TBy Brady Baylis ‘19
The religious life of the Marianist Order is a constant presence at Chaminade High School and Kellenberg Memorial High School. This is primarily observed in the witness of the Marianist brothers living out their vocations as teachers of young men and women. However, students rarely catch glimpses of the personal, private lives the Marianists share in their community. Unlike the lay teachers at these schools, the Marianists’ open the doors to their community two nights per year to young men interested in a Marianist vocation. These nights are called Operation Fiat in honor of Mary’s “fiat”, or yes (in Latin) to becoming the mother of God. During the evening, students join the brothers in their prayer life after school hours to gain a greater understanding of the life of the religious and their own personal vocation.
At these nights, the students join the brothers in evening prayer, listen to a speaker talk about his vocation, and have dinner with the brothers. Bro. Ken Hoagland, S.M. ’77, now the principal of Kellenberg Memorial, shared his vocation story with the students.
It was a rejuvenating experience that refilled my spirit to continue in the journey of faith.
– Brian Patton ’19
Gathering into Chaminade’s Chapel on Tuesday, April 26 were Chaminade students and Kellenberg student visitors, welcomed by the Marianist community for the evening of prayer and dinner. After all the students and brothers found their seats, Bro. Stephen Balletta, S.M. ’74, Chaminade’s vocation director, introduced the night and evening prayer, which is composed of singing the psalms, a reading from Scripture, and Eucharistic adoration.
Bro. Steve then passed the baton onto Bro. Rob Lahey S.M. and Bro. Andrew Santoriello, n.S.M. ’07, who led the congregation in the singing of “Here I am to Worship,” before Fr. Garrett Long, S.M. ’62 exposed the Eucharist. After brief quiet prayer, Bro. Rob and Bro. Andrew began evening prayer by the singing the psalms. The singing of the psalms gave a unique spiritual experience to the students while also showing them how the brothers pray every day. After the singing of three psalms, Bro. Benjamin Knapp, S.M. ’93 stood up and read a reading from St. Paul’s second letter to Timothy. This reading is famous for its line where St. Paul declares that he has “run the race”, a phrase later to be used by the night’s speaker.
“It was a rejuvenating experience that refilled my spirit to continue in the journey of faith,” Brian Patton ’19 said about the experience of evening prayer. After a period of silent reflection on the reading, the Magnificat was sung before Fr. Garrett returned the Eucharist to the tabernacle.
Dinner with the brothers not only offered a great insight into their everyday lives but was also a great night with friends and food.
– Anthony Hubner ’17
Bro. Ken was then introduced and began to tell his vocation story. As a young boy, Bro. Ken lived in New Jersey, but his family soon moved to Long Island where he went to Catholic elementary school. It was here, in the first grade, that he met Bro. Ryzsard Decowski, S.M. ‘77 and after graduating Chaminade they joined the Marianists together. Bro. Ken explained that he was in the right place at the right time for his vocation to grow fruitful. He also spoke about how the ultimate goal of his life as a religious was to “run the race,” meaning getting to heaven. He advised the discerners that they should think about eternal life when making their decision for vocation.
“Bro. Ken’s talk was balanced with with went on in in his life and his vocation story,” Bro. Lawrence Syriac, S.M. said. “This is a popular concern for vocations and he tackled it very well.”
After the conclusion of Bro. Ken’s talk, the group moved into the Marianists’ dining room where dinner was held. They settled down at the tables, each with a mixture of Brothers, Kellenberg students, and Chaminade students. After grace and introductions to each of the members of the table, Bro. Tom Cleary, S.M. ’81, who prepared the meal, invited them to help themselves to the meal. The students returned to their tables and began to eat with their newfound friends.
It was encouraging that many young men are open to hearing and listening to God’s voice and hoping to discover God’s loving plan to make them happy in this life and the next.
– Bro. Patrick Cahill, n.S.M. ’11
“Dinner with the brothers not only offered a great insight into their everyday lives but was also a great night with friends and food,” remarked Anthony Hubner ’17. Once the laughter and conversation died down, the brothers and students joined together to sing “Salve Regina” to conclude the night before the students went home.
After returning to their homes and to their schoolwork, the students were able to bring something very important back with them, the peace of God. “It was encouraging that many young men are open to hearing and listening to God’s voice and hoping to discover God’s loving plan to make them happy in this life and the next,” said Bro. Patrick Cahill, n.S.M. ’11.
The Marianists provides the students with a good model of faith and community that becomes harder to achieve as they grow older. The example of the religious leaving all their cares, hopes, desires, and problems at the feet of the Lord is helpful to many students in school and, may one day, be able to foster a vocation to the religious life or priesthood.