Marianist family spirit thrives in this house (system)
Freshmen bond with freshmen. Sophomores hang out with sophomores, juniors with juniors, seniors with seniors. That’s a typical high school.
A number of Marianist schools, however, offer a “house system” that breaks down the walls of class silos. The result? A more unified student body and increased family spirit – a defining characteristic of Marianist education.
Last fall, Archbishop Riordan High School implemented a house system for its 680 young men. Each student was assigned to one of four houses — Cana, Bolts, Russi and Pilar — with each house having a mix of students from grades 9 to 12.
During its inaugural year, Riordan introduced several competitive events in which houses earned points to capture the Chaminade Cup.
“The events encourage healthy competition,” said Valerie O’Riordan, head of Russi House and Riordan’s drama director. One recent event was called the RochambeauTournament. “It was ridiculously fun with 600-plus kids cheering each other on,” said Valerie. Watch a video from the event.
“Having the house system has energized the student body,” said Riordan sophomore Michael Gray. “We’re having more fun and we’re a better, more unified school.”
Bro. Justin Quiroz: In the ‘person-building’ business
Bro. Justin Quiroz is in the “person-building” business, which is to say he teaches middle schoolers.
Bro. Justin, 27 and a Houston native, has been teaching technology and English at Mother Seton Academy in Baltimore for two years. It’s a role he treasures. “It’s the greatest feeling going to work every day. I serve as a religious presence in their lives, but I’m like a big brother, too.”
The students at Mother Seton come from families that are unable to afford a Catholic education without the school’s financial assistance. The Marianists cosponsor Mother Seton with five other religious orders.
“A lot of these kids don’t have any positive male role models,” Bro. Justin says, and he’s happy to step up to that challenge. He hopes to help students discover their potential. “The kids are in an important phase,” he says. “They’re beginning to shape their character. Essentially, we’re person-building, preparing them to make the right choices in tough situations and help them find what God wants them to be.”
Watch for more about Bro. Justin and his work at Mother Seton Academy in the spring issue of Alive magazine.
Special-needs students find empathy, inclusion at Chaminade Julienne
Inclusion is a hallmark of the Marianist charism. And at Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School, that means that young people with learning disabilities are very much a part of the school community.
This is an unusual approach for a Catholic school, most of which don’t have the resources to meet the needs of special education students.
Currently, 108 CJ students receive special support services. That’s one in every seven of the school’s 680 students. These students’ disabilities may involve Down syndrome or low IQ, or specific learning disabilities such as reading or speech disorders. Others have autism spectrum disorder, which includes Asperger’s syndrome or other challenges.
The special-needs students are mainstreamed into academics, extracurricular programs, retreats and all of the school functions, as much as possible, according to John Marshall, CJ’s principal. “The kids in this program fit seamlessly into the fabric of our school.
“These students have lot to teach us — about differences, about empathy, and what it means to be human,” says Marshall. “We are a stronger, more compassionate community because they are here.”
Watch for a more detailed story in the spring issue of Alive magazine.
Marianist Family members in the news
Joseph Kurt Nugent will profess first vows as a Marianist brother on May 19 in Dayton.
Joseph, 29, was born in Nova Scotia. He met the Marianists through Frs. John Kracher and Luis Melo (Region of Canada) when he was a teenager. He completed the Marianist aspirancy program in San Antonio in 2014. He then entered the Oblate School of Theology, where he earned a master’s degree in theological studies. Joseph has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy with a minor in Catholic studies from the University of Manitoba. He entered the Marianist novitiate in 2016.
Learn more about Marianist formation.
Brian Reavey, director of the Marianist Office of Justice, Peace & the Integrity of Creation, was recently quoted in an article in the National Catholic Reporter.
Brian described how he and his peers serving religious orders work for transformation and promote “armchair activism.” Read the article.
Formation weekend participants ‘Pray the Psalms’
In early March, aspirants, novices and temporary professed members of the Marianist Sisters and the Marianist Province of the United States and the Marianist Province of Meribah gathered for a formation weekend in New York.
