Regional Chapter News

Day 1 AThe Marist Sisters of Asia-Pacific Regional Chapter began officially at 9.00am  on Sunday 19th October with the gathering of the members for the Opening Eucharist in the Chapel of the Vaughan Park Retreat Centre, Long Bay, Auckland, New Zealand.  David Kennerley sm, Provincial of the Marist Fathers NZ, led us  in our celebration of the Eucharist.

Day 1 CAt 11.00am we gathered in the Conference Room.  At the centre of our circle were two books: the Word to us through the Readings of the Day and the Word to us through our Sisters’ expressions of God’s Invitation to the Marist Sisters of Asia-Pacific.  Following the singing of Michael Herry’s “A Fire on the Earth”, Sr Julie  Brand, Regional Leader, a shared message from Sr Jane Frances O’Carroll sm, Congregational Leader, as well as those from other Marist Sisters and members of the Marist Family. She then handed over to Br Graham Neist fms, our facilitator.

Day 1 BOver the first two days time has been spent listening to and reflecting on Sr Julie’s report to the Chapter as well as reports from the Sector Leaders of Aotearoa-New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and the Philippines.  There is a wonderful spirit of deep listening  and sharing within the Chapter group.  More photos…

Powhiri Opens Regional Chapter

From Monica 2The delegates of the 2nd Regional Chapter of Asia-Pacific experienced a very sacred and moving experience as they gathered in Auckland.  The Powhiri – a Maori ritual of welcome given to all visitors to a marae in New Zealand- was led by Margaret Bhote and a group of Marist College Mt Albert students.  The ceremony began with the karanga (call) from the tangata whenua(home people).

It is customary to recall the living and the dead during a powhiri.  During the ceremony Sr Julie Brand, Regional Leader, carried into the chapel the photos of the Sisters of the Region who had died since the 2008 Regional Chapter. Sr Rita Raikuna, a General Councillor representing the Congregational Leadership Team and the wider Congregation, carried portraits of Jeanne-Marie Chavoin and Jean- Claude Colin, Founders of the Marist Sisters.

The Sector Leaders of Australia, Fiji, the Philippines and New Zealand were individually called forth. Each carried the photos of the sisters of their Sectors.  Opening Day 18th October (35)This was followed by the traditional hongi(pressing of noses), a sharing of the breath of life symbolising there are no longer visitors but one people together.  During the afternoon tea that followed this ceremony there was great excitement as sisters from the various parts of the Region exchanged greetings.  Eventually the delegates were called to journey to the chapter venue at Vaughan Park to settle in and prepare themselves for the opening liturgy of the Chapter on Sunday morning.  More photos…

Prayer for Regional Chapter

Women of the Word Embracing LifeMarist Sisters of Asia-Pacific
Regional Chapter
18-28th October 2014

A Chapter is a special time of grace for a Religious Congregation.  It is an opportunity to review the life and mission of the Congregation in the light of its Charism and founding spirit.  The Regional Chapter for the Marist Sisters in Asia-Pacific will take place in Auckland from 18th to 28th October.  Our Chapter theme – Women of the Word, Embracing Life – invites us “like Mary to a profound pondering of the Word: listening, hearing, and acting, remembering, rejoicing, and releasing the Word” (Sr Jane Frances O’Carroll, Congregational Leader, April 2014).

We invite you to pray with us as we journey towards this sacred event and also during the days of Chapter.  Download the Asia-Pacific Chapter Prayer.

Anniversary of Jeanne-Marie Chavoin’s Birth

ChavoinJeanne-Marie Chavoin, foundress of the Marist Sisters, was born on 29th August 1786 to Théodore Chavoin, aged 20, tailor, and Jeanne Verchère, aged 19, servant. Her parents may have been young and unprepared but it seems they made a good marriage and brought up their daughters in a loving, open, happy home. Jeanne-Marie grew in an atmosphere of practical faith and came to develop what could be termed “hidden holiness”. It was this quality which was later to provide the key to her vocation.

God of creation,
we praise and thank you for the birth of Jeanne-Marie Chavoin,
our foundress, Mother St Joseph.

We thank you for her parents, Théodore and Jeanne, for their love, their courage, their acceptance of responsibility and all they taught Jeanne-Marie.
We thank you for our own parents, the families which prepared us for life.

May Jeanne-Marie Chavoin intercede for us today,
that we may present a Marian face in our world –
a face of compassion, understanding and love,
a face which accepts people as they are,
yet encourages them to grow in goodness.

With them, may we be brought forth to the life of grace.
We pray this in the name of Jesus your Son. 

Farewell to Archbishop Petero Mataca

Bishop Petero MatacaThe Catholic Church in Fiji gathered recently to farewell Archbishop Petero Mataca who was Bishop of Fiji for two years and Archbishop for thirty six years till his retirement in 2012.  Two archbishops, four bishops and 50 priests from the Oceania region and Fiji conducted the vigil and resurrection masses for the late archbishop held on Friday 11th July.  During the days prior to the funeral the reguregu (cultural expression of condolences) and veiqaravi (presentations) for Archbishop Petero took place at the Immaculate Conception Parish in Lami.

