ISSUE # 73

September 2003


GMC PICNIC

MOUNT ST. MICHAEL

SEPTEMBER 13

GMC picnic: All are invited to the annual Greater Marist Community picnic to be held on Saturday, September 13th, in the garth at Mount St. Michael Academy, 4300 Murdock Avenue, in the Bronx. As with other years, the picnic will be held rain or shine. People generally arrive about noon and stay until about 5 p.m. Bring your own beverage and a potluck dish for a shared meal. Although the "regulars" will be there again(!), we are always pleasantly surprised when a new face appears, accompanied by such words as: "...I've been wanting to come for years and just got around to it."

The Ninth Marist Family Weekend July 10,11,12,13: They first came together nine years ago. There was an invitation from Larry Keogh, Br. Hugh Turley, and Br. Denis Dunne -- a desire to see each other, renew acquaintance, talk about those strange times many years before that brought them together in a training time under the Marist banner. And so, what started so innocently became an annual time of renewal and searching. Not only were old friendships renewed, but a sense of purpose was added in the rediscovery of Marist Spirit. But each year someone else was missing, his or her place taken by someone new. A small cadre of Brothers and a larger one of former Brothers, wives, and even a widow of a former Marist, came together. This community, as it reconvened each year continuing its search, grew in age and grace.

This year' s presenters who inspired the group as a whole included Br. Luke Driscoll, Gus Nolan, David Kammer, Rev. Owen Lafferty, Don Mulcare, Br. Rene Roy, Br. John Malich. Added blessings included two Marist Fathers -- Rev. Ed Keel and Rev. Pat Primeaux-- who celebrated the Liturgy for the group. Rich Foy and Gus Nolan shared the research developed through the Marist College Heritage Project, depicting the early years of the Poughkeepsie and Esopus properties.

One of the most awesome benefits of the weekend was the recognition of the wives of former Marists and their contributions to the weekend. The assimilation was completed: not only have they come to understand the special gifts inherited by their spouses through the Marist Spirit, but they themselves were now offering in return what they had garnered over these few years. In short, this weekend was a blessing for all of us! (Editor)

from BR. JOSEPH BELANGER (‘43): I spoke at Nassau Community College in April on the social work and doctrine of St. Marcellin Champagnat. Nassau was hosting the annual meeting of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists.... In May I spoke on the three stages of Albert Camus' plan to make the world a better place. This talk, in French, took place in Poitiers, France, to two dozen members of the Camus Society from around the world. My brother Ernie accompanied me to Poitiers. Ernie is now fully retired from teaching and does some selling of keyboards for AlphaSmart, a British company, and for Cortron, a US company. Alicia is retiring in July. Their daughter Amaya married Javier Duran in April 2002 and is now practicing medicine in a social security hospital in Madrid. Javier works computers for the distribution of electricity around Madrid. Ernie's son Diego has finished his studies and will be taking the medical boards in the fall. (ebelanger@redestb.es and Joseph.Belanger@Marist.edu)

from DICK (Stephen Aloysius) BRANIGAN (‘50): Call it a retreat. Call it a six-day vacation at a cabin in the Wisconsin northwoods. We'll remember it as a generous gift from Charlie Scott and his wife Anne. (A sweet and accommodating wife is one of God's crowning glories.) For the last week in July, they gave over their well-appointed cottage on Four-Mile Lake near Eagle River to four balding seventy-somethings who -- despite early common training, direction, grounding and theology -- found themselves with disparate leanings, notions and complaints about the landscape they find themselves in today. This was a mini summer gathering of several of the class of 1950. Although he originally planned to be there, it was much regretted that Dick Jambor was unable to be with us. He was missed by classmates Bill Powers, Dick Branigan, Charlie Scott and Br. Hugh Andrew (Bayonne), the only bona fide Marist Brother in the lot. Dick had not seen Br. Hugh for fifty-two years.

