Members of the Marist Fathers and Brothers of the District of Asia held its District Assembly from 26-30 November 2018 at the District house in Davao City, Philippines. Marists from Thailand and Philippines gathered for five days to share and discuss important issues that concern the District’s life and ministries. The purpose of the gathering is to bring all the members of the District together and discern to where the Spirit is calling us as Marists at this time.
Moreover, the gathering was also intended to review the District Chapter 2016 Declarations and Decisions. Some important matters discussed were our Missions in Ranong and Digos, Vocation Promotion, Child Protection and Safeguarding, Marist Laity, and the Statements and Decisions of the General Chapter 2017.
Every day we start with an hour of Eucharistic Adoration and end it by celebrating the Eucharist. We invited Fr. Joaquin Fernandez, SM, our former Superior General to give his impression and observations of the District. Whole day we come as a District to share and discuss agenda presented by the communities. During these times, we were given opportunity to respond and share our thought and ideas regarding issues that are decisive for sustaining our life and our ministries. The sharing was done in the spirit of fraternity, discernment, listening and care.
In the course of the assembly, we attended the funeral of Tatay Pastor Sabud, Fr. Larry’s father. We sympathized with the Sabud family during their time of bereavement and sadness. May Tatay Pastor enter God’s holy dwelling in peace. We also visited and prayed at the tomb of our confrere Fr. Philip Callaghan, SM, an Australian Marist who died in 2006.
In the middle of the week, we have an opportunity also to relax and recreate. We went to Paradise Island and enjoyed the company of one another while taking a plunge in the deep blue sea. It was a time to be re-energized and take a breather from the meeting.
The assembly culminated with vesper where Fr. Chris Ganzon, SM, the District Superior expressed his thanks to all the members of the unit for their lively and active participation during the assembly. As a gift, he gave each community the book of the biography of Fr. Jean Claude Colin. Dinner was served after the prayer which was attended by the members of the Marist Brothers, Marist Sisters, and the International Novitiate community. It was also a happy occasion to welcome the novices and formators in the District. Those who celebrated birthdays and anniversaries in the last few months were recognized and remembered too.
It is hoped and envisioned that whatever we discussed and discerned in the Assembly will bear fruit in our lives, communities but most especially to the poor and abandoned people whom we serve in our various ministries. We are confident that God will give us the graces to do our work with joy and courage. We are confident that Mary, our first and perpetual Superior, will accompany us and encourage us with her prayers and leadings.
We are very grateful to all of you who have prayed for each of us during our assembly. Please continue to pray for us as we continue to bring the Good news and bring hope to the poor.
News from General Administration: The Superior General has established The Marist Commission for Ecology and the Marist Commission for Inter-Religious Dialogue.
The foundation members of the first commission are Frs. Donato Kivi (O) (chair) and Peter Healy (Z). The foundation members of the second commission are Frs. Hermes “Larry” Sabud (As) (chair), Oscar Ichiba (S), Michael Jacques (S) and Kevin Medilo (As).
The overall goals of the two Commissions are:
- “To strive for a higher level of professionalism in missionary involvement
through further education, research, teaching, publishing and advocacy” (cf GC2017, n. 9b.)
- To contribute to local life by offering on-going formation, education, seminars and awareness-raising exercises for the local people in the respective areas of the commissions.
- To contribute to the living of the Marist missionary vocation more
Authentically by working within the Society of Mary to help everyone respond well as Marists and Marist communities with the leadership of the respective Commissions.
The first steps in the work of the two commissions is due to be on the agenda of ARC in the beginning of October. The plan is to establish later also two other commissions, one for Youth and one for Migrants. The hope is that over time the commissions will expand throughout the Marist world.
Congratulations to those who have chosen and may your work bear fruit!
On 23rd July 2018, on the occassion of the 202 Anniversary of the Pledge of Fourviere, the the new district house in Davao was blessed and inaugurated. Fr. Christopher Thadeos Ganzon, SM, the District Superior of the Marist Fathers in Asia officiated the rite of blessing.
Guests invited were the members of the Marist Family and Marist Laity, religious congregations whom Marists have some affiliations, friends of the Marists, and some of the neighbors who patiently bore the noise and the dust while the construction is going on. The children of Archetic Paking Santos represented their father who could not join the gathering.
We are grateful to the many people who have helped us accomplished this humble dream of having a little Marist complex wherein our communities can be situated in one location. The district house and the formation house are located in one compound in #82 First street, Juna Subdivision, Matina, Davao City.
The District house will serve as the accommodation for the priests of Chanel community. It will also be a house of welcome and hospitality for Marists who will come to Davao. Furthermore, it will also be a meeting place for the council and venue for other Marist gatherings.
This new house is indeed a gift and a blessing from God not only for us Marists but for the Church in Mindanao especially to the people that we serve and minister.
May you continue to support us with your prayers and material resources. For all these, we are always grateful!
As a General Councillor of the Society of Mary and link person to the General Administration Fr. Ben visited the District of Asia in June 2018. He first came to Davao on 8-13 June 2018. He met every Marist and visited all the ministries that we do in Davao and Digos. He also enjoyed his time with our seminarians who are training to be future Marists.
After his time in Davao, he went to Ranong to meet the other members of the District. Again, he had personal time with them and visited the Centre for Ministries of Marist Asia Foundation. MAF provides education for Burmese refugees as well as cares for people who are affected with HIV-AIDS.
While in Ranong, he also attended the meeting of the leaders of the Marist Asia Pacific.
His presence with us bring life, joy, encouragement and hope. He listened to our stories, met lay people that we are working with and participated in our prayer, meals and even recreation and bonding. He also challenged us to deepen our contemplative life, work for vocations, to stay united and radiate joy to others in our ministries.
This is Fr. Ben’s first visit to the District after being elected as General Councillor in September 2017.
Thank you Fr. Ben and see you again! Blessings!