One of the apostolates of the congregation of the Society of Mary in the Philippines is to start a formation for men who are interested to become members of the Society. The first group of Marist Fathers who arrived in the Philippines started the program that was called Marist Interested College Students (MICS) in Cotabato city. The program grew and the interested college students increased in number. There were also young professionals who joined the program and were called Marist Interested Graduate Students (MIGS).
However, as the saying goes “many are called but few are chosen.” Some of these men discovered that to become a member of a Religious Community was not really their vocation. They went out from the Marist Community and started anew, bringing an idea of finding the way of life to where God is really calling them.
Most of them became successful in their own careers outside the religious formation. Some entered the married life and established a family of their own. But despite all these, the spirit of being a Marist remained in their hearts in everything they think, say and do. This is where the seed of a new Marist group of men started. They gathered and formally organized themselves into becoming Lay Marists belonging to the third order of the Society of Mary.
B. The BRIDGE
The community is now called the Marist Bridge or “the Bridge.” The idea was taken from the words of Fr. Jean Colin when he said “we shall be a bridge to souls between the faithful and God through Jesus.” In the same manner, members of the Community shall be like bridges that shall serve as an instrument for people to pass through in order to reach their destination in the journey of life.
C. Vision and Mission
They envision themselves to be obedient and faithful members of the Church and live the Marist spirit in their ownselves, workplace and community. In line with this vision, they commit themselves to:
a. Pray and meditate the revealed words and will of God
b. Give a high regard to the Marist spirituality and to the Society of Mary.
c. Witness the values of simplicity, generosity and openness to the challenges of our time.
d. Say no to greed, pride and power but seek the interest of Christ and Mary alone.
Their objectives shall be to:
a. Support the Society of Mary, especially the Marist formation in the Philippines
b. Develop camaraderie and brotherhood among our members and other Marist family.
c. “Marianate” our family, workplace and community.
Members of the Marist Bridge like Mary, “appear hidden and unknown as it were in this world.” They move from place to place but wherever they are, they “always bear in mind that by a gracious choice we belong to the family of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” They then “think, judge, feel and act like Mary” in our family, workplace and community.
The Marist Bridge chooses to be unstructured in our Ministry. They always bear in mind that the best ministry they can contribute to humanity is by starting it in their own selves, family and community. As the Marist expression goes: “the heart of Mary is open to all people.” However, Marist Bridgers shall, whenever possible extend the following apostolate to the Society:
a. Support the Marist formation in terms of resources, talents and time.
b. Assist in the mission apostolate of the Society, through conducting events for a cause, etc.
(The slideshow below will give you a glimpse of the Bridgers in action during their different events for a cause )