Start your meeting with the sign of the Cross and prayer
Gather with prayer, then someone read: Mt 5:13-16
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Young Marists on Mission
Young Marists on Mission October 2018
Magdalena Webb AM
Kia Ora, my name is Magdalena Webb and my story as a Marist goes back long before I was born.
Let's start when the first Marist came across the Pacific and landed in the Hokianga harbour. My ancestors of the Nga Puhi Iwi would have been there greeting them - as friend or foe, I don't know – but they would have been there none-the-less. Nearly 100 years later my grandparents, Peter and Judith, were born, and later became involved with the Marist family as teachers at the Marist Brothers High school in Suva, Fiji. It was there that they raised my mother (and her siblings) in her early years of life. Later on they moved back to Aotearoa, finally residing in the Hokianga, no doubt constantly reminded of the rich Marist history. My grandfather still lives there today.
Now, my father's parents, Fred and Mary-Rose, both made commitments as Lay Marists in 2012. I feel that it is no coincidence that I find myself working at The Logos Project, a Marist Youth development organization. In fact, I feel am walking in the same footsteps as my grandparents and our tipuna.
A recent experience took that to a whole new level. Earlier this year, four of us from the Marist young adult group at Logos, set out on a Marist immersion experience that become very pivotal for us all.
On the 12th of February, Claudia, Sione, Kulu and I, somewhat nervously flew out to the U.S.A. with Father Denis O'Hagan sm. Our mission was to journey with a community of young and old in Brownsville, Texas.
We stayed three nights, en route, with the Marist Brothers in San Francisco. Then our mission took us to Brownsville on the border of Mexico.
We arrived to stifling heat and the welcoming face of Tony O'Connor sm, the Parish Priest of a beautiful church community.
Some of these people suffer the hardships of living in the U.S as people born in Mexico.
We met the beautiful women who ran a food bank for the area. We helped lift box after box of tomatoes, cucumbers, oranges, beans...you name it. Enough to feed a village and that is exactly what we did. The manaakitanga (hospitality) and whakawhanaungatanga (sense of family connection) made us feel right at home.
All my life, I have thought about how to save the world, about what I can do to make this world a better place. Going to Brownsville, gave me the reality check of a lifetime. Rather than going in circles, thinking about what I can do, I came to realise that it starts with who I can be. I'm not too sure if that's more or less daunting.
We also got to hang out with the young people of the parish. We ran a day long confirmation retreat and two activity based learning (ABL) sessions with them. They came a long way from being extremely quiet and shy to chasing each other around the room in a game and asking us 101 questions about New Zealand.
We went to the beach, watched the annual parade that starts in Brownsville and goes all the way to Mexico. We visited new found friends and attended Masses.
It was sad to leave as we had met so many amazing people and visited some beautiful places. However, everything we learnt about the life of those people will remain an inspiration to us.
As a young woman who is part of this Marist family, I believe that I am called to take up the torch that was lit two centuries ago, by a group of young people who were called to live like Mary. Knowing that we, including me, among many, are just like that group of founders, gives purpose to my passion. I am thankful for the Marist experience in Brownsville, as it has brought light to who I am and to who I can be as a Marist.
Simply use the questions below as starters to guide your sharing.
1What stands out most for you from the Scripture / Reflection?
2Maggie describes a desire to 'save the world'. When you think of the world today what is your deepest desire? How does being Marist help?
3Who has helped or influenced you in to be attracted to Marist Lay identity and mission?
4How important is hospitality and the sense of family connection in your Marist journey?
5"Rather than going in circles thinking about what I can do, I came to realise it starts with who I can be". Share what 'who I can be' means to you as a Marist Lay person.
Concluding Prayer Time:
for your own intentions and other needs.
E te Atua, God of Love,
Thank you for the communities in which we live and grow;
Our whānau, our groups of friends, our parish, our neighbourhood.
Strengthen our awareness of the needs of those who orbit around us. Help us to put people and relationships
before products or appearances.
Challenge us to go out of our comfort zones to interact
with people from different backgrounds, cultures and generations.
Help us to be generous with our time and our talents.
May we remember like Mary at Cana, that respect
and care matters deeply, and that every need is about a person and their story Remind us of the need to be open and compassionate,
as we build a future of mercy and love for everyone.