Marist Schools Australia

Catholic Education in the tradition of St Marcellin Champagnat

New Boarding Facilities at Assumption College Kilmore

On Sunday 30 March, Assumption College Kilmore officially opened its new boarding facilities as the realisation of the next phase of its master plan.  The blessing was done by Old ACK Collegian Father Michael Kelly CSsR, and the opening by Brother Michael Green.  The new buildings are designed along the lines of a “boarding village” concept with a strong emphasis on a homely atmosphere. There are just 24 students in each house, along with two resident staff and their families.  The new houses are situated above Carroll Oval, and accommodate all of the boarders. The former boarding areas in Shandon House are to be developed as administrative and teaching spaces.

Marist Principals gather at Mittagong

The Principals of member schools gathered at The Hermitage, Mittagong, in mid-March. A major activity of the Conference was a workshopping of the recent doctoral dissertation of Jennifer Elvery from Marist College Ashgrove.  A second major topic of discussion, to which two sessions were devoted, was the launch this year of the Marist Association of St Marcellin, the new canonical entity to which Australian Marists will be invited to join.
A feature of the Conference was the Marian style of the prayer and liturgy, with an emphasis on simplicity, pondering and also joyful celebration.  During the Conference Eucharist, there was the formal induction of St Francis de Sales College, Leeton, to membership of Marist Schools Australia, following a three-year process of discernment.

Victorian Bushfires

The recent bush fires in Victoria, the worst in five years since Black Friday, have impacted upon the communities of both Assumption College, Kilmore and Lavalla Catholic College, Traralgon. 

A fierce grass fire swept through Kilmore on Sunday causing the evacuation of the boarding house.  Seventy-five boarders and staff were bussed to Seymour and spent the night at the clubrooms of the Seymour sports ground. On Monday, it was decided to close the school and the boarders were sent home. The situation is still serious and the school remains closed. Whilst the College has not been impacted upon by the fire, it is within a few kilometres of the property. With the majority of staff and students coming from surrounding areas and with many roads closed, the school will remain closed until it is deemed safe for it to be reopened.

Lavalla Catholic College in the Latrobe Valley has also been affected by bushfires in the area with many roads closed and access for both staff and students limited. As a result classes were suspended on Monday, however the College remains open for those who are able to access the school.  As members of the Australian Marist Community, we assure both Michael Kenny, Principal of Assumption and John Freeman, in his first weeks as Principal of Lavalla and their respective communities our prayers and best wishes at this very difficult time.

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Marist Advent Reflection Booklet

Each year the Marist International Solidarity Foundation (FMSI) puts together a prayer and reflection booklet for use during Advent.  This year it the booklet has the them ‘THE WORLD OF MIGRANT CHILDREN AND YOUTH’. For each day of Advent, Marist students offer a first-hand account of their experiences of migration and then offer a prayer for the future.

A number of students from our Australian Marist schools are in the booklet, including one boy’s moving recounting of his family’s migration from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

A copy of the booklet can be found here.


Pink Lightning! – A New Initiative by Marist Youth Care to Support at-Risk Young Women

Marist Youth Care (MYC) is a non-profit organisation that provides services to over 1500 at risk young people and their families each and every year. Since August 2012, MYC has been operating a Skills Development Centre in Brunswick, Victoria, that provides pre-employment training and employment opportunities to young people facing barriers to the employment market.

In early 2014, MYC will launch a social enterprise – Pink Lightning! – that will provide transitional employment to young women, and at the same time generate revenue that will contribute to the ongoing sustainability of the Brunswick Skills Development Centre.

International Gathering of Marist Youth and World Youth Day 2013

by Hendrika Duivenvoorden and Jasmine Santamaria

Hendrika and Jasmine were members of a group of thirteen Marist Young Adults who travelled to Brazil as Pilgrims in July of this year.

To sum up the amazing two weeks we experienced in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is no easy task. Our first week was spent with our huge Marist family at the CHANGE festival (IGMY), with attendees from over 30 provinces along with Marist Brothers and leaders of the General Council. During this meeting we discussed how we can all make a difference in our local communities which will in-turn impact the world. Amongst the guest speakers, including Br. Emili Turu, energetic Mass celebrations, small group discussions and workshops was lots of dancing, singing, swimming, eating traditional food, giving of gifts and communicating by Google Translate. A highlight for most of the pilgrims was our 5am wake up call to visit Christ the Redeemer – one of the largest statues of Christ in the world and a beautiful symbol of Brazilian Christianity. After an action packed week of getting into the Marist Spirit, it was time for World Youth Day and the arrival of our Pope.

The Opening Mass was a tad chilly for some, with the coldest weather Rio has seen in years, but the wind and rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of thousands gathered on the beach. The Stations of the Cross were another highlight along with daily Catechesis from Bishops around the world.

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The day arrived for the Vigil Mass and sleep out, but due to the crazy amount of rain the venue was changed to the beautiful Copacabana beach. Kneeling in adoration along with almost 3.5 million silent Catholics from around the world is an experience we will never forget. The presence of the Holy Spirit along with the Pope brought an indescribable atmosphere and a vivid memory etched in our minds. Four brave Aussie Marists faced the cold to sleep on the beach, while the rest of us stayed at our Marist home away from home and returned in the morning for the final Mass. Seeing the Pope celebrate Mass on a packed beach was an amazing sight. With Australian flags draped around our shoulders, the sun bearing down on us and young Catholics as far as the eye could see, certainly a celebration of the Eucharist which will not be easily forgotten.

