Volume 17, Number 1 | January 11, 2018

World-class Marian collection marks 75 years

On a sturdy branch of the Marianist Family tree is one of the world’s largest collection of books and artifacts about the Virgin Mary. The collection, begun with the gift of single book by Marianist Fr. John Elbert in 1943, has become a destination for scholars and admirers of the Blessed Mother from across the world.

The Marian Library at the University of Dayton celebrates three-quarters of a century in 2018. The university will mark the milestone with concerts and exhibits throughout the year. The events are free and open to the public.

“Mary leads to Christ, of course, but also to art, history, culture, spirituality and so many directions because of the role she played and the way her role has become important for individual persons and the whole church,” said Fr. Johann Roten, a noted Marian scholar at UD’s International Marian Research Institute.

Read more about the anniversary. Read an Alive magazine article about Bro. Andrew Kosmowski, a “trail guide” at the Marian Library.

As ‘all missionaries,’ Marianists defy retirement norms

Bro. Harry Cornell has taught at Central Catholic High School in San Antonio for more than 50 years.

The average age of the eight Marianist brothers and priests who live in the Central Catholic High School community in San Antonio is 81. Not a single one is retired.

For these men, as for most Marianists, remaining active past normal retirement age is an extension of Blessed Chaminade’s teaching that “you are all missionaries.” The founder’s sentiment doesn’t indicate any end date of this obligation. Health permitting, Marianist brothers and priests continue active ministry well into their 70s or even 80s.

The Marianists at Central Catholic — Frs. Jim Mueller, Don Cowie and Gerry Haby, and Bros. Richard Martens, Harry Cornell, Irwin Wachtel, Ed Loch and Jim Burkholder — live this missionary spirit to the fullest.

“These dedicated men live a consecrated life given to the service of Mary and the Church,” says Fr. Martin Solma, provincial. “It’s their missionary spirit that underpins everything else.”

Read more about these Marianists in the current issue of Alive magazine.

Three questions with …

Bro. Brandon Paluch

Bro. Brandon is a seminarian at the Marianist International Seminary in Rome, Italy. The seminary community includes 11 Marianists from around the world.

What about life there has surprised you?

There is no place like Rome to experience the depth of our Catholic tradition. A short walk from our community are catacombs that date back to the beginnings of Christianity. And I am amazed at what an aesthetic culture exists here. Beauty is cherished and sought after. There is no shortage of opportunities to take in His beauty and to evangelize through beauty.

How are your classes?

Fascinating! I love the courses I am taking at the Gregorian University, although studying theology in Italian does give me a run for my money. The international composition of the university’s faculty and student body is enriching, too. The context itself and the relationships we build help form us to serve our brothers and the Church as Marianist priests.

How would you describe the spirit of the seminary community?

This year we have brothers from Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Kenya, Spain and the U.S. While there is not a single Italian seminarian, Italian is the language of the house. We are all stranieri (foreigners) here, stumbling to communicate in a language and culture other than our own. Being stranieri helps us be more mindful of migrants, and of the fact that our true citizenship is in heaven.

Honoring our bicentennials – a final page from the family album

For the past 20 months, FamilyOnline has featured historical photos to highlight the bicentennials of the Marianist Sisters and the Society of Mary. Chaminade Day – Jan. 22 – marks the conclusion of the Marianist Bicentennial commemoration. The event will be celebrated in Singhpur, India. India was chosen because it is an area of growing Marianist life and ministry.

American Marianists began serving in India in 1980, creating schools and other ministries to serve the poorest of the poor and to encourage Marianist vocations. The mission of the Marianists in India has continued to grow, and today there are more than 90 Indian Marianist brothers and priests. Read more about Marianist ministries in India.

Marianist Family members in the news

Fr. Jim Heft is featured in a recent video released by an organization called Faith Leaders of Los Angeles. The video presents a united front from leaders of a variety of faith traditions calling for action to address the issue of homelessness in LA. The video was presented at a conference sponsored and organized by  the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies, of which Fr. Jim is president. Watch the video.

Bro. Gary Morris was featured in a recent issue of the Hawaii Catholic Herald. The article describes Bro. Gary’s experience in helping his students at Chaminade University of Honolulu blossom and grow through the performing arts. Read the article.

Fr. Johann Roten was quoted in a December NBC News story about Our Lady of Guadalupe. The article describes why the enduring symbol of Mexican faith, identity and patriotism also is revered in the United States. Read the article. Fr. Johann, a Swiss Marianist who has long served in the U.S., is director of research and special projects at the International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton.

Sr. Nicole Trahan was featured in a recent post on the Global Sisters Report website. The article, which also quotes Sr. Laura Leming, describes how the Marianist Sisters and other members of the Marianist Family have responded to recent hurricanes. Read the article.

Christmas cheer from the Casa Maria Community

The Casa Maria Marianist Community on the campus of St. Mary’s University in San Antonio has gained a certain amount of acclaim for its annual holiday video. The most recent edition combines Christmas and the Marianist Bicentennial.

Marianist ministries in action

Waste not: Chaminade-St. Louis gets greener

A Chaminade College Prep student diverts his cafeteria waste from the landfill. It’s headed instead for a second life as compost.

It’s taking twice as long to fill the dumpsters at Chaminade College Preparatory in St. Louis. It’s an odd fact, but one the school is deservedly proud of.

