Celebration in India closes out Marianist Bicentennial

The Marianist Bicentennial came to a colorful, joyous conclusion in Singhpur, India, on Chaminade Day, Jan. 22.

The event was the culmination of a global, 18-month-long observation of the 200th birthdays of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate (Marianist Sisters) and the Society of Mary.

The location of the final festivities was no cavalier decision. “With the selection of this place, we wish to express a projection toward the frontiers and toward the future of our Marianist religious life,” wrote Sr. Franca Zonta and Fr. Manuel Cortés, superiors of the Marianist Sisters and the Society of Mary, in a joint circular. Both branches of Marianist religious are present in India, with multiple communities and vital ministries, and there are growing numbers of Lay Marianists as well.

The closing ceremonies were full of music, dance and prayer, incorporating vibrant Indian cultural traditions. See more photos!

Benefactor’s big heart beats for Marianist PULSE ministry

Joan Means in front of the PULSE house in Dayton. Joan donated the house to the PULSE ministry in honor of her late husband, Michael.

Joan Means has a big heart. And when she learned that the Marianist PULSE ministry was struggling to find housing for its participants, her big heart hatched a big idea.

“Why don’t I help the PULSE program buy and refurbish a house in the Five Oaks Neighborhood?” she thought. Five Oaks is where she and her husband, Michael Means, who died in 2015, had lived for many years.

Michael was an English teacher at the University of Dayton, and he and Joan had shared a passion for community activism. They had served on many nonprofit boards and committees alongside Marianist brothers and priests.

“I thought it was the perfect way to memorialize Michael — to meld all of his work at UD and in the community — with this Marianist volunteer program,” she said.

The home is one of two PULSE community houses in Dayton. “PULSErs” live at the home while they work at local nonprofit organizations and participate in Marianist leadership development programs.

“Joan views this incredible gift as legacy for her husband, but it’s also a legacy for this neighborhood. She’s ensured that PULSE can be lasting presence here,” said Maureen O’Rourke, PULSE coordinator. See more photos.

Three questions with …

Fr. Joe Uvietta

Over the course of 65 years of ministry, Fr. Joe, 86, has served as a high school teacher, novice master and chaplain. He was president of his alma mater, Central Catholic High School and director of the Marianist Retreat & Conference Center. He also was head of religious life and provincial of the former St. Louis Province.

What’s keeping you busy these days?

I’m chaplain for a community of retired Mercy Sisters, and I say Mass there every day but Saturday. There are about 50 of the Mercy Sisters, plus about seven Visitation Sisters who live there as well. I also help out at three local parishes, and I celebrate Mass at St. John Vianney twice a month, plus some faculty masses now and then. I’m also chaplain for the board of trustees at Vianney. I have something going every single day.

You’ve served in so many ways. What has been your favorite ministry?

I loved teaching high school. It’s been 34 years since I was in the classroom and I still miss teenagers. I always loved school and I wanted to share that; it’s what attracted me to the Marianists in the first place.

What gives you joy?

Being with people. I am grateful for all the interactions, whether it’s with the faculty at Vianney or the housekeepers at the sisters’ community. The family spirit of the Marianists has always been so important to me.

Contacts explore Marianist calling

Am I called? That was among the questions seven young adults explored at the annual Marianist contact retreat last month. The weekend provided time to pray and reflect with one another about what a religious calling feels like — and whether a Marianist vocation is right for them.

“Contact” is the first stage of Marianist formation.

Each of the contacts attending already had a relationship with the Marianists: Six are Marianist university students or alumni. Four are Lay Marianists. Three have lived in student Marianist Lay communities. Two are graduates of Marianist high schools. One currently is serving with Marianist PULSE.

“They already had a heartfelt connection to the Marianists,” said Bro. Mark Motz, national vocation director. “The most satisfying part of the weekend was spending time with people who are deeply interested in doing whatever God is calling them to do and exploring those possibilities with us.”

Read more about formation in the Society of Mary or Marianist Sisters.

Retreatants visited the historic Mission Concepción in San Antonio. In front: Sr. Nicole Trahan, Peter Evans and Tori Schoen. In back: Sam Brickweg, Kevin Prada, Chicago Schuller and Bro. Mark Motz. Not pictured: Elizabeth Adams and Sam Mullins.

