Charism, Charisma and Country Music
Trey Gonzalez is lighting up radio airwaves and stages across Texas with his country crooning, fervent faith and Marianist ways.
“The Five Characteristics of a Marianist Education are very important to me, two of which I lean on daily – Adaptation and Change and Family Spirit. In an ever-changing world, we must learn to adapt to our environment and circumstances while maintaining a faith-based approach. It helps block out the noise that life throws at you. A Marianist education provides that anchor and principles. It benefits you in more than just your professional life.”
Gonzalez is successful in two professions: he is an up-and-coming country music star and a research psychologist with the United States Air Force.
His music is described as a little Luke Bryan with a twist of George Strait. He started playing for audiences at ACTS retreats, then at Rattler Awakening and Tecaboca. Just last month, he took to the Y100 Country stage at the annual Fiesta Oyster Bake in San Antonio, which typically draws a crowd of around 70,000. “It was a dream come true,” he says.
He reflects on all the people who helped him get where he is today, from his parents’ sacrifices to peers he met while involved with University Ministry and a variety of Marianist retreats to some standout educators.
“All of them have had their impact – Fr. Tim Eden from St. Mary’s University, Fr. Jim Tobin, Bro. James Burkholder, Bro. Harry Cornell, Fr. Don Cowie, Fr. Pat McDaid, and so many more. But, I think the one person who really stands out – and I hope to embody a little bit of his character – is Mr. Ed Ybarra. As principal of my high school, he played an integral part in refining my sense of integrity. He just believed in me, which meant the world to me.”
He says he hopes he makes Ybarra proud as well as his parents and his Marianist community. “It’s my hope that I can somehow have a greater impact on the world, and that’s what really keeps me going,” says Gonzalez.
Stay tuned, Trey Gonzalez may already have two albums under his belt, but he is just getting started. “I have aspirations of recording a Christian album, but right now, my music primarily focuses on love, heartbreak and personal experiences.”
In The News
St. Mary’s Exceeds in Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign
The oldest Catholic university in the Southwest is celebrating a historic achievement.
St. Mary’s University well surpassed its goal by $35 million, ultimately raising $165 million. It said it received gifts, pledges and grants from nearly 11,500 alumni and friends of the university. Funds will be used for things like research, facilities, programs and scholarships.
The largest donor, Bill Greehey (B.B.A. ’60), explains why he is always compelled to be so generous. “I got a quality education at St. Mary’s. Plus, we were taught the Marianist values, which served me well in my personal life and business career. One of the things the Marianists always say is, ‘You’re never a success unless you share that success with others.’’’
Saint Louis School in Honolulu, Hawaii celebrated its first all-school Mass since the pandemic.
At the April Mass, religion teacher Tasha Castro and senior Joshua Alcisto received the Chaminade award for their devotion to their faith and generosity in service to the school community.
Click here to see some of the beautiful ways they integrate Hawaiian culture into Mass and hear the students’ joy.
Fish Fry Smackdown
The St. Louis area has a long tradition of parish fish fry meals, creating quite a competition among Catholic parishes. This past Lent, Our Lady of the Pillar was awarded a 1st place trophy from KMOX, a local news radio station, and its Dave Glover Show. The competition is called the KMOX DGS 2022 Fish Fry Smackdown. Congratulations to Fr. Tom French, Fr. George Cerniglia and all the fish fry volunteers.
Marianist Ministries in Action
Community and Inclusivity are Modeled Here
Alex Datoc, an ’87 graduate of Archbishop Riordan High School, didn’t fully appreciate the Marianist charism until he was hired as a guidance counselor at the school in 2001. That year, he began serving as a Marianist LIFE moderator. “I learned so much about the Marianist tradition by connecting with Marianist educators from across the country,” he said.
Now director of campus ministry, Alex relishes building relationships with the students, especially at events such as the Kairos retreat he facilitated last month. “It’s a special time for students to experience God in nature, in others and in ourselves,” he said.
According to Alex, two things about the charism really resonate with students. One is community. “It’s not unusual for visitors to comment about how tight-knit our student community is and how much they care for each other,” he said.
The other is inclusivity. “Archbishop Riordan reflects the diversity of San Francisco, and every student can find a niche on campus where he feels welcomed and accepted,” said Alex.
On a personal note, Alex met his wife, Mary Ann Bernardo, a math teacher at Chaminade College Preparatory in Los Angeles, during a Marianist LIFE Pacific gathering in 2001. They married in 2004 and became Marianist Lay Affiliates in 2019.
Caring for Our Elderly Marianist Brothers and Priests
Today, there are 209 professed brothers in the Province of the United States. Of those, 75 percent are over 70, with 63 residing in one of three Marianist assisted living communities in California, Texas or Ohio.
“Our goal is to help these men remain in active ministry as much as possible,” said Jenee Margo Gonzales, philanthropy coordinator for the Office of Mission Advancement.
For example, Bro. Al Kuntemeier, 91, who lives at the Marianist Residence in San Antonio, said the focus of his ministry is to “serve my community by praying the intentions every day, being a cantor at Mass and serving as a prayer leader.” He also serves St. Mary’s University by supporting student activities and athletic programs. “And I serve by taking good care of myself, doing workouts, playing tennis three times a week, staying active – vertical and moving,” he said.
With the cost of health care rising, more than one-third of the province’s operating budget is devoted to caring for aging brothers. “Marianist brothers and priests have brought hope, offered support and shared Christ’s love with everyone who has been graced by their presence, “ said Jenee. “Now, the brothers and priests ask their faithful friends to assist in supporting them in their senior years.”
Many donors join St. Joseph’s Club, a monthly giving guild, “because they see it as a way to give back to the men who have bestowed so much upon them,” adds Jenee.
