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Meeting of the International Mission Commission

05/04/2016: Australia

The International Mission Commission met in Sydney, Australia from 17-19 March at the Mary MacKillop Centre. The Commission comprises Brothers and Lay members from the Regions representing the diversity of our Marist mission around the world.

Prior to their meeting members were hosted by the Province of Australia and visited several Marist schools and social works in either Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney. This provided an opportunity to see many examples of innovative Marist pedagogy. Members of the Commission were impressed by the evident passion and commitment of staff for the mission. The visits allowed members of the Commission to engage with students and staff and to hear their experience of being in a Marist school or social agency.

The Commission met with representatives of the Provincial Administration: Br. Peter Carroll (Provincial), Br. Michael Green (Director Marist Schools Australia), Mr. Tony Clarke (Director Mission and Life Formation), Mrs. Cate Sydes (CEO Marist Youth Care), Mr. Bernard Kenna (Director of Business Services), Mr. Nehme Khattar (former Coordinator Marist Youth Ministry) and Br. Jeff Barrington (Marist Association Pastoral Team). This was followed by a meal at the Provincial house at Drummoyne.

On the evening of 17 March Professor Anne Cummins, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University (ACU) hosted a reception for the Commission. There was an opportunity to discuss the various programmes, projects and networks which are promoted by ACU.

The Commission spent three days in session. The discussion included a reflection on the visits to the various Marist ministries. Issues related to four projects - Formation, Communication, Networking and Child Rights were further refined. A proposal emerging from the New Models of Animation, Guidance and Management was also presented. Some time was also spent on the MISSIO software application as part of the new systems for the Institute which is currently being developed.

On the last day the Commission met with the Oceania Council to discuss mission initiatives related to building capacity and support for local needs. Key challenges include communication infrastructure and reliability, youth ministry and youth care, and school leadership development.

The complexity and diversity of the Region is illustrated in the two maps.
The first showing the approximate outlines of the three Administrative Units that comprise the Oceania Region.
The second shows the comparable size of Europe and Australia. Map 1: Oceania Administrative Units: Province of Australia (green), District of Melanesia (red line) and the District of the Pacific (blue line).

Oceania
Europe in Australia

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In the picture (left to right): Mr. Luís Gutiérrez (Internacional Mission Commission - IMC), Br. João Carlos Do Prado (Secretariat of Mission), Mr. Luca Olivari (New Models Project), Br. Tony d’Arbon (Oceania Council - OC), Br. Kevin Wanden (ICM & OC), Ms. Melissa Clohesy (OC), Br. Chris Wills (ICM), Mrs. Cate Sydes (ICM), Br. Paul Kane (OC), Br. Peter Carroll (OC), Br. José Luís Grande (translator), Br. Josép Maria Soteras (General Council), Mr. Dan Dungey (OC), Br. Jean-Marie Batick (OC), Mrs. Sylvia Pérez (ICM), Br. Teófilo Minga (translator), Br. Miguel Ángel Espinosa-Barrera (Secretariat of Mission), Br. Valdícer Facchi (ICM), Br. David McDonald (OC).
Absent: Br. Siaosi Ioane (OC), Br. Terence Costello (OC), Br. John Kusi-Mensah (ICM), Br. Willy Lubrico (ICM), Br. Gabriel Villareal (ICM) and Br. Fortune Chakasara (ICM)

The statue in the photograph is of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, cofounder of the Sisters of St Joseph on 19 March 1866. She is Australia’s first saint. The first saint in Oceania was St Peter Chanel SM who was martyred on the island of Futuna on 28 April 1841.

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