ISSUE # 77

August 2004


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click on  correspondent or topic to go to that item 

 
Correspondents

Br. Joseph Belanger
Br. Gerard Brereton
Patrick Gallagher
David Kammer

Judy Kammer
Patrick Keilty
Mike Kelly
John O'Connell

Mike Reddy
Barney Sheridan
Br. Sean Sammon,
           Superior General
Gene Zirkel

 


  Topics

annual picnic
eleventh Marist Family weekend of spirituality
kudos: Brs Rene Roy & John Malich

Kennedy birth announcement
prayers for the sick
Mary's Magnificat

Marist Family Institute of Spirituality July 2004
reflections of a soldier in Iraq
request for funding and submission of articles

BULLETIN

The annual picnic will be held on Saturday, September 11, 2004, at Mount St. Michael, 4300 Murdock Avenue, in the Bronx. Once again, we are appreciative to Br. James Devine and his community for hosting us. As is our tradition, each participant brings some food or drink for the group. The picnic is buffet-style, on occasion shared with resident bees. The festivities begin at noon and usually end around five p.m.

The Greater Marist Community (GMC) of the Mid Hudson Valley, under the direction of John Scileppi, is hosting an organizational meeting during the picnic to make plans for the Eleventh Marist Family Weekend of Spirituality to be held at Marist College July 8,9,10 2005. Those interested in sharing with the team in the planning of that weekend are invited to attend.

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We have two Responses concerning the origin of the red fox as the Marist College mascot….

From BR. JOSEPH BELANGER ('43): My recollection of the origin of Red Foxes is a bit different. The first group of lay students was admitted in 1957, so their first yearbook would have been 1961. I believe the Reynard was suggested by Br. Paul Stokes and accepted by the students. Br. Bill Murphy may well have changed the Marist logo from Reynard to Red Fox, but Paul was Dean of Students at the time. The Red Fox shield devised then (other than the Marist "M" with twelve stars and "orare et laborare") bears the motto "cum optimis litigare." I've heard over the years that Br. Joseph Robert (Joe Bob) came up with that motto: "To strive with the best." Paul Stokes was a Latin buff, though, and he could have had some role to play in that choice, but it was definitely Joe Bob who finalized it. (joseph.belanger@Marist.edu)

From GENE ZIRKEL ('53): The part about the fox mascot may well be accurate. However, I believe the school colors preceded that choice. I recall Paul Stokes, Dean of Students, telling the story one summer when I was teaching at the College. He said something to the effect that every Marist school had either blue and white or blue and gold as school colors, and he was determined not to have blue. He claimed that he had picked the red and white. (472 Village Oaks Lane, Babylon, NY 11702; 631-669-0273; genezirk@optonline.net)

From MIKE REDDY ('60): I attended the juniorate in Esopus in 1958 and 1959. I'm divorced and remarried with two step children, ages eight and twelve. (Don't ask why I would do this all over again!) I developed lung cancer two and a half years ago and even though the prognosis is not good, I'm hanging in there. I appreciate all the newsletters I've received over the last few years and hope to keep getting them. God bless all! (11 Powder Hill, Saddle River, NJ 07458; 201-934-0501; mreddy@optonline.net)

From PATRICK KEILTY ('65): Today is the last day of the school year here in Bamberg, Germany. The past two years have flown by and I have grown to love the European lifestyle. It's so much more relaxed and less hectic than in the States. Last year my wife Anne stayed in Florida to receive chemo treatment for her cancer. Although the treatments wore her down, she continued to teach middle school English; but she could not continue another year. Anne moved over to Germany with me in August, and we figured that for the first time in our married lives she would be a "housewife," a woman of leisure. It was nice for one month, but then she received a call from DoDDS offering her the job of Information Specialist (librarian) at Ansbach High School. Anne was excited by the offer, but the school was over sixty miles away from our apartment in Bamberg. Anne was born to be a librarian and loves her new job. Fortunately, I received a transfer to Anne's school for next year where we'll work together again for the first time since 1974. We have already rented a nice apartment in Wicklesgreuth, an easy ten-minute drive from Ansbach High.

