This year’s visitors included Sister Senitila and Sister Sunitha, Marist Missionary Sisters from Tonga and Sri Lanka, respectively; Brother Al Rivera, director of vocations for the Marist Brothers of the Schools; and Father David Sanchez, S.M., representing the Society of Mary (Marist Fathers and Brothers). Father Sanchez is from the Society’s province in Mexico and serves on the staff of the Society’s International House of Formation in Rome, Italy.
Each of the visiting Marists presented to theology classes, speaking about their respective experiences in their own Marist branch and sharing their personal journeys to becoming Marist religious. The individual presentations were followed by time for questions from the students. Also during the week, selected students were invited for a Thursday evening dinner in the rectory so they could have time for more in-depth conversations with the presenters. After dinner, the Marist Sisters spoke with the girls, and the Marist Fathers spoke with the boys.
Vocations Week was capped off with an all-school Mass with a guest homilist. Marist alumnus Father Jack Butler, S.J. ’82, who serves Boston College as vice president of mission and ministry, reminded students that they are special in the eyes of God and that by attending a school like Marist, they have a vocation to love and serve others as Jesus commanded. Encouraging students to listen to God’s call, he said, “What God has in store for you is great. Be open to it. God believes in you. God is proud of you. Now go change the world, whatever your vocation is. Fulfill your dream and you fulfill God’s dream for you.”
At the Mass, Marist School also welcomed students from The Weber School and the W.D. Mohammed School as part of the Peace by Piece program. Peace by Piece is an ongoing program that aims to open and sustain interfaith dialogue and understanding among Jews, Catholics, and Muslims through a series of school visits and activities.
Coincidentally, Marist School enjoyed visits from even more Marists during Vocations Week when students and chaperones from a Marist school in Callao, Peru visited for an exchange. The Peruvian students, who stayed with Marist families for the duration of their visit, spent time in class at Marist, participated in the all-school vocations Mass, and visited sites around Atlanta.
“Vocations Awareness Week and the student exchange program with Peru are reminders that the Society of Mary is an international religious order,” said Marist School President Father Bill Rowland, S.M. “One of the attractive features of attending Marist School is the opportunity the school provides to connect with other Marist students in different countries.”
Father Mark Kenney, S.M., who was appointed Marist School’s alumni chaplain in December, found Vocations Week very successful and has been impressed with Marist students and the way in which the Marist spirit is a major part of life at Marist School.
He commented, “Although we Marists would love to have some of the students join us in our Marist life as professed religious, we are pleased to see that they already share with us a love of Mary and a deep appreciation of the spirit of the Society. In this way, whatever path they may take in life, be it married or single, they are taking the spirit of Mary with them and infusing the world with it.”
Click here to view photos from the all-school Mass.
Click here to view photos from the vocation presentations and small group discussions.