December 2013

This page:    Last Euroinfo for 2013    Christmas at Villa Maria    Passing of Bishop Soane Foliaki SM    Marist Laity December newsletter     Provincial office - and 75th year - closes for Christmas    Latest Provincial Circular    JP diary for December    Christmas in the Andes   House manager for Maryvale/Montbel   Homeward bound    Spirituality & Lifestyle program concludes     Philippines immersion for Woolwich Marist group    2014 international novitiate assembles    Vale Nelson Mandela    Five BP-ers accepted by ACU   Name change to District of Asia     New Bursar-General begins    Fr Willy's First Mass


Last Euroinfo for 2013

Reports from the Marist Fathers in Europe include more on the renovations of La Neylière and the seminarians and pre-novices of the European province.

Download from here


Christmas at Villa Maria

The Vigil Mass for Holy Name of Mary parish attracted its usual thousand*-strong congregation of families on Dec 24 at Hunters Hill, NSW. (* estimate from a local Marist)

Parish priest, Fr Kevin Bates SM, spoke of Pope Francis' image of the 'field hospital' church to the throng which included a host of angels, shepherds, sheep and assorted other fauna and parishioners. An engaging Christmas liturgy.


Passing of Bishop Soane Foliaki SM

Australian Marists note with sadness the passing of Oceanian confrère, Bishop Soane (John) Foliaki SM who died peacefully in Tonga on Dec 24 aged 80 after a long illness.

After secondary and seminary studies in New Zealand, John Foliaki was ordained in 1959 and later became provincial of the Oceania Marist Province, eventually succeeding Bishop Patelisio Finau as bishop of Tonga in 1993.

Bishop Foliaki's funeral will be held in Tonga on Dec 31. May he rest in well-deserved peace.


Marist Laity December newsletter

The final newsletter of Marist Laity Australia for 2013 features the pilgrimage of Lay Marists, François and Josiane Espinosa and their article, 'Seeking the Source' as well as the recent visit of Marist Sisters Woolwich college girls to the Philippines (see below).

For the full newsletter follow the links at the MLA web site.


Office -- and 75th year -- closes for Christmas

On Dec 20 the Hunters Hill office of the provincial headquarters of the Marist Fathers' Australian Province closed for its Christmas break.

At the same time the province itself concludes its 75th year of existence since its foundation on Sep 20, 1938.

Below: The historic photo of the province's first six provincials (back row: Frs James Harcombe, John Webber and John Glynn; front: Frs Daniel Hurley, Peter Guiren and James Bell.      Australia's first provincial, Fr Daniel Hurley / present provincial, Fr Bob Barber.


Latest Provincial Circular

December newsletter uploaded. Go to 'members only' log-in, Home page


Justice & Peace calendar for December

Anniversaries include the Native Title Bill passed by the Australian Senate (1993) and South Australia becoming the first state in Australia to give women the right to vote (1894).

See JPIC Diary


Christmas in the Andes

After another eventful year Australian Marist missionary , Fr John Hopkinson SM, sends seasonal greetings from the Marist team of Misioneros Maristas in Tarija, Bolivia.

In his Christmas letter Fr John gives an update on involvement with the nation's CEBs (Basic Christian Communities) of which he has been a key facilitator and consultant.      Click here for his full message


Maryvale/Montbel house manager, Margaret Ploskodniak, settling into her new role.

House manager for Maryvale/Montbel

Mrs Margaret Ploskodniak has become the first-ever house manager of the Marist retirement facility of Maryvale/Montbel at Hunters Hill, NSW.

Assuming responsibilities on Dec 09 for the operational aspects of the centre, Margaret's focus is clearly on the people for whom Maryvale/Montbel is home.

Born and bred in adjacent Gladesville and an ex-student of the Marist Sisters' College, Woolwich, Margaret describes the local area as very much her 'stomping ground' with lifelong connections to the nearby parish of Our Lady, Queen of Peace.

'I know who the local doctors and chemists are, too', says Margaret, a helpful piece of knowledge in her new position. Welcome, Margaret!


Homeward bound

Over coming days MAP S&L participants (see below) are leaving Sydney for their respective communities in six Pacific nations and the Philippines.

Pictured, left: Fr Elie Bebebus en route to Vanuatu / S&L team member, Fr Pio Fong, visiting family interstate before returning to Suva, Fiji.     Fr Lauro Arcede homeward bound for the Philippines.


Participants in the Marist Asia-Pacific 2013 'Spirituality & Lifestyle' program, with their certificates, at Holy Name of Mary church, Hunters Hill.