We've had wonderful opportunities for travel this year together. We visited Munich, Salzburg, Prague, the Rhine, Dresden, Amsterdam, Paris, and most recently, Dublin. Next year our plans are to limit our travels to Italy. Our daughters, Justine (28) and Erin (25), as well as my sister Debbie and her partner, came over this year for extended visits. We love having company and extend an invitation to anyone who's visiting Germany.

This summer we plan to fly back to Sarasota for a month and then visit people in Vermont, New York, and Maryland before we return to work in mid-August. (CMR 454, Box 1906, APO, AE 09250; 011-49-980-295-3318; Patrick_Keilty@eu.odeDoDEA.edu)

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Kudos: Br. Rene Roy ('60) received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from LaRoche College in Pittsburgh for his being instrumental in creating opportunities for Rwandan students to attend college in the United States in the aftermath of the political violence in Rwanda ending in 1995. Br. John Malich ('55), received the National Brotherhood Award for Witness, for his role as teacher, counselor, novice director, provincial, spiritual director, retreat director, and as friend and Brother. The award will be presented at the Religious Brothers Conference in Atlanta.

Birth Announcement: Charles W. Kennedy ('57) proudly writes that his daughter Eileen and son-in-law Victor Luis Morales had a daughter (Olivia Rose) on March 9, 2004. She is doing fine!

Let us Pray for the Sick: Br. Simeon Ouellette ('45); Br. Denis Hever ('64); Barney Sheridan ('55); Don Schmidt ('53); Catherine Cherry

(Recently, David Kammer wrote to Luis Serra, editor of FMS Marist Echo, concerning the Greater Marist Community of the United States. His explanation, simple and forthright, serves as a summary of the expansion of the involvement of former Marist Brothers, their wives, and the Marist laity in general over the last thirty years. It is included here to serve as a reminder of why and how Marists All exists.)

From DAVID KAMMER ('42): The Greater Marist Community, also known as the GMC, is an informal Marist "fraternity" in the United States. It is composed of people who are, or are seeking to become, imbued with Marist Spirit and with the charism of Marcellin Champagnat. Those associated with the group are mostly former Marist Brothers, their spouses and their friends, but the group is not exclusive; many Marist Brothers also participate in its activities. The GMC looks to opportunities to work in cooperation with the Brothers and to further their life and ministry. In the title, the word "greater" is understood to convey the idea of "extended" - ever reaching out to more people.

The GMC was initially formed around Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, where people gathered monthly for conversation, meal, and discussion, mostly on Christian and Marist matters. This activity, begun in 1973, continues to this day. At a Marist Brothers school in New York City, the activity has been extended to an annual picnic, which draws an additional number of people.

In 1987 a quarterly newsletter was conceived for both Marist Brothers and GMC people and about both groups. The newsletter is named Marists All. It is sent to individuals and Marist communities, more than 500 recipients in all. There have been seventy-six issues to date. Recently a Marists All web site has been established where all past issues of the newsletter may be found; the site also carries news of the Marist congregation and of the activities of the GMC. The site is at www.ecommerce.marist.edu/foy/maristsall.

Since 1994 there has been an annual "retreat" at which the Marist heritage prevails. Its spirit is captured by the title, "Marist Family Institute of Spirituality."

Some GMC people receive FMS Marist Echo; we are grateful to know about the Marist lay movement and about Marist fraternities around the world. We are pleased to hear of the success of the fraternities, and we pray for their continued progress.

At the Marist Family Laity Conference in Boston in April, Francis X (Barney) Sheridan gave a presentation entitled "Post-Vatican Marian Spirituality: The Magnificat." He summarized it for the participants on the July Weekend at Marist College. His summary appears below. The full article will soon appear on our web site. click here to read the full article now.

From FRANCIS X. (BARNEY) SHERIDAN ('55): The church-of-my-youth still lives in me. Even when I give intellectual assent to the great things God has done for me, there is still some small voice in me that cautions: "Don't feel good. You don't deserve it." Well, OK, I don't deserve all the blessings of my life by my own merit. But God has done great things for me. I can celebrate those gifts. I know that Christ has accepted me. God has affirmed me. God has anointed me in Baptism to be Priest in Him, Prophet in Him and King in Him. God has anointed me in the Spirit in Confirmation inspiring me to use my God-given gifts on behalf of others. When I became sick, God anointed me with the Oil of the Sick. In my life God has given me a long list of blessings. God has proven over and over again his presence in me. He loves me infinitely, unconditionally, arbitrarily and personally. He calls me by name, and I am his.

