finished the night with a short prayer and five areas that we could start planning on and developing. We know this will mean a lot of listening, reflection and acting as we continue to live our lives as Marists.
Thanks for the prayer, the hospitality and above all your desire to be Marists on Mission!
Remember to register for the Marian Lecture, 31st May, here in Melbourne at ACU. Click here to register.