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Cairns: Michael Lindsay Becomes an Aspirant


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27/07/2005: Australia


Cairns,On Sunday 23 May, the Cairns community gathered to formally welcome Michael Lindsay into the aspirancy stage of his steps toward Marist life.
During the simple liturgy which focussed on the annunciation, Michael received a candle from the community to remind him of the light of Christ and a small image of Mary from the province. Br Gerald Steele presented him with a key to the house at the conclusion. Following the liturgy, the celebrations extended to a BBQ lunch with the community.
Michael is now a member of the community. He will continue to be the live-in boarding supervisor of the Year 8 dormitory but will now join the Brothers for prayer, Mass and meals.
Michael’s interest in the Marist Brothers grew when he went to teach at St Augustine’s College in 2003. During 2004 he moved to Columba Catholic College, Charters Towers for the year. Throughout this year, Br Darren accompanied him and he came to a decision that it was essential for him to move back to Cairns to further enquire into the Marist life. Consequently, Michael took up his present position at the beginning of this year and applied to be an aspirant shortly afterwards.
Michael is thirty years of age and has had an interest in religious life for some time. Some years ago, he spent a brief time as a postulant with the Franciscans at Plumpton in Sydney. He also trained as a chef for a period of time before settling on teaching as his chosen career. For most of his life he has lived in far north Queensland, mostly in Townsville and its surrounds, attending the Christian Brothers School there. However, he also spent part of his junior secondary schooling in Newcastle (St Paul’s Boorigal) and was destined to go to St Francis Xavier, Hamilton before he moved back to north Queensland for the last years of his school life.
We welcome Michael into the aspirancy. He will have the opportunity of meeting many Brothers throughout the year when he makes visits to both Brisbane and Sydney.

What are the stages of pre-novitiate formation?
When hearing about young men who are discerning their future with us, many Brothers naturally ask what the stages of formation are. They haven’t changed much in recent years but the following summary captures the essence of it:
Enquiry stage – this is when the young man contacts the Brothers and begins to ask questions and enquire about joining the Brothers. More often than not, he is at university or has a full time job. A regular accompaniment interview occurs with the Vocations Co-ordinator or another Brother who takes on this role at the request of the Vocations Co-ordinator. This stage has no specific time frame to it but is determined by the readiness of the person himself in conjunction of the Vocations Co-ordinator. The person’s interest in the Brothers’ life may only be known by a small number of people at this stage.
Aspirancy - this is quite similar to the previous stage in that it involves regular accompaniment interviews, except that a closer relationship is established with the Brothers themselves. By choosing to take this step the young man’s intentions become known to the Brothers of the province and to a broader group of people in general. Some time needs to be spent in a Brothers’ community during aspirancy. The length of this stage depends on the individual involved but must be at least six months.
Postulancy – this is a more significant step in the process. At present this stage involves moving to Fitzroy in Melbourne which is a formation house. A more intensive program of spiritual direction and accompaniment takes place. Some attention is given to theological study at this point. In addition to the study or work the person is doing, some ministry experience takes place during this time. This stage is expected to last at least six months although more often than not it lasts twelve months for practical reasons. The postulant remains financially independent of the congregation. At the conclusion of the postulancy, the young man is free to apply to the Provincial for entry to the novitiate.
At this point in time, Michael is the only aspirant. However, there are four other young men making genuine enquiries into our lifestyle at the present time. Please keep all of these young people in your prayers.

Br Darren Burge -Director, Vocations and Marist Life

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