December 2016

Apostolate of Prayer Intention 
General Intention - End to Child-Soldiers, that the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.  
Evangelization – Europe, that the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.

The Reflections for this month are taken from the Constitutions.

1 December - Thursday | Charles de Foucauld, d. 1916, Little Brother of Jesus. Charles de Foucauld-life  
Mass for deceased Brothers, parents, relatives, pupils, colleagues and benefactors.  
Readings at Mass - Is 26:1-6; Mt 7:21, 24-27.  

Intention - That we keep our focus on God. - Marists at St Patrick’s Marist College in Dundas, Sydney.  
Reflection - Open to any apostolate that is in harmony with its founding charism, the Institute sees the direct proclamation of the Word of God as an essential element of its mission. Engaged in schools or in other forms of education, we put our heart and soul into serving the human person for the sake of the Kingdom. (C85)

2 December - Friday |  Maura Clarke and companions, d. 1980, Martyrs of El Salvador. Maryknoll Sisters: El Salvador Martyrs
Readings at Mass - Is 29:17-24; Mt 9:27-31.

Intention - That prayer animate our lives. - Marists at Wewak and Yangoru in Papua New Guinea.  
Reflection - Adaptation of our ministry to the needs of the Church and of society calls for discernment and evaluation at regular intervals. (C85)

3 December - Saturday | St Francis Xavier SJ, d. 1552, Jesuit missionary to India and Japan. Saint Francis Xavier
International Day of People with Disability.  

Advent word scramble

Readings at Mass - Is 30:19-21, 23-26; Mt 9:35 - 10:1, 6-8. - Alt: 1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23; Mk 16:15-20.

Intention - For lives full of God’s mercy. - The Brothers’ Communities and Marists in Baucau, East Timor.  
Reflection - The aim of our service of evangelisation is the formation of true disciples of Jesus Christ. We do this especially by the witness of our lives and by our ability to listen to, and to engage in dialogue with the people we meet. We give pride of place to catechesis. We trust in the Lord’s help and in the care that Mary has for us. (C86)

4 December | 2nd Sunday of Advent  
Readings at Mass - Is 11:1-10; Rom 15:4-9; Mt 3:1-12.  
Link to readings USCCB 
Link to Gospel Commentary  

Office - Week 2

Intention - For sincerity of heart. - The Brothers’ Community and all Marists in Eastwood, Sydney.  
Reflection - We show a special interest in apostolic youth movements, which are complementary to catechesis. Because of the strong bonds that link evangelisation and human development, we help those who are in need and cooperate with those who work for justice and peace. (C86)

A Jesse Tree is an artistic representation of the ancestors of Jesus. Jesse was the father of King David. The prophet Isaiah 11:1 wrote: ‘a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit’.  Jesus is the ‘stem of Jesse’.  In the New Testament, Matthew (1:1-17) and Luke (3:23-38) trace the lineage of Jesus.  Matthew starts with Abraham and Luke traces Jesus back to Adam. 

5 December - Monday  
All Glory to God - Matt Maher 

Readings at Mass - Is 35:1-10; Lk 5:17-26.  
Intention - That we realise how unique we are. - Marists at Marist College in Emerald, central Queensland.

Reflection - The Marist school, as envisaged by Father Champagnat, offers families an approach to education which draws faith, culture, and life into harmony. It is an approach which stresses the values of self-forgetfulness and openness to others, which presents culture as a way of drawing people together, and proposes knowledge as a duty of service. (C87)

6 December - Tuesday | St Nicholas - c. 345, Bishop of Myrna in Asia Minor; nothing else known; the origin of "Father Christmas".  
Readings at Mass -Is 40:1-11; Mt 18:12-14.  
Intention - For trust in God. - The Champagnat Marist Community at Onslow Avenue in Epsom, Auckland.

Reflection - In our schools, which provide a particularly favourable setting for Christian education, we give priority to a pastoral care which is adapted to the needs of young people. While ready to serve them all, we give special attention to pupils who are in difficulty. (C87)

7 December - Wednesday | St Ambrose  - d. 397, Bishop of Milan and theologian.  
Readings at Mass - Is 40:25-31; Mt 11:28-30. -Alt: Eph 3:8-12; Jn 10:11-16.  

