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Oceania Regional Meeting of Leaders of Lay Animation

06/03/2012: New Zealand

The Oceania Regional Meeting of Leaders of Lay Animation met at the Franciscan Friary in Auckland, New Zealand, from the 20th to 23rd February 2012.   Participants were from the Provinces and District of Melanesia (Ms Wendy Tame, Mrs Lucy Sinei, Mr Chris Lus, Br Rodney Pauru), Melbourne (Mr Joe McCarthy, Mr Mario Frazzetto, Ms Simone Boyd, Br Paul Kane, Br John McMahon), New Zealand (Mr Alan Parker, Br Carl Tapp, Br Terry Costello) and Sydney (Mr Tony Clarke, Mr Christian Nobleza, Mrs Carole Wark, Br Michael Callinan, Br Darren Burge, Br Michael Green, Br Anthony Robinson).

Joe McCarthy, a participant and one of the coordinators of the meeting offered the following reflection about his experience of the regional gathering:

‘Amongst everything else, two things I think we can be sure of:

1) The work we do is not easy – we are operating on one of the cutting edges of church today, namely, how do we create engagement, offer spiritual development, build a sense of belonging and inspire mission for people saying ‘yes’ to the Marial face of church.

2) The work we do is essential – even if people are a little unsure as to ‘what is next’, we are building on a considerable history and an evolving story that is the Lay Marist journey, and there are many chapters yet to be written!

It was life-giving and supportive to work ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with each other as a region.’

The following statement is a reflection by the participants of the meeting in an attempt to capture the heart of their experience during the days together:  

We are unified in our belief that God has touched us and given us a Marist heart.  We are unable to live any other way, as we are Marists. We are guided by this same Spirit to explore new ways of living the charism.

The charism of Marcellin is a gift of God to the entire ecclesial community. Hence, our respective vocations are lived in a spirit of communion. A clear and strong identity for both Brothers and Lay people is essential for the vitality of this relationship to take us into the future. 

There is an urgent need to define and develop the Lay identity to enable new pathways of engagement and belonging. We see the importance of a new paradigm for Lay Marist vocation. We are committed to researching the practicalities of this and implementing the model.

There is a desire to provide opportunities for Lay Marists to explore their vocation at greater depth through a variety of formative experiences. We are keen to build on the strong foundation that already exists in our formation programs and develop new ways for all Lay Marists young and old to access our spirituality.

This is our moment in Marist history. Now is the time to act. There is urgency within those gathered to identify specific ways forward, to abandon the answers of the past that do not satisfy and, with Mary, go in haste to a new land.

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