After the Pope had said his goodbyes and to finish off a brilliant two weeks a few of us joined the thousands of other young people swimming in the ocean. Then with hugs, kisses, and promises to meet again we said goodbye to our International Marist Family and boarded our flight home; filled with the Holy Spirit, love in our hearts and plans in our mind for our bright future.

The words of Pope Francis have continued to inspire and motivate us on our return to Australia, in particular the commissioning words from his homily at the final mass. Pope Francis simply reassured us all, saying, “’Do not be afraid!’ When we go to proclaim Christ, it is he himself who goes before us and guides us”. Pope Francis reminded us of our particular call to community and service with the words “When we face challenges together, then we are strong, we discover resources we did not know we had. Jesus did not call the Apostles to live in isolation, he called them to form a group, a community”. These, and many more of Pope Francis’ words, spoke to our hearts, echoing so beautifully the discussions of the CHANGE festival and our deep passion for the Marist charism.

We cannot thank the Marist Brothers enough for providing us all with this fantastic experience which has touched us deeply and provided us with a great hope four our Marist Communities and the wider Catholic Church.


Marist Pilgrimage 2014


Invitations are extended to Ministry Leaders and to members of school communities to participate in the Marist Pilgrimage 2014 programme to India, Rome, Lyon and The Hermitage, France. This 22-day experience invites participants into an experience of Marist Solidarity before travelling to immerse themselves in the centre and source of the Marist project in Rome, Lyon and Notre Dame de l’Hermitage.

Due to restrictions in the number of spaces available, formal applications (download application form here) to join the Pilgrimage are invited by the nominated person.

Applications for the Pilgrimage are to be submitted to Br Michael Akers, by Friday, 9 August 2013.

DATES: Friday, 11 April to Friday, 2 May 2014

(NOTE: All participants will depart together for the Pilgrimage on the same airline from Sydney)

ITINERARY: Trichy (India), Rome, Lyon & Notre Dame de l’Hermitage

COST: $8,500.00 per person

ACCOMMODATION: Single room accommodation will be provided for everyone in Rome, Lyon and Notre Dame de l’Hermitage.

Enquiries should be directed to Tony Clarke, National Director, Marist Mission & Life Formation at or 02 9218 4000 or Br Michael Akers, Pilgrimage Coordinator, Marist Mission & Life Formation at or 02 9218 4000.

Australian Marist Schools Conference 2013

28-31 July 2013: Conference Theme - 'He Gave Us the Name of Mary'

Pullman Cairns International  |   Queensland

Please find links to Australian Marist Schools Conference 2013 Brochure and Australian Marist Schools Conference 2013 Registration Form

Contact: Peter Houlahan // Katrina Daymond //

Australian Marist Schools thank all the companies who are supporting this Conference:


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Feast of St Marcellin Champagnat

For however it is being celebrated in your Marist community, we wish all our readers rich blessings for the Feast of St Marcellin Champagnat on 6 June 2013.

May the spiritual and apostolic intuitions of the Founder continue to inspire and guide us to make Jesus Christ known and loved by young people, in the hope that all of them can become the good Christians and good citizens they can be.

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Holiday Program Sacred Heart College, Johannesburg

The Three2Six program run by a Marist school, Sacred Heart College, in Johannesburg, South Africa provides an education bridging program for children who have been denied access to local public schools. Most of the children are from Central Africa and live in very difficult conditions, their families struggling for survival. 

Australian volunteers (over 18 years of age), interested in supporting young refugee children in South Africa to access education, life skills and fun are being sought to assist with a two week holiday program in Johannesburg from 25 August - 7 September 2013.   

Please make this known to younger staff members at your school and ex-students who may be interested.  An overview of Three2Six done by AFP media outlet is provided here. For a look at an advocacy film produced during the August holiday program click on the link provided:

A copy of the program flyer can be found here.

MSA Publications

The first 2013 edition of the magazine LAVALLA will be published in April.  Included in the magazine will be a revised copy of The Champagnat Journal.  The latter contains a number of written articles that may be of interest to all readers, but particularly teachers.  The focus is on producing materials that may be helpful in all Marist Ministries as well as helping teachers to meet their professional reading requirements for ongoing teacher registration across the country.  The Editorial Committee for 2013 is:  Lee McKenzie (Traralgon), Br Roger Vallence (Sydney), Br Michael Green (Melbourne), Brendan Rodway (Openbook Howden Publications), Paul Herrick (Melbourne) and Br Tony Paterson (Editor: Melbourne).  

Thank you to all members of the Marist network who have already contributed to the first edition for this year.  Any further contributions or enquiries can be directed to:

Please note that the ‘cut-off’ date for the April edition is 22nd March 2013.


Student leaders from Marist Schools in the Northern Territory, South Australia, Victoria, the ACT and New South Wales have had highly successful and engaging gatherings this week, helping them to prepare for their new roles.  They were held in two venues, in Melbourne and Mittagong.  Thanks to our Young Marists from Marist Youth Ministry who led each of the gatherings on behalf of MSA, and to school and Province staff who supported them.

The Mittagong group is pictured here, dressed for the formal dinner and Mass which were highlights of the days together.