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
NOVEMBER - 2015
I've been thinking about generativity lately. Another way of putting this might be "passing on the faith." The Church often uses the word evangelization but that isn't as life-giving a term for me because of its connotation of street preachers and door knockers asking if I've accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I don't deny that, but it just doesn't move me to action.
Several recent experiences have prompted this urgency to think about generativity, aka, Will it end with me?
- The report by Julie Ahern about Australia. (See Featured Country below)
- My mother's death and thinking of who will come after me.
- Visiting several MLCs in other parts of the USA and seeing that most everyone had hair as grey as mine (or no hair)
- Updating the Marianist Lay Network databases and noticing how many people have died or are inactive.
- My own MLC's desire to attract younger people, so it doesn't die with us. It's not easy.
The corporate world sometimes refers to this as succession planning. It raises several key questions about the nature and future of Marianist Lay Communities.
- Should MLCs ever be closed communities? By "closed" I mean that the community has jelled so well that it sees it's membership as set. Although it might not turn a new person away, it no longer actively seeks out new members.
- How important is it to include different generations and lifestyles in an MLC? On the one hand, the Marianist charism of inclusivity calls us to gather together young and old, professional and blue collar, etc. Still, people like to gather with folks with whom they have a lot in common. How do we balance both these values?
My take? If we are closed, or we don't include different ages, we may gracefully grow old together but eventually our MLCs will die out. It may be uncomfortable to stretch our boundaries, but I think it is essential. What do you think? How can we do it?
Regional Representative for
N. America, Asia, Australia, Ireland
FEATURED COUNTRY - AUSTRALIA
My own life is crowded with, family, church, and pastoral care.
Like Ireland, I am really the only active Lay Marianist left in Australia. The others are in name only. Old age has taken its toll here. The two younger one's (in their mid and late sixties) are working, time poor, and really not that interested anymore. I think my being sick for a couple of years took its toll. Our group had no meetings during that time. We do pray together in the Parish, with a Rosary after morning Mass etc.
So what have I got to say? I do my pastoral care work and keep busy with my Church commitments. I feel blessed to be able to do what I am doing.
Does this mean that Australia no longer has a Marianist Lay Community? I know and feel that I am an affiliate, but there is nothing else happening. Only within myself, I still feel the same, as a Lay Marianist. But of course I am old as well. I will be 79 in December.
Patricia Larken's Funeral was today (August 12). Don Larken was the National Responsible for Australia from the very first meeting, until he retired. He has been caring for Patricia (Pat) for 7 years, a truly devoted, loving husband.
Thank you, Susan
National Responsible for Australia
Susan's comment: So this is the story of one aging Lay Marianist and MLC. On one hand it seems like a sad story as we grieve together with Julie the loss of her active MLC. Still, I am buoyed by the reality that Julie carries her Marianist commitment within herself and maintains her personal faith commitment. Some questions:
- Would it have made any difference if Australia had been able to recruit some younger Lay Marianists to their community?
- Would younger people even want to hang out with people a generation or more older than themselves?
- The elders can bring experience, hopefully a well-honed prayer life, the wisdom of life's ups and downs... Younger adults can bring energy, new ideas, internet and social media know how... Of course these are stereotypes and may not always be true. Is it better to have separate groups that have more in common? Who knows? Do you? Please comment on Facebook.
|LET US PRAY
- For Lay Marianists younger and older - May we learn from each other.
- For MLCs that are just being born - May we rejoice with them in hope.
- For MLCs who are close to dying - May we grieve with them, remember their members, and learn from them.
- For MLCs who are thriving - May we learn from them.
- For all refugees, especially those fleeing Syria, that they find safe homes. Can you offer one? See Catholic Charities or Office of Refugee Resettlement
- For the success of the UN Conference on Climate Change (ENGLISH, FRANÇAIS) which starts next Monday. On Monday, Nov. 30 at 10:00 am, join the world in pausing for one minute of prayer for its success.
Isa Duarte, Pablo Rambaud SM, Felix Arqueros
AT WORK IN ROME
Your International Lay Marianist Team met in Rome from October 26-31. Since we work in your name, you deserve to know what we talked about and planned. Our agenda included:
- Regional Reports: We learned what is happening with MLCs in each of the 4 regions (Africa, Europe, Latin America, and North America/Asia.) Although the minutes have not yet been translated into all 3 languages, here are some highlights:
*AFRICA - Kenya is using "Whatup" to communicate. Malawi and Zambia have developed creative new formation programs. *N. AMERICA/ASIA - 30 MLCs in the USA & Canada have done Marianist Call To Advance Justice workshops. Korea hosted the 4th North East Asian Council of Family of Mary, Japan has developed a website accessible by smartphone.
*EUROPE - 3 Spanish cities met for a joint retreat in which participants developed their "Personal Plan of Life." *LATIN AMERICA - Mexico plans a series of workshops on 4 themes in 2016. Family Councils are working well in countries that have more than 1 branch.
- What it means to be a Lay Marianist & Marianist Lay Community: We had extensive discussion on our identity. Again the official translations are not yet complete but I can tell you that we based our deliberations on our existing international documents. (ENGLISH, FRANÇAIS, ESPAÑOL) Then we summarized our identity as "A Lay Marianist is one who KNOWS, COMMITS TO, and LIVES the Marianist Charism." "Knowing" the charism assumes that one has a basic understanding of the founders, Marianist spirituality, and the pillars of the charism. We then tried to sort out what customs and practices are essential to all Lay Marianists and MLCs and what can be adapted to the local or regional culture. We also clarified the role of people who participate in Marianist Sponsored Ministries. These collaborators make a valuable contribution to Marianist institutions and may become a Lay Marianist at the time that they make an intentional commitment. Stay tuned.
- MLC recognition: We developed a process for MLC recognition in countries that previously have not have any MLCs, for example Cameroun and Cuba.
- Organizational Decisions: Some decisions we made were:
- The international newsletter, La Madeleine, will be published every 2 months.
- We set up a system for digital and physical archives
- We designated who would represent the lay branch at the SM/FMI Bicentennial celebrations
- We assessed our financial procedures.
- We reviewed the progress for the next International Assembly to be held in Korea in August 2018.
- We reviewed the challenges given to the International Team in Peru.
- We met with:
- Jack Ventura SM about Horizons-ongoing formation program for SM & FMI
- SM seminarians
- Marianist Laity of Rome
- Prayer: We walked to 3 historical churches of Rome to reflect on how we are connected with the past, yet moving into an unknown future.
Of course we ate, drank, laughed, and prayed. Mostly, we thought a lot about you.
Isa Duarte Pablo Rambaud SM Susan Vogt Francisca Jere Felix Arqueros Beatrice Leblanc
Latin America Assessor N. America/Asia Africa President Europe
NEWS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
FRIDAY MAGNIFICAT - NOVEMBER
For one week last summer, young adult Lay Marianists (from the United States and 5 from Peru) came together for the first International Encounter in Lima, Peru. Participants learned about each other's lives and culture. (Click here
to read one participant's reflection)
They discussed social justice issues revolving around racism and gender inequality and how their lives as Marianists can make an impact on social change.
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