Four guys around a kitchen table with ample food and beverage with reminiscing on their minds can be more cathartic than almost any therapy you can think of. Yes, we at times became self-appointed theologians and secular mystics, but we dialogued with good hearts. There may have been a smattering of bitterness about something in the Church, the government -- even the medical field -- but there was joy, too, and a reasonable acceptance of who we were down deep. We solved nothing -- as men are apt to do in groups -- with good Scotch close at hand. And looking back on our earlier days together, we hung no one out to dry. We had a listing of our entire class, and we revisited them all in Esopus, Tyngsboro and Poughkeepsie. The hours of recollection we spent talking about the old days, making a breakdown of who's in and who's out, who of our initial forty-seven men are still with us: all this seemed to telescope the years. Each of us brought pictures, athletic programs and such to share. Our heads and hearts were one about so much. There is surely a slice of Marist in each of our pie charts.

We ate our fill of rib eyes and brats. Br. Hugh fried up some Potatoes Gallagher in a fifty year-old ten-pound black cast iron skillet, and he treated us all to dinner at the White Stag, a rustic area eatery. We toasted Dick Jambor and then had another round to remember, with wide hearts, our other classmates. Charlie Scott treated us to a five-hour pontoon boat ride on the chain of lakes situated around his cottage. Luckily, Br. Hugh knew how to switch gas tanks when one went dry half way home. And Charlie and Bill piloted us safely to home base despite Hugh and Dick's anxiety overhearing, "Hey, Charlie, what lake do you think we're on now?" That's right. Real men still rarely ask for directions.

This opportunity to reconnect and relive that crucial part of our lives was of benefit to all of us. Crucial because we came out of that training with "stuff" that along the way might have kept us from serious trouble. Finally, as we said our goodbyes to the lake and drove away from this gem in the woods, I knew that one of the best gifts you can give someone is to really take the time to listen to him fully. And also, if they snore, to leave it alone. (1814 Fairview St., Oshkosh, WI 54901; 920-233-2954; branigan@uwosh.edu)

from GUS NOLAN (‘52) and BR. RICHARD RANCOURT (‘53): You are invited to this year's Marist College Homecoming and Reunion Weekend -- a particularly special occasion for those of us in Marist College's Heritage Classes (‘47-‘66). On Saturday, October 11, there will be a dedication of the Foy Townhouses in honor of President Emeritus Richard Foy (‘50), a Heritage Reception at noon, and a Heritage Classes Dinner at 8:00 p.m. You can count on enjoying the company of old friends and warm Marist hospitality. For details, go to www.marist.edu/alumni.

from MICHAEL GOLDRICK (‘63): I presently live in Pismo Beach with my wife, Pam and our two children. John is at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, and Mary is at Alan Hancock College in Santa Maria. For the past nine years I have worked as the Director of Campus Ministry and Chair of the Religion Department at Mission College Prep Catholic High School in San Luis Obispo in the Diocese of Monterey. I teach one class (speech and debate) but spend most of my time organizing retreats, liturgies, community service projects and summer immersion programs for our students in Mexico. Pam is an RN and works in home health care. We celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary this year.

I also spend a fair amount of time working on an economic development program that I began about fifteen years ago among the Zapotec Indians of Oaxaca, Mexico. A friend and I import weavings or ‘tapetes' that are handmade by the Zapotecs. We distribute them to retail outlets throughout the U.S. It's been very rewarding and gives me an excuse for frequent trips back to Mexico.

I think often of the Marists who taught and inspired me, especially those of you with whom I shared community, and those who, knowingly or not, helped me start to get real. I wish I could say I have no regrets, but I do very much regret not having stayed in contact. I only recently discovered the Marists All web site with its updated e-mail addresses. My intention is to connect with many of the people I think about so often. (181 Surf Street, Pismo Beach CA 93449-2809; 805-773-7196; estimado@aol.com)

from JERRY BYRNE (‘60): I was at Esopus juniorate 1957-1959 and the Mansion novitiate in 1959-1960. I left in July 1960. Br. Peter Hilary doubted I would last out the retreat at the end of my first year of college: he was right! In his absence I caved in and asked to go home. I was being disruptive to others, not following rules, and acting "worldly." Pat McMahon was my "buddy" during that first year. Nice guy, friendly, and always around to show me the ropes. May he rest in peace.

