The 2020 Lenten Season has begun. There are various ways of journeying through Lent so that we deepen our relationship with God, with each other and with the whole of creation. Catholic Religious Australia has developed a Lenten Fast Calendar to assist us in this journey. The calendar provides suggestions for each day of Lent. Download your copy here.
On 6th February sixteen Marist Sisters in New Zealand travelled to Whangaparoa for a lunch to celebrate Waitangi Day, a special national day in Aotearoa New Zealand.
This day celebrates who we are – as a people, as a country and as a nation. Waitangi Day 2020 marks 180 years since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, the founding document of Aotearoa New Zealand. It signaled the beginning of a long relationship between the Maori people (the first people of the land) and other cultures.
Several photos were taken during the celebration. One was a photo of the youngest Sister and the oldest Sister in the Marist Sisters Unit of Aotearoa New Zealand.
A group of Marist Sisters living in Sydney recently gathered to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Sr Vivienne Goldstein and the Diamond Jubilee of Sr Anthony Walker. During a simple liturgy they celebrated Mary, as their model and leader in “mothering the Word”. All who bear the name of Mary are called to hear the Word, to wait on the Word, to give birth to the Word, to hold the Word and to release the Word – as Kevin Bates sm reminds us in his song: “Hail Mary”.
Congratulations to Sr Birisita Bibi who made her Perpetual Profession as a Marist Sister in Fiji recently. Biri’s family and friends from Levuka, where Biri has been on mission over recent years, arrived in Lami in great numbers on Friday 6th December. They were accommodated at the school premises.
At 10.00 am on the 7th December, the Profession Mass began in the parish church in Lami, Suva. Fr John Crispin sm was main celebrant. He was assisted by six other priests. The church was filled to the doors with the presence of the Marist Sisters, Biri’s family and the youth choir from Levuka. The whole community was filled with joy as Sr Biri made her final commitment to God. At the end of the Mass, all were invited to the parish hall for lunch. After lunch the sisters gathered at the convent for the unwrapping of gifts. What a happy day it was for the sisters, for Biri’s family and friends and for Biri.
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.
In the Philippines Marist Sisters are found ministering in Davao. It is always a joy for the sisters when they are able to connect with other members of the Marist Family. Recently they welcomed new members of the Marist Fathers community
The Sisters in the Philippines engage in a number of ministries that see them reaching out to bring hope and dignity to others. Their ministry includes spiritual and pastoral support in their local parish, dental services for those in jail, Planning support for ex-inmates and reaching out to those impacted by a recent earthquake.
November is the month when we traditionally remember all those who have died. New Zealand Marist Sisters from Auckland communities gathered at Panmure cemetery recently to pray for our Sisters buried there and to decorate their graves. The newest graves belong to Sisters Isabelle and Margaret Therese who died during 2019. Prayers of gratitude were expressed for their life and example of Marist living and for inspiring us as we endeavour to walk in Mary’s way.