October 2020
Dear Friends,

While change is constant - and 2020 has been full of changes – Fall, and changes in the weather (in certain parts of the country), causes me to pause to reflect on the past year while also anticipating Winter, the new liturgical season, holidays, and new year.

As I reflect not only on the last year, but the last 10, I am filled with gratitude for being a Lay Marianist. I never would have imagined in my journey that I would be the national leader of an international association of lay Catholics.

My own MLC and family have been wonderfully supportive and it has been a blessing to work alongside other amazingly committed Lay Marianists and our Marianist Sisters and Brothers locally, nationally, and globally.

MLCNA has come a long way from being a loosely connected network of Lay Marianists to being an increasingly cohesive faith community with a presence that spans the continent and beyond. The Leadership Council is committed to encouraging interaction among Lay Marianists and MLCs, encouraging your engagement with local Marianist Family Councils, developing and formalizing steps for becoming a Lay Marianist, fostering a sense of vocation, and building the capacity of the lay branch of the Marianist Family.

Some tangible highlights to note include the implementation of Area Reps, holding assemblies in 2010 (and many before that), 2014, 2017 and 2020, the hiring of our first employee, creation of a website specific to MLC-NA, developing the new logo (at the top of this email), our financial support of the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative and the International Organization of Marianist Lay Communities, creation of our formation framework and our Guide to Life in the Marianist Lay Community of North America.

The Year of Shared Discernment, featured below, is exactly that. We invite you to deepen your Marianist experience by reflecting on specific readings and questions, engaging with your communities and with others to share your thoughts and experiences, and articulating some hopes and dreams that will help shape the future growth and mission of the lay branch of the Marianist Family.

My term as chair ends in December. Thank you for the privilege to serve you. We are called by God, formed by Mary, and sent on the mission of Christ. We all have gifts to share. I encourage you to consider how you might use yours in the service of the Marianist Family and the Church. Be assured of my continued prayers and support. I am not going anywhere and will look for new ways to be of service.

Gratefully yours, and united in mission,
Matt Dunn
Year of Shared Discernment
The Year of Shared Discernment continues throughout the month of October. We ask all individual Lay Marianists and Marianist Lay Communities to focus on completing Module 1 throughout this month! We have heard from many Lay Marianists and MLCs who have had rich conversations using our Module 1 tool.

One of the biggest takeaways that MLC-NA is hoping to produce from this Year of Shared Discernment is gathering insights, experiences, and visioning from our Lay Marianists. Please carefully read the three "Share" options we have presented below. We know that so many of you have wisdom and gifts to give back to our Marianist Family and we can't wait to hear from you!

1. Please share your thoughts and learnings with us using the following surveys: Module 1 Individual Lay Marianist Survey and Module 1 Community Survey.

2. Join us and Lay Marianists from all over North America at an upcoming Year of Shared Discernment Zoom Calls hosted by our Area Reps:

Monday, October 12 from 7-8 pm CT/8-9 PM ET: Zoom Link to Join Passcode: Marianist
  • Hosted by Linda Flores-Tober & Jose Matos Auffant
Tuesday, October 20 from 7-8 pm CT/8-9 PM ET: Zoom Link to Join Passcode: Marianist
  • Hosted by Kay Stone & Errol Christian 
Thursday, October 22 7-8 pm PT/4-5 PM HT: Zoom Link to Join Passcode: Marianist
  • Hosted by Grissel Benitez-Hodge & Ellen Celaya
3. Additionally, MLC-NA is looking for communities who wish to be paired up with another MLC. This is an exciting opportunity to meet Marianists in others parts of the country and to discern this Marianist call together. Is your community interested? Reply to this email or send an email to discernment@mlc-na.org to follow up!

Important Links:
Marianist Feast Days
Thanks to Karen Emmerich and Barb Belle for writing reflections on Marianist Feast Days in September. 

Oct 2 - Anniversary of the Foundation of the Society of Mary
Oct 7 - Our Lady of the Rosary
Oct 12 - Our Lady of the Pillar
Nov 6 - Feast of Marianist Martyrs of Madrid
Nov 15 - Nuestra Señora de la Divina Providencia – Patroness of Puerto Rico

Marianist World Day of Prayer
On October 11, 2020, we celebrate the Marianist World Day of Prayer, featuring the Diocesan Marian Shrine of Nuestra Señora de El Salto (the Pilgrim of El Salto and the Pearl of Great Price of Tacunga) at 8:00 AM Central Time. More information about the shrine, as well as prayers for Marianists around the world, can be found on the resource created by the World Council of the Marianist Family. More information and links to the event can be found on this document.

