Volume 22, Number 12 | December 29, 2023

Beauty and the Birth of Jesus

Edwin and Serena Henderson check off items in a scavenger hunt
Cub Scout Troop explores nativities of the world
Miles Harris, age six, admiring a unique nativity scene

When Brian Showalter heard about Nativities and the Natural World, University of Dayton’s annual Christmas exhibit at the Roesch Library with more than 100 nativity scenes from 31 countries, he knew it was the perfect activity for his second-grade Cub Scout troop.

“I try to make scouting about experiencing new and different things,” he said. “The exhibit was an excellent opportunity for the boys to see how different cultures from around the world celebrate and express reverence for the birth of Jesus.”

Rachel Henderson, a mother of one of the cub scouts, helped chaperone the group and brought her two older children along for the experience. “I wanted to share with them the beauty of art and the birth of Jesus at the same time,” she said.

And what did the boys enjoy the most? “The Scouts loved the scavenger hunt, an activity that had them searching for a specific item in each exhibit,” said Showalter, who is from Centerville, OH. “This gave them a chance to examine each display and observe differences that might not be obvious at first glance.”

Showalter and Henderson were both amazed by the creativity and materials used to make the nativities, “everything from clay to wood to paper,” said Showalter.

Kerri Haynes, a religion teacher at St. Luke School in Dayton, decided to bring her 3rd-grade students to the exhibit. “They enjoyed seeing all of the manger scenes from around the world and especially loved making paper poinsettia ornaments and coloring nativity cards to bring home to their families.”

For Haynes, this was also an opportunity to celebrate the 800th anniversary of nativity scenes, which started in 1223 when St. Francis of Assisi began the tradition to highlight the birth of Jesus and the significance of the Incarnation. “This is a beautiful exhibit,” said Haynes, “with something for children and adults to enjoy together.”

Henderson agreed. “I wanted my children to see how God can inspire people to do beautiful things. Most uplighting was how the Holy Family has touched people across the globe. It was a great experience for everyone!”

The free nativity exhibit is open in Roesch Library until Jan. 12, 2024. New this year, audio tours are available for each gallery, and family-friendly interactive stations enable visitors to create Christmas ornaments and decorate a Nativity scene Christmas card. Click here for more information.

In The News

Chaminade University Alumna Makes History

The U.S. Senate, in a bipartisan vote, confirmed Shanlyn A.S. Park as a federal judge for the U.S. District Court of Hawaii.

Born in Honolulu, Shanlyn received her Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from Chaminade University of Honolulu in 1991.

Judge Park spent most of her career as a federal public defender in Hawaii and will now move to a lifetime appointment on Hawaii’s federal bench. Judge Park is the first Native Hawaiian woman federal judge in the state. Click here to read more.

End of an Era

Thomas M. Mengler and his wife Mona Mengler

St. Mary’s University President Thomas M. Mengler will start a new chapter when he retires on May 31, 2024. For almost 12 years,  Mengler shared his vision of the University’s Catholic and Marianist traditions and educating servant leaders for future generations.

“Tom’s gift to St. Mary’s is his own personal Catholic faith and how he allowed that faith to play itself out in his leadership at St. Mary’s,” said Fr. John Thompson, St. Mary’s Vice President for Mission.

Mengler is the 13th president of St. Mary’s University and only the second layperson to hold the position. Click here to read more.

New President Appointed

Winston Erevelles

Following a national search, the St. Mary’s University Board of Trustees unanimously appointed Winston Erevelles, Ph.D., as the next president of St. Mary’s University, beginning June 1, 2024.

Erevelles is a dedicated St. Mary’s community member who served 12 transformative years as Dean of the School of Science, Engineering and Technology from 2009 to 2021. Since then, he has been working on two new initiatives — the University’s anticipated Nursing Program and creating the three-story Blank Sheppard Innovation Center. Erevelles is also a Professor of Industrial Engineering.

Click here to read more.

New MRCC Executive Director

Jennifer Duncan

The Board of Directors of the Marianist Retreat & Conference Center (MRCC) announced that Jennifer Duncan has been appointed Executive Director. “My goal is to create meaningful connections with our community, to continue to build a network of support to sustain and enhance our building and grounds, and to increase the opportunities that provide the place and programs where people can find peace and deepen their relationship with Christ,” said Duncan. Click here to read more.

