Volume 23, Number 2 | February 29, 2024

A Time of Hope

Lent is known as a time of sacrifice and repentance, but it is also a time of great hope. These 40 days offer us an opportunity to restore our relationships – with God, our families, neighbors, and the environment. To renew our relationship with God, we must first heal our relationship with ourselves and others – not always an easy task.

“In a world that is increasingly divided and polarized, we should remember that the Blessed Mother accompanies us in our daily lives. She was the first disciple and a model of faith and accompaniment of the early Christian community. Never once did she give up; never once did she doubt. Her only desire was to do God’s will. Her “yes” to God changed everything. We too can create change with her guidance following the pillars of Lent, and that gives great hope of a better tomorrow for our world and a stronger connection to our God,” said Provincial Fr. Oscar Vasquez.

Marianist schools nationwide started the Lenten season with prayer at Ash Wednesday services. At St. John Vianney High School, students end every day with the Three O’Clock Prayer. (picture coming) It is a chaplet highlighted in Lent as it transports you to the foot of the Cross with Mary.

The University of Dayton Campus Ministry offers a variety of ways to participate in the Lenten journey, including a Latin-American take on fasting every Friday called Arroz and Gandules. Meatless food is provided as participants refrain from consuming meat to empathize with those who face hunger daily. (quote and pic from Andres Lopez)

At St. Mary’s University, students dedicate themselves to the pillar of almsgiving with a 40 Days of Lent and Service initiative that offers a diverse range of opportunities for campus community members to connect and volunteer with nonprofits.

You are invited to continue the pilgrimage of hope and join several events, activities, and reflections across our Marianist family.

Lent is the perfect time to seek spiritual renewal and hold onto hope! Look to and lean on Mary for strength and guidance.

May the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be glorified in all places through the Immaculate Virgin Mary. Amen!

Click here for more pictures of Lenten activities across our Marianist Family.

Purcell Marian High School (OH) Ash Wednesday
St. John Vianney High School (MO) 3 O'Clock Prayer
St. Mary's University (TX) 40 Days of Lent and Service photo by Arely Reyes

Click here for Lenten meditations from the North American Center for Marianist Studies.

Click here for reflections offered by the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative.

Click here for an Ecological Lenten Calendar.

Click here for activities offered by University of Dayton, some of which are livestreamed for all to participate.

In The News

Teaching Today’s Students. Funding Tomorrow’s Success

Chaminade College Preparatory School in St. Louis has established a groundbreaking initiative that empowers students to delve into the world of finance through hands-on investment experiences. The Hilltop Capital Fund program is the first of its kind in St. Louis, providing high school students with the opportunity to research, analyze, and invest in real stocks using real capital.

The Hilltop Capital Fund is made possible by the generous support of an anonymous donor who gifted the school $250,000 to start the fund. Chaminade College Preparatory School is grateful for this support!

Click here to read more.

Lawyer Follows Calling to Marianists

As a young criminal lawyer in his home state of Querétaro, Mexico, Guillermo “Memo” Peña Contreras never gave priesthood much thought, until he was introduced to a Marianist priest who invited him to his chapel.

“It was during Holy Week of 2019 when I decided to join the Marianist brothers,” said Contreras. Since then, he has learned English in St. Antonio and started his 20-month journey as a Marianist Novice in Dayton, OH. When the time came to be given a ministry during the second year of his Novitiate, his directors had the perfect assignment.

“They said, ‘What do you think about going back to San Antonio and working in the law school?’ and I was excited,” he said.

He began serving in the Legal Services Area of the Multi-Assistance Center at Morgan’s Wonderland, using his knowledge of the law to offer translation services to individuals with disabilities receiving legal advice. One of the attorneys he met invited him to an eviction court to help translate for the San Antonio Legal Services Association.

From there, he worked with Haven for Hope, the YWCA and American Gateways. “Sometimes they share a bit of their story, so I help in a legal sense but also in a spiritual and human sense,” Contreras said.

Memo is currently in Dayton, preparing to profess his first vows and become a Temporary Professed Marianist. After several years of discernment, he can request to take his perpetual vows. Please pray for Peña in his mission to assist Mary in bringing Christ to the world. Click here to read more.

World Day of Consecrated Life

World Day of Consecrated Life was celebrated on Feb. 2, which coincides with the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. In 1997, Pope Saint John Paul II instituted a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated life.

It’s also a significant day in Marianist history. In 1801, the first 12 members of the Bordeaux Sodality committed to forming the first Marianist Lay community. These earliest Lay Marianists professed their Act of Consecration and named their community “Congregation of the Immaculate Conception.”