The very month I left, I got a job in the mail room for Westinghouse Elevator Company in Jersey City (NJ). I'm planning on retiring next July from Schindler Elevator Corporation, the company that bought out Westinghouse. So, I will have spent forty-four years with the same company, but not all those years in the mail room. After two years in the Army in Germany and Ethiopia, I came home to marry in September of 1966. Ed Doran attended my wedding. I have recently been in touch with him again: found him through Marists All. I graduated St. Peter's College in 1971 with an accounting degree and have had a good career in finance these past many years. We have two daughters, both college grads enjoying their careers.

I'm grateful for my life today, my wife Carol, my children, my job, my Marist contacts, and most of all, for the gift of sobriety. I've been touched by the stories of other B/brothers who have also found help in AA. I've been sober since July 1989: July again! God sure is consistent. I attended my first Matt Talbot retreat in, of all places, Esopus! Since then I regularly attend Mass, help out as an usher frequently, and serve on the parish finance committee. Lots of good things have happened in my life these past fourteen years. and one of the best things is finding the Marists again. You know, you can't make this stuff up! (2217 Orchard Drive, S. Plainfield NJ 07080-2933; 908-561-1267; jerry_byrne@us.schindler.com)

from TOM MOYLAN (‘43): Had I remained a Marist, I would be celebrating my 60th this year along with three classmates. Throughout my eighty years I have always remained a Marist at heart and really wish it had been in God's plan to leave me an active Marist.

I'm now in a nursing home in New York City. I am well taken care of medically. Life has been good, but now I am terribly lonesome as there are very few to whom I can have constructive conversation. Time seems endless. Yes, at times, friends and family come, and that is a treat. I spend most of my days with prayers, meditation, and extensive reading. Any good books you have and no longer need or want, send them to me. Biographies, autobiographies, and so forth; I'm not fussy. When I finish them, I give them to the library here at the home.

I can come and go as I see fit, but since I suffer with rheumatoid arthritis, spinal stenosis, and osteoporosis, my running around is far too painful. Recently, I spoke with Martin Healy. He has invited me to spend a few days with him in Roselle (NJ). At that time we will take a trip to Esopus. For me that will be like "going home."

I've never lost my Marist feelings of love for God and Mary which were instilled in us by Br. John Philibert at St. Ann's Hermitage juniorate. I kept in close touch with Br. John even after he returned to France. What a friend he was; what a deeply religious man. To this day I feel he is a saint. His death was a great loss to me. How I mourned him.

I got into real estate in New York and found my niche. I loved the work, the camaraderie, and the chance to help young men under my employ. Some continue to visit me here at the home with their wives and children. Besides being a real estate broker, I was also general manager of some of New York's prestigious buildings. It has been a fulfilling life, but I always felt something spiritually missing. I know now that in my heart I always wanted to remain an active Marist. The Franciscans say Mass here at the home once a week, and that's it. No other ministry of any kind.

Since it costs $10,000 a month at this nursing home, it will not be long before I'm on Medicare and Medicaid. My savings are signed over to the home; regardless of what we have in our accounts, we are allowed $50 a month in spending money. Talk about the vow of poverty! The allowance goes quickly to my use of a phone, my love of a daily newspaper, and my smoking. I'm looking forward to getting some pen pals! I'd like that! (DeWitt Nursing Home (#606), 211 East 79th Street, NY, NY 10021)

from ED CASTINE (‘50): Since our last contact with Marists All , we sold our home in Lantana, Florida, and became what RV enthusiasts refer to as "full timers." Our fifth wheel RV trailer became our home on wheels. During the "snow "season, October through April, we were the camp chefs for Robin's Nest RV Resort in Moor Haven (FL). All the experience gained while cooking for the novitiate with Bill (Wiggie) McNamara and managing the cafeteria for St. Joe's in Brownsville became invaluable. There were times we served as many as two hundred meals.

