July 2024 news

For previous years, go to News menu, above

This page:       Death of Fr Jim Harding SM     |     Catholic Care's 30 years     |     Bangladeshi bishops' visit     |     Anniversary of the Fourvière Pledge     |     Helping at Marayong     |      Fr John Larsen in the Philippines     |     Sydney's Fourvière Camino     |     SM Bulletin     |     Preparing for Fourvière     |     Euroinfo     |     SM Bulletin     |     St Peter Chanel     |     Fr Bernie's 60th     |     Thornhill book launch     |     NAIDOC week begins     |     Fourvière today     |     Visit of Fr Ambrose     |     Casa di Maria Newsletter     |     Camino planning     |     SM Bulletin   


Death of Fr Jim Harding SM

In his 100th year, former Pacific missionary and doctor, Fr James Harding SM, died peacefully on Jul 24 at Southern Cross Aged Care, Marsfield, NSW. A Marist priest for 64 years, he had just been anointed and was in the company of fellow Marists on the eve of the feast of his namesake, St James.

One of the several ex-servicemen joining the Society of Mary after World War II, Fr Jim taught in Australian Marist schools before spending most of his missionary life in the Pacific islands of Bougainville and Fiji.

For a summary of his life, click here. May he rest in well-deserved peace.                             [Jul 24]

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Above:  Fr Jim Harding SM... and flashbacks to his medical/mssionary days in Bougainville. Below: Fr Jim with his sister, Mary Harding RSJ, during a Josephite anniversary celebration.   |   in 2021, about to move to Marsfield and advanced Aged Care.
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Catholic Care's 30 years

The link between the Marist Fathers and local health care sevices was noted at a Hunters Hill ceremony on Jul 23. As Catholic Health Care marked its thirty-year anniversary, celebrations were held at St Anne's Nursing Home and St Joseph's Aged Care Hostel. Both faclities were developed by the Sisters of St Joseph, originally invited to the area by the Marist Fathers.

Congratulations, Catholic Health Care, and thank you, Sisters of St Joseph!                                [Jul 24]

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Above: Josephite leader, Sr Anne Porter RSJ, addressing the gathering at St Joseph's Hostel, and recalling the invitation by Marists for the Sisters to come to Hunters Hill in the late 1800s.   |   Presentation of awards to staff members.   |   Holy Name of Mary parish priest, Fr Brian Wilson, leading the Hostel prayer ceremony. Fr Tom Ryan attended an earlier event at nearby St Anne's Nursing Home.  Below:  Cutting of the anniversary cake. 
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Bangladeshi bishops' visit

Two bishops from Bangladesh visited Hunters Hill on Jul 23 to acknowledge the contribution of the Marist Mission Centre to the needs of disadvantaged people in their country. Archbishop Bejoy D'Cruze OMI (Archdiocese of Dhaka) and Bishop James Boiragi ((Khulna Diocese) were accompanied by Deacon Jerome Rozario (Parramatta Diocese) and members of Sydney's Catholic Bangladeshi community, Dominic Perera and Lochon Halsona.  

Marist District Superior, Fr Tony Corcoran, welcomed the guests on behalf of MMC director, Fr Paul Sullivan. Also present were Sr Jenny Clarke SMSM, former missionary in Bangladesh and member of the MMC Advisory Board, MMC staffer, Anne Martinus, and former MMC directors, Frs Jim Carty, Ron Nissen and Kevin Stewart.

The guests enjoyed a tour of the Villa Maria monastery and grounds before lunch with the Maryvale/Montbel community.                              [Jul 24] 

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Above: In front of MMC and the Marist District office, from left, Fr Tony Corcoran, Archbishop D'Cruze, Mr Lochon Halsona, Bishop Boiragi, Sr Jenny Clarke, Ms Anne Martinus, Deacon Jerome Rozario and Mr Dominic Perera.   |   Signing the Montbel visitors' book.  Below: The group shared a special interest in St Peter Chanel, visiting his chapel in the monastery grounds for prayer before a relic of the saint and pausing by the Coburn icon in Montbel.
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Below: Recent glimpses of Don Bosco Students' Home, Dhaka, originally supported by MMC and later with the purchase of its present building, opened and blessed in Jan 2006. 
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Anniversary of the Fourvière Pledge

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Why this anniversary?     ... Click here                                or here                                                          ... or here.                                           [Jul 23]

Helping at Marayong

Solomonese Marist, Fr Dennis Levi SM, has arrived in Australia to spend two months assisting the international community at Marayong in Sydney's west. Fr Dennis is on a summer break from the Angelicum University in Rome where he is pursuing post-graduate studies in Theology. Welcome, Fr Dennis!                              [Jul 22]

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Above:  Fr Dennis Levi (centre) with other members of the Marayong team, Frs Floyd Gatana and Kevin Redmond, visiting the Montbel community, Hunters Hill.   |   Fr Dennis exploring the south coast with Fr Floyd.

