Superior General Brother Álvaro Rodríguez Echeverría has concluded the first portion of his visit to the United States-Toronto Region. General Councilor Brother Robert Schieler accompanied Brother Álvaro on stops in the Midwest District and the District of San Francisco during April. Brother Álvaro will return to the Region to visit the District of Eastern North America and the New Orleans-Santa Fe District in the fall.
Bro. Álvaro spent the final day of his visit in the Region at San Miguel High School in Tucson, AZ. He attended a morning assembly of student workers followed by a briefing by Corporate Internship Program staff. After touring the school, Bro. Álvaro met with the students who host the El Otro Lado immersion program concerning immigration and border issues. Bishop Gerald Kicanas celebrated a student body Mass after which the Bishop met with Bro. Álvaro to discuss immigration and other social justice issues in Arizona. After lunch with selected students, Bro. Álvaro joined all students and staff to create a star for the “Many Stars…One La Salle” initiative.
Day 25: Thursday, April 28, 2011
Bro. Álvaro arrived at Saint Mary’s College High School in Berkeley, CA and was greeted by President Bro. Edmond Larouche, Principal Pete Imperial, Vice Principal Cathy Molinelli and the Saint Mary’s Brothers Community. Bro. Álvaro met with students, including those who participated in the El Otro Lado experience, which was an immersion experience with students from San Miguel High School in Tucson, AZ focusing on immigration and border communities.
Bro. Álvaro arrived at San Miguel Community in Tucson, AZ in the evening and enjoyed an informal dinner hosted by the community and attended by San Miguel High School leadership.
Bro. Álvaro began the day by celebrating Mass at Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento, CA followed by breakfast with President Lorcan Barnes, Principal Mary Hesser and the Brothers. Bro. Álvaro then visited two classes, met with students in the courtyard, and participated in an experiment in a biotechnology class. He then met with Bishop Jaime Soto of the Diocese of Sacramento and had lunch with the Principal’s Advisory Council before going to Justin-Siena High School in Napa, CA.
While at Justin-Siena, Bro. Álvaro learned about the history of the school, branding, and the new mascot for the Braves being launched in partnership with the local native tribe, the Wappos. Bro. Álvaro also toured the campus and met with many members of the school community. The visit ended with a reception.
Bro. Álvaro spent the morning at Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga. After being welcomed by SMC President Bro. Ronald Gallagher, Bro. Álvaro met with the Mission Assessment Task Force to hear about the many ways Saint Mary’s carries out the Lasallian Mission in its curriculum and special programs. After a brief campus tour, Bro. Álvaro met with students before attending a luncheon.
“It’s a great honor to welcome Brother Álvaro,” said Brother Ronald. “We’re delighted that he has taken the time to meet with our students and those who are working to nurture the Lasallian mission at the College, and we deeply value the insights he has shared with us about the growing importance of Lasallian higher education during his visit.”
Bro. Álvaro then visited Brothers of the La Salle Vietnam House Community in San Jose, CA where Bro. Valery An presented him with a brief history of the community. Bro. Álvaro recalled his recent visit to Vietnam and acknowledged the works of the Brothers for poor people in Vietnam and in Cambodia. Bro. Álvaro also visited De La Salle Chapel in San Jose where he was welcomed by the La Salle Sisters and toured the property.
Bro. Álvaro spent the day with retired Brothers in the Holy Family Community, which included Mass, breakfast, a meeting, dinner, and a social. He spoke with the Brothers about various movements and initiatives within the Institute and answered thoughtful questions about the worldwide Institute, his perspectives on current topics such as association, and the future.
On Easter Sunday, Bro. Álvaro concluded the Holy Week retreat in Napa, CA with those attending by joining them for morning prayer and breakfast. Later that morning, he participated in the Easter Sunday Mass, which included many people from the larger outside community. After lunch, Bro. Stanislaus Campbell and Bro. George Van Grieken took him on a short tour of Camp Saint Joseph at the Russian River and the nearby coastline from the mouth of the Russian River to Bodega Bay. The day ended with an evening social and meal with the Holy Family Community at Mont La Salle.
Day 20: Saturday, April 23, 2011
On Holy Saturday, Bro. Álvaro joined the Holy Week retreat participants for morning prayer followed by breakfast and an informal day. Everyone gathered in the courtyard at 9:00 p.m. for the beginning of the Easter Vigil, which included the lighting of the Easter candle, procession into the chapel, and vigil readings, followed by Mass of the Resurrection and a reception.
On Good Friday, Bro. Álvaro joined the Holy Week retreat participants for their prayers and meals. He also attended a celebration of the Passion of the Lord in the main chapel. Following the service, Bro. Álvaro spoke with the Brothers about various topics, including the worldwide Institute, the most recent General Chapter, and the reasons for a hope-filled future. He also answered numerous questions. Bro. Álvaro ended his day with a social and dinner with the Brothers on the retreat.