Spirituality & Lifestyle program concludes

Sponsored by the regions of Marist Asia-Pacific, the 10-week S&L course ended on Dec 11 with a celebratory Eucharist, presentation of certificates and dinner in the Villa Maria precincts, Hunters Hill, NSW. It is the third such program to be held since 2011.

Fifty guests and fellow-Marists combined to farewell the ten program participants from Oceania and the Philippines

Above: Fr Soane Patita Hautaufa'ao and Br Charles Randle / Fr Soane assisted by S&L team, Frs Paul Sullivan and Pio Fong.    Br Berenado Petero / homilist, Fr Pio Fong.   Below: Intercessions read in various languages by Frs Mika Marisi / Lauro Arcede, Elie Bebesus, James Mokela / Lino Isileli.      The sign of peace.       Australian provincial, Fr Bob Barber, presents certificates of participation to S&L graduates, Frs Fa Vakata / Mika Marisi.
Above: Celebratory luncheon / pre-prandial gathering at Villa Maria monastery.     Fr Lauro Arcede thanks the domestic staff of Villa Maria / smiling staff members, Connie, Kerrie and Jenny.

Philippines immersion for Woolwich Marist group

Once again a group from Marist Sisters College, Woolwich, NSW, are engaged in a post-school immersion in a Third World country..

During Dec 02-12 three students and two teachers are tasting the life of the poor in Davao City, Mindanao, in the southern Philippines.

Coordinator of the group, Andrew Dumas, reports: 'We are with other Marists - Sisters, Fathers and Lay people - in their work with street children and primary schooling for poor families.' Andrew is also co-leader of Marist Laity Australia.'
 Follow the group's blog here.


Kiwi, Ben D'Souza, with fellow novices-to-be during their welcome at the Davao international novitiate / the assembled group with Marist Asia dustrict superior, Fr Pat Devlin SM.

2014 international novitiate assembles

The newly-renamed Marist Mission of Asia reports:

A simple welcome was given to 9 novices of the English Speaking International Novitiate in Davao City on Dec 05. One novice has yet to arrive because of visa problem.  

The novices come from Africa, Norway, Tonga, Fiji, and New Zealand. Fr. Pat Devlin, SM, the superior of the District of Asia, welcomed the new novices with great joy and enthusiasm reminding them to ‘feel at home and enjoy their Spiritual time in the Philippines.’

We wish every blessing and prayer to the 10 Novices as they ‘taste God’ in the Novitiate.  Welcome and feel at home. Mabuhay!


Vale Nelson Mandela

In marking the passing of South Africa's great leader of the 20th century, our Justice & Peace page recalls Nelson Mandela's still-timely address to international youth in 1995.  Go to JPIC


Five BP-ers accepted by ACU

From hundreds of applicants on the Thai-Burma border Australian Catholic University has accepted five members of the Marist-sponsored 'Bridge Program' for its 2014 Liberal Arts Diploma online studies program. Six former BP-ers recently graduated from the 2013 ACU course (see November news)

The Bridge Program commenced in 2011 to assist young Burmese refugees in their application for the ACU program. BP-ers are instructed in a range of skills through regular assignments accessed through the 'Marist Training Resources' web site.

Congratulations to the fhe five successful BP-ers, pictured below, from left: Muriel Valles, Eik Sai, James Brangnu, George Myo Zaw Mya and Seng Naw Mai.


Fr Pat Devlin SM, district superior of the newly-named Marist Mission District of Asia.

Name change to District of Asia

The Marist Mission District of the Philippines has changed its name. A recent SM Bulletin announces from Rome:

'The Superior General has granted a request of the District of the Philippines to change its name to the District of Asia.

This new name reflects the fact that the district is also present in Thailand where confreres work with immigrants from Myanmar.

An interest in the Society of Mary is also growing in other areas, including China.'

The District's web site (banner below) carries regular news of the district's various missions.


New Bursar-General begins

On Dec 01 former provincial of Australia and recently-appointed Bursar-General of the Society of Mary, Fr Paul Cooney SM, commenced his fulltime work overseeing the worldwide finances of the Marist Fathers.

Fr Paul takes over from Kiwi, Fr Kevin Mowbray and is based at the Marist Fathers General House, 'Monteverde', in Rome, Italy.


Fr Willy' First Mass

Newly-ordained Vanuatu Marist, Fr Willy Melteras SM, celebrated the Eucharist for the first time on Nov 30 at St Peter Chanel's church, Woolwich, NSW, in the presence of parishioners, family members and Marists.

Concelebrating priests from the Pacific included Fr Willy's brother, Fr Donald Melteras, while his mother and other family members visiting from Vanuatu also attended.

Fr Willy's second Mass is scheduled for the next day, Dec 01, at Holy Name of Mary church, Hunters Hill.