February 2023 news

For previous years, go to News menu, above

   This page:    The telegram from Rome     |     District Circular     |     SM Bulletin     |     JPIC reports online     |     News from Oceania     |     SM Bulletin     |     Visitation concludes     |     Casa di Maria Newsletter     |     Verguet translation     |     Euroinfo     |     Laity leaders meet     |     SM Bulletin     |     Sydney gatherings     |     ACU honour for Fr Gerry Arbuckle     |     Brisbane visitation     |     Laity changeover     |     Superior-General's Reflection     |     Glenn Roff OAM     |     International Novitiate begins    


The telegram from Rome
150 years ago, on Feb 28, 1873, the Constitutions of the Society of Mary were definitively approved by Pope Pius IX. Anxiously waiitng in Rome, Fr Ferdinand Vitte SM was quick to relay the good news to the then Superior-General, Fr Julien Favre, requesting that the news be sent immediately to La Neylière and Fr Jean-Claude Colin. Years earlier there had been tensions beween Frs Favre and Colin about the constitutions text and its completion, happily resolved when both agreed that Fr Colin undertake the final redaction.

Fr Vitte's telegram from Rome early on Mar 01 reads: 'Definitive approval given yesterday evening. Send the news immediately to La Neylière. Details following by letter.'

Each year on Feb 28 Marist priests are urged to offer Mass for the Society of Mary.                             [Feb 28]

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Above::The telegram from Rome from Fr Ferdinand Vitte to Fr Julien Favre.   |   Jean-Claude Colin photographed at the General Chapter of 1866.   |    Artwork depicting Frs Colin and Favre under the mantle of the Blessed Virgin Mary.   Below: La Neylière at the time of Fr Colin.   |   Study of Fr Colin at La Neylière where he worked on the final texts of the constitutions of the Society of Mary.   
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District Circular

The latest bulletin for members of the Marist District of Australia is available at the Members' Page.                            [Feb 27]

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SM Bulletin

From Rome, the latest SM Bulletin reports on Cyclone Gabrielle in NZ, Marist College, Suva, and Brazil's new mission.

To download, click here or go to Members' Page.                                      [Feb 27]

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JPIC reports online

Annual reports summarising the activities of the Australian Marist District (formerly Provincial) Committee for Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation are now available online. Reports from 2019 to the present can be accessed at the JPIC Page, the Members' Page or click here for: 2019   |   2020-21   |   2022                         [Feb 24]

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News from Oceania

Reports in the first issue of the Oceania News Bulletin for 2023 include the recent Provincial Chapter, the newly-elected Provincial Council, the visit of Superior-General, Fr John Larsen, and Pacific Marists on renewal. To download, click here or go to Members' Page.                                [Feb 21] 

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SM Bulletin

From Rome, this week's SM Bulletin report on Fr John Larsen's meeting with Omnes Gentes group in Sydney, Verguet history translated and European Marist schools gathering. 

To download, click here or go to Members' Page.                              [Feb 17]
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Visitation concludes

Superior-General, Fr John Larsen, and Assistant-General, Fr Ben McKenna, ended their visitation of the Australian Marist District with calls at several Sydney communities and by attending the monthly meeting of the District Council. They continued interviews with individual Marists personally and through Zoom sessions. Fr John included a special session with the International Mission team from Marayong in Sydney's outer west..

The travellers now return to Rome after several months in the Pacific, Philippines, Thailand and Australasia.. Thank you for your visit, Frs John and Ben !                          [Feb 17]

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Above: Fr John Larsen in the chapel of Villa Maria, Hunters Hill, with the International Mission team from Marayong (from left): Frs Kevin Redmond, Floyd Gatana and Kevin Medilo.   |   Visitors at the Australia District Council meeting:: Frs Kevin Bates, John LarsenBen McKenna, Paul Sullivan, Gerard Hall and Tony Corcoran (District Superior). Below:  With the staff of St Patrick's, Church Hill: Frs Michael Whelan, Paul Hachey, Bernard McFadyen, John Larsen, Garry Reynolds, Peter McMurrich and Kevin Stewart.   |   At Haberfield: Frs Michael Mullins, John Larsen and Paul Sullivan
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Casa di Maria Newsletter

From the Marist International Theologate, Rome, Fr Tony Kennedy SM reports: 'Here is the latest newsletter from the theologate with lots of pictures... Our community has expanded with the arrival of six newly-professed men in early January.  The exams have finished for the first semester and the Angelicum University students have already begun the second semester while those at the Gregorian have this week off. Thank you for the support and interest you have for our community.'

To download the 18-page pictorial newsletter, click here.                                [Feb 16]


Verguet translation

Fr Leopold Verguet's 1854 'History of the First Catholic Mission in Melanesia' is now available in English. Fr Andrew Murray SM reports that the translation by Sr Marie Lammerand SMSM and formatting by Fr Merv Duffy SM has received an ISBN identification and has been uploaded to the Marist and Pacific Mission history of Fr Andrew's website. 

Once a Marist missionary in Oceania, Fr Verguet is known for his keen observations and drawings of many aspects of Pacific culture and history. Included in his book (pp 25-54) is a detailed account of his months in Sydney en route to other Pacific regions.

For the website's pdf translation, click here. For a summary of publishing details, click here.                           [Feb 14] 

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The latest Euroinfo reports on the provincial community in Paris, a message from provincial, Fr Kevin Duffy, in Hull, educationalists' meeting in Germany, planning for the province retreat at La Neylière and for the European Marist Laity gathering in England.