Marianist Family members in the news

Marianists announce new Provincial Council members

The Marianist Province of the United States has announced the new members of its Provincial Council.

Last fall, the Marianist General Administration in Rome announced Fr. Oscar Vasquez and Bro. Bernard Ploeger as the new provincial and assistant provincial for the Marianists in the United States. Fr. Oscar and Bro. Bernie now announce those who will assume additional key leadership roles in the province, beginning Aug. 1, 2018.

Asst. for Religious Life
Fr. Tim Kenney

Asst. for Education
Bro. Jesse O’Neill

Asst. for Temporalities
Bro. Joe Markel

Bro. Charlie Johnson

Fr. Kip Stander

These new council members were chosen following a formal consultation process involving all member of the Province of the United States. Fr. Tim and Bros. Jesse and Joe will serve at the province offices in St. Louis. Bro. Charlie and Fr. Kip will remain in San Antonio and Dayton respectively, providing a broader perspective on the province.

Read more about the new members of the Provincial Council.

Two Marianists ordained in India

The Society of Mary welcomed two new priests on Jan. 28, as Bishop Telesphore Bilung, of the Archdiocese of Ranchi, India, presided at the ordination of Sebestian Bara and Raj Mohan.

The ordination ceremony took place at the Marianist novitiate in Ranchi.

The District of India is a growing unit sponsored by the Marianist Province of the United States.

Following the ordination ceremony, Bishop Bilung helps Fr. Sebestian Bara light the many candles on the cake. Fr. Raj Mohan is at left.

New Marianist Affiliate welcomed

Among the members of the Marianist Affiliate group in Illinois are its coordinator Shirley Vachon, Jay O’Neill, new Affiliate Monica O’Neill and Fr. Al McMenamy.

A small but growing group of Marianist Affiliates welcomed a new member last month. Monica O’Neill made her commitment in the company of friends based at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Streamwood, Illinois. Fr. Al McMenamy is the group’s mentor and spiritual adviser.

Read more about Marianist Affiliates.

Sr. Gabrielle Bibeau was interviewed on Relevant Radio (a Catholic station) for Chaminade Day. The topic? Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, of course.

Listen to the interview; Sr. Gabrielle begins at 6 minutes, 17 seconds. Sr. Gabrielle works at the North American Center for Marianist Studies.

Bro. Harry Cornell was honored at Central Catholic High School during Marianist Heritage Week last month. In addition to being an alumnus (class of ’58), Bro. Harry has taught at CCHS for 55 years!

Bro. Darwin Joseph was awarded a doctorate degree in philosophy last month from Assumption College in Bangkok, Thailand. Bro. Darwin is the first Indian Marianist to earn a doctoral degree. He also serves as assistant district superior for the Marianists in India.

Bro. Prakash Kujur earned a master’s degree in school administration from Assumption University of Bangkok, joining Bro. Darwin (above) at graduation ceremonies last month. These achievements will enable Marianists in the District of India to continue to strengthen their educational ministries.

Fr. Ted Ley received a Founders Award from Chaminade College Preparatory in West Hills, California, as part of the school’s Founder’s Day celebration last month. A 1958 CCP graduate, Fr. Ted was recognized for his many years of service to the school. Read more.

Fr. Francis Nakagawa was recognized in a recent article in the Hawaii Catholic Herald. The article described a recent visit to Honolulu of the Japanese Peace Committee, which includes religious leaders from a variety of faith traditions.

For many decades, Fr. Francis, now age 90, welcomed this group to Honolulu as head of the Japanese Catholic Community of Hawaii. Read the article.

Marianist ministries in action

New president formally installed at Chaminade University

At her inauguration ceremony Jan. 20, Lynn Babington received a print of Our Lady of the Pillar, a cherished Marianist icon. Fellow Marianist University presidents Eric Spina (in red) from the University of Dayon and Thomas Mengler from St. Mary’s University assisted in presenting the print, which was a gift from the Society of Mary. Marianist Provincial Fr. Martin Solma, (back to the camera) made the presentation on behalf of the Marianist Province of the United States. At his left is Steve Neiheisel, executive director of the Association of Marianist Universities.

Chaminade University of Honolulu inaugurated its 10th president on Jan. 20. Before a crowd of community dignitaries, university regents, family, friends and colleagues, Dr. Lynn Babington pledged to usher in a new era of innovation while remaining true to the school’s Marianist heritage.

