Volume 23, Number 3 | March 29, 2024

Forever Marianist

If you stroll around University of Dayton, you’ll inevitably notice a palpable sense of community, intellectual curiosity, and a faith-filled welcoming presence – hallmarks of the Marianist Charism.

Marianist Educational Associates

But it’s when you shake hands with a Marianist Educational Associate (MEA), one of 127 specially trained faculty and staff at UD, that you’ll notice the warmth of the Marianists. More precisely, you’ll find yourself in the care of “a champion of our Marianist and Catholic identity,” as Fr. Jim Fitz, vice president for mission and rector, describes them.

With fewer Marianists occupying a visible role in university activities, simply due to the increasing age and decreasing number of brothers, the importance of MEAs and lay champions has taken on greater significance.

It’s one reason an initiative called  Forever Marianist was launched by a handful of UD alumni donors in 2021. The goal was to increase financial support for the formation and funding of  MEAs and other lay leaders, as well as the work of Campus Ministry, the Marian Library, the Center for Catholic Education and other academic programs that advance UD’s Catholic, Marianist philosophy of education.

Bro. Tom Giardino, executive director of the Association of Marianist Universities, whose goal is to develop strong Marianist lay leaders, sees the MEAs as a critical link in sustaining a stable Marianist presence. “We need a significant number of university employees who are steeped in the Catholic and Marianist traditions of education and willing to incorporate these traditions into the culture of their university,” said Bro. Tom. “They also must be capable of adapting these traditions to forge an engaging response to challenges in American higher education while contributing toward global justice – an integral goal of  the Marianist Charism.”

That’s a tall order. One that Ryan Allen, an MEA since 2014, found a bit intimidating.

As executive director for UD’s Center for Online Learning, Allen “never thought when I began at UD, let alone even now, that I should be the one talking about what it means to be a Marianist,” he said.

Yet he has found that people need to hear this coming from other people besides vowed religious. “I think that’s part of being an MEA. You don’t have to be a priest. You don’t have to have all the answers. You don’t have to be a perfect Catholic. You have to be somebody aspiring to learn more, do better, and build connections on this campus in a way that the collective gets better.”

Click here to learn more about Marianist Educational Associates at all three Marianist universities.

In The News

March to Dublin, Ireland

The St. Vincent-St. Mary High School (STVM) marching band made its international debut on March 17 at the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin, Ireland.

Participants reported perfect weather and an amazing crowd of about half a million spectators. Those marching in the parade included current students, ten alumni, one majorette, and one Irish dancer. Director of Bands Brian Campbell received a citation from the Lord Mayor of Dublin.

The marching band started raising funds for this opportunity after receiving an invitation to march in the parade back in 2022. The STVM community raised more than $100,000 for the trip, which significantly reduced the cost for students.

Click here to view a video reel from the parade.

Click here for a video performance in Dublin.

March Madness

For the first time since 2017, the University of Dayton (UD) Flyers men’s basketball team battled in the NCAA Tournament. The season ended for the team in the second round, falling to ninth-ranked Arizona.

It was UD’s 19th NCAA appearance. The Flyers reached the Final Four once (1967), the Elite Eight three times (1967, 1984 and 2014), and the Sweet Sixteen seven times (1952, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1974, 1984 and 2014). UD made it to the NCAA championship game in 1967, losing to the first of the Lew Alcindor UCLA teams.

Girls HS Basketball History

The Purcell Marian High School girl’s basketball team has scored three state titles in a row! The Cavaliers defeated Shaker Heights Laurel School 79-52  in the Division II girl’s basketball state final at University of Dayton Arena to win their third-consecutive state championship. The team is the sixth girl’s team in OHSAA history to do so.

Purcell Marian won the 2023 Division II state title, the 2022 Division III state title, and was a 2021 Division III state semifinalist.

St. Mary’s Draws Policymakers and Experts to Address Homelessness

St. Mary’s University recently led a discussion on how the community can help people experiencing homelessness. The event, moderated by University President Dr. Thomas Mengler,  included a panel of policymakers and experts — such as U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro and Mayor of San Antonio Ron Nirenberg.

