At the start of their meetings, a group of Marist Fathers would read from John 1:1-8 and would then pass around an image of Christ the Logos – ‘the Word made flesh’. They we were then invited to reflect on how they could make the Word flesh in our own life – like Mary did.
The Marist Order has a long history of working with young people, mainly in schools. In the 1980s and 90s things changed in NZ. They were asked to find another way. Frs. Kevin Murphy, Joe Savesi and Pat Breeze came to Auckland at the end of 1999 to look at what they could do. They lived in a house in Three Kings, and there it began.
At the end of 1999 a process of consultation started with different groups in the diocese – parishes, schools, youth groups, spirituality and service groups, experienced individuals etc. and there was a realisation for a need for pastoral outreach to those in schools and not active in the parishes.
An energy was sparked and the flame was ignited. This energy came from the commitment to a collective who sought to grow and develop as ministers, and respond to the needs of young people. This in turn gave people the motivation to reach out to others; to help others find a purpose and direction in their life. The energy came from seeing young people celebrating and living their faith with joy and the change they had in their lives.
Forming our identity was around what it meant to be Logos – the Word made flesh. This was the reason and focus of our ministry. Our desire was to be young and Catholic, and bring this Word, to those “on the street”. Where we these young people? At our schools and parishes, and also on the edges, as it were.
Our identity came through holding two polarities together – 1) Helping young people to develop their spiritual life based on prayer and liturgy and 2) Helping young people to reach out in service to others, through practical help, mentoring, and support. It was about faith and service.
Led and supported by Marist priests, brothers, and sisters, their was a strong belied that young people had talents and gifts they could share with others but they needed formation and mentoring. We started at Hayr Road, Three Kings, with a school and event ministry. We eventually started to train Campus ministers for schools and event ministers – music, drama and dance, prayer and teaching, hospitality and advertising. We had practices during the week and put on about 3 or 4 events in school gyms and churches around the city each year. Our first event was in 2000 in Mangere East, in the old church and lasted about 6 hours.
As the event ministry continued so did the service in schools and communities. Logos connected with other youth and faith based organisations such as Praxis and the Society of St Vincent de Paul to grow their reach and work with young people across the motu.
Today, Logos continues to work with young people, primarily in secondary schools within the Auckland diocese. We run retreats and deliver programmes tailored to the different age groups we work with and aim to explore themes and topics that are prevalent in today’s society for the younger generation.