“Higher education with a higher purpose is the life led here at Chaminade,” she said in her inaugural address.

Lynn began the leadership role this summer, taking the reins from Bro. Bernie Ploeger, who had been Chaminade’s president since 2009.

Among the highlights of the event was the presentation of a historic Hawaiian artifact, a walking stick, that had been in the collection of the Marianist Archives. The walking stick was inscribed with the name of Hawaii’s last king, King Kalakaua, and was among the belongings of Bro. Bertram Bellinghausen, one of the first Marianists on the island. In honor of Lynn’s inauguration, the Marianists made a permanent gift of this artifact to the ‘Iolani Palace, the former home of King Kalakaua and a National Historic Landmark.

Read more about the inauguration.

Marianist schools mark Chaminade Day, Heritage Week

There’s always a blizzard of family spirit in late January as Marianist high schools and universities celebrate their heritage with Masses, special awards and celebrations honoring Blessed William Joseph Chaminade and all those who carry on his traditions. See more photos!

At Central Catholic High School in San Antonio, senior Christian Carranza poses with the Fr. Chami mascot as part of Marianist Heritage festivities. Insiders report that Eddie Ybarra, interim principal, is inside the costume.

At Chaminade University of Honolulu, Fr. George Cerniglia helps oversee the bedecking of the statue of Blessed Chaminade with traditional Hawaiian lei. Each year, students and campus ministry staff honor Fr. Chaminade as part of Marianist Heritage celebrations.

St. Laurence College celebrates 50th anniversary

St. Laurence College, a Marianist-sponsored secondary school in Dublin, Ireland, marked its 50th anniversary on Jan. 28 with a Mass and afternoon tea for the school family, including alumni, faculty, parents and students. “It was a wonderful event that captured the warm spirit of St. Laurence,” said Bro. Joe Kamis. Bro. Joe, assistant provincial, attended as a representative of the Provincial Council. He served as principal of St. Laurence from 1980-1985.

The Marianists of the St. Laurence College Community include Bros. Fred Rech, and Gerry McCauley, Bro. Joe Kamis (representing the Province of the U.S.), Fr. Mike Reaume and Bro. Jim Contadino.

Bro. Joe Kamis, assistant provincial, addresses those gathered to celebrate St. Laurence College’s 50th anniversary.

Gross Catholic family explains the Catholic school advantage

The Sweetmon family (photo by omaha.com)

A Catholic Schools Week article on omaha.com highlighted the choices of the Sweetmon family in choosing Catholic schools — both for their careers and as educational paths. The parents both serve at Daniel J. Gross Catholic, a Marianist-sponsored school in Omaha, where their oldest daughter will attend next year.

Read the article.

Pray with us

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

Fr. Richard – undated

Fr. Richard – 2015

Fr. Richard Loehrlein, 87, died on Jan. 21. He had been a Marianist for 68 years. Fr. Richard was a missionary, teacher and chaplain who served in Eastern Africa for nearly 30 years. He is credited with establishing vibrant Lay Marianist communities. Read his obituary. See more photos.

Good to know

Marianist moment: Fr. Domingo Lázaro

Among the Marianists on the path to sainthood is Fr. Domingo Lázaro, a Spanish priest who has been named a Servant of God.

Fr. Lázaro was the first native-born provincial for his country. He was recognized for his skill as an educator, and he believed strongly in a family model of teaching. He wrote:  “Educators who are truly faithful to and successful in their trade owe all of their art to mothers.”

Thanks to Bro. David Betz for sharing this article about Fr. Domingo Lázaro.

Cathedral Latin Alumni Association to honor Fr. Paul Marshall

The Cathedral Latin Alumni Association will honor the late Fr. Paul Marshall with its Merit Award at a Mass and ceremony on April 29 at 10:30 a.m. at St. John Cathedral in Cleveland.

Fr. Paul, who died in 2014, was a member of the Cathedral Latin class of 1965, and he taught there in the early years of his ministry.

For more information on the Mass the breakfast that will follow, please contact Joe Spagnuolo.

Upcoming feast days

Feb. 11 – Our Lady of Lourdes
Feb. 14 – Ash Wednesday

Stay in touch


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

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

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