After eight months as "full timers," we settled in a 55+ manufactured home retirement community called Tanglewood, located on US 27 in Sebring, Florida. Anyone traveling through this area is most welcome to stop by. (1128 Shadow Ridge Drive; Sebring, FL 33872; 863-385-8679; ednmoec@aol.com)

from DAVID KAMMER (‘42): Br. Sixtus Victor Liuzzo died in his sleep at Mt. St. Michael the night of July 15-16. He was 84. In recent years Brother Victor continued to live the very active life that he had lived throughout his sixty-one years of religious life. At the Mount he oversaw the kitchen and dining room, prepared daily happy hours and occasional cookouts, chauffeured Brothers to and from airports, doctors, etc. He cared for the Mount's fleet of automobiles and was pleased with the many flowers he planted and had blooming in the garth at the Mount.

Victor Liuzzo came to the novitiate in Poughkeepsie in August of 1941 after graduating from Fordham University. He was accompanied by his younger brother Vincent (Br. Denis Herman, deceased several years ago) who came directly from his junior year at Mt. St. Michael. Brother Victor's assignment after first profession was to cook for the scholastics and retired Brothers at the old provincial house in Poughkeepsie. Vic's other ministries that come to mind, besides years of teaching, are principal at St. Anne's Academy in the mid fifties and supervisor of renovation and construction at the newly acquired house of continued formation in Manziana, Italy. He also served as econome in Manziana and at another Marist house near Castle Gandolfo. Recently, at the Marist Family Day celebration of the uniting of the American provinces, Vic spoke of plans to return to Italy to revisit friends and relatives. Requiescat in pace.

from JIM FRIEL (‘52): On August 25, 1948, sixty boys landed in Poughkeepsie to begin training as Marist Brothers. I got off the bus, put my bags down, and looked around. Slowly we started introducing ourselves. One of the first boys I met was Al Contarino from Lawrence who had an incredible ability to put things in a humorous perspective. And then George McGuire, shy, like me. He was from the upper west side of Manhattan. (I met him recently, after all those years, at a poetry reading at Farmingdale College.)

That memorable day followed my short stay at DuBois High School. It really started when Br. Athanasius Norbert, my algebra teacher, came up to me after class and asked if I would like to talk to Br. Aidan Francis, a visiting Brother, about becoming a Brother. I said I would, and the appointment was set up. Br. Aidan was like a revivalist minister, very energetic and emphatic about serving God. He set up an appointment to visit my parents, and the papers were signed. Clearly, one of the reasons for the explosion of Marist vocations was the energy of Br. Aidan., A number of us were recruited from DuBois: Rufus Collins, Luke Reddington, Dominic Cavallaro, Matt Callahan, Raphael Martin, Zibendin, for a few.

When I left the Brothers in 1963 and began my public school teaching career in Syosset (NY), I met Larry Whartenby who had just left the Marists and was teaching in Syosset as well. It's amazing. Wherever I went , there was a Marist grad, a Marist connection. We all learned that from reading the writing of Br. Leonard Voegtle. The Marist Brothers spirit seemed to have spread all over the world. In the summer of ‘67, for example, I was traveling Europe alone. While in the Louvre, I saw Br. George Abel sitting on a bench, looking at some of the art. Another connection was through one of my classmates in the Christian Brothers Sacred Heart Grade School -- John McNiff, brother of Frank McNiff who had been a Marist Brother for a number of years. We were all Highbridge boys, living in what was to a great extent an Irish ghetto. (20 Vail St., Northport, NY 11768; frielkelly@aol.com)

from MARCELLA CASEY, wife of FRANK CASEY (‘50): As I speed slowly through this strange universe that I've inhabited since Frank's death March 24th, my thoughts and prayers are with you. With the help of Frank's niece, Maureen, in a timely manner and with love and gratitude, we responded to all those people who were part of the outpouring of support when Frank died ... all those, that is, except his Marist Family. I knew that I needed my "sea legs" to write to you very special men and women. To say your notes and letters moved me to tears is putting it mildly.

Our daughter Nancy, and her son Joseph, said when eulogizing Frank, "It's so strange that Pop had a whole life before we ever met him." Your writings brought a piece of that life to us. Easter Sunday, when all our children and grandchildren were gathered around the table, we prayed together and afterward read your letters. They are a great gift to us.

