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Regional Lay Commission of Oceania

01/11/2013: Australia

The Oceania Partnership Commission (Oceania Lay Commission) has a Charter that states how it will promote, support and develop a spirit of communion between the relationship of all Marists involved or connected to Marist mission and life, Lay and Brothers, in the Oceania region.

Its recent two day meeting in Sydney was under the leadership of Tony Clarke (Secretariat of the Laity) with the following present: Lucy Sinei (Melanesia),  Br Tony Leon (Australia), Br Mark Kenatsi (Melanesia), Taatite Barbera (Kiribati), Peter McNamara (Oceania Council liaison Australia), Joe McCarthy (Australia), Br Carl Tapp (New Zealand).  Carole Wark (Australia) was unable to attend.

Columban Priests Brian Vale and Patrick McInerney guided a challenging morning reflection with a presentation on an “Ecclesiology of Communion”.

A revision of the Charter is planned to bring it in step with recent developments in the Institute.  A sub-committee produced a paper proposing an electronic ‘Marist Spirituality App’ which would be a significant resource for reflection and prayer for Brothers and Lay Marists, suitable for the whole Institute.  The development of a collection of electronic images of religious art and symbols reflecting Marist life and mission in the many cultures of the region was commissioned.  This was seen as a more effective way of communication and formation than the written word.  Initial planning was done for another Regional Joint Formation Planning Programme for September 2014.  Consideration was given to the need for accompaniment and how this can be satisfied.  Training has been given for emerging lay leaders in our schools in Melanesia and the Pacific and they will benefit from further development.

The Commission received a report on the ‘Australian Marist Community Forum’, a gathering of Lay Marist animators and Brothers from throughout Australia, which was successfully completed in August.  This Forum has proposed a canonical form of belonging for Lay Marists and Brothers.  Participants expressed a need for a structure for their formation, spirituality, prayer life and mission. This may well lead to a template that could be relevant throughout the Institute.

The Oceania Partnership Commission covers a vast geographic area, with many cultures and many levels of development. It takes up the challenging role of guiding Lay Marists of Oceania.

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Pictured (from left to right): Mr Tony Clarke, Mr Joe McCarthy, Mrs Lucy Sinei, Fr Patrick McInerney, Mr Taatite Barbera, Mr Peter McNamara, Fr Brian Vale, Br Carl Tapp, Br Mark Kenatsi, Br Tony Leon

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