A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Marist Lay Groups

By Jane Langham

I am assuming that since you are reading the Marist Messenger you have some affinity with Marist Spirituality, that you appreciate the content of the material in this magazine, even if you have never thought of this way of ‘being’ as Marist Spirituality.

Perhaps over the last few months you have read the articles by Fr David Kennerley on the basics of this spirituality and felt attracted to this. As you read each month, you may have felt drawn to be a part of this and to want more. As Fr David said in the first of those articles, “a spirituality is the Gospel reshaped for a certain age” and one aspect of a Marist spirituality is “To build up the Church for the sake of the world”. A later month added a prayer: “Mary, to be Marist is to live the Gospel as you did: generous and open to God, ever ready to be a source of support and hope to those in need, watchful and yet unobtrusive”.  Does this inspire you?

These things are as much a part of lay life as consecrated life. Right from the start of the Society of Mary, lay people have been involved, as they discovered their own aspirations were those found in Marist spirituality.  Lay people always have, and continue to be, associated with consecrated Marists.  Groups formed initially in places where priests, brothers or sisters were based.  In later years, these groups were nurtured by reflections sent from a centralised base to groups in many parishes, even where there were no Marist religious.

Today there are still many individuals and groups of men and women of all ages whose faith is nourished by these monthly reflections and group sharing. They become empowered to live their Christian faith, as a follower of Christ, in the same way that Mary did. Some of the members or groups choose to learn more deeply about Marist Spirituality. This formation is available online on the Marist Laity web site, and/or with material sent directly from the local committee or team (addresses below). They may then choose to make a commitment as a lay Marist.  This is a personal commitment and has no other obligations.   

Marian Mothers

In New Zealand there are also Marian Mothers groups. These were initially a ministry of Marists for mothers at home with young children. The groups function in the same way as the Lay Marist groups, but generally in a more relaxed and informal way, allowing for the fact that pre-schoolers may also be present.  Reflections on Christian living are from the perspective of Marist Spirituality. Besides the faith-sharing of the groups, they are also a great social network within a parish. Over time, the groups have become not only for young mothers, but also groups of older mothers or even grandmothers, facing the challenges of teenage years or the realisation that ‘mothering’ can continue long after your children leave home. They are also a great support for grandparents raising their grandchildren. And beyond this, they continue to be a supportive social network based on shared faith, inspiring members to be an active part of their parish.

If the idea of being part of small, nurturing, Marist fellowship group, with resources provided, has sparked a desire in your spirit, then do please take the next step.  Contact the national office:

Email: office@maristlaitynz.org  or Marist Laity, 20 Ponsonby Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland 1011 

Web site: maristlaitynz.org (NZ) Or:  www.maristlaityaustralia.com  (Australia)

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