Frank was sober in AA for thirty years on February 1st, which meant we had more than sixty years of sobriety between us. I knew his loving family had given him his capacity for unconditional love, and that his thirty years as a Marist Brother had developed his strong virtue, character and spiritual life. In reading the descriptions of Frank that you wrote to me, I understood that in those years you had together, you came to know him well.

Frank would sometimes jokingly tell the people he counseled that one of the most important things to know about God is that He isn't you. He lived this principle with modesty and gentleness. I began to see through the warmth and caring of your notes, that those things that I valued in Frank were characteristics developed in all of you as well, just as your devotion to Mary united you.

It was interesting to me that during our time together, each time Frank would talk to me about one of you or relate an event you shared, he would end by becoming quiet, looking down, and saying seriously and with admiration, "he was a good man" or "they were good men." He loved you all so very much.

God blessed Frank and me beyond our wildest dreams. Frank embraced my children with his love and kindness and helped them heal from the devastation of growing up in an alcoholic home. We were partners in our life together. He was the prototype of a Christian man, husband, and stepfather. It's a rare woman who can say she felt loved every day of her life with her man. We learned a lot from each other. He said the bumps in his head fit the holes in mine. He taught me to play cribbage which I understand you guys played with a vengeance. He was an extraordinary counselor, and I garnered some of his skills professionally. But most importantly, he was a great example to me of a JOYous life: Jesus, Others, Yourself.

He graced all of us with his generous and prayerful heart; and he was greatly loved by our children, family and friends. There's no question about him "being at peace and happy in the playing fields of our real home." Your notes contained the epitaph that has been engraved on his tombstone: Francis X. Casey, "A splendid man."

Thank you from all of us for your prayers and Masses and wonderful hearts. God bless you, and please write any time and tell me about yourselves and Frank. (26 Carrie Avenue, Bethpage NY 11714-6407; 516-249-4890)

from BR. BERNARD X. NOLAN (‘49): When the Brothers of the Poughkeepsie and Esopus provinces gathered at Marist College on Thursday, June 26, 2003, they held separate meetings with ritual celebrations that marked the endings of these two provinces, and they prayed with gratitude for the many blessings that had been bestowed on each province and its members. At 7:30 p.m. the Province of the United States of America began with the opening of the first Provincial Chapter. Br. John Klein, the elected provincial of the new province, gave his vision of the realities faced by the province and his hopes of how these could be managed. He outlined his style of governance and asked the Chapter to help him by electing two assistant provincials.

On Friday the Chapter sessions were devoted to reactions to the provincial's vision statement and decisions on the composition of the Provincial Council. The election of the members of the Council took place on Saturday in the Marist College chapel. Br. Ben Consigli and Br. Hank Hammer were elected Assistant Provincials. Elected to the Provincial Council were: Brothers Steve Milan, Steve Schlitte, John Venturella, Don Bisson and John Malich. Sunday was Marist Family Day. The Brothers invited relatives and many friends for the day. Br. Sean Sammon, Superior General of the Marist Brothers, spoke before all in the Marist College Theatre. It was a stirring address calling on both religious and lay people to adopt the vision and courage of St. Marcellin Champagnat as they accept the challenges of the next century.

Earlier in the day Midge Miles gave a memorable presentation in the chapel of Our Lady of Wisdom; the dramatization was entitled, "Following the Way of Mary." A Solemn Eucharistic Liturgy was later celebrated in the McCann Center with a special focus on those elected to the leadership roles in the new Province of the United States. The celebrant, Msgr. Richard J Guastella, gave a beautiful homily blending together the feast of the day, Sts. Peter and Paul, and the founding of the new American Province. Following the celebration, all were invited to an old-fashioned style barbecue on the campus green under a huge tent. Marist Family Day was a joyous event for Brothers, families, and friends. On Monday a series of workshops was organized for the various age groups of the province. In late afternoon another Eucharistic Liturgy was celebrated in the chapel with a special message to the Brothers "to spread the seeds of faith." Following the liturgy, there was a closing banquet with fitting remarks of appreciation to all who helped organize the weekend. (2790 SW 89th Avenue, Miami FL 33165; 305-223-5570)