To continue St. Mary’s University’s dedicated pursuit of fostering meaningful dialogue for the community’s well-being, the St. Mary’s Center for Catholic Studies presented the latest conversation series called Finding Common Ground for the Common Good. The discussion was free and open to the public. Click here to read more.

Gala of Gratefulness

Chaminade University of Honolulu held the Silverswords Gala, a benefit dinner for student and athletic scholarships. The gathering served a purpose woven into the fabric of education and opportunity.

In a video presentation, Chaminade senior Audrey Pilar ’24 described how she cried for an hour after learning she received a scholarship. “These scholarships are way more than just a financial burden lifted off someone’s shoulders,” the forensics major said. “It’s way more than just money to a person because to me, I think you’re giving someone hope, and you’re giving someone a chance.”

“Education transforms lives,” said Chaminade President Dr. Lynn Babington, adding, “Our students set out to change the world—they are making a difference.”

Marianist Ministries in Action

Eagle Scout Pays Homage to School, Scouts, and Mary

When Sam Wynn, a senior at St. Mary’s South Side Catholic High School in St. Louis, began strategizing how he could earn an Eagle Scout Award, a process that involves garnering 21 merit badges, he knew one thing. “I wanted to build something for my school.”

He especially wanted a project that would emphasize the mission of faith formation through education. That’s when he came up with the South Side Reflection Garden – a prayer space on campus near the Chapel. “It’s so much more than a prayer garden,” declared Wynn. “The area can be used as an outdoor classroom for teachers and students. It can also be used by our school’s counselors or anyone who wants to use it as a meditation space.”

The project took on a life of its own when Eagle Scout Sponsor Tony Duncan invited Sam to build a prayer bench at his house. St. Mary’s students Soren Hennies,’24, Drew Harden,’26, Julian Christians and Justin Waeltermann,’28, also members of Troop 51, pitched in to help him build and sand the bench.

Having now installed the bench and a statue of Mary, the garden is starting to come alive. “Some of the scouts planted perennial seeds near the statue, so those should be blooming soon,” said Wynn.

“To earn an Eagle Scout Award requires determination, planning, and preparation,” said St. Mary’s South Side Catholic Principal Valerie Todd, who, along with Facilities Director Ryan Reynolds, helped Sam navigate the decisions and approvals about the implementation of his plan. “This project not only showed Sam’s commitment to the tenets of scouting but also his love and dedication to St. Mary’s,” said Todd.

Reflecting on his time in scouts, Sam lights up with enthusiasm: “I have enjoyed every minute of Boy Scouts,” he said. “It opened my eyes to so much in nature.” Sam is also grateful for everyone who helped him along the way. “I had a strong support system. Not everyone is given the opportunity to do something like this.”

Sam Wynn
Sam with friends and fellow troop members

A Marianist Moment

By Bro. David Betz

Celebrating the Resurrection as a Moment in Time and a Mystery That Endures

When celebrating the Resurrection, we are remembering an event in which Jesus was raised from the dead after experiencing arrest, interrogation, torture, and crucifixion. Jesus’ followers were unaware that this could be a possibility since they were not fully paying attention to Jesus’ predictions of his passion, death, and rising. Their fear led them to flee and hide since they felt that they might experience the same fate if they were found out to be a follower of Jesus. But it was the event of Jesus’ rising that eventually led the apostles to remember the importance of Jesus’ words and action while he was alive (see John 2:22, Luke 24:30-32). Understanding the importance of Jesus’ Paschal Mystery, then, enabled the apostles to engage in the process of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. It was their diligence and perseverance that allowed them to keep the memory of Jesus Christ alive.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (renowned Jewish theologian, and philosopher) said, “Memory is a source of faith. To have faith is to remember. Jewish faith is a recollection of that which happened to Israel in the past. The events in which the spirit of God became a reality stand before our eyes, painted in colors that never fade. Much of what the Bible demands can be comprised in one word: Remember.” (pg. 2 of Chap. 1, Thunder in the Soul: To Be Known by God, ed. Robert Erlewine).