To download click here or go the Members' Page.                           [Feb 13]

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Laity leaders meet

During his visitation of the Australian Marist District, Assistant-General, Fr Ben McKenna SM, met with co-leaders of Marist Laity Australia, Andrew Dumas and Cathy Larkin. As a member of the General Council of the Society of Mary, one of Fr Ben's portfolios is that of liaison with Marist Lay groups worldwide.

Over dinner on Feb 11 with the Dumas family, Andrew, Cathy and Fr Ben (pictured below) were able to discuss a range of issues relevant to the life of Lay Marists.                     [Feb 12]

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SM Bulletin

From Rome, this week's SM Bulletin reports on the commencement of the International Novitiate in the Philippines, Vistation of tje Distyrict of Australia and on preparations for the Matist Youth gathering in Lisbon. Click here or go to Members' Page.                              [Feb 11]

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Sydney gatherings

Pictured below are two recent gatherings of Marists addessed by Superior-General, Fr John Larsen SM, currently visiting the District of Australia with Assistant-General, Fr Ben McKenna SM. The first, on Feb 08, followed visitation of the Maryvale/Montbel community, Hunters Hill.

A second gathering brought together most Sydney-based Marists on Feb 09 for an evening at Villa Maria monastery to honour Frs John and Ben who will soon continue their visitation with the St Patrick's community in downtown Sydney.                                [Feb 11] 

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ACU honour for Fr Gerry Arbuckle

Congratulations to Fr Gerald Arbuckle SM who will receive an honorary doctorate (Honoris Causa) from the Australian Catholic University in May.

Fr Gerry will be honoured in 'recognition of his contribution to the academic tradition of the Church and for bringing the interplay between faith and reason to bear on complex religious and social policy issues for the betterment of society.' 

The author of numerous books on contemporary issues, Fr Gerry is a member of the Montbel Marist community, Hunters Hill, NSW,                                [Feb  07] 

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Brisbane visitation

Superior-General, Fr John Larsen, and Assistant-General, Fr Ben McKenna, have recently completed a visitation of Queensland Marists. Gatherings at Herston and Rosalie gave individual Marists opportunity to speak with the visitors from Rome who also met with Marist Brothers and other local religious before leaving for Sydney on Feb 05 to continue visitation of the Australian District.                              [Feb 07]

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Above: At Herston, Marists gather with the visitors, from left, Frs John Gillen, Aidan Carvill, Pius Jones, Br Charles Randle, Frs 'Alatini Kolofo'ou, Ben McKenna, John Larsen, Gerard Hall, Michael Rego and John Begg.   |   Visitors with the Marist Brothers' community and Fr Gerard Hall at  Rosalie.  Below: With the Herston community and local religious Sisters.   |   Fr Ben (webmaster of the Society of Mary's international JPIC Blog) in consultation with website consultant, Justin Lynch. at Chermside.  
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Laity changeover

Members of the Marist Family gathered on Feb 04 to mark a changeover in the leadership team of Marist Laity Australia. As co-leader, Margaret Woods, retires from this position, Cathy Larkin takes her place and will work with fellow co-leader, Andrew Dumas. The group met at Villa Maria monastery, Hunters Hill, with a Eucharist celebrated by Fr Paul Mahony SM at nearby Montbel. Thank you, Marg, for your years of serrvice to MLA and welcome to the team, Cathy.                             [Feb 04]  

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Above: Cathy Larkin and Margaret Wood at the changeover.   |    The MLA in the 'faculty room' of Villa Maria monastery. The group includes former leader, Maria Baden (third from left) and continuing co-leader, Andrew Dumas (third from right).

Superior-General's reflection

0123 SG 0e inPixioThis month's reflection from Fr John Larsen SM focusses on the call of all religious to personal holiness and on Marist holiness.

To download click here or go to Superior-General's page.                           [Feb 03]

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Glenn Roff OAM

Coordinator of the Marist Charism and Culture group, Mr Glenn Roff, has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to education. Well-known to Australian Marists, Glenn was the first lay principal of St John’s College, Woodlawn, Lismore, NSW, then principal of St Mary’s Primary School in Toowoomba as well as being the director of the Catholic Education Office, Diocese of Cairns, from 1997-2000.

Glenn and his wife, Sue, recently spent time as volunteer teachers at the Marist mission at Ranong, Thailand. Congratulations, Glenn!                             [Feb 03]

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Above: Glenn Roff OAM... during a session of the Marist Charism and Culture group at Villa Maria, Sydney   |   With wife, Sue, and students at Ranong, Thailand.

International Novitiate begins

From Davao, Philippines, novice master, Fr David Sanchez SM, reports on the commencement of the latest international novitiate: 'Today, a new group of novices has begun its novitiate! Nine candidates have come to start this journey at Cerdon, Eden: Alban (Benin), Pierre (DR Congo), Pascal (Burundi), Marc (Togo), Pascal (DR Congo), Lachie (NZ), Mauro (Brazil), Joachim (Togo), and Matheus (Brazil). Let's pray for them, so they can respond with joy and commitment to the call of the Lord!'

Appropriately, the year of novitiate began on Feb 02, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and World day for Consecrated Life. For the letter marking the 27th World Day of Consecrated Life, click here.                       [Feb 03]

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 Above: The nine new novices at 'Cerdon', Eden, Davao.   Below:  Scenes from the ceremony to commence the year of novitiate, including novice master, Fr David Sanchez, witnessing the signing of commitment documents.
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Above: Novitiate socius, Fr Sione Hamala, during the commencement ceremony.   |   A new novice welcomed by Asia District Superior, Fr Chrisopher Ganzon.   |    Novices with formators, Frs Pat Devlin, at far left, and Sione Hamala, far right.