19th January 2017
Vol 2 Issue 1

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Our Schools & Services - Flexible Learning Centres - Where are they?


—first in a series of features about these
—Caring for marginalised young people in schools
--Started by the Brothers
--Now run by EREA


BrMarkIt seems that right at the end Mark had a plan...
He waited for the Melanesian brothers to gather at Haus Sekan, Vuvu, before gently slipping away from this life and into the next...After Mark’s September stint in hospital, there seemed to be a steep decline in his quality of life.

His self-care became an issue and began to overwhelm him. In those last few months let us particularly thank Andrew Demane and Iggy Kalok, as caring for Mark became almost a full-time ministry for them.

Mark had his ups and downs during November and early December. But on the evening of Thursday 8 December, Mark became incoherent. Iggy tied to rouse him to change his bedding but Mark kept lapsing into sleep.


As a result of changes to the way Formation is being delivered by the Province and EREA in 2017, and the resignation of Mark McGlaughlin from Province employment, there will no longer be the permanent presence of a Mission Directorate staff member in either Perth or Adelaide. 

Therefore, only queries not related to specific ministry delivery in those States should  be directed to the Support Offices in Perth or Adelaide.  This includes Edmund Rice Camps South Australia and Build the Bridge (Adelaide) and Edmund Rice Camps Western Australia and Edmund Rice Centre WA, Mirabooka (Perth).   

Br Shane Wood, based in Melbourne, is the contact for any more general issues related to Province ministries in WA and SA, and continues to be the same for Victoria.  His contact details are below:

S J Wood cfc
Regional Mission Coordinator [SA, Vic & WA]
Oceania Province of the Christian Brothers
Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Work : (+61) 3 8359 0126


Refugee Tutoring Program

Syrian and Iraqi refugee families have been trickling into Hobart in recent weeks, many of them Christian. School age children are doing an English Intensive at Warrane Primary School. The Catholic Education Office with Refugee Chaplain Fr Shammi Perera have arranged for Catholic Primary school groups to take turns to visit the new arrival students to meet them and to lead prayer with them.
(Photo shows a Grade 4 class from St Virgil’s College with Fr Shammi, and teacher Tim Birthisel (squatting) talking to the newcomers.)




I quote words of Alex Garner, “One of the best ways of fighting stigma and empowering HIV positive people is by speaking out openly and honestly about who we are and what we experience”.

His words became a reality on December 1st, 2016 during the celebration of World’s AIDS Day where Pamoja Mentors and Edmund Rice Camp Leaders in Eldoret through different talents went a notch higher and organised an event which brought young people together to spread a message of solidarity with people living with HIV/AIDS.


How would you describe your relationship with the natural world?

EarthmattersAfter all it is clear that we live on the same planet! We drink the same water. We share the same sunlight. We breathe the same air. We are nourished by the same soil.

The UN Environmental Sabbath Programme (1980) reminds us:

"We have forgotten who we are.

  • Now the land is barren
  • The rivers are poisoned
  • The air is polluted
  • The forests are plundered
  • Species are disappearing
  • and many humans are despairing"

Brothers gathered in Adelaide and Perth
CirclesOfEmpowermentTen Brothers gathered in Adelaide for the introduction of the Circles on Saturday 5th November at Thebarton. Following a welcome treat of Ben McCabe’s scones, the brothers entered into a reflection on “The Mystery we call God” which has been the theme for this year’s Spirituality program.

The brothers warmed to the topic and shared quite deeply their spiritual search from their wealth of experiences. Thanks to Barry Donaghue and John Ahern for the organisation and hospitality.

Back in Perth twenty one brothers gathered in three circles for the topic of “The Agenda of the World” on Saturday 26th November.

The Context outlined by the Chapter document provided a starting point for reflection on how we are all called, despite age and circumstances to play our part in addressing the world’s agenda as brothers.