Please continue to pray for all those who have made commitments in the consecrated life. May they be inspired by Jesus Christ and respond generously to God’s gift of their vocation.

Marianist Ministries in Action

Marianist Charism Continues After Retirement

Jan is writing a story on Dr. Thomas Mengler — his retirement, legacy, and what’s next.

A Marianist Moment

Engagement Through Art

At the request of Marianist leaders in Rome, the mission to promote Marianist Causes took shape in the form of artistic posters. Since first being produced and distributed last fall, you can find them adorning walls across the country.

Marianist Retreat & Conference Center

At the Marianist Retreat & Conference Center in St. Louis, MO, volunteers created a space near the front door dedicated to showcasing the Marianist Causes.

The Novitiate Community in Dayton, OH, has the poster displayed in its living room.

Marianist Student Communities at UD

The Marianist Student Communities (MSC) at University of Dayton proudly posed for a picture to show where students prominently placed the artwork in one of their homes.

If you would like your own printable poster, you can find a digital copy by clicking here for our Marianist Causes media kit.

These posters popping up in the United States aren’t the only creative way Marianists are engaging people.  Emmanuel College, a Catholic high school in the Marianist tradition located in Melbourne, Australia, commissioned four Marianist art installations.

Emmanuel College Melbourne Australia

“As a college community, we think it’s important to have contemporary images of our Marianist Founders around the school to raise awareness, provoke conversation, and stir inspiration leading to faith and moral formation. Whilst in the yard, every student and staff member can’t help but see the amazing mural of the three founders. In these moments, they know we are part of something bigger – we are part of this century-old community, guided by Mary, to be world changers,” said Mark Sciberras, deputy principal-mission integration.

Just as the posters were created by a collaboration of theology and art teachers at Marianist schools, the artist of the murals in Australia, Daniel Taylor, is also a teacher at Emmanuel College. Click here to see more mural pictures.

From the Archives

A Song for Africa

We have a special “archive” this month as Bro. Jack Somerville highlights his time in Africa in the 1980s. Bro. Jack wrote and created A Song for Africa while living in Zambia (1985-1986). Click the image below to hear his plea to share with him “a world that is simple and free” as you view images from his mission.

If you’d like to see 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

Art Sale Success

Lay Marianist Michele Devitt

The art sale at Gallery Saint John was a success! A big thank-you to Lay Marianist Michele Devitt who volunteered her time organizing and managing the sale. She reports that 75% of the art at the gallery has been sold. It included works from  Bro. Joe Barrish, Bro. Don Smith, Bro. John Lemker, Bro. Charlie Wanda,  Fr. Mike Nartker,  Bro. Louis Fournier and Bro. Gary Marcinowski.

The gallery will officially close on March 1, 2024, with the remaining artwork moving to the “Marianist Creativity Center” located at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX.  A Mass to honor and celebrate all involved is in the works for April.

Looking for a Spiritual Summer Adventure?

Retreat with us at the Marianist Family Retreat Center in Cape May Point, NJ.

Retreat weeks start each Monday, beginning June 24 through August 17. Note: there is a special week for single-parent families, July 15-20.

Join together with other families for the week. Mass and other family liturgies are complemented by skits, presentations, family sharing, peer group discussions, sunset beach walks, and other fun activities.

Scheduled recreation and free time (4-5 hours daily), with ocean swimming (the beach is a 1/2 block away), are part of all family retreats. The cost includes meals, room, program, beach access and more!

Click here for more information or email: [email protected] or call 609-884-3829 – financial aid is available.

Beyond the Byline With Bombeck

Did you know the trailblazing humor writer, bestselling author, and syndicated columnist Erma Bombeck was a proud University of Dayton (UD) student?

A new exhibit in the UD Roesch Library celebrates the multifaceted life and legacy of Bombeck (1927–1996). “Beyond the Byline: Erma Bombeck’s Story” will be on display from Feb. 1 through June 15 in the Stuart and Mimi Rose Gallery in Roesch Library. It will feature Bombeck’s original manuscripts, columns, handwritten notes, speeches, articles, photographs, and memorabilia from her personal collection, which was donated by the Bombeck family to the UD Archives in December 2020.

Bombeck’s daughter, Betsy Bombeck, will also keynote an Erma Bombeck Writing Competition Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, April 3.

Click here for more information on the exhibit, ceremony, and an array of Bombeck events or send an email to [email protected]. You can also subscribe to the Erma Bombeck newsletter.

Join Us!

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

New listings include:

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

• Marianist Province of U.S. (MO) – Office of Sponsorship Director

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

• Purcell Marian High School (OH) – Principal

• St. Vincent-St. Mary High School (OH) – Principal, Asst. Principal, and 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 #78 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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