Marists in Action Brother Leo Shea fms

Marist Laity Conference, Boston, April 2004

'Our mission is to make Mary's presence visible' (Pope John Paul 2)

Brother Leo said that in novitiate he was told to read 'The Soul of the Apostolate' every year. He learned from this book that prayer is the foundation for everything. He said that action is the shadow side of the Brothers as they have become workaholics. They would rather teach, coach, clean than become mystics. We need time for life, energy and to develop a passion for God that can only come about by prayer. We are not social workers or activists -we do love the work but it is not enough. We are Marists in Action and for this we need a deep prayer life to support our ministry.

Ministry must be:
    1. Work done for others not for oneself

    2. Commissioned by the Church not just our idea -we are Marists

    3. Fulfilling the Mission of the Church: what is the purpose of the Church? The Ministry of the Church is to evangelise and bring about conversion.

    4. Presenting the Good News of Jesus Christ in a human situation.
Marists are called to this ministry -'Go and baptise ... 'Matthew 28 Our invitation is from Jesus

Vatican 2 Mandate:
    1. Go back to the Gospels-Look at Jesus, Mary and the early Church

    2. Go back to the Foundation-to the sources of Marist life

    3. Take the Gospel and the Foundation and bring it to today's world.
Today's World:

What are the needs of today?

What is the great need of the Church today for Marist Laity?

Brother told us of his work with the very poor in Brownsville, Cameron Park, USA in his retirement years. He encouraged retired Marist Laity throughout the world to reach out to the very needy in their own community as we all still have so much to give.

Roman’s 10: 'How can they hear unless someone tells them ... '

Who is going to tell the Good News? The Laity will with the help of Priests and Religious. It used to be the other way around -the Laity helped Priests & Religious.

Marist Laity Work
    1. Marist Laity are the future of the Mari st Society. Religious have done their work. The Laity do this by simply living the Marist Charism -mercy and forgiveness - a community of compassion.

    2. Colin's vision 'a new Church emerging' -job of the clergy is to assist the Laity, need for continuation and follow-up to measure up. The Mission of the clergy is to witness to the world the Mission of Christ and to support the Laity.
Brother told us about a community in Senegal that he had been teaching scripture for a year. One day he asked them if they knew any Christians and they said no, except for Sister. No one else measured up. Through the simple stories of the Gospels the people got the message - the people Jesus talked about were just like their own, same homes and way of life - fetching water, preparing food, walking to villages etc.


Brother played the Magnificat and then shared his thoughts on Mary's song. In the 1970's the Magnificat was banned by the Government of Chile as the Mothers' of the missing used it as their prayer. As a group we need to reach out to the poor and the suffering - to teach them to know and love Jesus Christ especially those who are forgotten and marginalised. The Magnificat is about the nobodies –

It is Mary's Prayer of YES which leads her to visit Elizabeth (the other)- reaching out to the poor and needy. Mary was oppressed- she could have been stoned to death for her pregnancy. Joseph took care of her and she was protected - hence the Magnificat - her hymn of gratitude for being saved from a terrible death. It is a call to social action - give poor kids a chance - the gift you have received - give it as a gift for others.

Active Elderly Marists

Your most important work may not begin until after you retire. Fr Colin used to say 'Look at the Society of Jesus and do what they are doing but do it in a different way.' The Society of Jesus has a volunteer elderly program. Marists have youth volunteers.

Why not have volunteers of retired for the poor? My life magnifies the Lord It would give people an opportunity - those who have the time and the means - to give to the needy in the Marist tradition. Marists are with and for the poor.

We have Life-skills as seniors to transform the world through justice regardless of race and social status in response to God's call to holiness.

'Do whatever he tells you.' -John 2: 5

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24 November 2022

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