How dare I wallow in my brokenness and think that it's all about me, being obsessed with myself and groveling before the divinity. I am in truth both broken and anointed. Why don't I, like Mary, spend my prayer life recognizing the great things God has done for me - my anointedness? How can I spend such little time in praise and thanksgiving? Why don't I, like Mary, embrace the God who abides in me instead of the "God out there"? Can I further let go of arrogance and become even more spiritually hungry? Why don't I use Mary's good example and acknowledge that it's really all about God, not about me? Maybe I need more time meditating on and praying Mary's Magnificat. (626 E 20th St. #9A, New York, NY 10009-1515; 212-529-2257; fxsheridan@rcn.com)

(Br. Sean Sammon , Superior General of the Marist Brothers, spoke to the participants of the Tenth Marist Family Weekend of Spirituality. The following thoughts paraphrase his vision.)

There needs to be a new understanding of what it means to be a Marist Brother today. We need to take steps to urge people to take a new approach to Marist Spirituality, envision a new understanding. There must be a lay partnership in the Institute of the Little Brothers of Mary to fulfill the Founder's charism and dream. Within a new structure, there needs to be an invitation and a commitment to extend the Marist Spirit to others. It must be viewed as a Marist Apostolic Spirituality. This Spirituality is summarized by Champagnat's emphasis on simplicity, by the relevance of Mary in our lives, and by the practice of the presence of God. In the next few years we intend to create new structures, new models, for participation in the work of Champagnat. The Echo, Sharing Our Call, the website, www.champagnat.org, and the appointing of Br. Pedro Herraras as head of a Bureau for Lay Partnership, are steps in that direction.

From BR. GERARD BRERETON ('59): I'm writing to let you know that I'm finishing my six years in Rome. I'll be home for a bit this summer. Then I have a few months to do some visiting and make the Third Age program back here near Rome; and then in January I will live at the Mount and work as a translator for the Institute's publications and web page via the Internet. I plan to be at the Mount from September 5th until I return to Italy for the October 17th Third Age course. I hope to see some old faces at the picnic! (Gbrereton@fms.it)

From PATRICK GALLAGHER ('53): It has been five or so years since my last attendance at the Marist Family Weekend, but the three days in concert with the gathering of the Brothers for their annual retreat constituted some of the most rewarding and treasured days in years. In that very intimate setting, the mix of thoughtful presentations, the very personal liturgy, and the totally open sharing in discussions were completely refreshing and restorative to the soul and spirit. There was the chance to interact in that setting with some of the Brothers and some of the brothers and sisters, and to reflect on the somewhat similar backgrounds and paths we have walked over these last four to five decades.

In addition to these blessings, there were two dinners with the Brothers and one memorable Saturday evening liturgy in the chapel. What thoughts that generated, when after over forty years, except for the memorial mass for Br. Paul Ambrose last December, I knelt in the chapel that I had visited so often, where I had made my final profession in '59, and saw ranged in the pews any number of familiar faces, sans cassocks, of course, of those I had spent so much time with. The visit to the Esopus cemetery also gave us a chance to remember the people who did so much for us, who taught us many years ago, to remember those with whom we worked and prayed in the past, all now role models of final commitments to things Marist. It's hard to convey at this transitional point in our lives how rich this weekend was, how much it generated thoughts about spirituality and things spiritual, that might have been for too long somewhat dormant. We are very grateful, and now we could not picture a year without that gathering so conducive to touching the spirit.(Box 60, Indian Valley, VA 24105; 540-789-4056;gpatrick@swva.net)

From JUDY KAMMER: I would like to offer a few snapshots of the Marist Family Institute of Spirituality held at Marist College in July: exuberant and joyful greetings at registration in the Rotunda…. a lovely, spacious campus conducive to prayer and reflection with a beautiful view of the Hudson and gorgeous sunsets… presentations of spirituality varied and thought-provoking; serious discussions interspersed with much laughter… lively discussions and sharings at meals especially with the many Brothers on campus… reverent and joyful Eucharistic celebrations… not to be missed, the evening Happy Hours with the "Happy Gang"… finding an opportunity where one can rest, relax, renew, reflect and experience a sense of community… and looking forward to doing the same at next summer's gathering. (499 East Pond Road, Smithfield, ME 04978; 207-362-5495; kammer@tds.net)

