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National gathering of Marists in Adelaide

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More than 180 Marists from across Australia met in Adelaide last month for the National Assembly of the Marist Association, with every state and territory represented.

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Young people in their 20s, retirees, working men and women, married couples with infants and Marist Brothers made their own arrangements for travel and accommodation to attend the association’s second gathering.

Joe McCarthy, director of Belonging and Development for the Marist Association and chair of the steering committee said delegate numbers had exceeded expectations.

The venue was the new gymnasium, chapel and grounds of Sacred Heart College in Somerton Park, the site of the Marist school since 1914, following the establishment of a school by the Marist Brothers on another site in 1897.

Steve Byrne, current principal of Sacred Heart College said: “It is fantastic to host an event such as this which is big picture, and essentially about the wider Marist family imagining itself into the future.”

The Marist Association of St Marcellin Champagnat is a new way that Marist community is being experienced and deepened between people who identify strongly with the spirituality and mission that is Marist.

Mr McCarthy described it as “one way in the greater scheme of things that people are at home as Church…belonging to a charism and spiritual family that has a rich tradition, which is now expressing a new ecclesiology and morphing into a contemporary expression of communion.”

More than 850 people across Australia have joined the Marist Association of St Marcellin Champagnat, including about 100 Marist Brothers. Pending endorsement of a formal petition being considered in Rome, it will play a role in the life of the Catholic Church as a ‘Public Association of Christ’s Faithful’.

The governing Council of the Marist Association, that is formed largely from the membership, holds the ultimate governance responsibilities for the core Marist ministries in Australia, including education, solidarity, and youth ministry. The Council is also responsible for fostering the ‘spiritual family’ dimension within and between members of the association.

“The National Assembly was an opportunity to come together to dream, plan, pray, engage in critical conversations and connect more deeply,” Mr McCarthy said.

“The facilitators, from the Kinharvie Institute in Scotland, led a rich process that was framed around the method of appreciative inquiry and the power of story.”

Br Peter Carroll, leader of the Marist Association, said the assembly was “a great sign of hope, a true reflection of co-responsibility for Marist life and mission into the future, and a wonderfully joyous occasion that saw old friendships rekindled and new ones made”.

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