December 2020
Dear Friends,

As we enter December and the season of Advent, I have been thinking a lot about joy. I know this season in the Church calls me, also, to recommit to my faith in Jesus, to have hope for His coming into our lives, and to receive the love of this gift. But this year particularly, in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, when so many of us have lost so much this year, I am drawn to reflecting on joy.

This has been a hard year on many, including myself. I have certainly felt isolated and felt uncertain about the future. I want to strive to be more joyful this Advent season, to hold space for joy inside myself and to let it carry me forward. I love this except from the Catholic Exchange describing the difference between joy and happiness:

“Joy suggests a more complete, ecstatic, consuming passion than mere happiness. In short, 'happiness' can be described as an emotion, while 'joy' is more properly related to a state of one’s being.”

Joy comes with a deep sense of peace within us, a feeling of fullness of life, and a communion with hope and love. 

  • How can we strive to create joy within our hearts this Advent Season? 
  • What has sustained you in joy throughout this difficult year? 
  • What are you hopeful for? 

I know I will spend some time contemplating these questions and finding places to grow my joy during Advent. I hope each of you can unlock more joy within yourself this month and know that we here at MLC-NA are praying for a fruitful season for each of you. 

With Peace,
Sarah Gray 
Year of Shared Discernment
Throughout the month of December, individual Lay Marianists and Marianist Lay Communities should continue to focus on diving into the content in Module 2: To Know the Charism. If you or your community started the Year of Shared Discernment late, no worries! Just keep tackling the modules in your own time. If you haven't started engaging yet, you still have time! Jump in with Module 1 and begin this discernment journey with MLC-NA!

Get Involved

1. Fill in a Module 1 Survey.

2. Join in a YSD Zoom call with other Lay Marianists

  • Monday, December 14 from 8-9 PM ET/7-8 PM CT/5-6 PM PT
  • Zoom Link to Join; Passcode: Marianist
  • Hosted by Linda Flores-Tober & Jose Matos Auffant
  • Tuesday, December 15 from 8-9 PM ET/7-8 pm CT/5-6 PM PT: 
  • Zoom Link to Join; Passcode: Marianist
  • Hosted by Kay Stone & Errol Christian 
  • Monday, December 28 from 10-11 PM ET/9-10 PM CT 7-8 pm PT/4-5 PM HT: 
  • Zoom Link to Join; Passcode: Marianist
  • Hosted by Grissel Benitez-Hodge & Ellen Celaya

Important Links:
Marianist Feast Days
Read more about the December Marianist Feast Days here

Dec 8 - Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Dec 12 - Our Lady of Guadalupe
Dec 25 - Christmas
Dec 27 - St. John the Beloved, Patron of the Society of Mary
Jan 1 - Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Advent Resources
For each week of Advent, the North American Center for Marianist Studies (NACMS) offers a short podcast with a meditation on one aspect of Mary’s life. Podcasts can be found here

Education for Justice created an interactive Advent calendar reflecting on the wisdom expressed in Pope Francis’ new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti. The calendar can be found here.

Prayer Intentions

Lord, send us your Spirit of hope….

as we wait with patience, joy, and anticipation during these days of darkness and silence for the Light that shines as our guide to peace.

that our hearts may be a place of welcome for Jesus and all people, especially those seeking community, refuge, and peace. 

as we raise awareness of the ways we are complacent to injustice and hold in prayer those who endure the pain of racism and persecution.

as we ask Blessed Adele’s intercession for the immigrant children and families who are suffering.  May her witness to the poor give us encouragement to continue to advocate for compassion and a just solution to this painful crisis.

that Mary’s example of contemplation and reflection give us a model for listening more deeply to one another.

as we pray for our departed Marianist Brothers and Sisters and Marianist family members who have enriched our lives through their presence, especially Bro. Michael Murphy (10/18), Bro. Wilbert Hamm (10/20), Bro. Victor Forlani (12/2). May they be held in God’s loving embrace as they join the fellowship of saints.  