The theme was Praying the Psalms. Bro. Ken Hoagland of the Province of Meribah was the presenter.
Marianist ministries in action
At St. Mary’s High School, open doors address a taxing issue
Sometimes, building community at a Marianist school includes opening doors, literally, to neighbors.
For the past 13 years, St. Mary’s High School in St. Louis has opened its doors as a host site to enable its low-income neighbors to get tax assistance. Every weekend from late January through early March, volunteers from the St. Mary’s community – administrators, teachers, alumni and students – welcome guests who come to receive free tax help.
St. Mary’s is the largest host site for the nonprofit St. Louis Tax Assistance Program. Last year alone, more than 550 families were helped at St. Mary’s
“It’s rewarding to watch families walk out of here knowing they will get a tax refund,” says Kevin Hacker, St. Mary’s principal. “The average refund last year was $1,341. For these families, that amount can be a lifeline.”
“I know a lot of people in St. Louis struggle to make ends meet,” says Forest Shipp, a St. Mary’s senior who volunteers by welcoming visitors, offering coffee and helping with clean-up. “Participating in this feels good and I know it helps the community.”
UD senior combines supporting free trade, ending human trafficking
University of Dayton senior Bradley Patrella got a shout-out from a local TV station for his work in promoting free trade practices and raising awareness of human trafficking.
Earlier this month, Bradley was featured on WGRT for his efforts, backed by UD human rights professor Tony Talbot.
“A fair trade campaign on campus is just a way to show official support and help educate people,” Bradley said. See the story.
Teachers retreat at Cape May
Several teachers from Marianist-sponsored schools attended a mid-February retreat at the Marianist Family Retreat Center. The retreat focused on self-care for busy teachers and featured prayer services and guided meditation.
The program was conceived in cooperation with Toni Mesina, Marianist LIFE coordinator and Fr. Dave McGuigan, the retreat center’s chaplain.
Living stations at Colegio San José
In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Colegio San José, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, experienced serious disruption. Yet faith abides and important traditions continue.
The school community gathered March 8 for its annual Via Cruces Viviente — the living Stations of the Cross. Fr. Don Wallace, CSJ chaplain, led the solemn ritual.
Read more (en Español).
Pray with us
Please join us in prayer for these members of the Marianist Family.
Good to know
Marianist moment: Venerable Faustino Pérez-Manglano
In this month’s Marianist Moment, we meet Faustino Pérez-Manglano, the youngest of the Marianist “saints.” Faustino was a Spanish boy recognized for his deep love for the Virgin Mary.
Thanks to Bro. David Betz and Lay Marianist Mary Kay Fitzpatrick for creating this first article in a two-part series about Faustino Pérez-Manglano.
Touchpoint from Fr. James Heft
How seriously should we take the “seven deadly sins”? Do they still apply in the modern era?
In the first of a two-part Touchpoint article, Fr. Jim Heft says, “First of all, the seven deadly sins are neither deadly nor sins. They are not sins because they are tendencies. They are not deadly because when acted upon they can be forgiven.” Read more
Fr. Jim is president of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at the University of Southern California.
University of Dayton hosts sixth Marian forum
Anyone interested in improving their understanding of the Blessed Virgin is welcome to join an online forum on April 6 presented by the International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton.
The forum — titled “Mary, Yesterday and Today” — will examine how Marian theology and spirituality have evolved since the middle of the last century.
The event includes presentations by Frs. Johann Roten and Thomas Thompson, as well as time for questions and discussion. Learn more.
Summer family retreats at Governor’s Island
Join the members of the Governor’s Island Marianist Community in Huntsville, Ohio, for a family retreat this summer. Choose from two dates: June 19-23 or July 17-21. It’s an affordable family getaway that builds faith and emphasizes fun! Learn more.
Upcoming feast days
March 19 – Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary
April 1 – Resurrection of the Lord
April 8 – Birthday of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, 1761
April 9 – Annunciation of the Lord
Stay in touch
The Fulcrum from Marianist LIFE
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
The Open Window from the Bergamo Center for Lifelong Learning
Via Latina 22 from the Marianist General Administration