MARIANIST FAMILY PATRONAL FEAST March 25, 2017 Preparatory Information

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1 MARIANIST FAMILY PATRONAL FEAST March 25, 2017 Preparatory Information We join with Mary at the Annunciation by saying YES to bringing Jesus into the world. CALL TO PRAYER SUGGESTED HYMN: I Sing a Maid! PRAYER SERVICE PSALM 116: I kept faith, even when I said, I am greatly afflicted! I said in my alarm, All men are liars! How can I repay the Lord for all the great good done for me? I will raise the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people. Dear in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his devoted. Lord, I am your servant, your servant, the child of your maidservant; you have loosed my bonds. I will offer a sacrifice of praise and call on the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people, In the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Hallelujah!

2 READING: The Annunciation Luke 1:26-38 The Word of God became flesh and made his dwelling among us; and we saw his glory. SUMMARY OF THE 2 VOCATION STORIES (other stories of those present may be added) SHARING ACT OF CONSECRATION Glorious Mother of God, O Queen of Souls and Refuge of all Sinners. Bring me to Christ each day. Accept this act of consecration that I perform today with confidence. Bless and strengthen my every desire to do good, revive and nourish my faith; sustain and enlighten my hope, awake and animate a deep charity within me. Guide me on the path to love and to holiness. Teach me your preferential love for the little and the poor the marginalised and the suffering, for the sinners and the disheartened. Bring everyone under your protection and entrust everyone to your Son our Lord and Brother: PETITIONS Leader: God our Father, we thank you for the gift of the charism which you have given us through Bl. William Joseph Chaminade. You have called us to a missionary life in order to preach the Gospel of the Incarnation to the most abandoned: At this time of celebration of the 200th anniversary of our foundation, we ask you for the grace of finding in your Son, Jesus Christ, the center of our life and of our mission. R: Hear us O God!! Leader: We beg you, Lord to send upon our Marianist Family your Holy Spirit, to help us to be yours. We seek to be Inflamed with your love, sparing no effort to extend your Kingdom and totally committed to the good of those who suffer the most. We ask this through the intercession of Mary, our Mother, and our Founders Fr. Chaminade and Mother Adele. R: Hear us O God!! Leader: God our Father, You willed that all peoples of the world be saved and come to the know the truth that your son, Jesus, preached. We beg you to send laborers into Your harvest. Grant us the grace to speak your Word with all confidence, so that Your Word maybe spread and be glorified by all peoples. R: Hear us O God!! OUR FATHER FINAL BLESSING

3 TWO VOCATION STORIES Use these as background or for inspiration THE STORY OF AN SM VOCATION Family Background My name is David Kangwa, I was born in a small town of Kabwe in the central province of Zambia. I am in the sixth born child in the family of 9 children. I have two brothers and six sisters. One of my brothers works with the Zambia police and my immediate elder brother works for a chain stores called Shoprite. Of the six sisters that I have, three are currently in employment with some various institutions here in Zambia. The remaining three are younger and they are just finishing up with their college education. My father was a policeman who unfortunately died March 29, 2003 when I was sixteen years old doing my Tenth Grade at Munali Boys Secondary School. My mother used to work for Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia, but later retired and dedicated herself entirely to being a housewife and mother to us all. She died on December 14, 2012, when I was in my second year of scholasticate in Nairobi Kenya. My participation in the Life of the Church I am one of the lucky few persons who had a privilege to be baptized as an infant in the Catholic Church. I was baptized six months after I was born together with of my four other siblings. I was baptized at a local Parish of St. Marys. The Jesuit Priests were the ones responsible for the administration of the parish. Both my Mother and Father were staunch Catholics not only in name but actively participated in the life of the Church. When staying in Kabwe between the late 80s and 90s both my parents were active members of the movement called the Nazareth. I have known the objectives of the group but my parents seemed to have been happy to be members of the same group. When we left Kabwe to stay in Kitwe the enthusiasm of my Father seemed to die out, however my Mother continued on to be an active member of the same lay group and of the Church at large. It was in Kitwe where I started my communion lessons and later came to join the Altar Servers together with my elder brother Edward at Our Lady of Africa Parish. While in Kitwe, I experienced my elder sister, Angela, entering Religious Life in a local congregation called the Handmaids Sisters of Mary Immaculate. Her decision in 1998 was sort of an inspiration but I was too young to even consider seriously my own vocational calling. In the same year on the 24 th December during Christmas Vigil Mass my elder brother Edward and I received our first Holy Communion together with what I assumed to be my Confirmation. When we moved to Lusaka, I became what one would call a passive member of the Church. I was going to Mass but it was on an irregular basis. This went on until the death of my Father in With such a sad development I had to move into boarding school the following year. However my mother continued to participate fully