Intention - That we see God in all things. - The Champagnat Marist Community and novices at Lomeri.

Reflection - Our schools, which are open to any family that accepts our educational approach, encourages dialogue between persons of different cultures and different beliefs. (C87)

8 December

8 December – Thursday | The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary  
Foundation of the District of Melanesia (2003) | Foundation of the Province of Australia (2012)

The Immaculate Conception 

Readings at Mass - Gen 3:9-15,20; Eph 1:3-6,11-12; Lk 1:26-38.  
Intention - That we experience God through others. - The Brothers’ Community at Nicholson Street in Fitzroy, Melbourne.

Marist Anniversary -1942 Consecration of the Institute to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Reflection - The Immaculate Conception was not an instant in time that concludes with Mary’s conception. It shapes and guides the whole of Mary’s life. It gave her the freedom and capacity to say ‘yes’ to God. It is a lifetime of saying ‘yes’. In the Immaculate Conception, Mary was able to exercise all of her personal choices in accordance with the mind of God. We can be the same as Mary to the extent that we too are ‘full of grace’, open like her to the unhindered working, activity and manifestation of the Divine.

The Immaculate Conception celebrates God’s saving grace through which Mary was preserved free from original sin and its effects from the moment of her conception; an action that is, as it were, an anticipation of the salvation Jesus brings to all human beings through his life death and resurrection.  That Mary is “full of grace” to this degree has been an ancient belief of the Church and it was given formal expression in 1854.

9 December - Friday | St Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin- (1474–1548), a native of Mexico, first indigenous saint from the Americas. He was granted four apparitions of the Virgin Mary in December 1531 at the hill of Tepeyac, Mexico City.
Jesse Tree ornaments

Readings at Mass - Is 48:17-19; Mt 11:16-19.  
Intention - That our prayer moves us to response. - The Brothers’ Community and Marists at Red Bend College in Forbes, central New South Wales.

Marist Anniversary - 1837 Arrival of the first Marist missionaries in Australia, in transit to New Zealand. (Bishop Pompallier, Fr Servant SM, and Br Michael Colombon FMS.)  - 1879 Death of Brother Louis Marie, second Superior General 1860-1879. He agreed to send teaching Brothers to Apia in 1870 and Sydney in 1871.

Reflection - We share our spirituality and our educational approach with parents, lay teachers, and other members of the educating community. By the service they render, the non-teaching staff collaborate closely in our apostolic task. (C88)

10 December - Saturday |  Thomas Merton, d. 1968, Trappist monk and spiritual writer.  Some Merton quotes   A talk on his spirituality
Human Rights Day - Universal Declaration of Human Rights  

Readings at Mass - Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11; Mt 17:10-13.  
Intention - That we realise we are the body of Christ. - The Brothers’ Community at Gladesville in Sydney.

Reflection - We show our pupils that we are not only their teachers, but also their brothers. By trying to establish in the school a spirit of friendliness and collaboration, we help young people to become responsible for their own formation. (C88)

11 December | 3rd Sunday of Advent  
Readings at Mass - Is 35:1-6, 10; James 5:7-10; Mt 11:2-11.  
Link to readings USCCB 
Link to Gospel Commentary 
Make a Good Deeds Chain

Office - Week 3  
Intention - For a deeper sense of community. - Marists at Chanel College in Gladstone, central Queensland.

Reflection - We keep in close contact with former students by friendship and by prayer. We willingly accept their cooperation in the progress of the school. At appropriate times we help them with advice, and encourage them to devote themselves to serving the Church and people. (C88)

The nativity scene or crib depicts the birth of Jesus as described in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with making the first crib in 1223.  It was a living scene using people and animals.  It is an aid to help us contemplate the birth of Jesus Christ. 

12 December

12 December - Monday | Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mary appeared to an Indian peasant, Juan Diego in Mexico City in 1531. Her image was imprinted on his cloak and hangs in the basilica built in her honour. Find out about the feast day

Readings at Mass - Num 24:2-7, 15-17; Mt 21:23-27.  
Intention - For patience and understanding. - The Champagnat Marist Community at Trafalgar Street in Lower Hutt.

