The Oceania Province Leader's Christmas Message
Advent is a time to take stock of our lives. Who are the important people in my life? What relationships do I need to refresh and renew? These are the questions that come to mind as we enter the season of Advent in preparation for Christmas.
There is a danger that we over sentimentalize Christmas as we focus on gift buying and over indulging in food and drink. The materially poor, lonely and isolated people will still exist unless all people reach out to them. Christmas is a great time of the year to remember those we love and those who are on the fringe of society. Christmas is a time to bring about healing, forgiveness and generosity not expecting anything in return. Christmas calls us to spend extra time with an elderly relative, to stop and speak with a person living or begging on the street or visiting an Asylum Seeker Centre or a Refugee family struggling to settle in a new land.
We are not short of examples of refugees in our world today. They are homeless and stateless and dependent on the goodness and empathy of others. As we celebrate the humble birth of Jesus in a stable and his fleeing into Egypt as a refugee, let us celebrate Christmas simply and consciously remember our suffering planet and her marginalized people.
To all people associated with Oceania Province, may you give generously to those in need and reach out to the lonely and isolated. May you and your families give lovingly and all experience peace and contentment as you slow down and enjoy the days of summer and holidays.
The Together As One experience at The Archer has captured the imaginations of our brothers.
Twelve brothers have participated in the live-in experience based on “Journeying Together” (the new name for Our Way Into the Future). The feed-back received has been affirming and encouraging for each person.
"In all it was a rich experience full of creative diversity, interest and fun....As a group we walked the land of Mount Archer ....Truly it has been a nourishing experience for all of us, the brothers who dared set out on this adventure, the land that hosted us and for the whole Earth community which shared its resources over the six weeks."
On Saturday 26 November, no fewer than 14 Brothers made their First Vows in Tamale, West Africa. All fourteen novices have maintained their commitment for the next two years of the novitiate and are determined to continue to pursue their call to be Brothers. Let us give thanks that so much potential is being added to our Province on Saturday. May they be our companions for many years to come.
Dennis Fernandez became the first Filipino to make First Vows in the Christian Brothers. The Philippines are in the Oceania Province. May he be the first of many. Dennis has shown great perseverance to last the distance in spite of the departure of his two compatriots, Cris and Adones.
Last Monday (14 November), the Homework Programs at St Albans and Sunshine Harvester School finished the year in great style with workshops by the African Dance and Drumming Company “African Star”.
At St Albans on Monday, Mohamed Camara from Guinea produced some forty African drums (tzembe) and guided the students through forty minutes of lively and noisy rhythms. Tempo changed as students watched his hands for guidance through a range of beats.
As a Christian Brother I was pleased to see Blessed Edmund Rice included and, as an Australian, Saint Mary MacKillop.
The Founder’s Trophy was started several years ago in an attempt to bring together the Christian Brothers’ Schools in a spirit of participation. And what better reason than a game of football to bring together the schools of the community?
Founder’s cup 2016, was a tournament with a difference. In January we completed 125 years in the field of education. The Founder’s Cup, normally restricted only to Christian Brother schools, was opened out in this our sesquicentennial year, to the sister schools of Asansol also. This year too, as per tradition, the tournament spanned three days. It included Under-17 Football and the Under-13 & Under-19 Table Tennis Tournaments