Community Leaders' Conference
Our 2014 Conference at Mittagong took place from 13th - 16th March. The Conference began with community leaders participating in the #Serve program led by Br Michael Akers and Ryan Gato from the Mission and Life Formation Team. Here we reflected on the quality of the service we offer others, seeing this as the basis of Jesus' words to love one another. Groups completed sample tweets outlining our goals such as the goals displayed here by Br Matthew Clarke: 'Consciously build 1:1 relationships. Engage one another at table and prayer. We #serveoneanother'.
Marist Association of St Marcellin Champagnat
For over twenty years Marists, Brothers and lay, in Australia have been yearning for some way of deeper communion with each other. Such communion would cover the governance of our ministries as well as the sharing of our treasured Marist spirituality. Br Jeff Crowe and Joe McCarthy informed Community Leaders of recent developments in shaping a Marist Association of St Marcellin Champagnat. The Association hopes to offer lay Marists greater participation in the leadership and communal dimension of Marist life and ministries. The emerging structure is inclusive of all who self identify as Marist and anticipates building a canonical and civil status for the Association.
At the Saturday morning session, Br Neville Solomon led us in a consideration of 'The Francis Factor'. We looked first at the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis' 'Evangelii Gaudium' (The Joy of the Gospel) and second at a recent publication of Catholic Mission and Catholic Religious Australia titled 'The Francis Effect'.
Neville invited us to respond to paragraph 108 of the exhortation in which Pope Francis focuses on the signs of the times and the resulting challenges we face today. We named the following challenges: 1. to remain open 2. to be involved 3. to choose life 4. to be outward looking 5. to be committed to local church 6. to witness to the counter culture where required and 7. to keep moving forward. We concluded that Pope Francis' exhortation inspires us to look to the future with confidence.