Reflection - In schools directed by a team of lay teachers, where we are either alone or working with other consecrated people, we cooperate in the integral education of the human person.  We respect the convictions and tasks of the other teachers, and we do our best to bring dialogue to such a stage that people can be attentive to the voice of God. (C89)   

Feast Day: Mary appeared to an Indian peasant, Juan Diego in Mexico City in 1531. Her image was imprinted on his cloak and hangs in the basilica built in her honour.  One of the ideas we can learn from this feast is that Marists believe that God has chosen Mary as a way of leading us to Jesus. Mary appears to Juan Diego as an ordinary indigenous woman.

13 December - Tuesday | St Lucy - d. 303, Virgin and martyr. b. in Syracuse, lived her life as a Christian openly and was martyred in Diocletian’s persecution; her memory was venerated from an early date but there is little else definitely known about her.

Readings at Mass - Zeph 3:1-2, 9-13; Mt 21:28-32.  Alt. 2 Cor 10:17 - 11:2; Mt 25:1-13.  
Intention - For authentic living. - The Champagnat Marist Community at 'The Grove' in Lower Hutt.

Reflection - Whatever may be our role (in schools directed by lay people), we are Gospel witnesses in the school situation. We contribute to the building up of society and of the kingdom of God by working to provide a human development illuminated by faith. (C89)

14 December - Wednesday | St John of the Cross, d. 1591, Carmelite poet, mystic and theologian.  
Readings at Mass - Is 45:6-8,18, 21-26; Lk 7:19-23.  - Alt: 1 Cor 2:1-10; Lk 14:25-32.

Intention - That we experience God in the ordinary.- The Brothers’ Community and Marists at St Francis Xavier’s College in Hamilton, Newcastle, New South Wales.

Reflection - God wishes that all people be saved by the Church, His sacrament of salvation for all. Our Institute, like the Church, is missionary, and we must have the heart of a missionary, as did Father Champagnat who exclaimed: “All the dioceses in the world enter into our designs.” (C90)

15 December - Thursday
Foundation of the District of The Pacific (2013)
Find out about the history of the crib

Readings at Mass - Is 54:1-10; Lk 7:24-30.  
Intention - That we be transformed by Jesus. - The Champagnat Marist Community at Remuera in Auckland and their vocation ministry.

Reflection - The Institute has a deep and tender concern for countries not yet evangelized, and also for young Churches. Having come to an agreement with the local Church, we set up communities in places where the needs of people call for a service that is in line with our charism. In de-christianised countries we lead young people and adults to discover the true face of Jesus Christ and of His Church. (C90)

16 December - Friday  Advent quiz  
Readings at Mass - Is 56:1-3, 6-8; Jn 5:33-36.  
Intention - That we realise what we pass on to others. - The Brothers’ Community and Marists at St Joseph’s College in Hunters Hill, Sydney.

Reflection - The Brothers whom the Lord sends out to spread the Good News as missionaries must prepare themselves carefully for their task. The Brothers are quick to recognize the gospel values already present in the diverse cultures, and, by their service and example, they help to purify whatever in these cultures is out of harmony with the Gospels. (C91)

17 December - Saturday  O Antiphons 
Readings at Mass - Gen 49:2,8-10; Mt 1:1-17.  
Office - of 17 December

Intention - That the Holy Spirit inflame our lives. - For those young men across the Region who are in initial formation to be Brothers.

Reflection - Like Mary, missionary Brothers withdraw as soon as their presence is no longer needed. Local Brothers are to be given the training they need, and are to be encouraged to assume gradually the full responsibility for their Province or District. It is through them that enculturation of Marist life is to be achieved. (C91)


18 December | 4th Sunday of Advent  
Readings at Mass - Is 7:10-14; Rom 1:1-7; Mt 1:18-24.  
Link to readings USCCB 
Link to Gospel Commentary 
 Make an O Antiphon decoration 

Office – of the day

Intention - That we transcend our differences. - Marists at Assumption College in Kilmore, north of Melbourne.  
Marist Anniversary - 1830 Father Champagnat SM was appointed Provincial Superior of the Marist Fathers by the Archbishop of Lyon.

