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MIC and Marist International University College celebrated Saint Marcellin


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25/06/2018: Kenya


6 June 2018: Mass opening remarks

Marist International University College in collaboration with Marist International Centre (MIC) in Nairobi celebrated Champagnat Day with the theme: “Responding Boldly to the Emerging Needs of our World Today” which was animated by Br. Christian Gisamonyo. The talk was preceded by the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of Mass. The introductory remarks of Br. Spiridion Ndanga on the June 6th Celebration is given below.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning! Happy feast of St. Marcellin Champagnat!

We have come this morning to celebrate the feast of St. Marcellin Champagnat, Founder of the Marist Brothers. Marcellin was born on 20 May 1789 in France, during the French Revolution, and died on 6 June 1840. He was canonized on 18 April 1999.

What does it mean to celebrate St Marcellin Champagnat? To answer this question, let me take a comparison. On the 20th October of every year here in Kenya, we celebrate an event. Which one? The Mashujaa Day! The Hero’s Day. Who are our heroes? The freedom fighters, the father of the Nation or even any person who did something special for the good of the nation. We celebrate their big heart, their courage, their sense of the human dignity, their involvement in the liberation of human beings from whatever oppresses them. They deserve our love, our praise and our admiration. The celebration is at the same time an invitation to imitate their examples.

Marcellin Champagnat is a Saint, a hero. “The processes of beatification and canonization recognize the signs of heroic virtue, the signs of a life constantly offered for others, even until death. This shows an exemplary imitation of Christ, one worthy of admiration of the faithful.” (Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et exsultate # 5)

When he became priest, Marcellin noticed the religious ignorance and poverty of the youth of his time.  He had been prepared to that awareness by his own difficulties in education. He was thus challenged by events and resolved to do something to help the youth that was in that miserable situation.  Surely, he was listening to the Holy Spirit speaking into his heart. He founded the Institute of the Little Brothers of Mary or Marist Brothers of the Schools. We have to remember that Marcellin founded the Institute of the Little Brothers of Mary at the age of 27 years, and only five months from his ordination as a priest. He was younger than most of us here present, and no money to start his project. Other priests of his age and those older than him did not have the same sensitivity with regard to the plight of the children and youth of his time. What a tremendous audacity! Is not this to be a hero?

Marcellin had a passion for Jesus and a compassion for Humanity. His zeal to serve the youth drew its energy from his spiritual experience of being loved by Jesus and Mary. He wanted to tell those who did not know about that happiness of being loved, especially the youth, how much they were loved, and thus, to share his happiness. The School was the best way to form children into good Christians and virtuous citizens.

Celebrating St Marcellin is, therefore,

  • To admire what he has done for humanity, his generosity and love for people, especially for the youth, in particular the most neglected.
  • To thank God for the gift of a good shepherd for the youth, and for the foundation of the Institute of Marist Brothers.
  • To pray God through the intercession of St Marcellin for the needs of youth and for the needs of the Institute of Marist Brothers
  • To imitate St Marcellin in his love for Jesus and Mary, in his family spirit and simplicity, and in his compassion for the youth in need.

As our Superior General, Brother Ernesto Sanchez, concluded his message to the Institute on this 6 June 2018, “May each one of us, Marists of Champagnat, be capable, as Marcellin was, to look with attentive eyes and show a compassionate heart. May our Good Mother inspire and accompany us in this mission as she did with Marcellin and our first Brothers”.

Happy celebration of our Founder!

Br. Spiridion Ndanga

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