Dear Members of the Marianist Family,
“Things fall apart; the center cannot hold”
A century ago, the Irish poet W.B. Yeats wrote these prophetic words as he contemplated the societal upheaval wrought by the violence of World War and the ravages of the influenza pandemic of 1918-19. The disruptive events of the past few months, compounded with the distressing and disturbing death of Mr. George Floyd and so many others, leaves us feeling confused, uncertain, and angry. Can the center hold?
“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?”
Two months ago, Pope Francis stood alone in the rain in St. Peter’s Square and preached on the gospel story of the disciples tossed fearfully in a storm with Jesus asleep in the boat: “Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets, and our cities; it has taken over our lives; we feel it in the air, we notice in people’s gestures, their glances give them away. We find ourselves afraid and lost. Like the disciples in the Gospel, we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm. We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other.”
“Teacher, do you not care if we perish?”
Today, injustice is startlingly revealed; chaos threatens our streets. Our faith is challenged; our hope is nearly exhausted. Fear, anger, and confusion wash over us like the waves that nearly overwhelmed the storm-tossed disciples. Can we still have faith? Do we dare to hope? Where do we stand?
As men vowed to live and teach the gospel, the Marianists of the Province of Meribah believe in the dignity and sanctity of every human life. We affirm the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that “racism is not merely one sin among many, it is a radical evil dividing the human family;” thus “every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God’s design.”
As educators, we are committed to educating all of our students at Chaminade High School, Kellenberg Memorial High School, and St. Martin de Porres Marianist School to strive for justice and peace and to form them as young women and men committed to service, leadership, and transformation. We strive to create an environment of respect where growth and goodness can flourish and where every student is cherished and challenged. With Pope Francis, we believe that “The most effective antidote to every form of violence is education about discovering and accepting difference as richness and fruitfulness.”
As Christians, we are called to listen and know the stories of our brothers and sisters. We must create opportunities to hear, with open hearts, the tragic stories that are deeply imprinted on the lives of our brothers and sisters, if we are to be moved with empathy to promote justice. As teachers, we pledge to work with all our students and their families to strengthen the commitment of our schools to our core values:
One Heart and One Mind
Fortes in Unitate – Strength in Unity
Above all, Charity
Finally, as members of the Marianist Family, we turn to Mary for hope and intercession. She is the Mother of Sorrows who stood in silent witness as her Son suffered violence and degradation on the cross. She is the Mother of Mercy who wraps all her children in her mantle of protection. She is the Woman of Faith who trusts in the Father’s promise and opens herself to the workings of the Holy Spirit. Most importantly, she is the Mother of the Church who intercedes for her children in their every need:
Mary, Mother of the Church,
you are enthroned as queen at your Son’s right hand:
we ask your intercession for the needs of our country,
that every desire for good may be blessed and strengthened,
that faith may be revived and nourished,
hope sustained and enlightened,
charity awakened and animated;
guide us, we pray, along the path of holiness.
Mary our Mother,
bring everyone under your protection
and entrust everyone to your beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
At each of our schools, we speak of ourselves as a family, and “family spirit” is an animating principle of Marianist education: “In this way a community of learning becomes an experience of grace, where the teaching program contributes to uniting into a harmonious whole the human and the divine, the Gospel and culture, faith and life”
To all our students, all our families of every skin color and background: you are valued as men and women made in God’s image; you are treasured as people who seek peace and strive for justice; you are loved as brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ and beloved children of Mary. We stand firm in this belief despite the darkness that engulfs our world.
In the spirit of Jesus who reassures us: “Do not be afraid. I am with you always.”
The Brothers of the Marianist Province of Meribah,
Bro. Timothy Driscoll, S.M.