We, the undersigned, striving to work together for the greater Glory of God and the honour of Mary, Mother of the Lord Jesus, assert and declare our sincere intention and firm will of consecrating ourselves, at the first opportunity, to founding the pious congregation of Marists.
That is why by the present act and our signatures, in so far as we can, we irrevocably dedicate ourselves and all our goods to the Society of the Blessed Virgin. (Pledge of Fourvière, 23rd July 1816)
The anniversary of the Pledge of Fourvière each year is a time for Marist throughout the world to recall with gratitude the beginnings of the Marist Family. On 23rd July 1816 twelve seminarians climbed the 800 steep steps from the City of Lyon to the Chapel of Our Lady of Fourvière. Here they committed themselves to the Marist project.
The Marist project has grown to be a family of five branches – Marist Father, Marist Sisters, Marist Brothers, Marist Missionary Sisters and Marist laity – with a presence throughout the world.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions it will not be possible in some countries for Marist to come together physically for prayer and celebration this year. This will not dampen our enthusiasm to recall the Fourvière event and to renew our own commitment to the Marist project. Online opportunities are being provided for Marists to connect, give thanks, recommit and celebrate. One such opportunity has been prepared by Marist Laity Australia. For information on how you can connect with Marist in Australia click here. All are welcome to join with Marists in prayer and thanksgiving on this day.
In the presence of her Marist community, her relatives, friends and parishioners Sr Valerie Ho recently renewed her vows as a Marist Sister for two years. Her community Leader, Sr Rosemary, received her vows . The renewal of commitment took place in the local parish church in Nadi, Fiji. Following the Mass family and friends were invited to join the sisters for brunch at the convent.
Marist Sisters Beverley Lewis and Maureen Crick represented the Unit of Australia at the farewell to the Marist Fathers in Gladstone. After 118 years of faithful service to the people of the Parish, the Fathers will leave Gladstone on 4th January 2020. It was a celebration of sorrow and joy.
On Friday 22nd November the Parish Community gathered to celebrate the Eucharist with representatives from the Rockhampton Diocesan Clergy, including Bishop Michael McCarthy and the previous Bishop, Brian Heenan, Marist Fathers, including Father Ben McKenna SM from the General House in Rome, Brothers, Sisters, Missionary Sisters and Sisters of Mercy. There was great excitement as old friends were reunited at this joyful celebration of thanksgiving. After Mass, the Clergy and Religious gathered at the Bowling Club for a dinner hosted by Bishop Michael on behalf of the Diocese. It was a wonderful opportunity to mingle with the many religious who had ministered in Gladstone over a number of years.
On Saturday evening, a farewell dinner was held at the Yaralla Sports Club. About 150 people attended the dinner. Mr Peter Turich was the MC for evening. Mr Matt Burnett, the Mayor, welcomed everyone and apologised that he was unable to stay. After the entrée, Bishop Michael thanked the Marist Fathers for their service to the Parish and remarked on the wonderful spirit of co-operation the Marists had with the Diocese. Father Tony Corcoran SM responded on behalf of the Fathers. Following the main course Warren Fellowes, who lived all of his life in Gladstone, spoke on behalf of the parishioners. He paid tribute to the Priests of the Parish who were always ready to listen to the advice of the local people. We then stood to sing the Hail Queen Heaven with adapted words for the occasion, after which all the Marist Fathers present went forward to cut the cake. The cutting of the cake and tea and coffee ended the formalities for the evening, giving people time to renew friendships. During the evening we were entertained with an ongoing slide show and many photos around the walls of Marist Fathers dating back 118 years.
Sunday morning marked the final day of celebration. Mass was con-celebrated with the Bishop at Chanel College in the Marian Centre. In the opening procession symbols of the all the areas of the Parish were presented – Star of the Sea Church in town, Tannum Sands, Calliope, Mt. Larcom, Ubobo, Miriam Vale and Agnes Waters. Father Peter McMurrich preached the homily which included much of the history of the Gladstone parish. At the conclusion of Mass, Mrs Judy Aitkenhead, on behalf of the parishioners, thanked the Marist Fathers for their service to the parish. We then proceeded to La Valla Court for morning tea and to catch up with many more people.
Bev and Maureen were grateful to be able to take part in these wonderful celebrations.
“All to God’s greater glory and to the honour of Mary, the Mother of our Lord, Jesus Christ.”