The Marist Sisters in Fiji will never forget Archbishop Mataca.  For years he has shown appreciation for our Marist Mission, the Work of Mary in Fiji. From the beginning he was always interested and supportive of our ministry of education – particularly encouraging of our foundation in the Yasawas from where he originated.

The Archbishop often requested the assistance of the Marist Sisters in a variety of ministries. These included work with youth in a number of parishes, participating on the original CORAS team initiated by him, working at the Catechist Centre, in the Catholic Education Office and in Corpus Christi Teachers’ College, as well as providing outreach to the Indian people – he even sent one of our Sisters to India for a year to deepen her understanding of language and culture.

In his turn, the Archbishop was generous to our Sisters and always prepared to help. When the Sisters needed to build a novitiate, the Archbishop gave the land at Wailekutu, near Lami, which later became the Nazareth Prayer Centre. In earlier years he often called in to Lami just to have a chat over a cup of tea, discussing anything from the latest developments in education to the welfare and whereabouts of all the Sisters. When invited to preside over official ceremonies, he showed a ready willingness to accept.

Our Sisters hold fond memories of the Archbishop and offer deep gratitude to God for his heartening support of them throughout his ministry of leadership within the Fijian Church.

(Picture: Fiji Times)

Regional Newsletter No 1, 2014

BlueCongregationalCross-facebook.jpgIn a recently released issue of the Marist Sisters in Asia-Pacific Newsletter you can read about the work of the sisters with the homeless, those exploited, those recovering from trauma and those who are seeking God in their lives.  There is also a report on the events in Waitaruke, New Zealand, to acknowledge eighty-six years of service by the Marist Sisters.

Download your copy of the newsletter here.

Regional Newsletter No. 2, 2013

It has been a great joy to welcome to Sydney sisters from throughout our congregation who are in temporary profession.  Meet the sisters in the latest Asia-Pacific Regional Newsletter.  You can also read of the 175th  anniversary celebrations of the arrival of Bishop Pompallier and the first Marist in New Zealand, Diamond Jubilee celebrations in Lami, Fiji and the typhoon in the Philippines.

Download a copy of the newsletter here.

Gathering of Young Marist Sisters

 

Young Marist Sisters from Benin, Senegal, Gambia, Brazil, Mexico, Fiji, Philippines and Papua New Guinea have gathered in Sydney for a period of spiritual renewal.

 

During the week prior to their renewal the sisters have had an opportunity to see some Sydney landmarks, tour places of Marist significance in Sydney and visit two Marist Secondary schools where they interacted with students including those from their own cultures.  Despite differences of culture and language the sisters are experiencing the unity of their common desire to live the Marist spirit in our world today.

Regional Newsletter No 1, 2013

The latest issue of the Marist Sisters in Asia-Pacific Newsletter can now be downloaded.  This issues highlights the ministry of Marist Sisters in Fijian schools, outreach to the homeless, the sick and outback areas of Australia, social work ministry in New Zealand and ministry to prisoners and street kids in the Philippines.  Sisters celebrating jubilees in 2013 are also listed in the newsletter.  Download your copy here.

Episcopal Ordination of the Archbishop of Suva

Archbishop Peter Loy Chong

Months of preparation culminated on 8th June in a magnificent ceremony for the Episcopal Ordination of Archbishop Peter Loy Chong.  Marist Sisters in Fiji were delighted to be part of this historical event for the Fijian church.  People poured into Suva’s Vodafone Arena from all over Fiji, its outer islands, towns and cities.  The Mass was concelebrated by bishops from other Pacific Islands and 140 priests .  The choir consisted of 300 men, women and children with 3 people who conducting the singing. Also present were the representatives of other Churches in Fiji, dignitaries, Government officials and people from overseas.  There was a Fijian ceremony straight after the Mass to welcome the new Archbishop and assure him of the support of his flock.

On Sunday 9th June there was a Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral Suva.  During this Mass the new Archbishop was escorted by the former Archbishop, Petero Mataca, to the special chair.  This was an emotional moment for all.  Marist Sister Mariana Teveruga  represented the Religious Congregations in Fiji as she pledged obedience and loyalty to the new Archbishop.  Representative from the priests of Fiji and from the laity made similar pledges.

Archbishop Chong's Coat of Arms

The Bishop’s Coat of Arms is “To Be Church in the World”. His vision embraces both church and theological prospects in the diagram. Archbishop Chong said that he was strongly convinced that theology had to be contextual so that it would be relevant to peoples’ questions and problems today.

May Archbishop Peter Loy Chong be blessed with all the graces he needs to implement his dream for the Church in Fiji.