March 2014

This page:  International Council of Marist Sisters  |  Sydney Alliance assembly  |  Laity pilgrimage planning  |  Fr Willy's northern experience |  Cherry-picking at Villa Maria  |   Happy Feast of Saint Joseph  |  Archdiocesan celebrations at St Patrick's  |  Golden Jubilee of Fr Seamus McMahon  |  St Patrick's on international blog  |  Kiwis catch up at Villa Maria  |  Who's been visiting  |  Featured web site: Kevin Bates SM  |  Bridging Sydney  |  Carbon Fast calendar  |  Pope Francis' message for Lent 2014  |  Bursar-General in Paris |  Social Justice Diary for March  |  Villa Maria re-visited  |  Latest Marist publications  |  Provincial circular

The Colin web site ( is hosted from Australia.
Click here for the latest news and photo of the week.


International Council of Marist Sisters

Led by Superior-General Sr Jane Frances O'Carroll and her team, Marist Sisters from the regions of Atlantica, Eur-Africa and Asia-Pacific are in Australia to plan for their General Chapter of 2015.

A traditional 'welcome to country' and smoking ceremony marked the start of the Sisters' Plenary General Council at St Joseph's Spirituality Centre, Baulkham Hills, NSW, on Mar 27.

The PGC is being facilitated by Sr Mary Persico IHM (USA), assisted by Srs Marie Challacombe (translator) and Grace Ellul (secretary) and will conclude on Apr 10.

Posted: Mar 28

Above: Sisters gather around the fire for the opening ritual assisted John Allen of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Sydney  |  The opening ceremony continues in the centre's chapel / gathering at St Joseph's Spirituality centre, Baulkham Hills

A choir combing numerous ethnic, church and civic groups symbolises the bridging of Sydney

Sydney Alliance assembly

Catholic groups from the Sydney archdiocese made up the largest presence at 'Bridging Sydney', the fourth annual plenary gathering of the Alliance at Sydney Town Hall on Mar 26.

Members of the Marist province's Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation committee were also present at what has been the largest civic meeting to be held in Sydney this year.

The Sydney Alliance brings together community, church and union groups to effect a voice for the people of Sydney with specific 'asks' of the government prior to the 2015 state elections.

Visit the Sydney Alliance web site

Posted: Mar 27

Above: Traditional 'welcome to country' / opening by co-chairs  |  Members of Catholic parishes, schools and organisations sit alongside union, civic and other church groups  | Focus of the Alliance includes social inclusion, transport, employment and housing
Below: Speakers from all walks of life give personal testimony of issues facing the people of Sydney  |  Granville High School drummers conclude the 90-minute assembly attended by almost two thousand citizens of Sydney

Fr Ray Chapman (centre) with the pilgrim group at their first planning session, at Villa Maria, Hunters Hill, on Mar 25. Absent are two fellow-pilgrims from Tasmania / each has a map of the Marist places in France

Laity pilgrimage planning

Led by Fr Ray Chapman SM eight lay Marists have begun their preparation for a 17-day pilgrimage to places of Marist interest in France and Rome. They each have a particular association with Marist ministry in Australia.

The group's comprehensive itinerary will take them to foundational and iconic places in the history of the Society of Mary. The group leaves Australia on Apr 21 returning on May 07.

Posted: Mar 25


Fr Willy's northern experience

As part of his first year of priesthood, Vanuatu-born Fr Willy Melteras SM has had an experience of a more remote Marist mission in Australia in a recent visit to Star of the Sea parish, Gladstone, Qld.

'I had no idea the parish was so big and with so many Mass stations', said Fr Willy. 'But the weather is good and the pace of life not as busy as the big cities.' The giant parish is the size of the country of Wales -- and Switzerland, if one counts the sea area to the barrier reef islands.

Ordained in Sydney last November Fr Willy has resumed his pastoral ministry in Hunters Hill-Woolwich, NSW, where he will work for the rest of this year. Welcome back, Fr Willy.