To watch a video about elderly Marianists click on the image above, and to learn more about St. Joseph’s Club and how you can assist, click here.
A Marianist Moment
By Bro. David Betz
The Witness of Women and the Resurrection
Being a member of a male religious community dedicated to a woman, especially in today’s secular society, can be seen as strange since a masculine stereotype sees dependence on a woman or looking upon a woman as a role model as supposedly not healthy. But this is furthest from the truth. I feel that the women in my life have been some of the most influential people. They support me, care for me, challenge me and love me. I say this because I grew up with five wonderful women in the Betz Family. Granted, we have not always seen eye to eye, but they continue to be very significant people in my life. And I gather the women in Jesus’ life were very similar.
From the Archives
More Than Just a Photograph
We celebrated the 261st birthday of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade on April 8. There are countless images and statues of our Society of Mary founder. But, did you know there is no known photograph of him? Or is there?
Born in 1761, photographs were extremely rare in his lifetime, unlike today’s “selfie” generation. However, the picture displayed here has more than an uncanny resemblance to Father Chaminade.
Click here to read the compelling comments from a well-known artist, author and historian on why this photo might be more than just a “clergyman.”
If you’d like to see more from the Marianist Archives, visit and “like” this Facebook page.
Pray With Us
Please join us in prayer for these members of the Marianist Family.
Bro. Peter Pontolillo, 83, died on April 12, 2022, in San Antonio, Texas, with 64 years of religious profession. Brother Peter was a beloved teacher and nationally-recognized school administrator, superintendent and educational lobbyist who also served for a decade as Secretary General of the Society of Mary in Rome, Italy. His leadership skills to advance Catholic education for more than 30 years earned him awards presented by the Ford Motor Company, the NCEA, Today’s Catholic Teacher magazine, and Apple Computer.
Fr. Stephen Tutas, 95, died on April 16, 2022, in Cupertino, California. Father Steve was a giant in the Society of Mary. He was a man of quiet intelligence, steadfast hope and exceptional leadership abilities. He served as Superior General of the Society of Mary from 1971 to 1981. He was among the five Marianists instrumental in the creation of Chaminade University of Honolulu, and he served as president of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men. He also was chair of the Transition Coordinating Committee, shepherding the consolidation of four American provinces into the Province of the United States in 2002.
Good to Know
Chapel Makeover at Marianist Residence
The Marianist Residence and Care Center chapel in San Antonio received a remarkable makeover. It might be easiest to say what’s not new in this revered room – everything from the lighting and flooring to the stained-glass windows and Italian hand-carved statues is fresh.
Bro. Fred Halwe created numerous pieces for the sanctuary, including the Chaminade, Adele and Our Lady of Guadalupe figures displayed in front of the ambo.
Bros. Larry Corbin and Tom Suda were the purveyors of the project. Bro. Tom has attended liturgy in this chapel every Sunday for about 15 years, “I’ve been saying for five years, I HAVE to renovate this chapel… I’ve done many renovations around the province. I’m not a liturgist, but I know what elements are needed to create a space. I’ve made 30-40 altars; it’s a work of love.” Bro. Larry adds that the renovation really “adds to the prayer life of the community.”
The prayer space, now with movable chairs instead of the former pews locked in place, allows people, especially brothers using walkers and wheelchairs, openness and flexibility in which to gather.
Click here to see before, during and after photos and videos of the chapel renovation.
A Vision of Art and Faith
You may not know his name, but you’ve likely seen his work in publications like Peter Pan and Dante’s Divine Comedy.
Italian artist Ezio Anichini’s career, bridged the art nouveau style of the early 20th century and the propaganda of World War I. Some of his less known and understood art is his series of 46 images based on the honorary titles of the Virgin Mary in the traditional Catholic prayer form, the Litany of Loreto.
Now through August 26, you can glimpse these images firsthand at the Marian Library at University of Dayton. Author John A. Shaffer shares his private collection and independent research of Anichini in the exhibit, A Vision of Art and Faith: The Litany of Loreto and the Work of Ezio Anichini (1886-1948).
Two highlights of this exhibit are Litanie della Madonna, a rare book in the Marian Library collections containing Litany of Loreto imagery by Anichini, along with two intricately embroidered reproductions of Anichini illustrations in gold thread, filoselle and fine floss, on loan from the Royal School of Needlework in London.
The exhibit is free and open to the public at the Marian Library Gallery.
For more information, click here or scan the QR code.
6th Annual Religious Brothers Day – May 1st
Celebrate the 6th annual Religious Brothers Day with an online gathering.
A special program is planned by the new co-chairs, Marianist Bro. Andrew Kosmowski and DeLaSalle Christian Bro. J.D. Macioce, FSC, along with members of the Brothers Think Tank, which includes the following collaborating national religious organizations:
CMSM (Conference of Major Superiors of Men)
NRVC (National Religious Vocation Conference)
RBC (Religious Brothers Conference)
RFC (Religious Formation Conference)
The one-hour program from 1:30-2:30 P.M. (Eastern Time) will include prayer, reflections by several brothers and an opportunity for small group conversation.
Need to Get Away & Refocus?
Each of the four Marianist Retreat Centers – in Ohio, Texas, Missouri and New Jersey – offers a unique experience of “getting away” while providing opportunities for fellowship and faith.
Explore the retreat and event opportunities for each location, then schedule a time to unwind and renew.
Your support makes it possible for the Marianists to continue this vital ministry.
Stay in Touch
AMU Newsletter from the Association of Marianist Universities
District Update #57 from the Marianist District of India
Gifts and 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
NACMS Newsletter from the North American Center for Marianist Studies
Via Latina 22 from the General Administration of the Society of Mary
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