Fr John Larsen in the Philippines

Superior-General, Fr John Larsen SM, has recently concluded a journey to Mindanao in the southern Philippines, visiting Marist communities in Davao and Digos. including the International Novitiate and St Peter Chanel's formation community.                               [Jul 21]

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Above: Fr John Larsen at the International Novitiate, Eden, Davao.   |   ...with Marist aspirants from Myanmar, Daniel and John.   |   ... on an outing with members of the Marist Asia District.

Sydney's Fourvière Camino

For a second time the Fourvière anniversary celebrations were hosted by Marist Laity Australia, recalling the pledge by Marist aspirants in Lyons, France, on Jul 23, 1816. Once again the event on Jul 21 took the form of a Marist Camino from Bradfield Park, Milson's Point, with camino walkers crossing Sydney Habour Bridge before gathering in the crypt of St Patrick's, Church Hill.

After lunch and a Fourvière presentation, the group was transported by bus for the concluding session in the parish hall at Hunters Hill where senior members of the Marist Family were gathered.                                [Jul 21]

Above: MLA co-leader, Cathy Larkin, leads the acknowledgement of country at Bradfield Park.   |   Camino walkers begin their walk across Sydney Harbour Bridge.  Below: Walkers arriving at St Patrick's, Church Hill.   |    Group photo for 'The Catholic Weekly' in the crypt of St Patrick's.   |   MLA co-leader, Andrew Dumas, shares the Fourvière story. 

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Above: Camino participants arriving at Hunters Hill.   |   Prayer and reflection in the parish hall of Holy Name of Mary parish.  Below:  Renewal of the Fourvière Pledge.    |   Maist Family banners.
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SM Bulletin

This week's SM Bulletin reports on the New Caledonia church fire, South America's District Chapter and the Superior-General's visit to the Philippines. To download click here or go to Members' Page.                                 [Jul 19]

Preparing for Fourvière

As Jul 23 approaches members of the Marist Family are preparing to celebrate their foundational anniversary, recalling this day in 1816 when the pioneer Marist aspirants pledged to form the Society of Mary, a tree with many branches. A range of multi-lingual resources is found on the Colin website's Fourvière page or by clicking on individual items below. 

A recent addition to the Fourvière resources is Fr Alois Greiler's 'A background to the Fourvière Pledge' with selected bibliography: click here.  The pledge itself is in twenty-six languages: click here.                                 

In Sydney, Marist Laity Australia are again hosting the Marist Camino, to be held on Sunday, Jul 21. Click here.                             [Jul 18]

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From Paris, the latest Euroinfo reports on Notre Dame de France's twenty-five years of refugee service, new leader for Ireland's Marist education body and young people at La Neylière.  To download click here or go to Members' Page.                              [Jul 12]

SM Bulletin

This week's SM Bulletin reports on retreats, assemblies and chapters in USA and Asia and on the newly-released selection of works of the late Fr John Thornhill SM. To download click here or go to Members' Page.                              [Jul 12]

St Peter Chanel

On Jul 12, 1803, in the hamlet of La Potière, near Montrevel-en-Bresse, France, Peter Chanel was born to Claude-François Chanel and Marie-Anne Sibellas, their fifth child. Three more siblings were to come. A few days later, Jul 16, in the main parish church of Montrevel, baby Peter was baptised. 

La Potière is not far from the mountains which separate France from Switzerland. Claude Chanel was a farmer. He had some sheep and a few cows and grew some crops as well. His wife, Marie-Anne, was not a well-educated woman. She could neither read nor write, but had a very strong Catholic faith. They had three children before a fourth one died, so when she found herself pregnant a fifth time Madame Chanel dedicated the child in her womb to the Blessed Virgin Mary. A healthy baby boy was born and they called him Peter.

Years later, when Peter heard about what his mother had done, he added the name Mary, and became Peter Mary Chanel. Later still, he chose the confirmation name of a young Jesuit saint whom he admired very much: St Aloysius Gonzaga. And so we have Peter Aloysius Mary Chanel.        

Also in July, twenty-four years later, on Jul 15, 1827, Peter Chanel was ordained priest by Bishop Alexander Devie in the provincial city of Bourg-en-Bresse, soon to join the infant Society of Mary and become one of its first missionaries -- and its first martryr and saint. 

