A Catholic Monthly Magazine

First World Marist Laity Conference Madrid 2015

By Bev McDonald

By Bev McDonald

In August Kirsten Sloan and I were privileged to join with 120 Marist Laity in Madrid for a world conference titled “Con Maria Avanamos;” “With Mary we Advance.”  We shared our Marist vision and ways we can move forward with Mary as a Church which renews.

Eighteen countries were represented. Huge acknowledgement is needed for the European Lay Coordination team and our Spanish hosts. There were three main presenters: Dr Lourdes Azorín, an Italian lay theologian, speaking on ‘The Mercy of God according to Evangelii Gaudium.’ Corrine Fenet, a French lay Marist theologian, presented ‘Lay Marists as Missionaries of Joy’ and Fr Jan Hulshof SM, past Superior General, shared on ‘The Social dimension of our Marist Mission.’

After Spain, 15 world representatives continued on Marist pilgrimage. The Provincial of Europe, Fr Hubert Bonnet-Eymard SM, had shared that as we count down toward Fourviere 2016, all branches of the family are called to rediscover the sense of that first Fourviere promise: the rich treasure of our charism which unites us and connects us to the heart of the world in mercy, joy and love amidst the real needs of people today.

Visiting the Marist places of origin reminded us of the innovative collaboration and vision of the first Marists. We left with renewed conviction that the Colinian vision of Laity is still integral to the vibrancy of Mary’s Marist project in our time. We committed to work together on that vision.

Notably, all round the world Laity are moving towards identification and intentional commitment as Marist, responding to the call to unity, communication and mission. Mary is asking for something as surely as she was at the beginning of our Marist story.  Laity are aware of being called to be her presence in the church today.

The whole European experience was an affirmation of all we are trying to develop in New Zealand and who we are called to be as Mary for today. Con Maria Avanamos. With Mary we advance in hope and joy. Please keep the work of Mary amongst Laity in your prayers. More news, photos and information about becoming involved with Marist Laity is on our New Zealand website www.maristlaitynz.org and on the Association of Mary Facebook page which you can link to from there.

Bev McDonald is Facilitator Marist Laity NZ

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