Posted: Mar 23

Above: Fr Willy with parish priest, Fr Kevin Redmond SM, and Fr Aliki Langi SM. |
 Fr Aliki in the parish centre / by Gladstone harbour | The Marists enjoy a bowl of kava in the presbytery courtyard-garden.
Below: The parish staff / Fr Aliki at Ubobo church in the Boyne valley | Sunday Mass at Ubobo.

Cherry-picking at Villa Maria

Stonework on Hunters Hill's Holy Name of Mary ('Villa Maria') church is undergoing investigation and repair.

From the heights of their cherry-picker, stone masons are preparing a report on the likely need for further repairs to the historic church.

'It's not long since we fixed the rising damp in the lower stone courses' observed parish priest, Fr Kevin Bates, 'when a piece of stone dropped from above. Some of it is 150 years old'.

Posted: Mar 21


Happy Feast of Saint Joseph!

Marist Founder, Fr Jean-Claude Colin, had a list of favourite Saints he would invoke daily to intercede for the Society of Mary. At the top was Saint Joseph.

As a feast day 'extra', we include this link to Fr Peter McMurrich's leaflet on historic St Joseph's chapel, the first building erected, in 1863, by pioneer Marists in the grounds of Villa Maria, Hunters Hill, NSW.

To all our web visitors, Happy Feast Day.  Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Posted: Mar 19


Sydney auxiliary Bishop Terry Brady presided at the St Pat's Day Mass at St Pat's / Bishop Terry with parish priest, Fr Ray Chapman SM

Archdiocesan celebrations at St Patrick's

Fr Ray Chapman, parish priest of St Patrick's, Church Hill, Sydney, reports on the historic church's becoming focal point for the Sydney Archdiocese's celebration of St Patrick's Day:

'Usually celebrated in St Mary's Cathedral, the Mass was celebrated by Bishop Terry Brady and twelve priests at 10.30 am before an overflowing congregation of three hundred and fifty. 

'A combined choir consisting of members of the parish choir and the archdiocesan choral group contributed beautifully to a wonderful celebration of the Eucharist. 

'In attendance as official guests were the governer of NSW, Marie Bashir, the Attorney General, Greg Smith, the Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, and a number of parliamentarians. 

'It was a wonderful occasion for St Patrick's, the Marists working there, and the members of the parish community.   It was also a significant change in venue.  St Patrick's was opened on 18th March, 1844 - one hundred and seventy years ago this year!' 
       Posted: Mar 17


Golden Jubilee of Fr Seamus McMahon

The Marist community of Herston, Qld, has gathered around their Irish confrère, Fr Seamus McMahon SM, to celebrate fifty years since his priestly ordination at Clonliffe, Dublin, on Mar 14, 1964.

After a short time at St Anne's, London, Fr Seamus joined the Oceania Marist Province, working in Bougainville and Fiji for over twenty-five years before coming to Australia to engage in parish ministry in Marist and diocesan centres in Queensland. He is now chaplain to Oxford Park and St Paul's, Raisnworth, Qld.

Congratulations, Fr Seamus!  Ad multos annos.

 Posted: Mar 14


St Patrick's on international blog

As part of the worldwide network of City Centre Churches, Sydney's St Patrick's has taken its place on the Marist CCC blog site.

Parish priest, Fr Ray Chapman, and Aquinas Academy director, Fr Michael Whelan, have posted items on the March column of the blog.

See them at City Centre Churches blog (March)

 Posted: Mar 14


Frs Barry Malone, Gerry Arbuckle and John Craddock / Frs Barry and John at St Peter Chanel chapel, Villa Maria

Kiwis catch up at Villa Maria

New Zealand Marists, Frs Barry Malone and John Craddock, are pictured, left, with former seminary mentor, Fr Gerry Arbuckle, during their current visit to Sydney.

Frs Barry (missionary in Brazil) and John (Addington parish, Christchurch, NZ) are in Australia while celebrating fifty years of Marist life, along with fellow jubilarians, Fr Kevin Stewart (director of the Marist Mission Centre) and Fr Michael McVerry (Taveuni, Fiji).