For a short history of St Peter Chanel, click here.  For 'A Marist reflects on St Peter Chanel', click here                        [Jul 12] 

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Above: Statue of St Peter Chanel erected by former students in the college in Belley, France, where Fr Chanel once taught.   |    The hamlet of La Potière, birthplace of Peter Chanel on Jul 12, 1803.  Below: The church and baptistry at Montrevel where Peter Chanel was baptised.   |   The monastery of Brou, Bourg-en-Bresse, where Peter Chanel prepared for his priestly ordination on Jul 15, 1827;
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Fr Bernie's 60th

Congratulations to Fr Bernard McFadyen SM celebrating the 60th anniversary of priestly ordination on Jul 11. Several members of the community of inner-city shrine, St Patrick's, Church Hill, joined Fr Bernie's confreres at Maryvale/Montbel, Hunters Hill, for a celebratory luncheon, while District Superior, Fr Tony Corcoran, presided at Mass at Montbel to mark the anniversary and Fr Michael Whelan offered St Patrick's midday Eucharist for Fr Bernie.                                [Jul 11]

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Above: Until recently Fr Bernie was a popular presence at St Patrick's, Church Hill.   |   Fr Tony Corcoran leading a blessing for Fr Bernie in the chapel of Montbel.   |   Lifelong friend and confrere, Fr Garry Reynolds, speaks at the Jul 11 gathering.  Below:  Fr Bernie reflects on his sixty years of Marist priesthood.   |   ...with St Patrick's friends and an anniversary cake.
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Thornhill book launch

In a simple ceremony on Jul 07 at Montbel, Hunters Hill, the recently-published selection of texts of the late Fr John Thornhill SM was launched.

Fr Tom Ryan, editor of the selection, 'The Church, the Gospel and Culture', spoke of the background to the texts and District Superior, Fr Tony Corcoran, officially launched the publication.

For more on the book and its availability, click here.                            [Jul 08]

Above: Marists gathered at Montbel for the Jul 08 launch.  Below:  Frs Tony Corcoran and Tom Ryan at the launch.

NAIDOC week begins

Observed annually from the first Sunday in July, this year's National NAIDOC week begins on Jul 07.

The NAIDOC website gives this background to the week: 'On 26 January 1938, while many Australians celebrated the 150th anniversary of the landing of the First Fleet, a group of over 1,000 Aboriginal people gathered at Australia Hall in Sydney to call for full citizenship status and laws to improve the lives of First Nations people. As one of the first major civil rights gatherings in the world, this day became known as the Day of Mourning.

'Since then, National NAIDOC Week has grown to become both a commemoration of the first Day of Mourning as well as a celebration of the history, culture and excellence of First Nations people.' 

To download the NAIDOC toolkit, click here.                                [Jul 07]

Fourvière today

In his monthly reflection Superior-General, Fr John Larsen SM, invites Marists to ponder the relevance of the Fourvière spirit in their lives today.  To download click here or go to Superior-General's page.                              [Jul 05]

Visit of Fr Ambrose

Bougainvillean Marist, Fr Ambrose Kakatai, has stayed briefly with the Maryvale/Montbel community, Hunters Hill, en route to Rome. Fr Ambrose visited Canberra on Jul 02 for a visa to Italy where he will join an international group of twelve Marists for a month-long program of Marist Studies. The course will be held at Casa di Maria and led by Fr Tony Kennedy.  Bon voyage and happy studies, Fr Ambrose.                                  [Jul 05]

Above:  Fr Ambrose and Montbel's image of Pacific martyr, St Peter Chanel SM.   |   ... with the Maryvale/Montbel community.   |   ... with former MMC director and Maryvale resident, Fr Jim Carty SM.

Casa di Maria Newsletter

From the Marist International Theologate, Rome, Fr Tony Kennedy has sent the latest newsletter.  Having completed their academic year students of the Casa di Maria community have begun their summer vacation with pastoral experiences and holidays at home for some.

To download, click here.                                         [Jul 05]

Camino planning

Planning is underway for the 2024 Marist Camino, marking the anniversary of the Fourvière pledge to form the Society of Mary. Members of the Marist Laity Australia committee met recently at Villa Maria monastery, to arrange the Jul 21 event which features a walk across Sydney Harbour Bridge, luncheon session at St Patrick's inner-city shrine and concluding liturgy at Hunters Hill.

To download the Marist Camino flyer, click here.                              [Jul 03]

Above:  MLA committee planning this year's Marist Camino.   |    Flyer with Camino details.   |    2023 Bridge  crossing.   

SM Bulletin

From Rome, this week's SM Bulletin reports on General Administration movements, Fr Juan Carlos' Canon Law graduation, NZ Chapter and schools' staff retreat in Detroit.  To download click here or go to Members' Page.                             [Jul 01]