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Marist Calendar - January

17 October – 14 December 2012



Marist and Marianist Third Age Renewal Program at Manziana

14/11/2012: Italy

Seventeen participants were welcomed to the campus of “Istituto Fratelli Maristi” by the animation team comprising Brothers Barry Burns (New Zealand), Antoine Kazindu (Africa Central East) and Anthony Hunt (Sydney). The group includes five Marianists, all from the USA, and 12 Marist Brothers coming from the following Provinces: South Asia (1), West Central Europe (3), New Zealand (2), Nigeria  (1), USA (1), Sydney (2), Southern Africa (1) and East Asia (1). The chaplain for this session is Marianist Alvin McMenamy, also from the USA.

During the first week, the participants, all senior citizens, were given the opportunity to share their life experiences in the large group. This exercise, very appropriate for this stage of life, enabled us to reflect on the significance of our life journeys both personally and within the group, and to grow as a community appreciating the richness of one another. A day-long outing provided an appropriate rounding off of this part of the program. It included a visit to the Etruscan necropolis of Cerveteri, a meal at a medieval hilltop town (Ceri) and a visit to the shores of Lake Bracciano at Anguilara Sabbazia.

Comboni Father David Glenday animated three days of sessions on Religious Life and Prayer in the Third Age. A man with considerable missionary experience in both Africa and Asia, he has been Superior General of his congregation, and currently serves as Secretary General of the Union of Superiors General that includes some 230 congregations of men of pontifical right. His contact with our Institute includes retreats for the Brothers preparing for Ad Gentes in Davao as well as a number of sessions at Manziana. Among the memorable phrases from his input are the following: “Listening with the ears of God” (Bonhoeffer); “The facts are friendly” (Eric Fromm); “At the bottom of every event there is a gospel”;  “Prayer is the place where experience becomes wisdom”.

Brother Mike McAward SM, Secretary General of the Marianist spent a morning at Manziana during which he gave an account of the spirit of the congregation making use of several key moments where Mary interacts with Jesus during his time of ministry. Of particular interest to us was the method used by the Marianists to ordain some of their members (currently about one third, though there is no policy) to provide liturgical and other services in their communities and apostolic works. Mixed composition is part of their founding charism and care is taken to avoid extremes such as clericalisation among their Brothers or laicization of priests.  Brother Mike spoke about the Marian dimension of the Church as an element of Marianist mission.

On the following day, Brother Emili Turu’ FMS, Superior General, presented our charism largely making use of the three icons used in his circular, He gave us the name of Mary, and relating them to the themes of Inclusion (Visitation Icon), Interaction (Pentecost icon) and Interiority (Annunciation icon). Interestingly, he pointed out how vocations to the Dominicans in Ireland have picked up substantially in recent years, with most of the enquiries coming through the internet. A survey of recent recruits revealed that elements influential in attracting them to religious life were an authentic community life and the deepening of personal relationship with through community.  Naturally, he made interesting comments on process and content of the recent Synod of Bishops.  At the end of October, the majority of the community braved the threatening weather to participate at the General Papal Audience.

In the weeks to come, we are still to experience are pilgrimages to the Hermitage and to Assisi, as well as sessions on Third Age Transitions, Choices of the Heart, Health and Wellbeing; The Kingdom; and Walking with Mary as well as a three-day retreat. 

Br Mario Colussi

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