The opportunity to exchange news, catch up with one another and enjoy lunch together by the river was an added bonus.

  Dili between mountains seaThe Nation came to a stop for nearly a week straddling the months change as people travelled to their home village to vote for a leader (Xefe) at the w/e, then the dual church feasts of ‘All Saints’ and ‘All Souls’ followed. Such an important and reverent commemoration of their deceased & ancestors. First a church blessing, second a pilgrimage to the cleaned up cemetery and third the sprinkling of flower petals and lighting of candles at the grave.
For the 2nd round of the elections (13th) police were dispersed across the country to ensure a peaceful event – from all reports OK. In our villages 1 reappointment Graciano (Taraco) & 4 new leaders Hermanegilda (Railaco Kriac), Antonio (Samelete), Victor (Railaco Leten) and Ananias (Deleco)  will start in January 2017
  READ MORE      


VowsRenewedIn the midst of the sadness of the passing of our dear brother, Mark, there were some moments of joy and celebration... Not least of these was the Renewal of Vows of our three temporary professed brothers
- Willie Paruka, Desmond Taboeya and Francis ToLiman.

In a simple ceremony at the end of the Melanesian Brothers Gathering at Haus Sekan Vuvu, Willie and Francis pronounced their vows before the gathered community. Desmond, who had already celebrated his renewal in Wewak, reiterated his vows on this same occasion.

Ted Magee, as representative of the Congregation Leader, received their vows.

  We congratulate Willie, Desmond and Francis for having the courage to commit for another year to being “dangerous disciples” of Jesus as brothers of Edmund Rice. 2016 has been a challenging year for all three brothers and the future promises to be even more challenging with changes of community and ministry touching all three lives... And as the very real backdrop of the Chapter Calls as issued in Drawn by Mystery, Destined for Life continues to shape and impel our small and fragile
Congratulations Willie, Desmond & Francis!

Junior Secondary School - West Africa

St AmbroseThe school caters to and provides quality education for boys and girls from families, especially those from low income households, who cannot afford the higher school fees being charged by government and private schools in the geographical areas. Misean Cara has been a vital source of support for the school for the past years. It has been involved in the paying of Teachers’ salaries and wages, assisting with the purchase of quality and relevant teaching and learning materials, and financing the construction of a newly opened four classroom block for the school.

(Image: Br. Leo Kamara, Principal

This needed expansion allows for additional children who would not otherwise access quality education. Misean Cara has also sponsored the in-service and training of teachers in school management, teaching methodology and child protection. (Image: Br. Leo Kamara, Principal)


With Peter Seewald, Bloomsbury, 2016.
Reviewed by Br Brian Grenier CFC

The respected German journalist and author Peter Seewald was privileged to have had the opportunity to interview Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger at considerable length on several occasions in the years leading up to his election as Pope Benedict XVI. These interviews were translated and published in book format in many languages, the English titles being Salt of the Earth and God and the World. These were followed during the eight years of Pope Benedict’s papacy by Light of the World (2010) and, since he became the first pope in more than seven centuries to resign his office, by the recently released volume under review.

The fact that this new book records ‘in his own words’ (albeit in Jacob Phillips’s translation) the emeritus pope’s responses to Peter Seewald’s probing questions gives the text an immediacy and a sense of intimacy that cannot be captured in mere third person reportage.



Know Your Website

Visit www.edmundrice.org

There was very little updating during the holidays.

The site is plagued with a problem and I have not been able to solve it. It has to do with a recent update to the publishing software I use. A message suggesting that some files are missing or incorrect is being displayed. If you click OK message goes away and everythng seems to be correct. 

The version which works on mobile phones was working well and I decided to use that but when I republished it today with recent updates it developed the same problem as the other. I am still looking into it.

