Former Sector and Regional couple celebrate 50 years of marriage!

John & Marg O’Donnell, Hume Sector Couple from 1993 to 1997 recently celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary on 12th May 2012. They were joined by their large family over two weekends (12/5 & 19/5), as John, who is now in full time care in Mercy Place, wanted to be able to catch up with and speak to as many as possible.


John & Marg joined Wodonga Team 1 in 1989.


John’s health has not been very good since 2005 when he first spent time in hospital with a severe undiagnosed illness, followed by a Stroke in 2006 and Prostate cancer a couple of years later. This did not stop him and Marg from attending Teams’ meetings. However in May 2011 John had a nasty fall at home resulting in a broken femur. Since then, with other medical and physical problems John has been, apart from a spell of six weeks at home, confined to Hospital, Rehab and eventually full time care at Mercy Place, Albury.


Marg is keeping well, spends many hours with John, and finds time to have the occasional game of Bowls.


A few members of Wodonga Team 1 gathered at Mercy Place, Albury to wish John & Marg a Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary (see photo).


Sadly we in Team 1 Wodonga don’t have their physical presence at our meetings, but know they are with us in Spirit.

Brasilia 2012 – Report from Oceania Spiritual Counsellor to the Bishop of Sandhurst

The 2012 College of Teams met in Brasilia from the 17th to 21st July. The College is like the Cabinet of Teams – and comprises the Leading Couple and Spiritual Counsellors of all the World Regions of Teams. Faye and Kevin Noonan, from Canberra, and myself made up the Oceania Delegation.

A series of Papers were presented, Cardinal Dom Pedro Scherer, Archbishop of San Paulo, gave an overview on the Brasil Church, workshops in the principal language groups were held and discussion on the strengths and weaknesses Teams were held.

Currently Teams is represented in over 50 countries with world-wide membership of 130,000 people; and is known is some areas by its French name Equipe de Notre Dame.

The second week saw Brasilia invaded by 7,800 members of Teams and 50 Nationalities were presented to the Assembly – a little like the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. The Syrian Delegation received a bigger applause than even the Brasilians. We were deeply moved by the joint witness of the Lebanese and Syrian delegates who decided that they must be present to say thanks for the gift of Teams in their lives!

Fr Timothy Radcliffe O.P. was the keynote speaker – and offered reflections to kick start each day. DVD presentations gave us a glimpse of the spread of Teams and the initiatives being taken to highlight the gift of marriage. Feeding the 8,000 each dinner time was quite a feat – and then we broke into discussion groups, again based on language. Our group had people from England, Ireland, India, Trinidad and Tobago, Malawi, Brasil, Romania, United States and Australia. Experiences shared, challenges presented, difficulties experienced. The world, old and new, First and Third are all experiencing in one form or another  the questions raised by the young, the gay, the married communities. What are healthy relationships? How should they be regulated? What roles are expected?

For me, the insight that stuck was the importance of the SIT DOWN – that time encouraged by Teams for husband and wife to set all things aside and simply share, talk, discuss. Maybe it can be done over the dishes, but it seemed to me that experience suggested, leave all that aside, frequently find a quiet spot, and face one another. Highlighted yet again in our TV oriented, travel opportunities and mobile world was the family meal, without distraction.

In the Diocese of Sandhurst, Teams has been very much part of Diocesan fabric since the 1970s. There are some 30 Teams in the Diocese (and room for more). Christine and John Haddrick from St Patrick’s in Wangaratta are our representatives on the Oceania Team. Fr Joe Taylor PP Shepparton, has been highly involved since the 1970’s. There are many other experienced leaders.

One great memory is illustrated by the accompanying photo. The nations were asked to send a photo of their cathedral. Our Leading Couple chose the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo. Imagine my surprise and delight when on the day 8,000 people assembled before the great Brasilia Cathedral for the public act of Witness to Marriage and there in the field was the great picture of Sacred Heart Cathedral!

I am grateful for the opportunity to have attended this XI International Gathering. It represented a timely reminder to the world that marriage is a positive good and a source of spiritual strength for the human race.

Brazilia 2012

“Letter from the International Leading Couple to all team members in the world”

Letter to Couples responsible for Zones / Super-Regions / Regions / Sectors

And to all team members in the world

Dear team member friends throughout the world.

The big International Gathering of Brasilia is now very close. It will be a great celebration of friendship, fraternity, internationality. But it will also, we are sure, be an intense experience of sharing and growing in faith: we will all be gathered together in the name of the Lord and we will reflect together on the theme of the Gathering, “Daring to Live the Gospel” to go home “invigorated”: invigorated in life and faith.

Daring to Live the Gospel must not remain solely the title of this XIth Gathering, but should become a powerful symbol in our minds and hearts to guide us to a total conversion to God. Our times require courageous witnesses of faith and true missionaries of the Good News: we have to accept this challenge to change the world for the better with joy and enthusiasm!

There are about 120,000 team members in the 70 countries where the Movement is present: of these only about 8,000 will be present to experience the Gathering in person, but those who go, also carry with them all the members of their own team and their own country and on returning will bear gifts of grace for all those members.

Those who remain home should not feel left out of this experience: everyone should feel they are involved, by praying together with their fellow members who are in Brasilia and by following on the website and in every way possible, the happenings at the Gathering.

The success of this XIth Gathering is entrusted to all team members in the world, and we now ask all team members in the world to recite every day the prayer to the Holy Spirit to illuminate and to be present at this event.

This prayer recited in every part of the world will be the voice that, with full harmony, will reach heaven, certainly collected by Father Caffarel who will be a great guardian angel for us and give us, once again, the chance to “seek together” the way of faith on the pathways of history.



Preparatory prayer before the Xl International Gathering of Teams

See the Brasilia 2012 website at

Video and Lyrics of ANTHEM of the XI International Gathering (Frei Luiz Turra, OFM Cap)


Study Topics

The pre- Brasilia Study topics are now available. They have been written by the International Leading Team so that we can all prepare for the Brazil 2012 Gathering whether or not we ourselves are attending. Each chapter has the same structure; Listen and Reflect, See, Evaluate, Act, Share

To download the study topics quickly and easily to your computer   ‘Right Click’ on the topic, click ‘Save Target As’, select the folder where you wish to save the topic and then click ‘Save’


Pre-Brasilia Study Topic – Introduction

Pre-Brasilia Study Topic – Chap 1 Prayer

Pre-Brasilia Study Topic – Chap 2 Marriage, the work of God

Pre-Brasilia Study Topic – Chap 3 Daily spirituality

Pre-Brasilia Study Topic – Chap 4 Active people in history

Pre-Brasilia Study Topic – Chap 5 To be close to humanity & increase love

Pre-Brasilia Study Topic – Chap 6 Life as a vocation

Pre-Brasilia Study Topic – Chap 7 God’s love & love of neighbour

Pre-Brasilia Study Topic – Chap 8 The mission of Teams