Western Regional Marist Laity Gathering

May 25-May 28, 2007
Santa Cruz / San Francisco, California

Villa Maria del Mar Retreat House, Santa Cruz, California    

Presenter: Father John Craddock, SM from New Zealand

After 2 national conferences in the US (New Orleans, 2000 and Boston, 2004), this week-end was the first
regional gathering of Lay Marists in the US. It was an invitation from the Lay Marists on the West Coast and
everyone was invited.

The site that was chosen by Ann Brown (AZ) to host this week-end was the Villa Maria del Mar Retreat House,  
located right on the Pacific Ocean about an hour and a half south of San Francisco in Santa Cruz. Between the
different sessions of talk and reflection, gathering attendees were given time to breath in the fresh salt air and
walk on the beach in front of the Retreat House or in the beautiful gardens...

It was a time given to laity to share stories and listen to others as they live their ministries as Marists.  

Father John Craddock, SM was the main presenter of the week-end. He has spent thirty years teaching in
Marist Colleges and in University Chaplaincy in New Zealand and Solomon Islands. For the last eight years, he
has been coordinator of Marist Laity, New Zealand Province, and so works with 60 groups of Marian Mothers
and 50 Third Order groups of multi-cultural diversity.  He is Superior of Marist Centre, Wellington, a community
of eight Marists, where his office is, where the Marist Messenger magazine is published, and where archivists,
retreat preachers, and pastoral supply staff reside. He enjoys organizing events, especially pilgrimages in the
South Pacific, and has served two seasons as a Chaplain in Antarctica for the National (USA) Science
Foundation and auxiliary staff at McMurdo and South Pole Stations.  He enjoys keeping fit and active!.  
He was accompanied by his secretary,
Jane Langham who gave a presentation on the Marian Mothers
organization and by
Anna Paea, Tongan who is the secretary in NZ and teaches at the Tertiary level.
Also present to give presentations were the following Marist Fathers:
Father Dennis Steik, SM Former Atlanta Provincial returning to the USA from a four month Scripture Study
class in the Holy Land;
Father Charles Girard, SM author of the large Marist Laity Book , co-author of Like a
and archivist; currently researching “Colin and Oceania” to be presented in Suva, Fiji in August 2007
Father Edwin Keel, SM –Director of Laity, Atlanta Province and author of numerous Marist articles,
reflections and books.

Growing like Jesus, with Mary and Joseph in Wisdom, Stature and Favor with God and People.

The program was the following:

Friday, May 25: check in between 3pm and 6pm - Retreat House – Santa Cruz
After dinner:  Welcoming – Opening Session – Time for friends-OLD & NEW

Saturday, May 26:  Retreat House - morning: 2 presentations given by Fr Craddock;
lunch time: quick time given to everyone for prayer and reflection with the opportunity to have lunch and walk
on the beach;
afternoon: presentation by Fr Craddock;
Sharing of Marist Ministries and Missions by:
Sr Christina Mac Lean, SMSM talked about a mission opened 2 years ago in Chula Vista, CA. She had felt
that the sisters should be addressing the tragedy of human trafficking. 2 sisters were given permission to do
some research and found out they decided to open a guest house for women victims of trafficking. A house
near San Diego opened in 2005 hosting 4 women. Expectations had to be adjusted because the women
needed a lot of time and listening in order to get back on their feet. The sisters are also working on raising
public awareness: 700 000 to 2 millions people are being trafficked. Sometimes it is happening in our backyard.
These women need to be held gently and need prayer.
Ana Paea
Showing little videos of the Marist Laity in NZ. There are groups from 19 different parishes and from a wide
range of age. The women are wearing uniforms, they pray a but they also like to meet. A mass was held in
September, on the Saturday the closest to the birth of Mary or Holy name of Mary in order to bless new
members. This year, while preparing the group anniversary (Sep 8th), Ana was asking: what do we want to do?
She came up with the idea of recording Marist songs. There are only 2 priests New Zealand born, therefore the
gathering of money from the CD will help pick a young man and let him explore the vocation in Tonga.
Rosita Martinez
Reported about her work with several groups in Matamoros, Mexico.
There are four groups that meet regularly.  They have various ministries within the church and also in their
community.  Four of the groups in the different neighborhoods (colonias) meet regularly for bible reflections
and sharing. There are other two groups but they still need time to develop and be able to continue on when
Rafaela does not accompany them.  Projects that they have undertaken are:
1/Prayer for the expecting mothers and visiting all thru pregnancy and at birth.
Objective:  To get the younger women involve.  To reach out to others.
2/Sewing and embroidery and craft works.  
Objective:  Teaching other their talents.  Sharing time and talents with each other.  Helping others.  Using it as
a fund raising activity
3/Giving each member of the group a birthday card on their birthday, the card will be done by the group,
created from their own imagination. But if anyone else is interested in being part of this networking project,
cards can be sent to my address and I will forwarded/deliver to Matamoros .  To contact Rosita,
click here
Fr John J. Sullivan:
"In 1968 when I arrived at Star of the Sea Parish in Honolulu the Third Order of Mary was not growing. In fact
they had the same leaders for 20 years. I asked them to choose new leaders. Then a wonderful person Ruth
Chun started teaching people about the Marist way in her home. She instructed 35 new members each year
The numbers from the windward side of the island of Oahu grew so that we had meetings in homes and I began
with Mass. A diocesan priest Father Eli Carter formed a group in central Oahu. Some of their group came to the
Marist Laity Gathering in New Orleans. A few years after that he died of a heart attack. He was only 51 years
old. When I left Star of the Sea Parish in 2004 I asked the new pastor Father Mark del Rosario, SSS to the
Spiritual Director of the Marist Laity in Honolulu and he agreed. They had a day of recollection on a Sunday of
Lent this year and almost 100 members came from all over Oahu.

Sunday, May 27:  Travel to San Francisco to Marist parish / Notre Dame des Victoires - 12:15pm Mass

After the mass, a lunch was hosted by Mary Ghisolfo, principal of the school Notre Dame des Victoires and
other Lay Marists with the participations of the Marist Laity from Tonga:

A presentation was given by Fr Craddock, Ana Paea and Jane Langham and the afternoon was free for
everyone to explore San Francisco.  

Monday, May 28:  Final presentation, sharing, closing – departure time 2 PM

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