There was excitement in the air on January 12th, 2012 as over one hundred and eighty Brothers from across Australia assembled at St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill on a beautiful Sydney day.
Welcome Provincials Brs Julian Casey and Jeff Crowe welcomed all to the Gathering which has as its theme 'See I am doing something new!' (Isaiah 43:18-19). Jeff then introduced the animator for the Gathering, Br Ben Consigli, Provincial of the United States Province. Ben suggested we are currently in the neutral zone which he described as follows:
1. This is a difficult time for all.
2. It is neither the old or the new.
3. It is a time to be creative, to dream.
4. It is a time for experimentation.
5. This is a time to create temporary systems and evaluate.
History Br Peter Carroll then reflected on the recent history of our Marist Provinces in Australia.
1872Oceania Mission established (Beauchamps Province)
1873 We become part of Britain and the Islands
1903Province of Australasia is established (including New Zealand)
1917Province of Australia established
1948Provinces of Sydney and Melbourne formed
2012New Province in Australia is established.
Change Peter reminded us there will be 250 Brothers in the new Province and 35 Communities working in all States and Territories except Tasmania. He referred us to East Coker, the second of T.S. Elliot's 'Four Quartets', seeing signifance in the following extract:
Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.
After afternoon tea Brothers moved into forums which outlined some of the developments that are already taking place in the new Province. The day concluded with Eucharist and a relaxing meal outdoors.