Discovering Our Call – New Beginnings!
The inaugural Discovering Our Call was held in Esopus on the weekend of Feb 15-17, with a small group of 10 participants and presenters. This initial group, although small, proved to be quite diverse in experience. One attended the Mount as a boarding student through the 40s and 50s. One was brand new to the Marist charism and identity, and several were graduates of Roselle Catholic. One is a law student, one a volunteer at Esopus, one an educator in the Bronx.
The purpose of Discovering Our Call is to meet the formation needs of those not in our school ministries. It is similar to Sharing Our Call 1, but, firstly, meets on a weekend. And secondly, addresses how to be Marist outside of a Marist community.
The weekend began with a Friday evening session of sharing on ‘Who Am I? Why Am I Here?”. In discussion about what attracts us to the charism, one of the
more striking responses was – “just the simplicity of the mission – to make Jesus known and loved.” The group shared how our early experiences have continued
to nourish this Marist spirituality, no matter where life has taken us. Presenters included Br. Luis Ramos, who spoke about Marcellin Champagnat’s life, reminding the group of some familiar stories and educating about some little known facts. Br. Alfred George shared, through his own story, about the three violets - the Marist virtues of simplicity, humility and modesty.
In the afternoon, Val Savino gave the group much food for thought on Discipleship – our Marist Call. She referred them to Water From the Rock, with
each section illustrating one of her points. There was then some quiet reflection time upon a chosen section of the book. Fr. LaMorte came to celebrate Mass with us. We were joined by Br. Don Neary and Br. Joe Matthews, as well as Br. John Dunning and the St Joe’s Regional boys serving as kitchen crew for the Irish group in the retreat house.
In the evening, Matt Fallon shared his own journey to becoming Marist, through the lens of remaining open to God’s call, to being willing to go out of his comfort zone, knowing always that he would be constantly called back into God’s grace. The overall tone of the weekend was one of curiosity and excitement. Curiosity about where this could go next. Excitement about being the pioneers of a new program, meeting a need for formation of people not in school ministries. There was great energy as some reconnected with Esopus and some were introduced to the property for the first time.
Stay tuned – there will certainly be more to come!