(Fourviere Pledge, 23rd July 1816)
Each year Marists throughout the world recall the day in July 1816 when twelve seminarians climbed the stairs in Lyons to the chapel of Our Lady of Fourviere to commit themselves to beginning a congregation in Mary’s name, a Congregation whose sole motive would be to work “for God’s greater glory” by following the example of Mary. Marists gather on this day to celebrate and recall the courage and commitment of the founding Marists who believed that just as Mary was present in the early Church she is present with us today, guiding and supporting us. This day is also an opportunity for Marists to renew their commitment to be Mary’s presence in the world today attentive to the needs of those who are in need of God’s compassionate love.
In Australia the day was marked by a celebration of the Eucharist at Hunters Hill. Marists from all branches – Laity, Sisters, Brothers, Missionary Sisters and Priests – participated in the celebration during which all prayed anew the Pledge of Fourviere.
The Leaders of the four Marist Sisters Units in the Asia-Pacific Region met recently in Davao, The Philippines. Srs Catherine (Australia), Jane Frances (Aotearoa-New Zealand), Lavinia (Fiji) and Sheila (the Philippines) spent a week together focusing on issues such as Marist Life and mission, formation at all stages of life, sharing of resources, developing leadership skills and mutual support for those in leadership. While in Davao the sisters also visited Balay Banaag (a hostel administered by the Marist Sisters) and participated in a Sunday Eucharist at the local jail where members of the Marist family, including our Sisters, minister.
Each year for the nine days leading up to the feast of St Peter Chanel, Marists throughout the world pray through the intercession of St Peter Chanel for vocations to the Marist Family.
St Peter Chanel, a Marist Father, was in the first group of Marist missionaries to Oceania. Peter arrived in futuna in November 1937. During his lifetime Peter saw little success in his work. During his first six month on Futuna he baptised only one Futunian – a dying child. Early in the morning of April 28, 1841, Fr. Peter was wakened from sleep and clubbed to death, his skull split by the axe of a Futunian warrior. He was thirty-eight years old. He was the first martyr of Oceania and the first Marist to be canonised.
You are invited to join us in praying that young people of today may, like Peter Chanel, respond generously to God’s call to follow Christ as Mary did. Download the novena prayer here.
It was with a sense of deep gratitude to God and to Mary that the Marist Sisters celebrated the 20th anniversary of their presence in the Philppines. It was a special joy for the Sisters that Congregation Leader Sr Grace Ellul was present for this celebration. Members of the Marist Family and family and friends of the Sisters joined with them in celebrating a Mass of thanksgiving. All the Sisters who have been part of this journey were remembered, particularly Torika and Vero, the valiant pioneers. Let us pray for the Marist Sisters currently ministering in the Philippines as they imitate Mary by reaching out to those in need.
Members of the Marist Family gathered in Sydney to recall the Fourviere Pledge made by twelve seminarians 202 years ago. In the chapel of Our Lady of Fourviere they pledged to begin the congregation of Marists. Mass was celebrated in Holy Name of Mary Church Hunters Hill. During the offertory Procession hearts containing the names of those who followed those early Marists were brought forward and placed on the altar. The afternoon tea which followed provided an opportunity to experience the bonds of unity and friendship we experience as Marists. Today Marist Fathers, Marist Sisters, Marist Missionary Sisters, Marist Laity and Marist Brothers are found throughout the world. Like the twelve men of Fourviere, Marists today believe that
“we belong by a gracious choice to the family of blessed Mary, Mother of God, from whose name we are called Marists.”
Year 12 Cerdon College Merrylands students, accompanied by Sr Kate McPhee, recently atended the Marist Vocation Forum. They are seen in the photo at the end of a wonderful weekend with other students from Marist Brothers’ schools. The Yr 12 Marist Vocation Forum is the initiative of the Marist Brothers and is led by the Marist Youth Ministry team at The Hermitage, Mittagong. A very insightful and reflective weekend for these young people as they prepare to complete their school journey this year.
It has long been a tradition within the Marist Family that we pray to St Peter Chanel for vocations. On this the feast of St Peter Chanel, 28th April, we invite you to join with us in prayer. May we all have a deeper commitment to our vocation as Christians and also pray for vocation to the priesthood and religious life.
May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church,
watch over each tiny seed of a vocation
in the hearts of those whom the Lord calls
to follow him more closely.
May she help it grow into a mature tree,
bearing much good fruit
for the Church and for all humanity.
St Peter Chanel, you left your homeland
to proclaim Jesus.
Like you, may our lives bring forth
a witness of joyful commitment to Jesus.
Call forth from our midst
many workers for the Gospel,
so God’s love may reach the ends of the earth.
We ask this prayer through Jesus our brother. Amen.