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Australian Marist Principals meet

29/03/2012: Australia

The Principals of the 53 Marist schools from all over Australia met on 14-15 March at The Hermitage, Mittagong, south of Sydney, to discuss the challenges and opportunities for evangelisation of young people in the contemporary Catholic school.

The theme of the conference was sourced in the call of the last General Chapter for Marists to be known as experts in youth evangelisation in their local situations.  It was given extra impetus by the General Synod on the New Evangelisation to be held in Rome later this year.

On the first day, the Principals’ discussions were animated by a panel of people who brought different perspectives on evangelisation: the Directors of Evangelisation from two metropolitan archdioceses, a young person involved in pastoral planning for another urban diocese, a priest, and two 18 year-old members of the Remar Australia youth ministry team.  Later in the day, eight Principals made presentations on various strategies in evangelisation that seemed to be engaging the young people in their schools, covering areas including liturgy, solidarity, approaches to religious education, Remar, retreats, and other programmes.  The day ended with a wonderfully celebrated Eucharist.

Among the aspects of the Marist way of evangelisation that the Principals identified were: the importance of closeness to young people and to their life experience; the need for personal encounter with Jesus; a respect for the goodness of each person; being a Marian expression of Church; and drawing deeply on the “narrative of holiness” that is our Marist story.

The second day was devoted to planning and discussing a range of projects, programmes and policies for the new Province of Australia:  the growing number formation courses in Marist spirituality and mission; solidarity initiatives; fostering the Lay Marist vocation; the growth of Remar as a way of doing Marist youth ministry; opportunities for leaders to have spiritual accompaniment; the various conferences and gatherings for teachers and students; means for communication; and the principles underpinning “Marist Schools Australia” which is the new way for supporting and associating Marist school communities.

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