Reflection - God has a loving plan for each human being, which He makes known in a series of calls. For each of us, Christ is always the way we must follow. Within the Church we come to learn the ideals of the Gospel and to bring them to life. (C92)

19 December - Monday  This is Christmas - Kutless  
Readings at Mass - Judges 13:2-7,24-25; Lk 1:5-25.  
Office - of 19 December.

Intention - That we be filled with the gifts of the Spirit. - Marists at Marist College in Kogarah, Sydney.

Marist Anniversary - 1845 Bishop Epalle died three days after being attacked on the island of Santa Isabel, Solomon Islands.

Reflection - Aware that each person is called to holiness, we help young people to develop the grace of their baptism by a more radical commitment for the sake of the Kingdom as lay people, as consecrated persons, or as priests. We encourage them to be aware of the needs of others, to open their hearts to the will of the Father, and to make more and more their own Mary’s readiness to be of service. (C93)

20 December - Tuesday  ADVENT
Readings at Mass - Is 7:10-14; Lk 1:26-38.  
Office - of 20 December.

Intention - For patience with our own brokenness. - Marists at The John Berne School in Lewisham, Sydney, a school for marginalised youth.

Reflection - Every Brother in the Province should feel deeply the need to encourage vocations. The most persuasive invitation to follow Christ comes from the witness given by our consecration, and by our life of simplicity and joy lived in a community which is in solidarity with the poor. (C94)

21 December - Wednesday | St Peter Canisius - (1521-1597), Jesuit. Doctor of the Church.  
Readings at Mass - Song 2:8-14 or Zeph 3:14-18; Lk 1:39-45.  
Office - of 21 December.

Intention - That we seek God in others. - The Brothers’ Community at Lidcombe in the inner west of Sydney.

Reflection - We call young people to discover our life of brotherhood and apostolic action, and we invite them to commit themselves to this life. (C94)

22 December – Thursday  Make a paper Christmas Tree 
Readings at Mass - 1 Sam 1:24-28; Lk 1:46-56.  
Office - of 22 December.

Intention - That we work with God. - The Brothers’ Community and Marists at Trinity Catholic College in Lismore, New South Wales.

Reflection - We pray the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to spread the Gospel. Mary is our inspiration in the work of encouraging vocations, as she was for Marcellin Champagnat.  We ask her to sustain and develop what she has begun. (C94)

23 December - Friday |  St John of Kanty - (1390-1473) priest.  
Make a Christmas Star

Readings at Mass - Mal 3:1-4,23-24; Lk 1:57-66.  
Office - of 23 December.

Intention - For largeness of heart. - The Champagnat Marist Community at Mangere Bridge in Auckland.

Reflection - The vitality of our religious family and its fidelity to its mission depends, to a great extent, on the formation of its members. The Institute takes great care to provide a formation that is well-based and adapted to the personalities and the cultures of its members. (C95)

24 December - Saturday | Christmas Eve  
Readings at Mass
- 2 Sam 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16; Lk 1:67-79.  
Office - of 24 December

Intention - That we realise our paschal dimension. - The Champagnat Marist Community at Wigram in Christchurch.

Marist Anniversary - 1836 The first Marist missionaries, four Priests (SM) and three Brothers (FMS), under Bishop Pompallier, sailed from Le Havre, France, on the Delphine for Oceania. The group included Fr Peter Chanel, together with three Marist Brothers - Marie-Nizier Delorme, Joseph Xavier Luzy and Michael Colombon.

Reflection - The different stages of formation should all be characterised by a common goal - to form men capable of vowing their entire life to God in an apostolic Marist community. Each one, led by the Holy Spirit and helped by the formation personnel, is the principal artisan of his own formation. (C95)


Christmas Season: The Word was made flesh.

25 December - Sunday | The Nativity of the Lord  
Readings at Mass
-Vigil: Is 62:1-5; Acts 13:16-17, 22-25; Mt 1:1-25.  
- Mass at Midnight: Is 9:1-7; Titus 2:11-14; Lk 2:1-14. 
- Mass at Dawn: Is 62:11-12; Titus 3:4-7; Lk 2:15-20. 
- Mass During the Day: Is 52:7-10; Heb 1:1-6; Jn 1:1-18. 
Office - of Christmas Day. 
Intention - For trust in the Spirit’s unique gift. - The Brothers’ Community and Marists at St Joseph’s College in Mabiri, Central Bougainville.

