By Ryan Smith ’17
Chaminade’s Communion Breakfasts provide both physical and spiritual nourishment to members of the Chaminade family. This year, the traditional Mass and meal continued to cater to the two-folded hunger of the Classes of 2017 and 2019 and their families on Sunday, February 28, and the sophomore and senior divisions on Sunday, March 6.
On the morning of Sunday, February 28, Mass began in Darby Auditorium at 9:00 AM. Father Garrett Long S.M. ’62 celebrated Mass with musical accompaniment from the Gold Glee Club, and the Blessed Sacrament satiated the hungry souls of the Flyer Faithful.
The parable of the fig tree from Luke’s Gospel taught the values and benefits of cultivating and nourishing one’s faith. Inspired by the Good News and healed by the Body of Christ, the guests made their way to the AAC for a delicious breakfast, courtesy of Chaminade’s cafeteria staff. After an invocation by Brother Lawrence Syriac S.M., guests were seated at ten-person tables, with each table consisting of any mixture of lay faculty, Marianist religious, and freshman and junior families. The meal, which included bagels, omelets, sausage links, and mixed fruit, filled stomachs with food and the air with a calm tranquility. Attentive service by Parents Club volunteers kept families happy and content.
At the conclusion of the banquet, Mr. and Mrs. Victor Silverman, chairs of the breakfast, thanked the congregation for attending the morning’s program. After recognizing a few special guests, they handed the microphone to Brother Joseph Bellizzi, S.M. ’78 who introduced the morning’s guest speaker—Sister Julie of the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Sr. Julie took her first vows in 1996, and her final initiation was in 2004 with the Little Sisters. The main theme of her speech was the infant Jubilee Year of Mercy, called by Pope Francis just months ago. Throughout, she gave vivid examples of mercy and how we as Christians may apply them to our own lives.
Growing up without her father, Sr. Julie explains how she was “far from alone” in her household, being fostered by her working mother and loving grandmother. With the help of her aunts and uncles, she was educated in Catholic schools her whole life, learning from a young age the importance of family and mutual support. Although everyone chipped in to help Sr. Julie, one particular member of the family stood alone—her Uncle Buddy.
Uncle Buddy gave Sr. Julie a number of examples of mercy upon which to contemplate. The one which tugged at the heartstrings most was when Buddy dressed up as Santa Claus every year for a number of different functions, including the local fire department’s Christmas party. However, as with all Sr. Julie’s anecdotes, the underlying message remained consistent to all those who heard: be like Christ.
Sr. Julie wrapped up each story with a summarizing sentence of one characteristic of mercy. These included creativity, wholeheartedness, and limitlessness. While captivating the hearts of the crowd, Sr. Julie displayed the flexibility of multi-faceted mercy.
However, she never used the word “easy” to describe mercy. Sometimes, forgiving one’s neighbor and showing compassion are not always popular. Being a “missionary of mercy,” as she called it, requires one to go against the grain. Nevertheless, Pope Francis’ beckoning to the Church to be more loving toward enemies and merciful to critics overshadows any ridicule received. Sr. Julie’s words truly reflect Matthew’s Gospel when Christ said to his disciples, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great.”
After a warm standing ovation for Sr. Julie, Bro. Joseph gave a closing benediction, thanked everyone for attending, and kindly dismissed the newly inspired Flyers. A family Mass, a cooked meal, and encouraging words from a Catholic religious combined to create a wonderful Communion Breakfast.