(John O'Connell, '58, shares his daughter's anticipation of her husband's return from military service after fifteen months in Iraq. J-D, Okee's son-in-law, is regular army, in the 1st Armored Division, Aviation/Attack, mostly in and around Baghdad. 1st Armored was extended last April for 90-120 days the day before they were scheduled to leave Baghdad for Kuwait. With his approval, I am sharing her thoughts and feelings with our Marists All readers. This event not only reflects the fact that none of us are one-dimensional characters with a common Marist experience, but also that we gain strength in sharing all of our lives, even our anxieties and worries. Jaime's stream of consciousness style, slightly edited, remains as written.)

I am eating everything in sight and need to calm down…. I am much more calm today because this is the first time that no news is good news…if anything goes wrong, they, by military rule, must contact me within eight hours; so you can breathe better now mom…at this point, being over thirty-seven hours later, I think we are in the clear….I will go out to visit with friends today so I don't lose my mind….but my stomach is acting up because of nerves and eating stuff I pick at because of nerves….each passing hour I feel better and tomorrow morning I will feel so much better because I just know by then it is a matter of them being at a base in Kuwait….my sleep is so bad I feel like a walking zombie….we are just all in part shock, denial, and trying to keep our emotions in check, then we go through such excited bouts of energy we can't stop smiling, then we get sad, all of us are sleeping terribly….

I knew yesterday he was okay there in Kuwait; however, I was so overwhelmed that the day had come, I just had no energy to write….he talked with his mom to give her a pre- surgery boost and it was wonderful….it seems surreal that we have been waiting for this for 15 months….it was such a different feeling last night, watching the news, knowing this time he was okay, but others were not….you still get upset and get very sad every time you see a death, but it does not affect your entire world like it had done at certain times through this all….it was different praying last night, I got the chance to thank God last night, I mean saying "thank you", instead of begging" please", it was so different and overwhelming in itself….and I lay there knowing that the worst has happened for so many Iraqi families, so many coalition and American soldiers' families, and I know that I am blessed and lucky to be able to say "thank you" instead of "why me?….that is bittersweet because I am still so sensitive to those who gave more than just their service….so I am very grounded with such respect and hope for those still out there, those going back, those who came home, and those who never got that chance….his convoy was long, looking at the same desert sand over and over….he drove a truck that had a trailer on top, and another trailer/truck on top of that…they left in little shifts, starting at midnight, his was two am….they had little snacks, Gatorade bottles to go potty in, literally ….he drove the entire time except for two or three hours because he was so motivated to get home….he could not pee but had to so bad but if one pulls over, other trucks have to stop, so just at that time they got a flat tire, he said he went to the bathroom for like two minutes straight!….they did not think the spare would last and knew it was a matter of hours till it went flat or bolts not tight because the jack they had could not lift it high enough because of the sand…but they made it, and not one single bolt had loosened….that is when J-D said, "thank you, God", he was definitely on our side getting us home….the other soldier was driving during the flat so they pretty much agreed to let J-D drive the rest of the way because of good luck!….I am just beyond happy, in shock, disbelief, thankful, and can't stop smiling, denial, you name it, I am feeling it….this time he is coming home for real, not for a little r and r, where worrying is still in the back of your head, but for real….how amazing, how proud, how honored I feel….this chapter has ended in our lives, a very hard chapter, but may have to re-enter that chapter down the line; just so you know, if they go back, they will not go back before a year to a year and a half….just hope for everyone in that area, that progress is made so that life is not worried about daily, so things like money, jobs, food, are the worries rather than worrying about losing your life when you are in that area….we are far from that now but I still am hopelessly optimistic about their future, just the way it must be to get through….we thank you more than you will ever know for your support through it all….without that, we would have nothing….the world is a lonely place without meaningful people to give you encouragements and strength on days you just can't do it yourself….and thank you so much….he will be home from Kuwait before the 27th, most likely….then our classes, and our routine, and we will be in touch….he ate at Kentucky Fried Chicken and slept all day and night from exhaustion….he did not have to wear any protective gear, regular clothes, it already feels like the freedoms they once knew before are back….we love you and thank you….