4 in Church activities and she later joined another Lay group called St. Ann Women's Lay Group. Reasons for this switch on her side were unknown to me, but all I knew was that she was happier in this new group. The St. Ann group had almost similar objectives as the MLC, but seen from the perspective of Mary's parents. Through this new group my mother, in the absence of my father now, encouraged us to recite the rosary on a regular basis. She also had us recite devotional prayers to the Mother of God. When I came back home from Mongu I came to find out that my mother was working with the Home Based Care Group. A group of women which is actively working with people living with HIV but cannot afford hospital care. She was a voluntary worker but dedicated herself as though she was receiving some sort of remuneration. I loved what my mother was doing in this group to that point that I envied her. I felt drawn to doing the same thing my mother was doing but could never join her because the group was only for women. Later I joined the support group at Chelstone Clinic for people living with HIV. I joined this group as an observer, but also to deepen my knowledge of the disease and to show support to the people living with the virus. Traces of a Vocation The idea to embrace a religious vocation was implanted in me at a very tender age. It all started when people would pass comments like when you grow up you should think about becoming a missionary. Whenever this came up it would upset and confuse me and push into a deep sadness because all I ever really wanted for myself was to be like my father and my uncles working in the Police or in the Army. At the same time I did have plans to redeem myself and those closest to me and knew that this would bring me much happiness. Nonetheless, despite all the confusion, the fear, the sadness, and the uncertainties that this brought about, I always felt that a desire has been placed deeply within me to carry others to Christ or vice versa. This I experienced in everything that was happening in my life. It was in seeing my own mother being very committed to Church related things. It was in seeing her work tirelessly caring for people she barely knew. The only thing that drew her to them is that they were sick and they needed someone to care. I felt this desire strongly especially in my wanting to be like my mother who was so committed to God and so generous and self-giving without expecting anything in return. My naïve confirmation of this vocation came when I witnessed my elder sister make her first profession of vows with the Handmaid Sisters. From then on I began deepening it by reading more of the Gospels. In them I discovered that Christ still calls people to come and work in his vineyard for the labourers are few. I read a lot of short stories also on the lives of the Saints and in them came to realize that it was central for Catholics to become Saints, or in other words, to be a friend of God. The deepening of my vocation began when I first contacted the Vocation Director of the Society of Mary here in Zambia. Through the exchange of Marian literature and reflections from my side I discovered the importance of puttingchrist right at the centre of my life. This would be in itself a labour in vain if not for the help of Mary the blessed Mother of God. Thus this marked the beginning of my Journey as a Marianist Brother.

5 Encountering Mary of the Annunciation Thinking of Mary of the Annunciation I was driven to think of my own story, my own situation in a more profound manner. I traced the many occasions that the Lord had announced himself to me, entrusting me with a mission of participating in spreading his message of love and reconciliation. This has never been easy because on a number of occasions that he has reached out to me I have deliberately chosen not to heed to his call. Ignoring and never paying attention to what seemed obvious. In many instances I denied my God that YES like that of Mary. I rationalised everything blaming it on my own fears. Most of the times I questioned myself saying, What of if I fail? What of if I disappoint myself and God? It was a series of what ifs but all this came from the uncertainty of the Call and the possible mission that awaited me. I needed an assurance that indeed God was with me. Fortunately enough of that assurance came when I looked up to Mary the naïve virgin of Nazareth submitting her own will to God, in her words Let it be done to me according to your word. These words remain so significant to me when I think of the vow of obedience. Regardless of the negative responses that mainly characterised my vocation, I have managed in some way to give God the definite YES. A yes to follow him radically in his saving mission. Recounting the experiences of my Journey it becomes obvious to me that indeed my vocation has been built on grace upon grace. In it I have been encouraged and discouraged, I have done things that do not merit me to be here but by the grace of God am still here. Thus I feel so loved by God. Putting these experiences in this perspective, I can t help but say that indeed God is involved with the help of the Mother of God Mary. Bro. David Kangwa SM

