During the first weekend of May when school holidays in Fiji, Kiribati and Samoa more or less coincided, Brothers and Lay Marists gathered at Marist Champagnat Institute for an assembly to look at the realities of our present situation and to explore the hopes and expectations for the future in the light of the developing new structures of governance in the Oceania region.
3 pm Thursday 3 March saw 38 student leaders from our Marist Schools gather in the Old Boys Lounge at Scared Heart for the beginning of the 2011 Forum – our fourth. (The two leaders from Te Kura Taumata O Panguru joined us later at the powhiri at Hato Petera College owing to transport issues) The twenty flying into Auckland were met at the airport by Brother Peter Henderson and the Chaperone, Mrs Janie Murray and transported to Sacred Heart.
RED AND BLACK DAY – Friday 25th February, 2011
Br Denis Gallavin reports this morning that they have both water and electricity, as well as a spade out in the garden… However, there are ongoing quite severe after-shakes, that are frightening—one occurred as I spoke with Denis. As he went to visit Brothers Jordan McCormack and Paul Scott in the rest home around the corner from the house, he fell several times in the rising mud - the liquefaction - coming up from beneath the surface of roads and footpaths.The Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, not more than a ten-minute drive from where the Brothers' house is situated has lost its two front towers, and is possibly doomed… The overall impression in the city as they go about recovery of the missing persons is a mood close to depression. We keep our brothers, and the people of Christchurch, in our thoughts and prayers.
Earlier this month, the FM Connection in Wellington began the year with their first Mass. On the first Wednesday of each month, and continuing a tradition established in 2007, when the FM Connection began, Maurice and Natalie Atkinson host a gathering of young adults - and some young at heart - as they celebrate together the Eucharist led by Fr John Greally. Maurice and Natalie, together with Mike Gribble and Mike Andrewartha form this core team of Champagnat Lay Marists and they prepare for the gathering a week beforehand. All four have lived in Marist communities as have some of the regulars to the monthly gatherings. They are supported by brothers from Lower Hutt, as well as the odd visitor from further afield. It is becoming a way of continuing their formation in the spirituality of Champagnat Marists.
Last weekend, the formal farewell to the Marist Brothers (after 113 years in Invercargill) was held. A Mass on the Friday evening at St Mary's Basilica was very well attended. The photo at top left show Br Joseph McCarthy and Br Alan Henley reading at the farewell Mass.
During 2010 I was invited by the Hamilton Catholic Schools Office to participate in a review of the Catholic Character of Aquinas College. During the course of the review, the Principal, Ray Scott (formerly Principal of St John’s College, Hamilton) and the Deputy Principal, Terry Consedine (a former HOD Science at St John’s) asked if were possible for me to run a Camp for their 2011 Prefects. I agreed to this because the Founding Principal of Aquinas, Brendan Schollum, in making what they call their Touchstones the focus of their charism was no doubt influenced by his Marist history for a number of these Touchstones are very marial.
Both in Wellington and Auckland 2 January is a special day for us. It is the anniversary in 1817 of the daring step Champagnat took in founding the Little Brothers of Mary. He and the young men of his parish worked together to begin what he always regarded as Mary's work where a growing band of young men worked with the children and young people, first at LaValla and then in parishes beyond, telling them the good news that they are so utterly loved by Jesus and Mary.