2022-09-06 AUSTRALIA

Marist Association of St Marcellin Champagnat National Assembly

Listen to the Spirit, and “shine among them like stars in the sky” (Philippians 2:15).

Brother Peter Carroll, the Leader of the Marist Association of St Marcellin Champagnat and Provincial of the Australian Marist Province opened the proceedings of the III Marist Association of St Marcellin Champagnat National Assembly at Mary MacKillop Place on the weekend of the 26-28 with 200 delegates in person and online.

“We need to continue to create, maintain, deepen and enrich the sense of community, which is so important to Church, to Marists and this Association”, said Br. Peter and encouraged those assembled to be “imaginative and to dream together.”

The weekend gathering marked the end point of the 2022 National Assembly, following two online forums in June and July. A desire to be inclusive and the uncertainty of COVID restrictions gave rise to the hybrid approach and a process resembling the Plenary Council, aiming for broad participation across Australia.

Welcoming participants via video, President of the Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB affirmed the contribution of the Marist Association, saying: “As the Association, you are a vital part of the spiritual family that underpins this great work. You also bring a wonderful Marist presence to the Church and to the world through your spirituality and sense of community. The Marists Brothers and lay community have made and continue to make, a huge contribution to the broader Australian Church. This is done through the schools and many other ministries.”

Archbishop Costelloe continued saying:

“This is a precious opportunity to be present to the promptings of the Spirit in and through each other, as well as through prayer and hearing the Word of God. It is a time to listen, discern and celebrate – whether you are participating in person or online. As such, it is a great demonstration of the synodal process to which Pope Francis is calling us as Church.”

Participants were challenged by Brother David Hall to consider the full context of the scripture chosen for the National Assembly from Philippians 2:15 and spoke of the current fragility of the world and the discipline of hope which is a “practice of ‘holding’ vulnerable desires, in communion with others”.

Areas of emerging life and energy

Across the three months of gatherings, participants identified, discussed and distilled many topics which included the promotion of an inclusive Association, listening to the voice of young people, caring for and forming those on the margins, responding to the Plenary Council outcomes and discerning how the Association can contribute to their realisation. Other topics also included exploring pathways of formation, engaging families in their spiritual journey and engendering a vision for an ecology of the heart.

By the close of the gathering, participants had identified the following areas of emerging life and energy:

  • Inclusion and belonging;
  • Being game changers in the Church;
  • Forming for life and sustainability and stewardship.

Participants left energised by the gathering. Hope and a sense of collective purpose including greater responsibility for Marist life and mission were evident as was a passionate desire to strengthen the Church and its place in society in the future.

The Marist Association will further develop these priorities and create pathways for implementation across all Marist ministries and local groups.

Members of the Marist Association of St Marcellin Champagnat gather on the steps of Mary MacKillop Place, North Sydney for their third National Assembly


Retreat help to empower Marist Youth...


Meeting of Masters and Formators of Novices...