2022 Marist Theme


Our Marist Theme for 2022 is Known and Loved: Dignity for All. The theme builds on previous themes and encourages us to see the dignity of all people and understand that we are known and loved by God.

Tony Clark, Director of Mission & Life Formation share his thoughts:

What does this theme ask of us? Jesus’ mission was to restore human dignity and what he cared about was lifting people up from whatever dehumanised them or caused them suffering. Jesus put his words into action by restoring sight, removing social stigmas, setting people free, and reclaiming the inherent dignity of each person he encountered. Human dignity is the heartbeat of the Gospel, Catholic Social Teaching and our Marist story: “Love one another as Jesus Christ has loved you…May it be said of the Little Brothers of Mary as of the first Christians: ‘See how they love one another’.” (Marcellin Champagnat) What then could this be saying about the deepest desire of the human heart? Perhaps it is the desire for a place where people are known, loved, and feel the immense value of their personal worth; where everyone is welcomed and has a place at our table, where their voice is heard, valued, and respected. A place where every person is treated with ‘dignity’. The word dignity is derived from the Latin word dignitas meaning, ‘of being worthy of honour or respect’. Doesn’t this speak to what is at the heart of the Gospel message? That every human being, no matter who they are or where they come from, possesses dignity because they are created in the image of God. St Paul captured this beautifully by describing each one of us created as “God’s work of art” (Eph 2:10).

The pandemic has given us moment to pause and breathe, now it feels like it is a time to act. We believe as Marists we are being called not simply to recognise the dignity of all, but let the world know about it by the way we live our lives for and with others. It’s a call to roll up our sleeves and to live our spirituality on the streets; it includes the staff member sitting next to you, the student in the second row that often feels invisible, the cleaner on a temporary visa, the family risking their life in a desperate search for a home where they can raise their kids safely, those suffering from the effects of inequality because of race, sexuality, economic class or gender. Anyone who is at risk of feeling and being left-out or forgotten.

Accompanying this year’s theme is the image of Our Lady of Loreto with the Refugee’s Cloak. The artist reflects:

“I felt in my heart the need to give an image of tribute to all the people who suffer marginalisation, war, hunger, despair, escape from their land, loneliness, illness… one day I looked at the images of African migrants who landed in Italy, who miraculously survived their escape into the sea, and shocking photos of all those people and children drowned in water. My heart got tight. The images of those people wrapped in emergency blankets reminded me of the Madonna of Loreto.

I did not want to make the image of Mary royal, I wanted a simple emergency blanket to acquire royalty around her, since what is royal is the warmth of love that allows us to rescue and help each other. Not even the child has a royal symbolism, I would like that in that child there can be every child in the world, because every person we help, love, is Jesus.

I used small pieces of gold leaf to mark the twelve stars around Mary’s head, and points of light that float in the background. Gold leaf, in the tradition of Christian art, is the symbol of God’s light. The points of light that float in the blue, in my imagination, recall people drowned in the sea, lost in the waters. The light that illuminates the stars around Mary is the same that shines in the soul of each person. The sacredness of life in each of us.”

In 2022 let us turn our gaze to this image, contemplating how we together can restore the dignity of one another and bring the light of Christ into our community.