2020-02-10 AUSTRALIA

New Structure to support the growth of the Marist Association of Saint Marcellin Champagnat

The Marist Association of Saint Marcellin Champagnat in Australia has grown to include almost 1000 members since its establishment in June 2014. The reasons for this number of people making the decision to join are many. The desire to “associate” as Marists has been a formal commitment to what they have felt, done and been as followers of Jesus for many years. Most would speak of having experienced meaningful, quality, rewarding work and inspirational formation in various Marist ministries.

In the initial years of the Association, it was decided to create a “Pastoral Team”, whose focus was largely on development, membership and belonging. The leadership provided in defining the nature of the Association by Joe McCarthy and other members of that team has been significant in this foundation phase.

Listening to the Spirit

The Association’s initial document, We Marists, published in 2016 captured the collective vision and priorities of this new entity for Australian Marists for the first three years.

In 2019, the Association’s second document, As Marists, describes the guiding principles discerned by members throughout 2018 and particularly the 200 delegates at the Association Assembly in Adelaide that year.

In relation to our Marist spiritual family, principles 8 and 9 outline our intentions.

  • “We embrace our shared responsibility for promoting the vitality of our Association and its mission.” (Principle 8 p.9 As Marists 2019)
  • We develop ways of strengthening our spiritual family, creating opportunities for people to

experience a sense of belonging and commitment.” (Principle 9 p.9 As Marists 2019)

 

Ensuring vitality and Shared responsibility through distributive leadership

Consistent with these guiding principles, a new organisational structure has been established representing progression to a more integrated model, with the imperatives of responsibility for formation, belonging and membership distributed across a greater number of leaders directly employed by the Association. The life and activity of the Association has matured to a point where a more distributive model of leadership and responsibility is required. This is an evolution which would not have been possible without the foundations laid in the establishment years by the Director of Belonging and Development, members of the Association Pastoral Team, the two Association Councils and many other committed Marists in a variety of roles across the country. This new organisational structure aligns with the Guiding Principles of the Association, as described in As Marists, particularly for our spiritual family.

Recalling the almost unanimous encouragement of the Australian Bishops with whom there was consultation when the concept of the Association was first shared, a strong emphasis and priority in relation to formation has been a consistent goal of the Association. The Mission and Life Formation Team (MLF) is an important and highly valued source of spiritual nourishment, inspiration and guidance for Marists, and represents a major financial investment by the Association.

For 2020, under the leadership of the Director Mr Tony Clarke, MLF team members will be based in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, each with responsibility in regard to formation for members of the Association. Development and support for Association Local Groups is a priority for all members of the MLF team, named and prioritised in their role descriptions. This new model builds on the existing arrangements of the MLF with our schools and other ministries and assumes responsibilities previously undertaken by the Association Pastoral Team. Guidance and support in regard to formation opportunities, spiritual accompaniment, and various occasions to gather will include that already detailed in the Association’s 2020 Programmes and Events booklet distributed last year.

Coordinating Membership

The successful experiences in regard to growing membership over the past five years clearly indicate that specific attention given to inviting, accepting and carefully following up expressions of interest is necessary. In 2020, this function will be undertaken nationally by the Coordinator of Membership, Michael Evison.

The promotion of and encouragement to membership of the Association will be a shared responsibility of all Ministry Leaders, Principals, Local Group Leaders and MLF team members.

Communication

The life of the Marist Association is communicated through Christlife, appearing regularly throughout the year and through online presence with the Association website and Facebook page.

____________

Dr Frank Malloy – Marist Association Executive Officer

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