Bob Chambers


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BR MARK (Continued)



Br Mark as Old Man


Funeral Service


Mark returns to Vunakanau

Eventually the Vunakanau brothers managed to clean him up and settle him into bed.The next morning we knew we had to get him to hospital as we couldn’t rouse him. We arranged for a ute-load of big strong Vuvu boys to help us get him into a vehicle and get him to Vunapope. It was to be his last journey alive. Iggy accompanied Mark as he was admitted to hospital. Most of the morning Mark was in “Casualty”, hooked up to a drip, shaking quite dramatically but seemingly unconscious.On the Saturday morning brothers were arriving for the gathering of Melanesian Brothers at Haus Sekan.

They called into the hospital to see Mark, who by now was on oxygen, hooked up to various machines and was breathing with a pronounced rattle. The brothers were shocked and had a sense it wasn't going to be too long...That night at 11.20pm Mark passed away... his nephew, Rudolph (son of Mark’s older brother), was keeping vigil at the time. Mark had succumbed, according to his death certificate, to complications from malaria and acute renal failure.And so Sunday began with prayers around him in his hospital bed. Then came the wrapping of Mark’s body (where a sheet for his shroud was hastily purchased from Tropicana) and the transportation of his body to the morgue at Nonga. Iggy, Andrew and Geoff then had discussions with Mark's family- Rudolf, Simon, Gerard,Helen, Sam... and met Mark's sister, Caroline.. to plan Mark’s obsequies.

Mark returns to Vunakanau... Mark’s came to Vunakanau on Friday 16th for a prayer in the brothers' house with just the Christian Brothers and a former brother, Martin Tisivua. This was followed by the Eucharist and viewing in the parish church for the whole parish and beyond...

After an all-night vigil (beautiful singing and chanting ringing out across the still night air) Mark was taken to his home village parish of Malaguna for another Mass and viewing. His final journey was to Vunapope for the Funeral Mass at the Cathedral followed by his burial along side our other brothers at Vunapope. It was thought that three to four hundred gathered at the burial and probably more than twice that number had gathered in the Cathedral for his funeral mass.The main celebrant was Fr Francis Meli, Cathedral Administrator.




How is it we find ourselves immersed in this cultural pathology? Because of our need to fuel the Industrial World we have created a technosphere incompatible with the life systems of the planet. Berry writes, in The Great Work (1999) "This modern world failed to align it’s own functioning with the functioning of the planets laws- formed over some billions of years- on which it depends. Berry goes on to ask of the massive corporations that have, and still, enjoyed such domination. "What kind of world have they given us after a century of control?"(ibid)

Then there is us! We have allowed ourselves to be successfully seduced by this Industrial World regardless of its continuing pernicious impact.

I will not easily forget one morning when Thomas walked to the microphone and in a slow, sombre voice began. "No generation I know has done such damage to its children as my generation has done. My generation through the major part of the 20th century has shaped a world of ruins. Our children will live amid the ruined infrastructures of the Industrial World and indeed amid the ruins of the natural world itself."

One further cause of this present impasse is of course the population explosion. From 6 billion to 8 billion during the 20th century!

I conclude with a sentence from Berry that I have used before

"That this dependence of the human on the health and well being of the planet is so obvious yet so consistently denied and so extensively violated is beyond understanding."

Br Gerry McGrath


    WORLD AIDS DAY 2016 (Continued)


The day was marked with different activities from HIV testing and counseling,to different groups showcasing their talents with awards to the winning groups.

Special mention to Presentation Sisters in Canada through Brother Bill Colford who gave financial support which enabled us to purchase trophies and other presents for the winners.

Bros. Paul Mutuku and Elly Sakwa




Special gift days come in life every now and then - Sat 4th was one. Bernie Gartland and I lunched with Jose Ramos Horta and Antonio (Portugal) at Jose’s home. Our conversations ranged from our CB work to Horta’s pending journey promoting peace in the Middle East, Europe and Australia - interspersed with his humour of having the Pope promote me to cardinal!  A privileged and blessed time for us.Bernie took off on 5th, Barry on the 9th – then there were 2.

