The roots of Marianist lay communities trace back to the “upper room,” where the first Christian community gathered after Jesus’ Ascension (Acts 1:13). Father Chaminade’s mission to rechristianize France began with small communities of faith patterned after these first disciples. You are invited to enter the upper room experience through the Marianist Lay Formation Initiative (MLFI).
What is the Marianist Lay Formation Initiative?
The one-year MLFI program helps laity to increase the understanding of the Marianist mission, tradition and history. It is designed for individuals who are passionate about the Marianist charism and wish to spread the Marianist spirit in their area. It is an invitation to become a dynamic partner in spreading the Good News of the Gospel as persons of faith, committed to living the Marianist charism in daily life. Just as in the era of Father Chaminade, this will require commitment, energy, and passion. With Mary as our model, we invite you to join us in saying yes! The MLFI is funded by the Marianist Family Council, a group composed of two representatives each of the Society of Mary, Marianist Sisters and Lay Marianists.
The program begins with a weekend retreat for each new gathering of individuals. The group will spend Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon getting to know one another (building relationships), engaging in discussions about the Marianist mission, reading resource material, and strategizing goals for implementation for the year. Each individual will have a mentor/resource person available throughout the first formation year for consultation. The resource person is someone steeped in Marianist life.
Following the weekend, each member of the group will enroll in an online course offered by the North American Center for Marianist Studies. They will also participate in reading circles and discussions. The program will conclude with another weekend retreat.
When is the formation program offered?
The formation program is offered on a yearly basis. Location is determined each year based on availability of Marianist communities and geographic location of participants. The weekend begins at 4 p.m. on Friday and concludes at 2 p.m. on Sunday. It is expected that all participants will arrive before and depart after those times. The next program will take place in the spring of 2017.
What is expected from the participants?
Participants in the formation program will:
- Be personally committed to the Marianist mission
- Be willing to learn and share their Marianist experiences
- Participate in two weekend experiences
- Read all material assigned prior to the weekend
- Initiate or renew a Marianist community in their home site
- Enroll in at least one online course offered by the North American Center for Marianist Studies
- Read texts and participate in reading circles during the year
- Maintain regular contact with the mentor/resource person and the Director of Marianist Lay Formation Initiative
- Offer $200 for expenses toward the weekend program
- Provide feedback to the program director
How can I get involved?
It is the goal of the program to have a diverse group of individuals in each gathering. We hope to have different geographical areas represented, a diversity of age, experience and cultures. This will provide a rich exchange of views and experiences. As every community is unique, so it is with the members of the Initiative.
If you’re interested in being part of the MLFI group for the spring of 2017, please register.
Questions? Contact us at the Marianist Center in Philadelphia at 215.634.4116, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org