TBy Nicolas Baylis ’19
The Society of Mary operates several schools in the United States and around the world. In order to stay connected with these schools, members of the Marianist General Administration, who oversee the entire Marianist order in Rome, visit these branches. They join in prayer and spend time with their fellow brothers, as well as get to know the students and teachers from each school. During the first week of October, four members of the Marianist General Administration traveled from Rome to visit Chaminade High School.
One of their first events with the Province of Meribah here at Chaminade was joining the Sodality groups at a special prayer service on Monday, October 3. The members of the General Administration were particularly interested in spending time with the Sodality of Our Lady of the Pillar because Sodality prayer groups were Fr. Chaminade’s method of building a faith-filled community. The prayer service began as Bro. Patrick Sarsfield ’86, the head of Sodality, said a prayer and introduced Chaminade’s special guests, as well as two student speakers.
Aidan Fitzgerald ’18 then offered a reflection to the audience about the impact Sodality has had in his life. He discussed how overwhelming school work and extracurriculars can distract from his faith, and that Sodality ensures he is reminded to put God first in his life. “Without Sodality, I could get lost in a sea of tests, quizzes and clubs without my faith to anchor me,” Aidan testified to his fellow Sodalists regarding the importance of Sodality.
William Hill ’17 followed suit with his testimony. William explained how the foundations of his faith were built in his freshmen History of Salvation class. His understanding was deepened by Christian Humanism class junior year and the reason-based discussions about faith it entailed. William shared how he gives up his Mondays to God by going to Sodality and to Gethsemane, a prayer service Chaminade offers. “Chaminade has been absolutely essential to strengthening my faith,” he said about his experiences.
After the two student speakers, members of the General Administration addressed the students. Bro. Max Magnan, S.M. explained the role the Marianist community plays in educating young Catholic men throughout the world. And Bro. Michael McAward, S.M. ’76, former Chaminade principal and the current Head of Temporalities, spoke about the universality of the Marianist tradition.
This prayer service was not the only interaction students had with their visitors from Rome. On Thursday, October 6, the Chaminade community joined its visitors, as well as University of Dayton’s choir, for a celebratory Mass for the Marianist martyrs, celebrated by Fr. Manuel Cortes, S.M., Superior General of the Marianist Order. The banners of the Marianists who sacrificed their lives for their faith reminded the young Flyers of how they are a part of Fr. Chaminade’s tradition that started nearly two hundred years ago. After the Mass, the Dayton choir treated the school body and the General Administration to a three-piece concert.
The visit from the heads of the Society of Mary reminded the Chaminade community of their call to continue the mission of Father Chaminade. The Flyers were happy to share the many different aspects of their school with their visitors. This prayerful and connective experience showed them that they are called to join with all other Marianists to “do whatever He tells you.”