Day 18: Thursday, April 21, 2011
After morning Mass and breakfast with the Provincialate community, Bro. Álvaro and Bro. Robert met with the San Francisco District Leadership Team (Bro. Stanislaus Campbell, Bro. Thomas Jones, Steve Taylor, Gery Short, Greg Kopra, and Bro. George Van Grieken). The meeting was followed by a gathering with the De La Salle Institute office staff and lunch. In the evening, Bro. Álvaro and Bro. Robert joined the participants of the Holy Week retreat for their social and dinner.
Bro. Álvaro began his day with Mass in the Novitiate chapel with the Novitiate and Provincialate communities. For most of the day he met with the Mission Council of the District of San Francisco and provided insights, concluding the meeting with various observations and answering questions from council members. During the lunch break, Bro. Álvaro visited the Lasallian Education Fund board of trustees, which was meeting in another part of the property.
Bro. Álvaro met with the District Council of the San Francisco District at the Christian Brothers Conference Center of Mont La Salle, Napa to listen to individual assessments of strengths, hopes, and challenges in the District. Bro. Álvaro responded to the Brothers’ comments with encouragement, some new perspectives, and assurance of his support. Afterwards, members of the De La Salle Institute Board joined the council for a meeting, followed by lunch. During the evening, Bro. Álvaro and Bro. Robert joined the Novitiate community for prayers, a social, and dinner cooked by Bro. Robert Hazard, who had Bro. Álvaro as his Visitor during his time working in Guatemala.
After an informal breakfast in the Provincialate community’s living area, Bro. Álvaro participated in the Palm Sunday liturgy. It was followed by a luncheon with all three communities at Mont La Salle: Provincialate, Novitiate, and Holy Family. In the afternoon, Bro. Álvaro hiked around the property and ventured into the vineyards. The day ended with evening prayer, a social and dinner with the Provincialate community.
Day 13: Saturday, April 16, 2011
Today began Bro. Álvaro’s visit to the District of San Francisco. Bro. Stanislaus Campbell, Visitor, and Bro. Thomas Jones, Auxiliary Visitor, welcomed Brothers Álvaro’s and Robert when they arrived. The Brothers joined the Provincialate Community for social and dinner.
Message from Bro. Álvaro as he ends his Midwest District visit:
At the end of my visit to the Midwest District I take with me a wonderful impression of the human quality of the Lasallian people I was able to meet in many different places: Chicago, Winona, Memphis, St. Louis, Glencoe, Tulsa and Minneapolis. The Lasallian Mission of human and Christian education is very much alive in the District. I think we can look forward with confidence because Brothers and lay people working together in the same charism, spirituality and mission represent a large force, capable of overcoming the obstacles that may arise, to continue the beautiful vocation the Lord in his mysterious plan has called us to: to be instruments of salvation for young people especially the poor, the least loved and those who have no voice. May St. John Baptist de La Salle continue to bless the wonderful work done by the District. My memory of this visit will be unforgettable. Thank you very much to everybody.
Pictures from Bro. Álvaro’s visit to the Midwest District.
Day 12: Friday, April 15, 2011
Today marked the final day of Bro. Álvaro’s visit to the Midwest District. He met with both the Mission and Ministry Council and the District Council where they discussed the District’s blessings and challenges. Bro. Álvaro said the Lasallian spirit is very alive in the Midwest District. The visit ended with the Midwest District presenting a monetary gift for the Superior’s Fund which can be used to assist Districts in need.
Day 11: Thursday, April 14, 2011
Today’s visit took the Brothers back to Chicago and St. Patrick High School, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. Bro. Álvaro’s first visit to the school started with a breakfast reception with Bro. Konrad Diebold, president of St. Pat’s, along with staff, students, and guests. A liturgy followed which included the affiliation of St. Pat’s principal Dr. Joe Schmidt and benefactor Mr. Lowell Stahl ’52. Both were formally affiliated by Bro. Álvaro.
After lunch, Bro. Álvaro met with Lasallian groups, including Lasallian Youth representatives from De La Salle Institute, Montini Catholic High School, and St. Pat’s. Bro. Álvaro then met with Lasallian Volunteers from Chicago and Racine, plus former LV Matt Palkert, Harvey House Director, and Peter Tooher, LV Program Coordinator. Bro. Álvaro also met with Brothers mostly from Chicago and Wisconsin.
Day 10: Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Bro. Michael Collins, president of DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis, MN provided Bro. Álvaro with an update on the Regional Lasallian Educational Brand Initiative before Bro. Álvaro met with representatives from Lasallian high schools who have been through Lasallian formation programs. Bro. Álvaro then visited the Twin Cities Campus of Saint Mary’s University for the first time where he heard from a panel composed of six students who their SMU experiences. The day ended with dinner with Bro. William Mann, president of Saint Mary’s University.
Day 9: Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Tuesday’s visit began at San Miguel Middle School in Minneapolis, MN, which was Bro. Álvaro’s first time at the school. Students led the visiting Brothers on a tour before lunch with four students and members of the school community. Bro. Álvaro also answered a variety of questions from students. As the visit to San Miguel came to a close, Bro. Álvaro remarked how sad it is that the school is closing at the end of this academic year.
