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Father Jim Fitz, S.M. ’68, vice president for mission and University rector

Holy days, Mother Mary and many blessings … Ask a Marianist

3:57 PM  Jan 3rd, 2012
by Michelle Tedford

Father Jim Fitz, S.M. ’68 is vice president for mission and University rector. “I have been encouraged by the breadth of the interest across campus in Blessed William Joseph Chaminade,” says Fitz, whose office is coordinating UD’s Chaminade Year celebration, which runs through January. Celebration details are at www.udayton.edu/rector/chaminade250.

It was very sad recently to read that the Marianists had left San Francisco after 125 years. At which school in the U.S. is found the oldest Marianist presence? —Ernest Avellar ’49, Hayward, Calif.

University of Dayton is the oldest. The school opened in 1850 and it evolved into UD; UD had a high school section that moved to Chaminade High School, which is now Chaminade Julienne. We still sponsor Archbishop Riordan High School in San Francisco; there are no longer any Marianist religious, but we still promote the Marianist charism there. We withdrew because we have fewer religious and we just cannot be present in all the places we were before. Also, we respond and adapt to change, so we have moved into new ministries based on the gifts of our members, such as Brother Bob Donovan, a medical doctor working with the homeless in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.

Why isn’t Good Friday a holy day of obligation? —Kathy Waldron ’80, Canal Fulton, Ohio

A holy day of obligation is a required day to attend the celebration of the Eucharist, and Good Friday is the one day during the liturgical year when the church does not celebrate the Eucharist.

Does UD still have a retreat program called the CARE Weekend? —Mary Puleo Kuenzig ’80, Mason, Ohio

There’s not a CARE retreat anymore. Adaptation and change are characteristics of Marianist education, so the retreat program has changed. There is still a very strong retreat program, but the forms have evolved based on the interests of students, for example the More 2 Life retreat and the Metanoia retreat. To get in touch with former participants, you can look up their names through the online alumni network at www.udayton.edu/alumni.

When I have missed our sons — three have attended UD — I know Mother Mary is there to watch over them. Who created the wonderful icon, which is on several buildings? —Lisa Brackmann, Cincinnati

Brother Gary Marcinowski created the original design, and Brother Brian Zampier later turned it into a greeting card. The illuminated image of Mary and child can be seen on Miriam Hall and College Park Center.

What advice do you give to alumni and students for staying in touch with our beloved Marianist family after they have left UD? —Emily Klein McFadden ’09, Cleveland

It depends on where a person lives. At www.marianist.com is a directory of Marianist lay communities and religious communities (the Society of Mary and the Marianist sisters). You can also connect to FamilyOnline and see the Marianist lay communities map (www.marianist.com/?page_id=1198). Of course, you can always contact our office at 937-229-2899 to connect with UD Marianists.

I have a hard time explaining what it means to be a Marianist. Can you give me an “elevator speech”? —Clare Roccaforte ’02, Chicago

A Marianist is a disciple of Jesus Christ, the son of God become the son of Mary for the salvation of all. Mary, for us, is a model disciple because she heard the word of God and she said yes to it. Her yes allowed the word of God to be incarnated in the world. So we as Marianist religious imitate her  yes to the word of God and incarnate it in the world through community and mission. In community, we try to live the Gospel values so people can see them. Mission is outreach to build the kingdom of God in the world based on what the needs of the time are. That’s an elevator speech depending on how many floors — we could go longer.

How do you reconcile good fortune and God’s many blessings with the pain and suffering of so many innocent people?  —George Kooluris ’66, Bronxville, N.Y.

That’s one of the theological questions for the times. Terry Tilley, who was our former religious studies chair, wrote a whole book on it: The Evils of Theodicy. Some of the suffering in our world can be attributed to the choices people make. God loves us but God leaves us free, so people make choices that are not the choices that even God would want us to make. But I do not have a good answer for every illness or natural catastrophe, except to do what Mary did and stand with people who are suffering.  Like Mary, I can be compassionate and caring and do what I can to alleviate suffering.

For our spring issue ask Peg Mount, a Marianist Educational Associate, parent of two UD alumni and longtime administrative assistant in the department of engineering technology; she has worked at UD 21 years. Email your question to magazine@udayton.edu.

Peg Mount, Marianist Educational Associate

One Response to Holy days, Mother Mary and many blessings … Ask a Marianist

  1. [...] Fr. Jim Fitz (Kiefaber Street, Dayton) is featured in a recent issue of The University of Dayton Magazine, in which he answers questions from UD alumni. Fr. Jim, UD class of 1968, is vice president for mission and university rector. Read the article. [...]

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