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Developing new structures of governance in the Oceania region

 

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Assembly of Champagnat Marists from Fiji, Kiribati and Samoa

10/06/2011: Fiji

During the first weekend of May when school holidays in Fiji, Kiribati and Samoa more or less coincided, Brothers and Lay Marists gathered at Marist Champagnat Institute in Suva for an assembly to look at the realities of our present situation and to explore the hopes and expectations for the future in the light of the developing new structures of governance in the Oceania region.

The Columban, Fr Tom Rouse, was the facilitator and in attendance was Br Anthony Robinson, the newly appointed Oceania Regional Coordinator. As well, the Provincial, Br David McDonald, deputy Br Terence Costello and Mr Alan Parker, director of Champagnat Partnership. Also participating from further afield were Br John Hazelman, a member of the Province working at MAPAC and Br Donovan Tami from the District of Melanesia.

The working groups were named after the first foundation communities set up by St Marcellin: LaValla, Le Bessat, Bourg-Argental, Saint Sauveur, Tarentaise and Marhles. After sharing their hopes and expectations for the assembly, participants got down to work. Some of the themes to be covered were the identity of the Lay Marist and of the Brother and of how each sees the other in the developing new structures of Oceania.

The work of the Assembly included gaining a better understanding of the new structures of the Oceania region when Br Tony Robinson explained the developments since the Concurrent Chapters in Sydney in December 2010. This clarification led to participants exploring mission, spirituality, the relationship between Brothers and Lay Marists in the Pacific region of Oceania (Fiji, Kiribati and Samoa) and where the Pacific was to align itself in Oceania in a way that the voice of the Pacific was heard effectively.

On the Saturday afternoon the two groups, Lay Marists and Brothers met separately to discuss their place and how they saw the way forward. Lay Marists strongly emphasized that they would continue to support and work with the brothers, whatever was decided, while the Brothers saw that connection to the new District council of New Zealand (currently the Province) was the best way to get their voice heard, provided that processes of communication were further refined.

On the Sunday morning the participants met as country groups, Lay and Brothers together, to put forward practical strategies in the areas of Lay Marist Partnership, Mission, Spirituality and Governance.

The Assembly concluded with an inspiring liturgy prepared by Br John Hazelman.

See more pictures in http://www.maristbrothers.org.nz/about-us/news/may-2011-pacific-assembly/

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