September 2020
Dear Lay Marianist,

It has not quite made it to Fall in Texas, but even in this time of Covid, our thoughts and efforts have turned to the beginning of school.  Even if this school year seems to be anything but “normal.”  As a Marianist educator, this time of year offers us a plethora of Marian Feasts.  We get to start the year with the Feast of the Assumption and followed closely by the Queenship of Mary.  We started school at Central Catholic virtually right between these two Feasts.  We will move into Phase II of our school year on the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, again to be followed closely by the Holy Name of Mary.  We will celebrate our first virtual all school Mass on the Feast of the Marianist Martyrs, and the U.S. Provincial, Fr. Oscar, will be with us to Preside on the Feast of Guardian Angels.

 That is a lot of celebrating!  But I think each year and especially this year it at least invites us to start the year off with Mary as our Guide.  Mary always points us to Jesus, her son.  Mary invites us to bear Christ into the world as she did and say yes to him as he calls us into mission.  As this school year begins in earnest, we remember how Fr. Chaminade looked at education to be a preferred method of evangelization.  Whether we work in schools, educate our own children, educate and learn from our community members, we all find ways to follow Mary’s example and her “yes.”

Paul Combest
Say Hello to the Updated MLC-NA!
You may have noticed over the past month or so that MLC-NA emails have looked a little different. We worked with an amazing Lay Marianist to revamp our branding colors and logo. To celebrate this positive investment in MLC-NA, many members of the Leadership Council have designed us a new website: Please go check it out and let us know what you think!
Year of Shared Discernment
The Year of Shared Discernment has officially begun! Please find more details if you missed any of our previous emails here. We are so excited to enter into this journey with you and to gather your insights. Individual Lay Marianists and Marianist Lay Communities are focusing on completing Module 1 during the months of September and October. So please join us!

Please see the website (linked below) for resources and frequently asked questions for the Year of Shared Discernment.  You may write to if you have additional thoughts or questions.

Upcoming Year of Shared Discernment Zoom Calls:

Monday, September 14 7-8 pm CT/8-9 pm ET: Zoom Link to Join
  • Hosted by Linda Flores-Tober & José Matos Auffant
Tuesday, September 15 7-8 pm CT/8-9 pm ET: Zoom Link to Join
  • Hosted by Kay Stone & Errol Christian
Thursday, September 24 7-8 pm PT/4-5 PM HT: Zoom Link to Join
  • Hosted by Grissel Benitez-Hodge & Ellen Celaya

Important Links:
Marianist Feast Days
Thanks to Karen Emmerich and Sr. Laura Leming, FMI for writing reflections on Marianist Feast Days in August. 

Sept 5 - Mary, Queen of Apostles
Sept 12 - Holy Name of Mary
Sept 18 - Feast Day of Blessed Carlos Eraña, Fidel Fuidio, and Jesús Hita
Oct 2 - Anniversary of the Foundation of the SM
Oct 7 - Our Lady of the Rosary
Oct 11 - Marianist World Day of Prayer

We celebrate Marianist collaborator Vénérable Marie Thérèse de Lamourous in September. Although there are some places in the world that debate her status as Foundress, we recognize and celebrate her role in establishing the Marianist Family. She courageously carried on the work of the underground church during the French Revolution, assisted Fr. Chaminade in connecting with Catholics, and later operated a House of Mercy for former prostitutes. Her courage, faith, and trust in God are an inspiring model for us today. 

Join the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative’s Women & Justice Issue Team for a virtual celebration on Wednesday, September 16 at 7pm EDT. RSVP to to receive the Zoom link.