Congratulations and welcome, Fathers!

 Posted: Mar 13


Visits to the Australian Marist province web site in the first 10 weeks of the year averaged 420 per day - or one every 3 or 4 minutes

Who's been visiting...

For our number-lovers, statistics for the first ten weeks of 2014 reveal the following (figures rounded to minimise tedium):

29,000 visits to 175,000 pages and 600,000 files. 750,000 hits, 20 Gb traffic. 50% of visits are not from 'real' people, but network, commercial and 'unresolved' sources.

Visits came from 91 countries; top countries (after Australia): NZ, Germany, Japan, Fiji, Italy, Thailand, Brazil, France and Russia.

 Posted: Mar 12


This month we happily feature the web site of Fr Kevin Bates SM, pastor of Holy Name of Mary parish, Hunters Hill/Woolwich, NSW, song-writer and singer.

Featured web site: Kevin Bates SM

'A wonderful way of engaging with God's people', so says Geelong-born Marist song-writer and singer, Fr Kevin Bates SM.

'Music-making has always been woven into my ministry along with song-writing. It has always provided a wonderful way of engaging with God's people, whatever their background. 

'Music is a universal language which transcends religion, culture and age, and I've always been grateful that I am able to have music as such a valuable element in my ministry.'   

Go to Fr Kevin's web site:
Below: web images, incl some of Fr Kevin's popular DVD albums.                            Posted: Mar 10


The Sydney Alliance is supported by the Marist Fathers' Australian Province 'Justice Peace & Integrity of Creation' committee who will be well represented at the Assembly

'Bridging Sydney'

Assembly of Sydney Alliance coming soon (Mar 26) Click here for details. See also JPIC.

 [Posted Mar 10]


The CLRI (NSW) Social Justice Committee would like to acknowledge that this calendar has been sourced and adapted from the Environmental Outreach Committee in the Archdiocese of Washington, which in turn was adapted from Tearfund and other sources with help from Greater Washington Interfaith Power & Light (

Carbon Fast Calendar

Click here.

 [Posted Mar 05]


Pope Francis' message for Lent 2014

Conversion of life and the invitation to poverty. Go to JPIC.

 [Posted Mar 05]


Bursar-General in Paris

Former Australian provincial, Fr Paul Cooney SM, has recently attended a meeting of regional bursars from the European province in Paris. In his new role as Bursar-General of the Society of Mary, Fr Paul overseas the financial affairs of the Marist Fathers internationally.

The Paris meeting and other news items from Europe are part of February's EuroInfo.

 [Posted Mar 03]


Social Justice Diary for March

This month's anniversary's include the first foundation of the Josephite Sisters in Penola, SA, in 1866 and the Fukushima disaster, Japan, 2011.

Go to JPIC Diary

 [Posted Mar 02]



Villa Maria re-visited

Veteran Italian Marist missionary, Fr Gianni Morlini SM, called in at Villa Maria monastery, Hunters Hill,NSW, fifty-two years since his first visit en route to Vanuatu.

Fr Gianni is recovering from multiple heart by-pass surgery at Sydney's St Vincent's hospital and will return to the Marist community at Port Olry, Vanuatu, after some weeks of convalescence.

Welcome back, Father Gianni!

 [Posted Mar 01]


Latest Marist publications

Fr François Drouilly's 'From the Logbook of a Spiritual Adventurer' and the outcomes of the Council of the Society's 2013 meeting are the latest Marist publications available to Marists Fathers worldwide.

Now translated from the French, the 'Logbook' provides a readable summary of the correspondence of Marist founder, Jean-Claude Colin, during his period as superior-general, 1836-1854.

In his foreword to the CS13 documents, present superior-general, Fr John Hannan, addressing fellow-Marists comments: 'My earnest wish is that this... might enable change and regeneration in your life as a Marist and within your communities and ministries.'

The two new books are currently being distributed throughout the Australian province.

 [Posted Mar 01]


Provincial Circular

Now available at 'Members only' log-in

 [Posted Mar 01]