Lord, send us your Spirit of joy….

as we find new and creative ways to encounter others this year and offer the gift of our presence, even from a distance. 

so we can respond with Mary’s “yes” and bring to birth the love and joy of Jesus.

for the growth of the Marianist family as new lay communities undergo formation and discern their commitment.

as we pray in gratitude for the gifts of this year and recognize the ways we can further Mary’s mission as we begin a new year. 

-LeeAnn Meyer, Chair of Spirituality
The last month of 2020 and we are almost halfway through the season of Advent- thanks be to God! 

Last week, I was planting some Daffodil bulbs in my garden. I did some research on how to properly prepare the soil, how deep I had to dig the holes for the bulbs, and tried to carefully place each bulb with intention. While I was placing the bulbs, I was feeling a little impatient- I wasn’t going to see the results of my efforts until the Spring! I had months to go before I saw the beautiful yellow and orange flowers. However, I am hopeful the flowers will be beautiful and worth the cold hands and dirty, muddy shoes. 

As 2020 comes to a close, it feels like we have been in the longest season of Advent. Waiting. Waiting for justice and peace, waiting for a vaccine, waiting for election results, waiting for decisions to be made, waiting for this season to be over. We have endured a lot this year and I, like many of you, have been waiting for the end. 

I think it is natural for all of us to want to skip ahead to the end of this season, to skip to the beautiful blooms in Spring. It is easy to think of this time as simply just a time of waiting. However, hope is important too. Advent isn’t just about sitting around and waiting- it is about waiting in joyful hope. I find it difficult to be hopeful right now; however, I am challenged by the podcast and reflection below. How can we find glimpses of hope at the end of 2020? 

Here is a link to a podcast called “The Word” from America Magazine. I have been listening to some of these during Advent. 

Questions for Reflection: 
  • What are some glimpses of hope from this year? 
  • How are you working to be intentional in prayer this Advent season? 
  • What are you “waiting for” right now? 
  • What “blindness” are you experiencing? How can Jesus enter into this? 

Closing Prayer: 
Dear Heavenly Father,
Help me to hear your voice.
Touch me once again. 
Give me the courage to be your beloved.
Give me courage to choose joy.
I need you now this Christmas.
Be born in me again. Today. 
In Jesus' name, Amen.
“This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time,
but now it’s out in the open…
The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you.“
~ Colossians 1:27 (The Message)

-Abbey Saurine, Chair of Education

2020 Annual Appeal

The growth and vitality of the lay branch of the Marianist Family is due to the many volunteer hours and donations that make things happen behind the scenes. MLC-NA needs your financial support to continue our Marianist Mission. Please click
on the link to make an online donation.

Your donations directly support the work of the Leadership Team, Formation,
Administrative and staff cost, and our financial commitment to MSJC through the
Marianist Family Council of North America. Check out updates on MSJC's Issue Team work here.

Please consider how your time, talent, and treasure can further the mission of the Marianist Family. Contribute today and THANK YOU!
Marianists Write Now!
NACMS is offering Marianists Write Now, a program designed to encourage
thoughtful writing about the Marianist charism and in support of the MLC-NA
Year of Shared Discernment. Eight persons who have been touched by the
Marianist charism gathered virtually November 13 – 14 to respond to the question,
“How am I called to be Marianist?” Their reflections, written from the heart and
completed in just a few hours, can be found at The next session on “What does it mean for me to live a committed Marianist life?” will be offered in March 2021.
Other Announcements:
NACMS Online Marianist History Course

This Fall, The North American Center for Marianist Studies (NACMS) has offered an Online Marianist History Course to members of the Marianist Family. It has been such a success that they have decided to offer Part One of the course again, starting January 2021. This course has been adapted from the Marianist History course that has been offered to Novices in formation with the SM and the FMI. Registration is now open online until January 7th. To learn more, visit:

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, January 6 at 8pm ET! Please find more information and the Zoom link on this flyer
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)

Virtual Communities
To be determined