MAST Program 2009

Through the kind invitation of Bishop Christopher Cardone OP, Bishop of Auki Diocese, two Marianist Brothers from New York have come to the Solomon Islands each year since 2003 for the MAST Program. The aim of the MAST Program is to offer spiritual and professional formation to Catholic teachers and education and encouragement for Catholic youth in the three dioceses of the Solomon Islands.

The facilitators for this year’s MAST Program were Bro. David Bruner, SM, a first-time visitor to the Solomon Islands, and Bro. Timothy Driscoll, SM who returned to the Solomon’s for his sixth time as leader of the program.

The Brothers arrived in Honiara on June 16 and departed for the US on July 31st. The general theme for this year’s presentations was the theme for youth chosen by Pope Benedict for 2009: “We have put our hope in the Living God.” To encounter God as the loving source of all life and to live trusting in the promise of God’s love is the goal of all Christians. Teachers, like parents have a special responsibility to pass on this faith to the next generation. Young men and women must face the challenge of coming to know God loves plan for their lives.

Presentations focused on learning to respond positively to God’s call: To say YES to Christ, YES to the Church, and YES to the choice for a life of holiness. The example of Mary and the lives of saints like St. John Vianney, Blessed Mary McKillop, and Blessed Damien of Molokai, the leper priest who will be canonized in October, were used to illustrate the different ways in which we can respond positively to Jesus’ invitation. Bro. David used the Gospel of Mathew to illustrate what it means for each of us to be both a disciple, one who is learning to live the life of Christ, and an apostle, one who is sent to bring the good news of Jesus to others. Bro. Tim’s presentations explored how the seven “deadly” sins tempt us to say NO to God’s call to a holy and happy life, and, more importantly, how “lively” virtues like humility, forgiveness, enthusiasm, generosity and discipline train us to resist sin and respond positively to God’s call.

The Brothers were here in Gizo on the 21st July to conduct a 1 day workshop with the youths around the Gizo and focused on the Diocesan for the year 2009; “Partnership” and total up to 50 youth participants participate the workshop. Then to Moli parish for 3 days workshop, 23rd to 25th July.

The Brothers are grateful to all those who helped to make their time in the Solomon Islands both enjoyable and worthwhile, especially the bishops of the three dioceses.

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