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Brothers gather in Australia to discuss Oceania Region challenges

14/01/2016: Australia - Photo gallery

Read the text of Br. Tony Leon | Gathering Proceedings PDF

Forty-eight Brothers gathered in the Marist College of Brisbane, Australia, to address some of the challenges in the region of Oceania.

From Jan.11 – 13, they discussed topics titled: meaningful consecrated life, going to the edges, global availability and internationality and Marian Church.

Participants were Brothers under the age of 60 from the Province of Australia, the District of Melanesia and the District of the Pacific.

General Superior Brother Emili Turú released a video message for the encounter, in which he highlighted important aspects of the African culture that correlate with fraternity.

“It is more important the belonging to a group, than my own singular person,” he states, in reference to the Ubuntu culture. “It is the power of ‘we’.”

“In our culture this is very prophetic, in fact the Vatican’s recent document on the religious vocation of the Brother underlines very clearly that fraternity is the DNA of our vocation,” he adds.

Br Emili also addresses the problem of vocations appealing to Brothers to help young people “to hear God’s voice, to make silence, to accompany them in their discernment” adding that oftentimes they cannot hear God’s call because “they are too busy and preoccupied with many things.”

Reflecting on the encounter of the Brothers at Brisbane, he called it “a wonderful moment, a moment of grace in your history.”

“All of you are invited to go forward,” he says. “Remember, Brother, if not you, who? If not now, when?”


Oceania Brothers Gathering
11-13 January 2016 – Marist College, Ashgrove, Australia

At the beginning of 2016, approximately 50 brothers from the region of Oceania gathered at Marist College, Ashgrove to explore the future of fraternal life in this part of the Institute.  The Australian summer days reflected the warm spirit of the brothers in their optimism of the future of Marist Life amongst the districts of Melanesia, Pacific and in the province of Australia.

The inter cultural nature of this gathering was also enhanced by the presence of Br Chinthana Nonis from the province of South Asia, Br Christian Onukwufor from the Nigerian province and Br Jonnel Sisneros from the province of East Asia.

The gathering began with a thoughtful inspiring video message from Br Emili Turu who challenged the participants with the question. “Are you weak enough to be brothers?”  A reflection about humility and the courage to let go of past certainties and strengths. The brothers, whose ages ranged from 26 to 59, explored current significant themes such as the recent Vatican document on the identity and mission of the religious brother in the Church today, New Models Roadmap and going to the peripheries. 

Mindful of the movement of the spirit in our institute, the brothers were treated with information of two new community projects pioneering in the Oceania region:  Mt Druitt and Kiribas.

The theme of humility echoed in the dynamic presentation by Br David Hall who shared the how God consciousness leads us to authentic Marian living and leadership.

The group celebrated Eucharist at St Stephen’s Cathedral with the Archbishop of Brisbane, Bishop Mark Coleridge who shared his thoughts about the difference between being authoritarian and being an authority in Christ.  He invited the group of brothers to continue in our expression of authority in Christ through our fraternal presence with one another as well as with as with the people with whom we work.

The gathering concluded with dreaming and articulating some very practical possibilities of a more collaborative fraternity in the region.  The ideas were presented to the three leaders of the region who accompanied the brothers during these days:  Br Jean Marie Batick (Melanesia), Br Peter Carroll (Australia), Br David McDonald (Pacific)

Thanks to the organising committee of Brs: Stanley Bakere, Luke Fong, Justin Golding and Kevin Wanden as well as Barry Burns who assisted in the facilitation, for this opportunity to begin 2016 with such hope and vision for the region of Oceania.

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Br. Tony Leon - 14.01.2016

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