Globally, the Marist family is exploring the concept of an International Marist Schools Network. Echoing calls from the last Marist General Chapter held in Colombia in 2017 and the Marist International Mission Assembly held in Kenya in 2014, a group has been convened of Marists in leadership positions from different regions throughout the world to lead a process of consultation and discernment. On the Feast of the Assumption 2019, people working in and associated with Marist schools in 80 countries across the globe are invited to respond to a short survey which has been translated into the four major language groups used by Marists: English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Marist educators throughout the world are being invited to:
imagine the reality of an international network of Marist schools as a global family with an evangelizing action rooted in the world of school and education;
explore together the benefits this could bring to the children and young people whom Marists serve, as well as to their families.
The recent Marist Schools Australia Biennial Conference held in Melbourne a fortnight ago, was a gathering of the clan over three days which was inspirational, encouraging, profoundly optimistic and prayerful. With school leaders hailing from Marist Schools in 19 Dioceses across the country, much was gained from the liturgies, key note speeches and workshops. Apart from these more formal times, there was enormous richness in the sharing that took place over a meal, at morning tea, or during a quiet drink at the end of the day. The whole time together provided immense opportunity and scope for reflection on the work we do with our students, with the fundamental focus being how we make Jesus known and loved through the provision of quality education. The vibrancy and vitality of Marist Schools Australia as a Faith community was palpable, and noted in remarks by Archbishop Peter Comensoli and Bishop Greg Homeming, both of whom generously contributed to the Conference. We are indeed fortunate to have such a network in existence, conscious of its uniqueness on the Australian Catholic educational landscape.
As Term 2 came to its ragged conclusion across the nation, three significant retirements of Principals were celebrated. Brother Robert Sutton, Brother Michael Flanagan, and Mr Rick Sidorko brought to conclusion an astounding, combined total of 127 years of service and leadership to Catholic education. Each experienced heart felt farewells from their current school communities and expressions of deep gratitude were made for their work throughout their long and fruitful years in schools.