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Marist International Festival - First day

16/07/2008: Australia - Photo gallery

Mittagong is a large property belonging to the brothers of the Sydney Province. For many years it has been a formation house. The lived experiences of generations of brothers has left there echoes of La Valla and the Hermitage. This house is for the brothers of the Sydney Province what the Hermitage in France was for the first brothers. One of the most meaningful places in Mittagong is the chapel. All of the brothers hold special memories of it. On one of the sides there is a panel with two silver hearts similar to the heart that hangs from the neck of the statue of Mary in the chapel of Notre Dame de l’Hermitage. Next to the hearts you can read the sentence that Father Champagnat used to repeat in his letters: “I leave you in the hearts of Jesus and Mary.” The young pilgrims from 38 countries came together at Mittagong to participate in the Marist International Festival.

The trip to the Hermitage of Mittagong was made by coaches, leaving early from St. Joseph’s. It was cold and we felt a freezing wind that stayed with us all day, letting up once in a while. In contrast with the outside temperature, hearts burned in that setting heavy with Marist meaning.

The inaugural celebration began with a parade of the participants, each group with the flag of their country. In the center was a large metallic container in the form of a heart, which symbolized the interior pilgrimage made by each participant in their journey to the hearts of Jesus and Mary. The Provincial of Sydney, Br. Jeffrey Crowe, opened the festival with a warm greeting of welcome to all those present

The day was spent doing exercises of getting to know one another and other group dynamics. It drew to a close with the celebration of the liturgy of fire, during which William Deane, former Governor General of Australia, a graduate of St. Joseph’s College and a person renowned for his moral authority and his fight for justice, especially in defense of the Aboriginals of Australia, gave an address. He said to the young people: “Our generation failed in its attempt to make a better world. I hope that you will be capable of achieving what we didn’t know how to do.”

When everything finished, we once again boarded the coaches and returned to our residences.

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Sydney - Thursday, July 10th
H. AMestaun

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