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Marian House celebrates 30 years helping young males

Archbishop Gordon and Fr Lumsden celebrate the liturgy. Photos courtesy Dianne Agostini

The Living Water Community (LWC) celebrated the 30th anniversary of its centre for youth, Marian House, with Holy Mass on January 31. Archbishop Jason Gordon was the main celebrant with Fr Christopher Lumsden the co-celebrant. Also present were LWC co-foundress Rhonda Maingot and other community members, Marian House staff and support team, former participants in the Marian House programme and other well-wishers.

Archbishop Gordon, Maingot and Fr Lumsden all shared their memories of Christmas morning 1987 when the ministry, now known as Marian House, opened its doors to several young men whose lives were in crisis; with a simple breakfast of hops and ham and hot ‘cocoa tea’ made by Maingot.

Archbishop Gordon, who was also part of the first team of persons in the early days of Marian House, noted that it was the boys themselves who helped to create the space where they would live, be educated and cared for.

During his homily, the archbishop referred to the stated values of the Home—Honour, Discipline and Respect. Speaking directly to the young men, he said that the world tells them to seek happiness through money and power, but that the motto of Marian House “is one where you are taught to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do; where you are helped to become men of deep and good characters; where your words can be trusted, where you see yourself as a child of God and see God in your fellow man”.

Maingot recalled the first group of young men were very different from those who now live at Marian House; as up until that time they had been actually living on the streets and were so unaccustomed to living a normal life, that there were some who found it hard to sleep on a bed and for several months chose to sleep on the floor next to their bed!

She went on to share that the Marian House— a second chance family— is an integration of academic, psychological and spiritual development. “We have had boys that have come off the street or from at-risk environments, excel academically and go on to university. We have had young men who are now raising their own families and coming back to Marian House to offer support where they can. This is our definition of success,” said Maingot, “creating whole individuals”.

Mentors and volunteers offer their time to help the home with projects, spend time with the boys, coaching and mentoring and even playing sports and other activities with them.

Even one hour a week makes a big difference to these boys as it reinforces our message of honour, discipline and respect in a very tangible way. Persons or organisations interested in helping, whether in person or through donations, can contact Marian House at 625-6571 – Candice Clarke-Salloum