MAM Singapore – The Participation of MAM in the Montfortian Mission
This article was first published in The Participation of Montfortian Associates Movement in the Montfortian Mission (Circular Letter SMM, SG 53 2021)
What content of spiritual and missionary training can open the associate’s vision to the spirit of communion and synodality among the Montfortian Family?
All our associates are to have done their preparation for total consecration before enrolling themselves into the movement. Our mission as Montfortian Associates is to live, share and promote the charism and spirituality of the total consecration according to St. Louis Marie de Montfort.
We provide a monthly formation which is an ongoing training to deepen the associate’s understanding and appreciation on the life and writings of Montfort. Throughout the year, there are community building opportunities such as fellowship, Eucharist and workshops to help members build bonds and find a sense of connectedness as a community. Our associates are also engaged in some forms of outreach through events such as parish missions and the Heart of Living seminar where they get to promote the spirituality and importance of the total consecration to Jesus through Mary.
What is the formation of reliable leaders with good knowledge and appreciation in the field of Montfortian spirituality in order to be authentic missionaries in schools, parishes, dioceses, communities?
Montfortian resources, which include the life and writings of Montfort as well as the reflections and retreat materials are made available at Montfort Centre. Our associates also have a dedicated partnership room for their use and a resource space to call their own.
We run the Montfortian Experience programme which are retreat sessions based on the spirituality and writings of Montfort. The programme helps participants to renew their
commitment to God and deepen their lived experience of a total consecration. We have even managed to run an online Montfortian Experience on the Secret of Mary in May 2020 as well as a blended approach on Prayer for Missionaries (Extraordinary Mission) in September 2020.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, we would organise a Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of Montfort every two to three years. We have installed sites of Montfort in each of our institution and will be running a local pilgrimage using a blended approach called the “Montfortian Pilgrimage In Our Schools” (MPIOS) for our school community, associates and eventually the wider church community.
The possible missionary fields for collaboration:
- Montfortian Spirituality & Retreat Work – The Montfortian programmes at Montfort Centre are run by the Montfortian Associates. The pastoral programmes staff themselves are also Montfortian Associates.
- Educative Mission of the Brothers – Some of our associates are teachers in the institutions of the Brothers while others are involved in the social mission such as Boys’ Town. They help to live and share the spirituality of the total consecration in their engagement with their colleagues and beneficiaries.
- School Chaplaincy Team – Our associates are also in the Montfortian School Chaplaincy Team. This team is the keeper of the Catholic character of the institutions, and integrates Montfortian values into the life of the school through retreats, programmes, dissemination of materials and group activities for the whole school community.
The history of the creation of the Montfortian Associates in connection with the Montfort Center in Singapore: are there any other groups animated by the Brothers of Saint Gabriel in Singapore-Malaysia, what kind of formation and missionary activities are offered in Singapore, what are the challenges experienced?
The 30th and 31st General Chapters of the Montfort Brothers of St Gabriel had called for empowering the laity as collaborators and partners. Establishing the Associates of the Brothers of St Gabriel under the name “Montfortian Associates Movement” (MAM). The Montfortian Associates Movement for the then Province of Malaysia-Singapore was officially launched by Bro Yvan Passebon, Vicar General of the Montfort Brothers of St Gabriel on 21 Jan 2015 at Montfort Centre. The first 13 members began their preparation in October 2015 and made their total consecration on 3 April 2016. The other group animated by the Brothers includes the Montfortian Associates in Sabah, Malaysia.
The membership for the associates is very diverse with members even from the Philippines and Indonesia. We have a total of 42 members to date with the youngest being 23 years old and the oldest being 78 years old.
One of the challenges is finding time for the preparation process which should be 33 days as proposed by Montfort. Lay people who have family and work commitments are unable to spend a whole month away. Inspired by St. Ignatius’ 19th annotation, we spaced out the preparation across a period of 9 months on every alternate Saturday morning of the month. We even did an online preparation for 15 participants through Zoom due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
Another challenge would be language as some of our members’ native language is not English. Some are more comfortable using Bahasa Indonesia and Chinese. Not all the writings of Montfort are available in the languages. For instance only the Secret of Mary and True Devotion are available in Chinese.
By Zerah Goh, President of the Montfortian Associates Movement