Reflection - For us Jesus is the human face of God. In a privileged way we encounter him in the three special Marist places, where Jesus reveals God to us. At the Crib we find the innocence, simplicity, gentleness and even weakness of a God who is capable of touching the hardest of hearts. ... There is no room for fear of a God who became a child. We come to know a God who has pitched his tent in our midst, and whom we call ‘’brother.’’ (Water from the Rock, 20-21)

26 December - Monday | St Stephen  St Stephen Martyrdom
Readings at Mass - Acts 6:8-10, 7:54-59; Mt 10:17-22.  
Office - of the Feast

Intention - That we let go and move on. - The Brothers’ Community at Macedon, north of Melbourne.

Reflection - To the young men who show an interest in our way of life, we offer a deepening of their experience of human and Christian life. We help them to come to a knowledge of themselves, to accept themselves, to transcend themselves, and to be converted to the Gospel. (C96)

27 December - Tuesday | St John - Apostle and evangelist, c.15-100AD, one of the "pillars" of the Jerusalem church after Jesus' death. One of the original 12 apostles.  He was entrusted by Jesus with the care of Mary. Later lived at Ephesus and was exiled around 95 AD to the Aegean island of Patmos.

Readings at Mass - 1 Jn 1:1-4; Jn 20:2-8.  
Office - of the Feast.

Intention - For realisation of how we have loved. - The Brothers’ Community at Madang in Papua New Guinea.

Reflection - We accompany those young men who show an interest in our way of life, and arrange suitable ways and means of making them more sensitive to the Lord’s call. We make a discernment with them to see whether they have the qualities and dispositions needed to become Marist Brothers. (C96)

28 December - Wednesday | The Holy Innocents  
Readings at Mass - 1 Jn 1:5-2:2; Mat 2:13-18.  
Office - of the Feast.

Intention - We pray for all unborn children. - That we become sacramental people. - Marists at the St Peter’s Campus of All Saints College in Maitland, country New South Wales.

Reflection - In common with all baptised people, we grow towards adulthood in Christ. Because of this, our ongoing formation needs to be lifelong and to cover all aspects of our life. (C110)

29 December - Thursday | St Thomas Becket - (1118-1170), Archbishop of Canterbury murdered by followers of King Henry II.  
Readings at Mass - 1 Jn 2:3-11; Lk 2:22-35.  
Office - of 29 December.

Intention - That we may be blessed. - The Champagnat Marist Community at Grey Lynn in Auckland.

Reflection - We have the serious responsibility of continuing the work of our formation in order to respond to the ever-renewed calls of God and to live our vocation more authentically with our Brothers. (C110)

30 December - Friday | The Holy Family  A prayer for the holy family
Readings at Mass - Sirach 3:2-6,12-14 or Col 3:12-21; Mt 2:13-15, 19-23.  
Office - of 30 December.

Intention - For a deeper sense of peace and reconciliation. - The Brothers’ Fraternities at MAPAC, the post-novitiate formation centre in Manila, Philippines.

Marist Anniversary - 1931 The Marist Missionary Sisters (SMSM) obtained approval as an Institute by Pontifical Right.

Reflection - Aware of the worth of our vocation, we give ourselves to it without turning back. The difficulties and temptations that arise in the course of life are not in themselves a reason to doubt our vocation. The Brother who faces up to them with faith and generosity, and who makes use of suitable means to overcome them, can find in them a way of strengthening his vocation and of renewing his fidelity. (C115)


31 December - Saturday |  St Sylvester I, pope - Ordained Bishop of Rome in 314.  
Readings at Mass - 1 Jn 2:18-21; Jn 1:1-18.  
Office - of 31 December.

Intention - For acceptance of incompleteness. - Marists engaged in Marist Solidarity projects across the Region.

Reflection - If his efforts (to overcome his difficulties) do not succeed, the Brother should turn to discernment, helped by his superiors and other competent people. This discernment is to be made with deep respect for the Brother’s person and for the call of God. If it emerges that there are good grounds for leaving the Institute, the Brother can make the request to do so in peace and in abandonment to the Lord. (C115)