The next stop was at Totino-Grace High School in Fridley, MN where Bro. Álvaro met with Brothers from the Twin Cities and shared a meal hosted by Totino-Grace. The school’s show choir, “A Company of Singers,” then performed for the group.
The day ended with a meeting of executive members of boards of directors from the Twin Cities Lasallian high schools and Dunrovin Retreat Center, along with chief administrators. Bro. Álvaro spoke about the importance of Association and expressed his appreciation for all that boards do to help ensure the Lasallian Mission and obtain the resources necessary to sustain the ministries.
Day 8: Monday, April 11, 2011
Day 8 started with a liturgy at Bishop Kelley High School in Tulsa, OK which students from San Miguel School also attended. Bishop Edward Slattery presided over the Mass. Bro. Álvaro’s visit marked the first time a Superior General has visited Bishop Kelley.
After lunch, the group went to San Miguel to visit staff and students. San Miguel presented a short video on the school after which the students asked Bro. Álvaro several questions. The group was also given a tour of the school, which recently moved into the former Catholic Charities building nearby after sharing space in a church basement.
Day 7: Sunday, April 10, 2011
Bro. Álvaro attended a brunch to kick off Founders’ Week at Lewis University in Romeoville, IL with several administrators, faculty members and Brothers. Following brunch, Bro. Álvaro met with about 25 Brothers from the area.
The group arrived in Tulsa, OK Sunday evening and attended a reception with Lasallians from Bishop Kelley High School and San Miguel School who have been through formation programs.
Day 6: Saturday, April 9, 2011
Bro. Álvaro visited the La Salle Retreat Center in Glencoe, MO Saturday to celebrate its 125th anniversary. He said Glencoe is a very special place for him because while it served as the provincial headquarters for the St. Louis District, many Brothers from the Midwest served in Guatemala and Nicaragua. Four Brothers present at the luncheon—Brothers Bill Brynda, Bernard Brungardt, Jim Krause, and Dale Mooney—served in Guatemala while Bro. Álvaro was Visitor there.
Day 5: Friday, April 8, 2011
Today’s visit took Bro. Álvaro to St. Louis where he attended a monthly luncheon at De La Salle at St. Matthew’s which celebrates accomplishments. After the luncheon, the group went to Christian Brothers College High School for an after-school reception with the faculty and staff in the library. After Bro. Álvaro spoke briefly, a student interviewed him for a video project. He then met with all of the Missouri Brothers at the Brothers’ house nearby, which included Brothers from St. Louis, Kansas City and Jefferson City.
Day 4: Thursday, April 7, 2011
Day four of Bro. Álvaro’s visit took place in Memphis, TN on the Feast Day of St. John Baptist de La Salle. The day began with a liturgy at Christian Brothers High School which included representatives from Christian Brothers University and De La Salle at Blessed Sacrament. After communion, the Brothers renewed their vows. Following a reception, the group had lunch at CBU with student leaders and CBU awarded Bro. Álvaro the Maurelian Medal during a convocation. Bro. Maurelian founded CBU 140 years ago. Bro. Álvaro then met with CBU president Dr. John Smarrelli Jr. and the cabinet. They talked about the growing importance of Lasallian universities and the role they can play in advancing the Lasallian Mission. Bro. Álvaro also met with all of the Brothers in Memphis along with attending a dinner and social.
Day 3: Wednesday, April 6, 2011
The third day of Bro. Álvaro’s visit began at the Brother David Darst Center in Chicago, IL. He met with staff and board members, and learned about the center. Bro. Álvaro also visited the seven Brothers who live at Resurrection Retirement Center. The day ended with a flight to Memphis where Thursday’s visits will take place.
Day 2: Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Bro. Álvaro spent the second day of his visit at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in Winona. After a welcome by the SMU Concert Choir, Bro. Álvaro met with the young men who participate in the Lasallian Teacher Immersion Program (LTIP). He also took part in a Founder’s Day liturgy and met with employees of Saint Mary’s Press. He attended a special luncheon and convocation where Brothers Michael Collins and Jeff Gros (SMU alumni) were awarded honorary doctorates, and Dr. Roxanne Eubank, Chair of the Mission and Ministry Council, was recognized as the Outstanding Lasallian Educator for SMU. Before returning to Chicago, Bro. Álvaro had dinner with Brothers at the Brothers’ residence.
The Winona Post covered Bro. Álvaro’s visit.
In this video message, Bro. Álvaro talks about plans for his pastoral visit to the Midwest District. He says the goal of his visit is to encourage Lasallians to live with more authenticity to Lasallian values. Bro. Álvaro is traveling with Bro. Robert Schieler (General Councilor), Bro. Frank Carr (Midwest Visitor), and Bro. Larry Schatz (Auxiliary Visitor).
Day 1: Monday, April 4, 2011
Bro. Álvaro began his two-week visit to the Midwest District with a video conference call with De La Salle Blackfeet School in Browning, MT. Bro. Álvaro spoke with Bro. Paul Ackerman, school president, and students. He also took a virtual tour of the school.