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U.S. Provincial Chapter Invites Lay People for First Time



Participant Labels the Gathering as ‘Historic’

24/06/2015: United States

A participant has labeled the recent U.S. provincial chapter as memorable after it requested that lay people attend for the very first time.

“It was something historic for them because it’s the first time they invited lay people to the chapter,” said brother Eugène Kabanguka, of the Institute’s general council, who took part in the encounter.

“They invited a group of about 40 of them on the third day and they discussed with the brothers how they see their future relations,” he told the general house press office on June 16.

The chapter, which was held from June 8 – 12 in Long Branch, New Jersey, elected new members of the province’s council. 

They include vice provincial brother Dan O’Riordan as well as brothers Don Bisson, Hank Hammer, Owen Ormsby, Al Rivera and Sean Sammon.

Another member is brother Patrick McNamara, who was appointed as provincial by superior general Emili Turú in December, and officially took up his post during the gathering.

Br Eugène, who travelled from Rome alongside vicar general, brother Joe McKee, described Br Patrick as “good, very enthusiastic and international since he speaks many languages.”

“He communicates very well, he has very participative leadership and is open to changes,” said Br Eugène. “In fact, he stressed that we have to change and to not repeat the same things.”

According to Br Eugène, the biggest challenges for Marists in the United States is the fact that they are ageing and that they face financial problems in running schools.

“American families pay taxes but taxes go to public schools, not Catholic schools which are private,” he remarked. “So it’s a big challenge for them and they’res even thinking of not continuing in some schools.”

“Also, some brothers can’t work in schools when they age, so they discussed other ways of being present for children and young people, especially those in need of affection or those who come from broken families,” he added.

The topics discussed during the chapter included mission, lay partnership, ministry, identity as consecrated lay Marists and vocations. 

Provincial Councilclass=imgshadow
Don Bisson, Sean Sammon, Dan O'Riordan (Vice Provincial), Hank Hammer, Patrick McNamara (Provincial) , Al Rivera, Owen Ormsby (de gauche à droite)

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