I believe the same thing can be said about our Christian faith. Our faith is a recollection of that which happened to the Christian community in the past, and the Christian Scriptures are testaments to the events of Jesus Christ’s life and the early Christian community. It has been the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the Letters of Paul, Peter, James, John, and Jude and the Book of Revelation that have provided the memory for us to preserve the Paschal Mystery for generations and, of course, into the future.

Click here to read more.

From the Archives

Miracle Moment

Reference and Research Archivist for the Marianist Province of the United States Lisa Finnie shares a miracle moment in Marianist history that occurred 25 years ago.

In October 1999, following extensive inquiry, the miraculous cure of Elena Otero, attributable to the intercession of Venerable William Joseph Chaminade, was unanimously authenticated by the Ordinary Congregation of Cardinals and Bishops. On December 20, 1999, the Promulgation of the Decree of Approbation of the miracle was declared.

It was that miracle that merited the beatification of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade by Pope John Paul II the following year.

Elena Graciela Otero de Gaudino of Buenos Aires, Argentina, was diagnosed with a malignant tumor of the thyroid gland in early 1991 at the age of 49. While awaiting surgery, she and her friends, Marianist religious and lay Marianists, prayed for healing through the intercession of Fr. Chaminade. The tumor completely disappeared without any medical intervention, and her cure was determined to be scientifically inexplicable by the Medical Board of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Otero lived to the age of 72, maintaining her strong faith till the end.

Pray With Us

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

Bro. Frank (Paco) Gomes, 83, died on March 13, 2024, in Cupertino, CA, with 64 years of religious profession.

Known affectionately as Brother Paco, Brother Frank served in teaching
ministries for more than 30 years both in his native Hawaii and in Mexico. He also devoted much of his energy toward promoting Hispanic culture in the schools where he served and in community support organizations.

Click here to read more.

Click here to see more pictures.

Good to Know

Mass of Thanksgiving and Art

Join us as we celebrate our artists in Ohio. After more than 34 years of displaying the creative talents of the Marianist Brothers, Gallery Saint John on the campus of Mount Saint John closed on March 1, 2024.

On April 14, 2024,  a Mass will be held in honor of the artists who use their God-given talents to inspire others. Art is a reflection of God’s creativity, creation, and goodness, and these brothers capture that essence with their artwork.

Click here for the invitation and RSVP details.


Imago Dei Assembly – June 27-June 30

The Marianist Social Justice Collaborative’s (MSJC) LGBTQ+ Initiative will host Imago Dei: Embracing the Dignity of LGBTQ+ Persons, an assembly for the Catholic LGBTQ+ community. Imago Dei commemorates the 50th anniversary of a 1974 groundbreaking conference centered on LGBTQ+ inclusion and ministry. It will honor those who developed pastoral outreach and envision how to continue to respond to the needs of the LGBTQ+ community within our Church. Scholarships are available. Click here to learn about speakers, sessions, and other details. 

ALIVE Magazine – Spring Edition

The new fall edition of ALIVE magazine is now available.

Inside, you will find stories about three high school attendees of the Marianist LIFE (Learning in Faith Experience) summer program drawing on lessons they learned in the program to meet the challenges of life and a Marianist Novice celebrates his Texas roots with tasty appetizers and margarita recipes.

Click here to read those stories and more in the digital version.

Join Us!

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

New listings include:

•  Marianist Province of the U.S. (TX) – Director of Resident Services

•  Marianist Province of the U.S. (MO) – Digital Communications Marketing Coordinator

• Director Bergamo Center for Lifelong Learning (OH) – Executive Director

• St. John Vianney High School (MO) – President

• Marianist Retreat & Conference Center (MO) – Director of Hospitality

• Purcell Marian High School (OH) – Principal

• St. Vincent-St. Mary High School (OH) – Asst. Principal, and Director of Advancement

• 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 #79 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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