December, 2021

In mid November, I attended the annual World Council meeting in Rome, representing the region of North America, Asia, Ireland, and Australia. The World Council of the Marianist Family is made up of the international leadership team of each branch of the family: The SM, the FMI, the MLCs, and Alliance Mariale. So there are about 20 of us, including the translators, who gather to share the successes and challenges in each of our branches, and to plan common events and missionary goals that we can work on together--as a Family.

Sr. Franca, General Superior of the FMI, chaired the meeting this year. She arranged for our meeting to start with a daylong retreat in which we learned about the Pallottine Charismatic Family, a Public Association of the Faithful recognized by the Vatican. (We are a Private Association of the Faithful recognized by the Vatican.) So their organization is organized somewhat differently than ours. That intrigued us.

Also the rhythm of our World Council work is quite different than a typical North American meeting. We pray, then eat at 8 AM, then work a little, then break for snack, then work, then eat at 1 PM, then rest, then work, then break for snack, then work, then pray, then eat at 8, then end the day with a walk and drinks at a local cafe. Do you see the pattern?!

It sounds leisurely and hard on the waitstline (!), but we get a lot of work done. Though the days are very long (9 AM to 7 PM in meetings), it is not the driven, frenetic work of many North American meetings. And the rhythm seems to allow the Holy Spirit to flow through with plenty of inspiration--and good food!

In the first article this month Sr. Franca summarizes the work the World Council accomplished in our three days together. In the second article I share the new objectives the World Council has adopted for the next four years. We tried to create goals that would bring the branches together in collaborative ways. Working collaboratively as a Family is one of the gifts we can offer to the broader Church.

I end this newsletter sharing a short video showing the World Council participants working in Rome. And finally, we send a Christmas card to the Marianist Family worldwide.

Blessings and peace to each of you!

Marceta Fleming Reilly