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18/09/2014: Australia

 

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A newsletter for Member Schools of Marist Schools Australia published fortnightly during term time

When families gather, they tell stories. Often they are the same stories, the ones they told at the last wedding or funeral, the ones that get a re-run every Christmas. Sometimes the stories grow in the telling. They like to tell them especially when someone new is present, but everyone enjoys hearing the yarn again. Remembering. It’s part of being family, part of forming community. It’s Eucharistic. For the next fortnight in Nairobi, Kenya, 118 Marists from all parts of the world will be telling their stories to one another, their Marist stories.

The second International Marist Mission Assembly runs from today until 27th September. It has brought together representatives from each continent, a diversity of language, culture and ethnicity; women and men; younger and older; lay, clergy and religious. Marists all. Using an African image of gathering “around the fire” the Assembly will first of all be mindful of the founding dream that has brought them together.

Over the last twelve months, many groups of Australian Marists have gathered to contribute to this storytelling. Using the resources prepared for the Assembly, and launched at the MSA Conference in Cairns last year, they have put together in word, image, music, and even video, some sense of how they see themselves and how they understand their identity and mission as Marists. Tomorrow, the Aussie delegation is charged with presenting all of that to the wider group. We have some rich material with which to work.

Only to remember risks slipping into idle nostalgia. Only to dwell in the present risks narcissism. That is not our Marist way. From Marcellin, from Mary, we are intuitively risk-takers. The hill country is okay for us. We are audacious. It is not an audacity that is foolhardy or reckless, but one founded on generosity, openheartedness and hope. For most of the days of the Assembly, the participants will be engaged in imagining the future: where do we want to be, how do we want to be there, who do we want to be? Where is the hill country? Where is Mary leading us? Let’s hope we can be daring in that dreaming. We Australians believe we have something quite compelling to offer to the conversation, specifically around our plans for the new Marist Association of St Marcellin. We’ll see how we go.

We are graced as Marists to have such a richness of story and such bigness of dreaming. But all of that counts for little if it can’t be compellingly translated into the concrete activities in which each of us spends his or her day: the kids with whom I will interact today, the colleagues and friends with whom I will break today’s daily bread, the prayer time and personal space I have taken for myself today, the seeds of hope I can sow before day’s end.

Brother Michael Green fms
NATIONAL DIRECTOR

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