San Pío V, José Benito Cotolengo y Nuestra Señora de África
The Mission Assembly of Mendes took firm roots in Melbourne as the “Five Call Areas” of the Document of the Assembly 2007 were reflected upon in shaping a vision of the Province of Melbourne. Over 75 people attended the Conference drawn from all missions and ministries of the Province. They worked hard in discerning how to give localized meaning to the global calls being made of the Marist world from the Mendes gathering. A sense of pride was evident as presentations of the participant’s visionary ideas and concrete commitment proposals were shared in the presence of the Ministry Council of the Province. This newly formed Council consisting of the Provincial, Brothers and Lay Marists provides oversight and visioning to all the Ministries of the Province listened intently to the local calls being discerned by all present.
Openness to the breath of the Spirit was alive and well! As the participants readily took up the solidarity challenges of Mendes it encouraged them and reaffirmed their commitment to the marginalized Missions and Ministries of the Province. The implementing of new missions to the marginalized, adopting models of practice that are currently working and extending ourselves to open new missions with our most marginalized group, the local indigenous, were readily endorsed. What was heartening in this process was the willingness of participants to say that fellow Marists needed to take responsibility for these missions to uphold them. The tabling of ideas of how support of these Missions and Marist communities could be carried forward brought other models of practice to light for exploration in the future. These included secondments of personnel for particular Missions of the province, short to medium term commitments in a volunteer capacity and or in another supported form. Partnerships with other organizations in sharing in the mission were considered to be pathways for exploration in carrying forward the mission of the Province.
Participants readily identified with the need to commit to their own formation in the education for the transformation of youth. Endorsement and expansion of what is currently being offered by the formation systems of the Province was encouraged with proposed ideas that committing more resources to improved communication strategies that can educate as well as inform is critical to good formation. With the soon to be established Centre for Province Ministries, use of technology in achieving this improvement in communication should be enhanced. The acknowledgement that REMAR continues to be transformative for both the youth and the leadership involved, also made calls on the Province to build on it and develop it further.
Outreach, in evangelizing beyond our own country, was seen as important to continue. In upholding our commitment to overseas missions was invaluable in itself, and for the evangelizing influence it can provide to those in our schools and other ministries of the Province.
Participants finished the conference somewhat tired but fulfilled sensing that each other’s ideas were being heard and processes were in place to take their visioning forward in making the kingdom present here and among us!