6 Prayer When in Doubt. Allow me, O Lord, that I may learn to put all things into your Hands, You who know how to make everything about this vocation succeed despite all the contradictions. If it is not for Your will and for Your glory, You will not permit it despite my efforts. I abandon all to your lovable will and choose to remain at peace. I am the son of devout Catholic parents who grew up surrounded by statues, pictures and devotions to our Blessed Mother Mary. However as a young man I joined the Society of Mary knowing very little about religious life or of Mary. Fortunately in my early years of formation I gained much strength and inspiration by the lives and experiences of dedicated men and women who have gone before me in the religious life and through the often unseen and unnoticed Grace of my dear Mother Mary. Early on I knew that I had been invited to leave everything behind and to follow Christ in a radical manner. I would no longer define myself by my family, my country, my ministry, my education or my interests but rather by my single-minded commitment in the following of Jesus! Marianist life must remind me daily of the centrality of Jesus in my life and the plain fact that Jesus must now be my identifying mark of who I am. The Marian litanies I read and prayed over in my early years sustained me in ways I did not always understand but they strengthened me and I truly loved them. Mary refuge of sinners...pray for me Fairest of your daughters...pray for me Chosen as spouse Mary our Mother Queen of surrender Faithful Virgin Mother of Grace They all brought to mind that Mary is my Mother and she is my model and my refuge and she was given to me by her Son to help consecrate my life over to HIM. I cannot do this alone but my Marianist life, my fellow Brothers, and my Mother Mary have always been my strength. Many years ago I was touched by the image of the giant Redwood Trees of California. They only grow in groves and each tree s roots extend and grasp the roots of the nearby trees. These strong, invisible, interlocking roots provide great strength in times of challenge and over many years. Mary and my Marianist community life are much the same for me. I have never been alone...and never will be in my journey to Christ. With Mary we cannot fail. Without Mary we cannot succeed. Mary, pray for me. Bro. Steve Grazulis SM

7 THE STORY OF A LAY MARIANIST VOCATION The Power of Prayer I got married 33years ago to a non catholic man and although I continued with my Catholic faith I was not comfortable with the situation where one spouse was practicing a different faith than Catholic. Hard as this was, this was the man God gave me. Each time Sunday came I went to Mass alone while I admired others attending Mass as couples and so I began to pray for his conversion. As time went on, children were born and I had company when going to church. Every evening we would gather before going to bed with the children to pray the Rosary, and I dedicated my husband into the hands of God that one day he would become a catholic. As years went on, occasionally my husband started accompanying the rest of the family to church for Mass and supporting my participation in Church activities and this was a big encouragement to me. All this was happening at St Joseph s Chapel being run by the Marianist. My desire to serve the Lord grew more and more and I started by teaching the youths and adult catechism classes at the Chapel. By this time my husband had enrolled as a candidate, but he could not continue with the classes as most of the time he would be out of the country on business. This did not stop me from praying, I continued and one day he told me that he wanted to resume catechism classes at the nearby parish to which I agreed. He registered and for two years he attended classes until he was baptized, received Holy Communion for the first time, and received the sacrament of Confirmation at Easter Vigil Mass at St Mary s Parish Mother of the Redeemer Church in This was my happiest

8 moment of my life as I felt the peace and love of God within me. Finally the prayer was answered. To my brothers and sisters out there, my word of encouragement is that God answers prayers no matter how long it may take. Prayer is the most important part of our lives. It lifts us and others up when our spirits are low. Without prayer we are nothing. Most of the time we lose heart when we see things not happening the way we want, but God has a purpose. Let us give Him the opportunity to control our lives. Let our prayers inspire other people and direct them to God no matter what it takes. Pray without ceasing (1Thessalonians 5:17) as one day you will see the fruits of your prayers. LIFE AS A MARIANIST Life as a Marianist has been so inspirational. It deepens my faith. Each time I am undergoing a formation class there is something new I learn. A person does not limit him/herself in learning. Every day is an experience as it comes with its own challenges, and as a Marianist or Christian you are not an exception to face them. How you approach these challenges gives the confidence and trust that there is a supernatural power other than yourself who is helping you to overcome. The Marianist mission is to bring Christ to the World. One of the things that I have done to preach the Gospel is to pray the Rosary with workmates during the month of October. We started the gathering in 2015 with less than 20 members. Today the number has grown to more than 40 members and we are now planning to do more than the Rosary. We look forward to having a day of Recollection, to hold Mass at the office premises, and many others activities that will enhance our spiritual lives. In short, I am not shy to preach the Gospel of Christ where-ever I am. Father J.W. Chaminade the Director who never dies. Francisca M Jere IO:CLM/MLC President for Africa

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