The Marist Laity Service Committee is a group of lay volunteers who work under the guidance of Father Edwin L. Keel, S.M., Promoter of the Laity for the Atlanta Province. The Committee’s purpose is to serve the Marist lay movement in the Province especially in the areas of materials and communications. The Committee meets twice a year at The Marist Laity Center in New Orleans, and members of the Committee work on their respective areas of responsibility throughout the year.
Meeting October 20-22, 2006
The members of the Committee devoted time not only to their own formation in the Marist spirituality as individuals and as a Committee, but they also discussed a wide range of concerns and projects.
The following were among the many items on the Committee’s agenda:
The development of formation materials under the title of “Marist Words to Ponder.” These will be offered to group leaders for use at meetings.
The first issue of a newsletter for group leaders and other interested Marists was published in September and was well received.
It was reported that 96 copies of the formation program, “Doing the Work of Mary: An Introduction to the Marist Way,” have been distributed. Copies have been sent to Marists in the U.S. and 12 other countries.
The Committee is attempting to finalize a Spanish translation of the formation program.
The Committee welcomed the news that two new Marist groups are forming—one in Missouri and one in South Florida.
Two departing Committee members were honored with cards and gifts. Jackie Ball has been a Committee member since 2000 and has served terms as Secretary and Chairperson. Rosita Martinez has been a Committee member since 2000 and has served as Vice-Chairperson. They will be missed. The Committee chose new officers.
Meeting March 16-18, 2007
Three new Committee Members were warmly welcomed. Don and Rosemary Kean have been lay Marists since the 1980s, and both have experience in leading the lay group at our Lady of Lourdes, in Melbourne, Florida. Sheila Barrett, also a Marist of long standing, started a new lay group in Coral Springs, Florida, in 2006. They bring knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to the lay movement.
Rosemary, Don and Sheila shared the story of how Don and Rosemary mentored the group started by Sheila. Don and Rosemary stayed in close communication with Sheila and invited her to visit the group in Melbourne. Rosemary and Don then visited the new group in Coral Springs. In a casual setting, they shared their stories. Sheila tells us that the personal witness of Don and Rosemary was “the biggest launch for our group.”
This model of members of an established group visiting and mentoring a new group is not new. In the past in the United States, the more experienced groups “adopted” newer groups. Sometimes they called the newer groups “daughter” or “associate” groups. If distances were too great to permit personal visits, the parent group regularly sent letters. There are stories of newer lay Marists traveling for hours to attend meetings of a more established group.
Communication among groups, new or established, is vital. While distances between our groups is a huge obstacle, there are many ways to communicate in our times, and we encourage much more communication between and among lay Marists. Let us know if members of your group are interested in sending packets of letters, or regular e- mails, to another group. Or just go ahead and do this—see the list of groups on this website.
From left to right: Sheila Barrett from Coral Springs, FL Don and Rosemary Dean from Melbourne, FL