| GIFTS & TASKS |
"DONS et DEVOIRS"
Helping each other live the Gospel at home & around the world
International Organization of Marianist Lay Communities (IO-MLC)
Region of North America, Asia, Australia, and Ireland
Community life happens primarily on the local level, BUT, the worldwidel Church is asking how to help local communities to be their best selves.
In the September Gifts & Tasks I asked for your opinions about what is most important for me to share at the World Congress of Lay Ecclesial Movements sponsored by the Pontifical Council on the Laity in November. Some representative responses were:
What are the signs of the times that Lay Movements must pay attention to?
- Economic imbalances. We should be working to get political and business leaders to focus on the divide between the haves and have nots. See Andy Stanley's book, How To Be Rich: It's Not what you Have. It's What You Do With What You Have, which articulates the need to increase the attitude of generosity. Add to this the need to change structures that keep people impoverished.
- Political polarization in the US - Reluctance to focus on the common good makes doing good harder and bleeds over to the rest of the world.
- Pope Francis and his message of mercy.
- Lay movements add a dimension to Church life beyond the parish structure. In a time when parishes are asking why the pews are emptying, lay movements enliven the Church by depending less on rules and more on community.
How can communities embrace different ages, races, cultures, & incomes?
- Challenge people to step out of their own comfort zone and question their various privileges.
- Share leadership and involve many different people in the work
- As lay people follow their informed conscience, a side effect is increasing diversity. This may initially be interpreted as chaos, but maybe this will help the Church evolve into deeper truths.
- Listen to all; talk when helpful. To become a diverse community, the members need to practice emptying of self.
How can Lay Ecclesial Movements foster their unique charisms while respecting other's sacred ground?
- Become familiar with each other's charisms. (No movement can claim to have all the gifts of the Spirit.) They might also challenge assumptions about the way things have always been done. Some are more customs passed down through time than essential truths of faith.
- Collaborate, don't alienate. Faith is not a competition sport.
- Avoid cynicism, complacency, and despair. Rise above the negativity.
- Pray. Prayer unites us and allows for the discernment we need to choose our areas of concentration.
How can our communities include the poor and marginalized?
- It isn't the amount of money, but the pledge of long term support that is really needed. Of course this includes giving financial and time resources.
- An example: A community of young people who live in a poor part of D.C. have taken on the ministry of being a friend to those around them - bringing groceries, helping them clean their yards/apartments, and sharing in their neighbors' lives.
- See people as people rather than others in a distant group, i.e. "the poor." Communities sharing stories with people different from themselves can go a long way.
Thanks to the many people who offered the above ideas. What do YOU think?
Representing Marianist Lay Communities in N. America, Asia,
FEATURED COUNTRY - AUSTRALIA
For many years the Marianist Laity in Australia have continued to meet and grow in faith, even after the SM left the continent. However, Julie Ahern, their National Responsible, reports that they haven't had a meeting for quite awhile. Her MLC is aging, she has been sick, her own sister just passed away, and the new pastor at their parish - who she had hoped would provide support for their small group - just arrived back from a long trip to India. Sounds like a discouraging combination of events. Yet, Julie holds on.
Many of the ladies are in their late 80's and early 90's and do not come to the meetings, but they say they still want to belong. Three of them are Affiliates. Julie asked the 3-5 younger ones if they want to continue and they said, yes. Obviously Australia has many challenges to continue being a Marianist presence. They may be "down under" but they're not yet out. Australia is not the only MLC in this situation.
What would you do if you were Julie?
AROUND THE REGION
The Marianist Lay Network of North America (MLNNA) is in the midst of transition. Our appreciation goes out to Rudy Reyes who has just completed his term as chair.
The newly elected chair is Mike Wasno. The new leadership team still needs to fill some appointed positions but the newly elected officers are:
Matt Dunn - Spiritual Life
Katie Beskid - Education
Mallory Green - Temporalities
The election process surfaced many capable and generous people who are willing to serve. It's a healthy start.
LET US PRAY
- For the Marianist Laity of Australia that they may persevere in faith and community.
- For the newly elected officers of MLNNA.
- For Heidi Vogt (my daughter) who just spent a week in Liberia reporting on the Ebola crisis and for all those suffering and dying from Ebola.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
Why a $10 bill looks so small at the grocery store but so big at church?
Big or small?
AROUND THE WORLD
|Our Lady of Fatima - Argentina|
WORLD DAY OF PRAYER - OCTOBER 12
Hopefully many of you were able to celebrate the Marianist World Day of Prayer two weeks ago with prayer, community, and food. Although most of us could not personally be in the host country of Argentina, we could all be in solidarity with the Marianist Family for this common feast. The Marianist Laity of France sent their greetings to our Region.
India's celebration was particularly festive and a treat for the eyes. See below:
WORLD DAY OF PRAYER
12TH October 2014, NIRMAL DEEP (NOVITIATE HOUSE)
RANCHI, JHARKHAND, INDIA
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It was a joyful moment for the Society of Mary, Marianist Sisters, and MLC members to gather together for the World Day of Prayer. The MLC members had a day of recollection on October 11... The next day we were privileged to celebrate the World Day of Prayer with the newly appointed auxiliary Bishop of Ranchi, Telesphore Bilung, SVD as the main celebrant. More than 200 Brothers and MLC members participated.
After the Eucharistic celebration, we had cultural programs from different communities. There was prayer, traditional and modern dances, skits, and speeches on the history of the MLC, SM and FMI. Following the cultural programs, we had a fellowship meal. We concluded our World Day of Prayer with a Rosary prayer service. It was a wonderful celebration of joy.
Fr. James Dungdung, SM
Click here to read more and see the gorgeous photos.
FRIDAY MAGNIFICAT - OCTOBER
The Racial and Immigrant Justice Team of the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative (MSJC) works for comprehensive immigration reform in the United States.
Working with national immigration advocacy groups, the team lobbies the US Congress and the Obama administration to promote legislation to fix our broken immigration system. Read more:
ENGLISH FRAN«AIS ESPA—OL
VIA LATINA - ONLINE
The following articles are in the October, #236 issue of Via Latina 22, the newsletter for the General Administration of the Society of Mary.
-Ordinations in Africa and in Asia
-Marianist World Day of Prayer 2014
-The cause of Blessed Chaminade
Past issues of Gifts and Tasks are archived online at GIFTS AND TASKS ARCHIVE
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