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The power of presence



Marist Youth 2012

12/07/2012: United States

Attending a Marist school provides students with a sense of service, simplicity, family and friendship. These ideals, while inspiring, are more-so when they can be seen and felt. To truly unite the vision of St. Marcellin Champagnat with the formation of the individual, the Marist Brothers began Marist Youth, a program dedicated to introducing students, faculty and staff of Marist schools to the mission of Champagnat on a much deeper level. The program launched in 2001 and has since grown into a international gathering of students from Marist Schools all across Canada, Mexico and the United States. The major event is a wonderful extension of the Marist Youth clubs that exist within each Marist School. By participating in this program throughout the year, students are able to further incorporate Marist heritage and values into their lives both in school and at home. This year, the gathering took place over Memorial Day weekend at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Roughly 300 students from Marist schools came together to learn and grow together as one family in their Marist faith.

2012’s theme “Power of Presence” commemorated 125 years of Marist Brothers in the United States, as well as shared with students, faculty and staff what it means to be Catholic and Marist in today’s world. This was achieved through workshop presentations by the Marist Brothers in addition to discussion and reflection groups, social and community building events as well as various games and activities. Part of the program also included an evening prayer service at the final resting place of many important Marist Brothers, including Br. Zephiriny. In an inspirational prayer service on Saturday evening, the names of 48 Brothers were read aloud and a candle was lit for each one. Part of the weekend involved a dose of nostalgia too, as the history of all the Marist schools represented at the gathering were on display in a special presentation on the Marist College campus.

In a press release, U.S. Provincial Br. Ben Consigli said, “It was a beautiful weekend at Marist College – we couldn’t be more thrilled. We were blessed to have the opportunity to celebrate our 125-year U.S. heritage with such a diverse population of Marist youth in attendance.” There is indeed power in the numbers as the Marist Brothers were encouraged by the charism shone by all those in attendance – particularly the students who were given groups of their own peers to lead. Serving as role models, these leaders were able to relate their experiences in Marist faith to other students in hopes that they can do the same for others in the coming years. Br. Dominick Pujia, heavily involved in the planning of this event, observed comments from one student. “One young person told me, ‘I never realized my school was part of a bigger reality called Marist. I am ready to work to carry this forward.’ If our young people moved beyond the confines of their particular schools and connected with a greater reality, one which reaches across this nation and the world, then the Marist Youth Gathering was a rousing success.” Br. Dominick believes the participating students, as well as many others in Marist schools, are ready to live the Marist vision today and carry it forward for future generations to come.

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