Understanding the Marist Mission
As September begins, we head into our second full week of the new school year. Teachers have set out goals for the semester and year. Sports teams are into practice and/or their new season of competition. The school administration and the faculty are working toward some established goals for the year.
In the larger realm of our collective agenda, Marist School begins yet another year on its mission to form the whole person in the image of Christ. We do this in many ways. One special way is our practice of emphasizing each year one or several of what we call The Elements of Marist Education.
This year we will do this again. But we’ve decided to do it in a different or more systematic way. We are selecting three of these Elements and we will focus on one during each of our three terms. We will make a special effort to put an emphasis on one of those core Marist elements during morning prayer, at morning Mass, at our school-wide Masses, etc.
The three elements or core Marist values we will emphasize this year are:
- Striving intently to create Christian community that exhibits the Spirit-filled passion of the earliest days of the Church and the hope that looks forward to its final days.
- Manifesting a genuine concern for the least-favored and those on the margins of society, and
- Using every opportunity to evangelize, i.e. to witness the impact of the Good News of Jesus Christ to all.
I realize that this seems like a tall order for one year. But these are values or goals that take a lifetime to become a real part of how we act every day, in every situation. All we can do during the four or six years a student is here is to speak of those values and to show how they make us better people and can help us be a force for good in our families, at work, and in society.
In the book of sayings of Marist Fathers founder Jean-Claude Colin, one of the longest sections in the index is Church, especially the early days of the Church. He says that the goal of Marists must be to work toward recreating the spirit of the early Church as he found it described in the Acts of the Apostles and in references within the epistles of the Apostles.
This first term we will focus on understanding and imitating that spirit. We read in Acts that the first Christians were intensely involved with caring for each other, especially the weak and vulnerable, and they wore their faith, as we might say today, "on their sleeve."
In Acts we read that "the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul (4:32) and that they saw to it that "there was not a needy person among them" (4:34).
I hope that you find instruction and encouragement as we write and speak about these Marist themes this year.
Fr. Richmond J. Egan, S.M.