Last fall, in keeping with the Marianist value of safeguarding the environment, the school began a composting project to complement its active recycling program. So much cafeteria waste is now composted or recycled that the school has reduced its dumpster trash by half.

“We realized that to do recycling well, we needed to add a composting station to recycle leftover foods,” said teacher Mark Laury. The waste is picked up by a local company that converts it to nutrient-rich compost for resale.

Mark and fellow teacher John Kelly have been the masterminds behind the composting project, which was launched last fall. A corner of the school’s cafeteria has a “composting/recycling eco-corner;” the bins were a gift from the Class of 2017.

“We want students to understand that being stewards of the earth is an obligation that comes with our Christian and Marianist identities,” said Todd Guidry, middle school principal. “We want them to be as respectful of God’s creation as they are of one another.”

Read more about the school’s “green efforts” on page 10 of the current issue of Chaminade’s Esto Vir magazine.

Uncertainties linger for Colegio San José families

In the early morning hours of Sept. 20, 2017, Pedro and Pilar Gerena huddled in their bedroom with their three children and two dogs, listening to the howling winds of Hurricane Maria as it passed over San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Stepping outside after the storm, they were shocked. “Not one tree was standing in our neighborhood,” said Pilar. “Debris was everywhere.”

Still, Pedro and Pilar, both Lay Marianists, are luckier than many. Pedro runs a lawn and garden business and was able to get back to work quickly, selling chainsaws and generators – things most everyone needed. Pilar, a pediatrician, opened her clinic within four days despite having no hot water or electricity.

The Gerena’s son, Pedro, is a sophomore at Colegio San José.  “A lot of Colegio families were not so fortunate,” said Pedro. “Large pockets of the island are still without power and many people are still without incomes.”

In spite of uncertainties, Bro. Francisco González, president of CSJ, is grateful. “I want to thank all of the people of the Marianist Family who have given generously to help us,” he said. “Your prayers and support are what keep us going,” he said.

Please consider helping CSJ by providing tuition assistance.

The statue of Blessed Chaminade at Colegio San José was unscathed by the hurricane. Most of the island wasn’t as lucky.

Archbishop García-Siller visits Central Catholic High

Central Catholic High School in San Antonio was pleased to welcome Archbishop Gustavo García–Siller, M.Sp.S., for Mass and fellowship in celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on Dec. 8.

Central Catholic’s chaplain, Fr. Sean Downing, right, concelebrated Mass with Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller.

Following Mass, the archbishop toured CCHS and greeted students, including senior Jamie Cantrell.

Archbishop Gustavo was gracious in pausing for photos with members of the CCHS family, including these cafeteria staff members.

Saint Louis School alumni make football playoff news

It’s a bit difficult to ignore when two Marianist school alumni, from the same school, make football playoff headlines in the space of a week.

On. Jan. 8, Tua Tagovailoa – a 2017 Saint Louis School grad and freshman at Alabama – came in during the second half and led his team to victory over Georgia in the college football playoffs.

A few days earlier, another Saint Louis grad, 2015 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, made an unusual touchdown that helped give his Tennessee Titans a victory over Kansas City. Just for fun, we’re sharing it below. (NFL rules – you’ll need to go to YouTube to watch it.)

Congratulations to Saint Louis School, Tua and Marcus! Read more about the pair in a Jan. 9 USA Today article.

Pray with us

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

Bro. Don – undated

Bro. Don – 2015

Bro. Donald Schaaf, 81, died on Jan. 3. He had been a Marianist for 61 years. Bro. Don was a teacher and business manager who also ministered in the juvenile justice system. Read his obituary. See more photos.

Good to know

Marianist moment: Blessed William Joseph Chaminade

This is part of a series on Marianists who are on the path to sainthood. We thank Marianist Affiliate Mary Kay Fitzpatrick and Bro. David Betz for preparing these articles.

We commemorate the anniversary of the death of Marianist Family founder Blessed William Joseph Chaminade on Jan. 22. Fr. Chaminade, who died in 1850, is credited with helping reestablish the Christian faith in France following that country’s bloody revolution.

Read the article.

Bicentennial wrap-up: closing event in Dayton

The Greater Dayton Marianist Family is sponsoring a final Marianist Bicentennial celebration on Jan. 20 at the University of Dayton’s Frericks Center. The event includes Mass followed by a reception. All are welcome! Learn more.

‘Journeying to Wisdom’ MEEC winter mini-retreat

The Marianist Environmental Education Center is hosting an winter retreat Feb. 10 at Mount Saint John in Dayton. The afternoon event includes a presentation on the patterns and rhythms of wholeness. Learn more.

Family of Mary gathering in St. Louis

The Family of Mary Lay Community welcomes St. Louis-area friends to its annual Foundation Day event on Jan. 28. The celebration includes Mass and a presentation by Sr. Nicole Trahan. Learn more.

Upcoming feast days

Jan. 22 – Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, 1850
Feb. 2 – Presentation of Our Lord
Feb. 11 – Our Lady of Lourdes
Feb. 14 – Ash Wednesday

Stay in touch


District Update from the Marianist District of India
Gifts & Tasks
from the Int. Organization of Marianist Lay Communities

Justice Jottings from the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative

Magnificat from the World Council of the Marianist Family
MLC-NA e-News from the Marianist Lay Community of North America
Via Latina 22 from the Marianist General Administration

Single 2018