It’s really hard to talk about what it is to be Marist. I guess you could say the basics – he is a bloke who belongs to the Society of Mary; he’s either ordained or he’s a brother; he lives in community with his confreres; he strives to be a man of prayer; he can work at anything; he tries to live the Gospel as Mary did… but all of that doesn’t really do the Marist vocation justice.
Marists are not identified by any one specific work. Marists respond to the needs of the times and so generally have a wide range of ministries. Marists seek to support the Church where it is fragile and to enliven it where it doesn’t yet exist. We tend to have a ‘can do’ attitude and with the right skills and training we will work at just about anything.
At its heart a Marist vocation is a missionary vocation. It’s a calling that seeks to bring the Church to birth in places and ways where it hasn’t been before or tries to inject new life into situations that require a bit of energy. It’s not about the ‘same old’; about propping up what is seen as ‘the tried and true’. Some Marists do work in more ‘traditional’ ministries, but some work a bit more out on the edge too.
One can be missionary anywhere. While the Society of Mary is an international congregation and involved in missions in Oceania, Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, the Philippines, Mexico and Africa, we try to be missionary here in New Zealand too!