Prayer Intentions

Lord, send us your Spirit of hope….

as those in the United States take time to learn about and vote for candidates and issues across our country. May we spend time in respectful dialogue and thoughtful discernment as we make decisions to advance the common good. 

as we call upon our world leaders to model compassion, work for justice, and raise up those who suffer.

as we hold in prayer those who are ill or caring for patients of COVID-19, as well as those who continue to be impacted emotionally and financially by this pandemic. May we continue to know your strength and perseverance as we work together to decrease the spread and return to health.

as we seek to shelter and support our brothers and sisters living in poverty, especially as we approach colder weather. 
as we walk with and prayer for those who struggle with mental illness, that we may radiate Your compassion and love.

As we pray for our departed Marianist Brothers and Sisters and Marianist family members who have enriched our lives through their presence. In a special way, we pray for Bro. Larry Cada, (8/27), Fr. Norbert Burns (8/28), Fr. Jim Kunes (9/12), Fr. John Manahan (9/16) and Fr. Rudy Vela (9/29) - may they be held in God’s loving embrace as they join the fellowship of saints.  

-LeeAnn Meyer, Chair of Spirituality
Autumn always feels like an almost magical time of the year. However, this year seems a little more tense. Personally, I am remembering the moments leading up to the 2016 election. Specifically, I am recalling the tension between myself and some family members, friends and community members. I remember thoughtless and hateful words being posted on social media. As we approach another presidential election, in a country that seems more divided than it was in 2016, it seems appropriate to think of how our charism and faith are challenging us to think and grow in this season. Below, I have linked a Catholic voter guide from the USCCB on Faithful Citizenship. My hope is that you and your family, community, friends, neighbors, etc. can take the time to engage in dialogue over the next month; moreover, if you need a starting place, hopefully this guide is helpful. Our country is at a crossroads. We need faithful and engaged citizens ready to work for justice and the common good. 

Here is a link to the USCCB document. 

Take time to consider these questions before your discussion: 
  1. Why do you vote? 
  2. What do you think is necessary for civil dialogue to take place this election season? WHat are some ways you practice active listening? Suspending assumptions? Articulating your opinion? 
  3. What issues do you typically focus on in an election? Once you name those issues, think of some follow-up issues. What else do you care about? 
  4. What are the primary ways you inform yourself on the issues in our country? 
  5. How do you feel your faith challenging you this election season? 
  6. How can you embody characteristics of Mary this election season? 

Prayer by Anna Misleh to close your discussion: 
God of mercy, 
our nation is in a time of great transition. 
With all of the injustice and fear in our world today, 
we ask you to inspire us and guide us as we participate in the upcoming presidential elections. 
We seek a government that upholds and protects human rights and justice for all its citizens, 
regardless of race, class, gender, or religion. 
Move and inspire us by your presence among us in the most vulnerable in our society. 
For their tears are your tears, their pain is your pain, their suffering is your suffering. 
In gratitude for the right to vote, we pray.

-Abbey Saurine, Chair of Education
Someone just brought to our attention a new possible way to donate to MLC-NA.
The site takes your hotel points that are about to expire and converts them to cash that
you can then donate to organizations. The site is https://www.pointworthy.com/

We are working on a volunteer bookkeeper transition in addition to me learning the
ropes. By next month we should have some kind of financial report to let you see how
we are doing, and see how you can financially assist us in our Mission of fostering
Marianist Lay Communities as we approach the close of 2020.

-Paul Combest, Chair of Temporalities
Marianists Write Now! Virtual Program
To encourage thoughtful writing about the Marianist charism and in support of the MLC-NA Year of Shared Discernment, NACMS is pleased to present, Marianists Write Now! Join other Lay and Religious Marianists in answering the question: How am I called to be Marianist? This virtual program is offered November 13 – 14, 2020. Learn more register at https://nacms.org/programs.
Other Announcements:
Marianist Family Encounter Event - October 10th

Join us on October 10 for the Marianist Family Encounter! Celebrate the World Day of Prayer with Marianists globally via Zoom. We can't wait to see you there. Please see the flyer here.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 915 5849 7145
Password: 527095

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, November 4 at 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