It is already September of 2020! It is hard to believe we are almost heading into Fall. 2020 has given everyone an opportunity to reflect, whether we have wanted to or not, and it has challenged us to face injustice, navigate uncertainty and learn more about ourselves. As we approach month 7 of this pandemic, are two months away from the presidential election and with school starting again, our lives continue to change. I thought it would be important to take stock of where we are right now. What things are taking my peace? How am I being challenged to grow? How can I remain grounded as the leaves begin to turn and our lives change, yet again? Linked is a reflection from Morgan Harper Nicholschallenging us to reflect on our life’s “garden” with some questions to consider (also below), and a closing prayer. Consider taking the time to read her writing and reflect on the questions below, on your own or with your community.
Questions to consider after reading through the above linked reflection: 
Think of your garden. What does it look like right now? Is it over grown and full of weeds? Is it well tended and colorful?
What are you rooted in? 
What parts of your life are “in bloom?” What parts are wilting? 
What seeds are you sowing in your life? Are there seeds of fear? Seeds of love? Seeds of hate? How are you sowing peace over worry? Love over fear? Faith over doubt? 
What new seeds can you sow? 
What parts of your garden are not what you want them to be? What is holding you back from making them better? 
Do you have a resource, prayer service or reflection piece that could be used with other Marianist Lay Communities around the country? Consider sending those to so they can be featured in our newsletter and formation materials. 
As we just recently transitioned this role within MLC-NA, our Temporalities Chair, Paul Combest, is still getting to know the inner workings of MLC-NA.  In future months this area of the newsletter will focus on our finances and our fiduciary responsibility to manage the money you entrust to us to further the mission of MLC-NA.  We will also discuss our combined call to Justice and Peace. Stay tuned for more!
Other Announcements:
Invitation to the Visitation State Marianist Community's October Retreat

The Visitation Marianist State Community invites you to virtually attend (via Zoom) their fall retreat on Saturday, October 17th. The theme of the retreat is “Dialogue in Times of Division”.  During the morning session we will welcome Dayton’s Mayor, Nan Whaley, City Commissioner, Matt Joseph, and Director of the Dayton Peace Museum, Kevin Kelly, to address the theme in light of societal divisions. The afternoon session will feature Dr. Laura Luehrmann and Sr. Laura Leming, FMI, PhD, who will focus on how we, as Marianists, make a contribution to opening up dialogue across divisions. The evening session will entail a prayer service during which the Visitation Community will renew their annual vow of stability and a Rite of Commissioning for new community leaders. You are most welcome to attend sessions as you choose. Please go to the following link to see the schedule and register: Visitation Retreat Schedule.

Gathering in the Spirit

Join us for Gathering in the Spirit - an initiative designed to build community through shared reflection and prayer within the Marianist Family. 

Gathering in the Spirit is designed to build community through shared reflection and prayer within the Marianist Family. By hosting monthly faith-sharing opportunities, the Embers make space for the Marianist Family to regularly pray, build stronger relationships with one another, and grow deeper in the Marianist Charism. 

The next Gathering in the Spirit is going to be on Wednesday, October 7th 8pm ET! Please find more information and the Zoom link on this flyer

Marianist Sisters Vocation Fund

Consider joining our vibrant volunteer committee of lay and vowed Marianists. For more information about joining our committee please complete the MSVF interest form.

Current members include Paul Combest, Bro. Stephen Glodek, Jenee Gonzales, Sr. Laura Leming, Matt Meyers, and Linda Zappacosta. For more information please read this flyer.
As a faith community, MLC-NA is the national association to which all Lay Marianists in North America belong. It is self-supporting through contributions from individuals and local communities.

Your support helps us to:
  • Employ a part-time Administrator
  • Maintain communication tools such as the newsletter, database, and Zoom accounts used by numerous committees and communities
  • Support the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative and the International Organization of Marianist Lay Communities
  • Support the creation and launch a new lay formation process for initial and on-going formation
Contributions can also be sent to the address at the bottom of this newsletter.
MLC-NA Leadership Council and Area Representatives
Click on the Leadership Council member's title and Area Rep's name to email.
MLC-NA Leadership Council

Matt Dunn

Margy Lisjak
Abbey Saurine

Paul Combest

LeeAnn Meyer

Rob Brodrick

Caitlin Cipolla-McCulloch

Fr. Ted Cassidy, SM

Marceta Reilly

Kerryanne Bollman and Luke Horner

Kelly Welling

Sarah Gray
Area Representatives

Southeast (FL, NC)

Northeast (PA, NY, NJ, MD, VA)

To be determined
 Central States (CO, IL, KS, NE, MO, WI) 


West Coast (CA, OR, WA)


Canada (French-Speaking)

UD-formed Communities (Many are virtual)
To Be Determined