from DON MULCARE (‘57): Thanks to Marists All, Nancy and I just returned from a trip to Oregon. There was no secret contest in the previous issues of Marists All that funded our flight, but the networking engendered by earlier issues yielded contacts, the exchange of phone calls, and the renewal of dialogue after many years. Our hosts in Oregon were Bill and Kathy Maloney. Their hospitality can be described as legendary! In addition to visiting with the neighboring elk herd, tracking the humming birds, and wading in the frigid Pacific Ocean, Bill and I had a chance to talk about "old times." Our recollections often filled in pieces of the puzzle for each other. We still have much more to discuss and look forward to our next time together. The Marist Family Weekend provides similar exchange of viewpoints and recollections that lead to understanding. This year, as has been the case in the past, we met some of the monks at Esopus. Br. John Klein, after observing the cheerful and earnest exchanges between the Brothers in Esopus and the several visitors, invited the weekend participants to the 2004 annual meeting of the Marist Brothers in Poughkeepsie. This opportunity for fellowship offers the means by which we might all work together in the shared Marist Spirit. (7 Staffon Rd, Fairhaven MA 02719-4214; 508-994-8605; dmulcare@concast.com)

from THE NEW YORK TIMES: Even as lines are drawn in new clashes over religion in society, with flash points like the display of the Ten Commandments in an Alabama courthouse, Madison Avenue still turns to one set of the faithful to charm consumers on all sides of the culture wars: monks.

The men in hoods and robes are marketers' darlings having starred lately in campaigns for America Online, General Mills and PepsiCo's Pepsi Blue brand. These followed appearances in commercials for companies like I.B.M., Nintendo and Sony.

"They're lovable," said Len Short, executive vice president for brand marketing at America Online in Dulles, Va, part of AOL Time Warner. In the pantheon of widely appealing stock figures, "you have dogs, babies and monks," he said. "Who hates monks?"

Monk characters recur in advertisements though real monks generally live sequestered in monasteries and often make vows of silence and poverty -- sharing little with the free-spending, hard-charging consumers that marketers seek. But that disparity, according to advertisers and observers of religion and culture, is what makes monks work for advertisers.... Despite Madison Avenue's interest in monks, hooded men are not likely to surpass the marketers' longtime favorites, like supermodels. (article by Nat Ives, Monday, August 25, 2003)

from VINCENT POISELLA, EDITOR (‘58): Along with David Kammer, Rich Foy, Gus Nolan, and Jack Noone, I want to express appreciation for all of you who have contributed heart and soul in writing those words that give the rest of us inspiration in our latest Marists All. Those words take on new meaning with the union of the Marist Brothers Provinces, a bringing together that is repeated in those smaller get-togethers described by Don Mulcare, Dick Branigan, John O'Connell, and others. Marists All began as a publication that expressed individual and personal annals of those who had shared a common experience and ideal. It has developed more and more into an expression of individuals coming together. The Marist Family Day on June 29, the Marist Family Weekend of Spirituality in July, the Greater Marist Community Picnic, are all expressions of this continued Brotherhood.

Please check the Marists All website and its links. Thanks to Jack Noone, our technician, you are now able to click on the editors' addresses and electronically mail them from that site. You may also want to creep down to your computer early some quiet morning and read through the previous copies of Marists All, to laugh, cry, and enjoy the shared histories of your friends and brothers.

Gus Nolan has wondered aloud how we might use Marists All as a vehicle for shared ideas. This added dimension might inspire an enriching and rewarding dialogue beyond the recording of personal histories and off-the-cuff words of wisdom. Please send us your thoughts.

Thanks also to those who continue to write out checks to help our publication continue. If you feel so inclined, checks should be made out to David Kammer and sent to him at 476 La Playa Edgewater, FL 32141 during the winter months, and 499 East Pond Road, Smithfield Me 04978 during the summer months). Continue to send written contributions to me at 24 Brooklyn Mountain Road, Hopatcong NJ 07843 or vtpoisella@yahoo.com.