Greetings from the Rochester, MN, airport on the Sunday of the Beatification of the Spanish Martyrs. I’m on my way back from a weekend with our men in initial formation from the Region. The gathering was held at Saint Mary’s University, which is lovely this time of year with the many colors of autumn.
Last week started with a Fe y Vida Board meeting at Techny Towers near Chicago. The board meets twice a year, and Fe y Vida is preparing for its 20th anniversary in 2014. Carmen Cervantes , Fe y Vida Director, is seated front row center. There are currently three of us Christian Brothers serving on the board: Jesus Lara (SF), top row left, Frank Carr (Saint Mary’s Press rep), and me. It’s a dedicated group of religious and lay people, very committed to the crucial mission of Fe y Vida to our Latino young people.I served as acting chair for this two-day meeting, which focused on strategic planning.
On Thursday morning I flew to the Twin Cities for our first “Lasallian Day”. This is a new initiative to bring Lasallians together in each area as a sort of “family reunion”. We invited all Lasallians from the Twin Cities to a special lunch at Chino Latino in Uptown Minneapolis. About 50 folks gathered with all sorts of connections: alumni, Lasallian colleagues from all our ministries, Brothers, former Brothers, AFSC’s , plus just friends who know us. The program was simple: an intro by Rob Cummings (Chief Development Officer), an update from the Visitor, and then lead administrators from our ministries gave quick reports sharing the good news from their ministries. That was followed by an introduction to our delicious “pig roast” lunch by Chino Latino owner Pete Mihajlov (St. George ’57).
Our next Lasallian Day is scheduled for October 30 in Memphis. A special thanks to Pete Mihajlov for his generous support of our first-ever Lasallian Day!
On Friday, three of us headed down to Winona via Highway 61, and God blessed us with a perfect fall day: warm sunshine, a good breeze to whip around the leaves, and a wonderful array of colors along the Mississippi. My passengers were Brothers Charles Kitson, new AV for DENA, and Bro. Felix Joseph (India) from Rome, the new Institute Secretary of Formation. This is Bro. Felix’s first visit to the US; we stopped in Red Wing for lunch and took a stroll along the river after.
The Brothers in various stages of initial formation—or “Young Brothers”—-gather for a retreat weekend twice a year, and each District takes a turn hosting. This fall was our turn, and Brother Stephen worked very hard to pull off both the retreat and the RVFC meeting which begins tonight (Sunday). SMU was the site and the hospitality we all experienced there was outstanding, thanks to Brothers Frank Carr, Community Director, and William Mann, President. For most of the Young Brothers, this was their first visit to Winona and SMU. After a delicious dinner at the Brothers’ Residence on Friday evening, we met at Saint Mary’s Press, where Frank shared the history of the Press and gave us a tour. On Saturday morning Bro. Armand Alcazar presented on “the Brother as Catechist”.
On Saturday afternoon after the Young Brothers themselves met for a while, and then it was photo shoot time, so here are a few formal and informal results from the shoot:
Brothers and Lasallians, it was a real blessing for me to spend time with our postulants, novices, and newly professed Brothers. As you can see, they are a diverse, lively group, and they are also a joy to be with. I had a chance to connect with our seven young men from the Midwest and they all seem to be doing well. Thanks for your prayers and let’s continue to hold these young men, our contacts, and all those discerning a Lasallian vocation in our prayers.
And that’s what the Visitor has been up to this past week!