It was with a great sense of anticipation that groups representing the five branches of the Marist Family gathered at Sacred Heart College on the morning of July 23 to celebrate together the bicentenary of the Fourvière Pledge made in 1816.
The day’s activities began in the chapel where we were welcomed by Brother Richard fms and as Fourvière candles were lit, we prepared to join in the opening prayer which drew together so many aspects of this special day in the Year of Mercy. The tone was set for all that would follow which began with the keynote address given by Fr Justin Taylor sm : What happened at Fourvière. This deepened our appreciation of all that had preceded the drawing up of the pledge, setting it in the context of the life and history of the seminarians who composed it.
During the afternoon a series of workshops was provided: Marian music, Mary in Art, Keeping Pledges, Early Missionaries whose names were recorded in the heart of Mary, Mary, Mother of Mercy, and the Work of Mary today as it is lived by each of the branches.
The day concluded with Mass celebrated by Fr David Kennerley sm, provincial, at the end of which candles imprinted with an image of Mary of Fourvière were presented to each branch of the family while all recited a Fourvière pledge for today. A beautiful day drew to a close leaving 150 Marist people with memories to ponder and challenges to absorb.