Superior General Brother Álvaro Rodríguez Echeverría recently completed his pastoral visit to the New Orleans-Santa Fe District and the District of Eastern North America. Following are stories and photos of his visit.
Day 10: Thursday, October 27
Brother Álvaro spent the day in Covington at Saint Paul’s School under the care of the community directors, Brothers Jerry Vincent and Kenneth Boesch, and escorted through the school by Lasallian Youth and Student Council leaders. Brother soaked in the learning culture in language, mythology, morality and math classes before joining the student body in prayer. Aided by the liturgical band, the students’ voices raised the roof. Brother Álvaro, himself a deep man of prayer, wasclearly at home. During lunch, the Superior lifted the spirits of the faculty at least as high as his own with his affirming comments and observations.
Day 9: Wednesday, October 26
Yesterday’s visit made quite an impression on a sophomore, who commented, “Wow! That was the Superior General of all of the Brothers in the whole world? He is really cool like a regular guy!” At Christian Brothers School today, Brother Álvaro visited with 5th, 6th and 7th graders, and his cool factor broke the barometer: first, he played Lasallian Jeopardy with 5th graders (accepting his team’s defeat with cool humility); then, he engaged in a sit-down dialogue with 7th graders (answering probing questions with cool grace). The day’s capstone was when he personally presented the Letter of Affiliation to Mr. Joey M. Scaffidi, in the presence of the Archbishop, Superintendent, Students, Faculty, Board trustees, Affiliated members, Brothers and his Family. Following a relaxing afternoon, he joined the Regional Conference of Christian Brothers for dinner.
Day 8: Tuesday, October 25
It was a full and demanding day, but also rewarding. Brother Álvarowas warmly received at Archbishop Rummel and De La Salle. In each setting he observed teachers and students in active learning and participated in assemblies replete with prayer and song. At Rummel the prayer service was “Celebrating the Presence of God.” It concluded with a full-throated “This Little Light of Mine” and the alma mater. At De La Salle, the prayer service opened with “Let There Be Peace On Earth” in three languages. To the students, Brother Álvaro offered generous compliments for living the Lasallian spirit, and he urged them to allow their hearts to be “without borders” to further develop the relationships so key to the school community. In the evening, Brother Alvaro met with the Christian Brothers School Community for a fraternal meal and gathering.
Day 7: Monday, October 24
The student body at Cathedral High School warmly welcomed Brother Álvaro at an assembly in the gymnasium. Students unveiled a new video they made to introduce the culture and life of “La Cate” and then Brother spoke movingly of how as Lasallians they are called to servant-leadership to one another. At the conclusion of the assembly, the entire educational community extended their hands in blessing the Superior General. After a tour of art, religion and criminal law classes Brother Álvaro sat down for an intimate conversation with four students from Cd. Juárez to exchange experiences, feelings and thoughts about the border situation. After arriving in the early evening in New Orleans, the Brother Joe Porter Community hosted Brother Álvaro to a relaxing and delicious meal.
Day 6: Sunday, October 23
Brother Álvaro and his entourage departed Albuquerque early this morning for El Paso. Brother Alphonse LeBlanc, community director, greeted the travelers at the airport and escorted them to the community for prayer and dialogue. Joining the community of two Lasallian Volunteers and four Brothers was Jose Gonzalez, AFSC. Following dinner Brother Álvaro was welcomed at a reception in his honor-he spoke briefly and then enjoyed the company of the wider educational community of alumni, teachers, parents and students.
Day 5: Saturday, October 22
This morning, Sangre de Cristo Center’s staff and participants gave Brother Álvaro a warm fraternal and sororal welcome. Brothers Dennis Galvin and Vincent Pelletier (Director) took the Superior on a tour of the well-maintained facilities, after which he engaged in a stirring interchange with the 28 participants. The autumn colors were in evidence as the Superior moved between Santa Fe and Sangre. Brother gave a brief interview with local Catholic media and joined the two Brothers’ communities at St. Michael’s for mass (presider: Joseph LaVoie, AFSC) and dinner to cap the day.
Day 4: Friday, October 21
Brother Álvaro joined the NO-SF Mission Council at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Retreat Center for breakfast and a bracing dialogue about the history, efficacy and projects of the council. Brother Álvaro emphasized that they are living a graced moment in the history of the Lasallian movement. He called them to a deeper discernment and unbroken encouragement in its ministerial leadership. In the afternoon, Brothers Álvaro, Bob and Tim were treated to a enlightening tour of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, led by the rector, Msgr. Jerome Martinez (a Lasallian alumnus). The day was topped off with a light-hearted meal with the Mission Council at a busy and popular Santa Fe restaurant.
Day 3: Thursday, October 20
It was a crisp autumn morning in Santa Fe as Brother Álvaro walked to the San Miguel Mission Church, the oldest church in the U.S. There he joined the faculty of Saint Michael’s High School for mass celebrated by Fr. Adam Ortega y Ortiz, an alumnus. In his heartening remarks before mass, Brother emphasized the role and characteristics of the Lasallian teacher, especially noting their concern for the unique personhood of each. During his tour of the school he met students and engaged in Italian, music, campus ministry, religion and math classes. At lunch he heard each member of the administrative leadership speak of the school’s accomplishments and its challenges. Again, as is his custom, he spent the late afternoon and early evening speaking with the Brothers’ community on the priorities of the General Chapter and sharing prayer, fraternity and a meal.
Day 2: Wednesday, October
Bro. Álvaro traveled with Bro. Timothy Coldwell, Visitor, and Bro. David Sinitiere, Auxiliary Visitor to Albuquerque where they were joined by Brother Robert Schieler, General Councilor. They toured the Lewis University-Albuquerque offices and classrooms with the Executive Director, James Saya, then had lunch with three key members of the growing campus community. The Superior left inspired and encouraged by the re-establishment of the Lasallian mission in New Mexico at the collegiate level. After a short trip north to Santa Fe, Bro. Álvaro joined the Hilary House community in Santa Fe for Mass, fraternal dialogue and convivial meal.
Day 1: Tuesday, October 18
Brother Álvaro is visiting the New Orleans-Santa Fe District accompanied by Brother Timothy Coldwell, Visitor, and Brother David Sinitiere, Auxiliary Visitor. Brother Álvaro was warmly received at J. K. Mullen High School in Denver on the first day of his visit. The day began with a school mass, during which one student, Katie Weiss, shared a reflection on the Lasallian core principle, “concern for the poor and social justice.” Brother shared with the school a number of Lasallian initiatives in Africa, Asia and Latin America, then toured and visited with students and faculty throughout the morning. In the evening he shared prayer, dialogue and dinner with the Brothers’ community.
-NOSF updates from Visitor Bro. Tim Coldwell, October 2011