Marianist Ministries in Action

Marianist Education Highlighted in Business Journal


From St. Mary’s Southside Catholic High School in MO to St. Mary’s University in TX to the San Antonio Business Journal pages, Andrew Tague credits his Marianist education for helping him succeed in life and business.

“The Marianist Leadership Program was the first building block that started the foundation of who I am today,” Tague said. “It gave me the opportunity to start living out my vocation. I realized that it was time to be me.”

Tague, who received his Bachelor of Business Administration from St. Mary’s University in 2023, secured a full-time job almost a year before graduating and earned the President’s Award for academic excellence and transformative leadership at St. Mary’s. He also started his own side business while a student, a vintage T-shirt shop called Tague’s Treasures. Two years later, his shop remains popular with students.

“He lives out the Marianist values every day, and I have no doubt he’ll be able to achieve all of his professional endeavors,” said Violeta Díaz, Ph.D., associate dean of the Greehey School of Business and associate professor of finance at St. Mary’s University. Click here to read more.

From the Archives

Christmas Cards from the Archives

We thought you might enjoy taking a look at Christmas cards and artwork either created by Marianist brothers or sent to them through the years. As you may notice, the printing quality may now have a higher resolution, but the sentiment remains the same. The Provincial Council hopes your holidays continue to be blessed. Click here to see more.

Card from Milan, Italy, 1934
Mother & Child drawing 1990 by Bro. Mel Meyer, SM (1928 - 2013)
A card from Maryhurst (Kirkwood, MO) and Mount St. John (Dayton, OH), date unknown
New Year postcard mailed from San Francisco to “Brother Henry" at St. Louis College, Honolulu, HI, 1910
Flight into Egypt by Bro. James Roberts, SM (1931-2007) for the former Pacific Province, 1971
Date and origin unknown
Christmas card for the former Pacific Province by Bro. James Roberts, SM (1931-2007), date unknown

If you’d like to see more images from the archives, visit and “like” this Facebook page.

Pray With Us

Please join us in prayer for these members of the Marianist Family.

Good to Know

60 Years of Christmas on Campus

The University of Dayton celebrated its 60th Christmas on Campus on Dec. 8, with more than 1,000 Dayton Public School students paired with undergraduates to enjoy a winter wonderland.

The event was free and open to the public and included pictures with Santa, a live Nativity, crafts, model trains, treats, and more.

“Christmas on Campus is our opportunity to celebrate the true spirit of Christmas with everyone — most of all the Dayton children,” said co-chair Fiona Dusenberry. “It’s a tradition that brings to life UD’s Catholic and Marianist heritage and the value we place on community.”

The tradition of celebrating Christmas and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception dates back to 1964 when a group of students gathered and decided to celebrate Christmas before they left for the holidays. With that, Christmas on Campus was born. Click here to see more pictures.

Mission of Mary Receives Award

The Montgomery County Commissioners in Ohio awarded the Mission of Mary’s executive director, Mike Schulz, the Food Champion ‘Education’ Award at the 13th annual Montgomery County Food Summit. This honor was bestowed upon Schulz for his 16 years of service and labor of love at Mission of Mary Cooperative

“I see this award as a team award for the Mission of Mary family for the amazing board, team, partners, donors, and countless volunteers who have generously given and continue to show up every day and year to humbly serve,” said Schulz. Click here to read more.

Join Us!

Click here to discover job opportunities within our Marianist Ministries across the United States. 

New listings include:

• Purcell Marian High School (OH) – Principal

• St. Vincent-St. Mary High School (OH) – Principal

• St. Vincent-St. Mary High School (OH) – Assistant Principal

• St. Vincent-St. Mary High School (OH) – Director of Advancement

• Bergamo Center for Lifelong Learning (OH)– Front Desk Receptionist

• North American Center for Marianist Studies (OH) – Program Administrator

Check Out More Marianist News

Via Latina  from the General Administration of the Society of Mary

Sharing Our Marianist Stories podcast from North American Center for Marianist Studies

Justice Jottings from the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative

AMU Newsletter from the Association of Marianist Universities

District Update #74 from the Marianist District of India

FatherSide Chats is a web video series featuring Fr. Gene Contadino. Discover new episodes every Tuesday about a variety of topics. Click the graphic to view episodes. Click here to read more.

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