A fitting finale to the “Year of Mercy” (13th) at the Cathedral with Eucharist presided over by Bishop Virgilio accompanied by 40 priests, the President Ruak and family, a huge over flowing crowd and majestic singing. On departure the President diverted from his path to shake my hand – I was chuffed.The 23 resident National University Agricultural Students have been active in the RK community. Gardening with the students at the school, visiting farms, working on the church renovations, singing at masses and playing soccer and volleyball with the locals. A real credit to themselves and their engagement with the community.E of Y Celebrations kicked off.

TEKA teachers, Health team and kids picnic day (24th). 3 full troop carriers to Maubara. A great day was had except for the ‘goat track’ access to the beach. I refused to go down. Peter braved it and tumbled down the rocky slope - cuts, bruises, torn shirt, damaged glasses and ladies crying that he was so injured. Fortunately the ‘team’ attended to his cuts, later a visit to hospital. Still patched at months end.

Independence Day (28th) celebrations across the country – public holiday.

Card Ladies Party – preceded by shopping in Gleno (29th). Party in the card room (30th) highlighted by the presentation of certificates and some money to 20 wonderful women who had served 10 years making cards – Congratulations.These tertiary students graduate under the  Br. Dan Courtney scholarship – Adou, Antonio, Esperanca, Jacinta, Orlando and Silvina, and associated sponsors with CER –  Fernanda, Flori, Julia, Manuela and Norberto. Changes to presentation dates cut us out of the various ceremonies. Well done to each person. Thanks to all for being a part of our lives in TL – we are off to OZ – Blessings for Xmas and NY – now for ’17.

Br. Dan Courtney tertiary scholarship holders Graduate

These tertiary students graduate under the  Br. Dan Courtney scholarship:

Adou, Antonio, Esperanca, Jacinta, Orlando and Silvina, and associated sponsors with CER –  Fernanda, Flori, Julia, Manuela and Norberto.

Changes to presentation dates cut us out of the various ceremonies. Well done to each person. Thanks to all for being a part of our lives in TL – we are off to Australia – Blessings for Xmas and New Year – now for ’17.




The material in the book is divided into three parts: 1) ‘The Bells of Rome’ which focuses on Pope Benedict’s resignation and his present circumstances as a resident of Mater Ecclesiae in Vatican City; 2) ‘A Life of Service’ which explores his journey from childhood and the war years, through the stages of his career as a student, curate, writer and professor of theology to his appointment as Archbishop of Munich (1977) and eventually as Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith (1982-2005); and 3) ‘The Pope of Jesus Christ’ which covers Cardinal Ratzinger’s election at the age of 78 as St John Paul II’s successor and various aspects of his pontificate (2005-13).​

Though the interviewer’s Foreword (‘One Last Visit’) leaves the reader in no doubt that he holds the emeritus pope in the highest esteem, he does not fail to raise some of the more controversial issues of his interlocutor’s life—the Regensberg Speech with its reference to violence in Islam, the reauthorisation of the Tridentine Mass, his strained relationship with Hans Küng, the lifting of the excommunication on Holocaust denier Bishop Richard Williamson, and the Vatileaks affair to mention but a few of them.

I am pleased to note that Peter Seewald has included, in appropriate places, what we might call connective text. This helps to contextualise the exchanges between himself and his interlocutor. He has also added some informative endnotes and a detailed timeline of the Pope Benedict’s life.

The Benedict revealed in these pages is a rather reserved, cultured and humble man of profound spirituality and formidable erudition who made a significant contribution to theological scholarship and to shaping the deliberations of Vatican II. A voluminous writer, he always wrote his books and homilies in pencil.

Some of his responses in this volume are self-deprecatory and point to the fact that he is not blind to his limitations as an administrator. He believes that the Church, whatever the problems facing it today, is in good hands under his successor Pope Francis.

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