Circular 461 "Associated for the Lasallian Mission An Act of Hope" challenges all who share and serve in the Lasallian Mission to reflect and discern on their roles in furthering the work of the Institute. At its core, Lasallians are called to minister to the young and especially to those whose lives are lived at the margins. Increasingly, the De La Salle Brothers have identified the powerful outcomes which can be achieved when Brothers and their Lay Partners work, collaboratively and in solidarity, to realise the Mission. Within this setting, the Lasallian Mission Council (LMC) of the District of Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea (ANZPPNG) provides leadership and strategic direction for Lasallian works across four sectors with vastly different historical, cultural, social and religious contexts.
I have been honoured to be appointed by Br David Hawke, Visitor of the District of ANZPPNG, as the first Lasallian Partner to the position of Chair of the LMC Board. Our work as a Board places responsibility for mission-delivery at the forefront of our leadership within the District.
The past twelve months have been characterised by many challenges, tempered by the amazing stories of being affected, and often liberated, by the work of Lasallians throughout the District. The difference which we make, in changing the material and spiritual well-being of those we serve, gives rise to great optimism.
The operational arm of the LMC is the Lasallian Mission Services (LMS) team led by Executive Director, Merv McCormack. This small, but incredibly focused team, provides support, advice and formation across the great diversity of our District. The Team's dedication and expertise are to be applauded. Staffed by Brothers and Partners, LMS consistently delivers high-quality results, as it enacts those areas of the District Plan related to the Mission.
As the needs within our District continue to grow, and as we try to support young people who are vulnerable and disadvantaged, the demand on the very limited resources of the LMS are ever challenged. The LMS team has enthusiastically embraced these challenges, and I remain optimistic, that despite these confronting times, the work of LMS will continue to be characterised by the strongest desire to support the Mission. Merv McCormack and his team are to be congratulated and thanked for their unwavering commitment and support to the multi-faceted works with our diverse District.
A very special feature of our District is the work undertaken by Young Lasallians. Our Lasallian Youth Ministers operate in a number of different settings with a focus on providing formation and support for their Lasallian communities. Our Lasallian Volunteers (LVs), usually young people on a gap-year between school and university, are at the practical end of "touching hearts". Our LV's provide zeal, energy and commitment to their work in assisting the delivery of mission in very diverse and sometimes very challenging settings. The work undertaken by these Young Lasallians provides great hope and optimism for the continued vibrancy of the Mission with our District.
At the end of 2018, the Lasallian Foundation Australia (LFA) Board recommended to the LMC that its operations be wound up, due to the increasing challenges being encountered within the overseas aid arena. The difficulties associated with raising funds within the not-for-profit sector, coupled with tightening economic times in Australia, regretfully led to the LFA Board, making the very difficult decision to cease operations. John Harry, Chair, the Board of LFA, and the CEO, Miranda Chow, undertook great work over many years to provide practical and on-the-ground support to young people whose lives were dominated by lack of opportunity. I extend thanks and gratitude to John, the LFA Board and Miranda for their commitment to alleviating poverty and hardship "beyond borders".