January 2024 news
For previous years, go to News menu, above
This page: Death of Fr Kevin Bates | SM Bulletin | SM Bulletin | Montbel New Year | Euroinfo | SM Bulletin | Vows renewed | Profession invitation | Pioneer mission anniversary | Superior-General's Reflection | Welcome to a New Year of Grace
Marists and many others throughout the world mourn the death on Jan 31 of their confrere, spiritual guide and friend, Fr Kevin Bates SM (77). After months of failing health, Fr Kevin's last moments were spent at Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, where he died peacefully after days of family and fellow Marists by his bedside.
Fr Kevin, the author of many albums of songs, hymns and reflections, is known not only for his musical talents but as a gentle, ever-cheerful and devoted guide and pastor. Prior to his retirement he had been parish priest of Holy Name of Mary parish, Hunters Hill-Woolwich, NSW. For a brief summary of his life, click here.
Requiem liturgy for Fr Kevin will be celebrated at Holy Name of Mary church, Hunters Hill, at 10.30 am, Wed, Feb 07.
Rest in peace, Fr Kevin. [Jan 31]
This week's SM Bulletin reports on the appointment of Fr Pat Brophy as General House Bursar and Executive General Bursar and on the Marist Studies Summer program for Jul/Aug. To download, click here or go to Members' Page. [Jan 26]
Fifty members of the Marist Family's professed branches gathered on Jan 10 at Montbel, Hunters Hill, to celebrate the New Year. During the event Montbel's community leader for the past nine years, Fr Paul Mahony, was farewelled and his successor, Fr Pius Jones, welcomed. Fr Paul takes up an appointment at St Patrick's inner- city shrine, Church Hill, Sydney.
In what has become an annual event, Montbel hosts Marist Brothers, Sisters and Missionary Sisters from the Sydney area at the Aged Care residence of the Marist Fathers' Australian District. Scenes from the celebration are pictured below. [Jan 16]
From Paris this month's Euroinfo reports on the Hulst community's 25th anniversary of the building swap with a local school. Other items are a report on visitations in Italy and Br Faustino Ferrari's reflection on 'The New Year with Mary'.
The first SM Bulletin for 2024 features a summary of the Society of Mary's membership as the new year begins, noting an increase in professed students for the first time in years. It also includes reports on Fr John Larsen's visit to the International Theologate and community celebrations in Mexico.
While novices are preparing for their first profession in the Philippines (see below), another group of young Marists renewed their religious vows in Rome recently. Students at the Marist International Theologate, Casa di Maria, renew vows annually until the time of final profession before diaconate and priestly ordination. They are pictured below during the vows renewal ceremony and with the full community of Casa di Maria. [Jan 09]
At the Marist International Novitiate, 'Eden', Davao, southern Philippines, four young men are preparing to make take their first vows as members of the Society of Mary. The novices, from four countries, are Pascal Ndikumana (Burundi), Lachlan Bartlett (New Zealand), Marc-Fidele Tay (Togo) and Alban Hinnoumabou (Benin).
Novice Master, Fr David Sanchez SM, advises that the ceremony will take place on Feb 02 with the vows being received by Asia District Superior, Fr Christopher Ganzon SM.
The invitation below is for one and all. Come if you can! Meantime, let us pray the Lord's blessing on the novices in these coming days of final preparation. [Jan 09]
On Jan 09, 1825, Frs Jean-Claude Colin and Etienne Déclas strode from the presbytery of Cerdon high in the Bugey mountains of eastern France to climb to the village of La Balme. This was to be the first renewal mission to be preached by the infant Society of Mary.
The La Balme mission, lasting for three weeks in the depths of a Bugey winter, was followed by many more in subsequent decades as the Catholic Church recovered from the assaults of the French Revolution.
Marist historian and biographer, Fr Justin Taylor SM, describes the beginning of the mission in chapter 7 of 'Jean-Claude Colin, Reluctant Founder': click here
|Above: The church of St Amand, La Balme, and surrounding countryside. Below: Artist's impression of Frs Colin and Déclas climbing to La Balme | The village of Cerdon as seen from La Balme..
While the year is still young, there are copies of the 2024 Colin calendar available for interested web visitors. The calendar is produced each year for members of the Society of Mary throughout the world and for others supporting the Beatification Cause of Marist Founder, Venerable Jean-Claude Colin.
This year's theme is 'Who is Jean-Claude Colin to me ?' and includes monthly quotes from Marists, young and old, as well as liturgical dates and a selection of Marist anniversaries. It is available in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish and in A5 and A4 sizes, free of charge for single copies or small numbers.
For your copy go to the order form on Colin website's Resources/Calendar page: Click here.