Hey all, the past couple of days the real decompression has started for the men…. The burdens are heavy, yet lifted as they talk….they talked their hearts out….the love they feel for each other, the brotherhood, sisterhood,….and I was shocked at just how many people did toasts to those back home for their main support….they talked about the day the extension was made: tears, anger, weapons thrown, depression, and getting through….I was able to do a toast to the single soldiers who never got a hug from anyone in the physical sense…nobody drank too much or cried, but many moments of silence to compose each other to be heard….it was a trip, people needing to talk about how scared they were about their husbands or kids readapting, or the stories of happiness everywhere….

From MIKE KELLY ('50): I continue to read all the interesting news in Marists All and to be grateful to people like Linus Foy and Brian Desilets who have simplified and enriched the news via the Internet. Much thanks to all who continue to make Marists All a reality.

It has been a long time since I reported on the events in the Kelly household; in part, because we have moved so often. Janet and I are now in our sixteenth house. We left Burbank, CA, two years ago because our son-in-law accepted a job on Long Island. There was no reason to stay on the west coast while our two-year-old twin grandsons were moving east. It was a sudden move, so we decided to rent a house in South Huntington while we looked for a new home. About a year ago, we found an old house that, by Long Island standards, was close to being affordable. At this point, however, we are having second thoughts, because the cost of improvements has been considerable.

The St. James location, however, turned out to be very attractive. It is less than 10 miles from Dix Hills where our daughter, Joan, lives with our twin grandsons. That was made even more important in June when Joan and Bill were blessed with beautiful and healthy twin girls. We have been able to demonstrate that there is some value to having grandparents close by.

An added attraction to St. James is its proximity to SUNY at Stony Brook. Since returning to NY, I have been teaching management courses at Stony Brook as an adjunct professor. I continue to find great satisfaction in teaching, and my present position permits me to avoid all the administration and bureaucracy that were a large part of my previous jobs.

The first winter back in N.Y. was a shocker. We escaped for over two weeks in January to the warmth of Australia and New Zealand. The warmth was much more than the weather. The people we met made our winter escape an absolute delight.

The activities with our grandchildren, the continuing efforts to improve our home, and the work at the university keep Janet and me young. Not that there are not signs of old age creeping in, but we continue to be blessed with the ability to lead active and, we hop and, we hope, productive lives.

We are looking forward to joining many of the readers of Marists All at the Marist College homecoming in October. We are grateful to Richard La Pietra and the others who are actively driving to gather the flock of '50 in Poughkeepsie. I wonder if I will still recognize people, many of whom I have not seen in almost 50 years. It really struck me when I received an invitation to attend the 50th anniversary of the chapel at Marist. I couldn't believe that 50 years had past since we worked on the permastone, which, I am happy to report, could not be dislodged when the chapel was upgraded. Looking back on the past 50 years, I recognize my multiple blessings, not the least of which, were the years I spent as a Marist with so many great Brothers. I look forward to sharing our wonderful memories, when we meet in October.

I have great respect for the men who made up the class of '50, so in addition to sharing old memories in October, I look forward to stimulating discussions on a future which is filled with so many uncertainties. In their own private way, I am certain that all of the "Marist elders" continue to strive to change the world we live in, and it will be wonderful to hear their stories. For fear of Marists All losing its tax-exempt status, I better close here and avoid bringing up the November election, but I will look forward to an exchange of views when we meet in October.

If any of the readers are interested in visiting Jones Beach to celebrate its 75th anniversary, all are welcome to free room and board in St. James. Just make reservations to be sure the extra beds are available (631) 862-2664. Goodbye for now.

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A Request: All of life represents the crests and troughs of ocean waves; and, so too are the monetary and literary contributions to Marists All. Only God can create something from nothing! The editors welcome all of our readers to write and/or to send a donation before our November 1st deadline. Our treasurer (David Kammer) reports that each issue costs about $185 to publish. At this point, we will be able to publish only three more issues. We thank the readers who have made a contribution; they are supporting a free mailing for the others. Only about half of our "subscribers" receive an e-mail copy. As far as the "literary" is concerned, you may have noticed in past issues that we range from the simple requests for prayers to the more extensive answer to the question, "what have you been doing over the last forty or fifty years?"  Thank you! (Vince Poisella, Ed.)