January 2, 2017 marked a significant milestone for the Marist family worldwide - the bicentenary of the Marist Brothers Institute. It was on this day that a young Fr. Marcellin Champagnat officially formed the congregation in France with the first brothers. Their mission was the same then as the Marist Brothers’ mission is today – to make Jesus known and loved through the education of young people, especially those most neglected.
The Marist Brothers are not the only group celebrating the bicentennial as so are the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary, the Marist Sisters and the Society of Mary (Fathers and Brothers), and the many groups of Marist Laity who also are now commemorating and recommitting themselves to doing Mary’s work.
Today, Marist schools, colleges, and universities are found in 80 countries around the world, leading over 600,000 thousand young people every year to be what Marcellin believed each of them could be – good Christians and good citizens. The Marist Brothers are joined worldwide by more than 70,000 lay men and women who share in their mission. In the United States there are more than 140 Marist Brothers living in 32 communities across eight states. Marist Brothers strive to make a difference in the world by showing young people that they are loved, safe and cared for. They minister in school settings, parishes, retreats, spiritual accompaniments, at-risk youth settings, young adult ministries, and overseas missions. Marist Brothers serve as educators, counselors, spiritual directors, social workers, youth leaders and missionaries. They strive to influence and transform the lives and situations of thousands of young people through education and spirituality, challenging young people to live their fullest potential in Christ every day.
“The 200 year celebration is an opportunity to look back at the great work inspired by the charism of St. Marcellin over the past two centuries,” said Pete Marti ’02, CCHS teacher and Chair of the Columbus 200th Anniversary Committee. “It is also an opportunity for us to be reenergized to ensure that the mission of the Brothers is carried out as we step into the third century of Marist education,” he added. The Columbus community is excited to celebrate the milestone and has a committee in place made up of a diverse group of faculty members that are planning two major local events: The Marist 200th Anniversary Picnic at Columbus on March 18th, which will be open to the entire Columbus family and the National Day of Service on March 29th where Columbus students, along with the students from other Marist schools, will serve the most needy in our community and collaborate in allocating funds to some of the most at risk Marist missions around the world.