2020-11-26 AUSTRALIA

Oceania Council and College of Leaders Meetings Executive Summary

In normal times, the November meetings about the processes and pastoral concerns of the Administrative Units that make up the Oceania Council (OC) and Oceania College of Leaders (COL) would be held in Brisbane, but this time these contacts were made online on 2 November.

Since the lockdown began in March, members have not been able to be physically present to each other and been developing communication skills and creativity with Zoom and similar internet platforms. Rather than sitting around the one table for OC and COL meetings, each of the members is able to operate from their home base: Port Moresby, New Zealand and Rome.

A summary of the OC and COL meetings is below and a number of significant developments are reported.

Development of a Single Administrative Unit

The restructuring process with the District and Province moving to a single administrative unit (AU) by the end of 2022 has been continuing for some time now and the Marists are being kept in touch with development with Bulletins and Updates.

New Province Committees are being established including:
  • New Province Executive – to lead the process to establish the new Province
  • Secretariat – to support the Executive
  • Reference Group – to review, integrate and deepen the thinking
  • Province Design Committee – to recommend design and set up plan for the new Province.
  • ICT Task Force – to identify and implement information and communication technology strategies and tools to engage meaningful region-wide collaboration, information sharing, dialogue and engagement
  • Local Units Future Planning Committee – for future planning and engagement processes across the regional unit, local and/or country level
Issues Affecting Formation Programs in Oceania

A consequence of the COVID pandemic, with the closure of State and country borders, travel restrictions, isolation and bubbles, all have had significant impact on the movement of aspirants, postulants and novices to and from houses of formation and scholasticates. Formation programs across Oceania have been affected and Novitiate programs, and the possibility of an Interregional novitiate and the location of and movement of formators are being explored.

Communication and ICT Issues

The issue of providing connectivity and reliability for our communication networks to all our Marist activities in the region is being energetically addressed. Recent report from Marist Schools Australia to the Oceania Council reveals the complexity and extent of the issue and the positive ways in which the problems are being addressed.

Lavalla 200> Project

This project is continuing successfully with the community and the Marist Learning Zone at Mount Druitt. The first volunteers (Argie and Rodrigo) have completed their contract and returned home to Mexico. For the new group, Fabrizio Basso from Brazil is already here and the arrival Silvia & Ruben from Spain has been held up by Corona virus restrictions and are expected to be in residence by March.

Oceania Partnership Committee

The recent OPC Strategic Directions 2020-2021 document included as a priority the participation of OPC and Marists in the Spirituality Program being planned and prepared by the Institute’s formation team. The program was expected to be delivered as a joint Asia-Oceania initiative in the Philippines in 2020. The COVID epidemic pandemic has stalled both the preparation and the scheduling of the Institute led course, now due to be held in the Philippines from 27 November-11 December 2021.

The next meeting of the OC and COL to be held on 29 March 2021.


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