Monday, April 29, 2013


Br. Charles Joachim Avendano and 52 other Jubilarians were honored by the Archdiocese of New Orleans at a Mass of Thanksgiving celebrated by Archbishop Gregory Aymond on Sunday, April 28th at St. Rita’s Church.  Charles was celebrating his 70 years, joining religious and clergy celebrating 25, 40, 50, 60, 70 [there were seven of these] and one 75 years!  About half the Jubilarians were at the 3 PM Mass; several hundred family and friends were in attendance.  The Archbishop spoke warmly and with some humor about the mission and ministry of the honorees, noting that he hoped they would continue to be in mission for another 25, or 40 or… years as, to use his phrase, co-workers in the Kingdom.  The Mass was followed by a wonderful reception at St. Rita School cafeteria—bountiful platters of canap├ęs reflected the attention to fine food in New Orleans and there was opportunity to share some time with folks we know in the Archdiocese.

As we returned home after the reception, the rain began, but we went ahead with a celebratory dinner  at Vincent’s, a very nice Italian restaurant on St. Charles Avenue that got the approval even of our native of Staten Island,  John Petrullo, which is high praise indeed.  We left the house in a torrential downpour, but Travis Wain, our designated driver, deposited us at the door of the place so we were not soaked on arrival; we returned home in another monsoon.  

Br. Charles Joachim Avendano at his 87th birthday party last Fall

We are planning an afternoon Jubilee reception on Saturday, May 18th at 3 PM at 4219 Constance for Charles.  We'll have a brief prayer service and then time for food and fellowship. 

Today, Monday, the 29th dawned sunny with a chance of rain.  This week promises warm and humid; last week Travis did roofing work on some days which was quite rigorous while Matt manned a shovel much of the time.  This week, Matt expects to be working with some adult volunteers, initially lot clearing he thinks. 

Saturday was sunny with a breeze; Matt worked with a friend on a project in the Lower 9, Br. John, with the help of a neighbor, Jimmy Keith, cleared out a section of native weeds near where we park—and fed some of the plants we have put in over the years.

From Br. Charles invitation: Part One of a brief Biography.  Part Two with the next blog.

Brother Charles, for years known as “Joe” from Joachim, is a native of Seattle, Washington. He grew up in the shadows of St. James Cathedral and O’Dea High School, located on First Hill above the business district and port. In 1943 he decided to join the Irish Christian Brothers. Bidding farewell to his father, step-sister and sister, he entrained for St. Joseph Juniorate in West Park, New York. There he completed his high school studies and prepared to enter the Brothers’ Santa Maria novitiate on September 7, 1944.

A wartime shortage of teachers and the post-war “baby boom,” prompted most religious orders to fast-track the religious training and professional education of their members in order to meet the great need for classroom teachers. Eventually he completed his academic education at Immaculate Heart College, Los Angeles and graduate studies at the University of San Francisco.

After a four-year teaching assignment in St. Bonaventure’s College, (grades 1-12), St. John’s , Newfoundland (now a Canadian province), “Joe” returned to the States and taught for a year in Briscoe School, Kent, Washington. The Provincial Leadership then missioned him to be one of three founding Brothers for Palma High School in Salinas, California. After a six-year happy stay in Palma, “The Salad Bowl of America”, he taught one year in Montebello, California before returning to O’Dea High School in Seattle, Washington.  After four years he became the Superintendent of Briscoe Memorial School in Kent, Washington. A few years later he would spend time teaching in Honolulu, Hawaii, and then in Birmingham, Michigan. After a three year term as Principal of Cantwell High School, Montebello, California, he would resume class work in Burbank, Illinois. From here he became a member of our Roman Tertianship retreat and renewal program and enjoyed the exhilarating experience of living in Rome with three Popes during 1958. After returning to the States, he taught in Burbank, Illinois; Salinas, California and finally in Vallejo, California.

Part Two to follow. . .

BLOG 04.29.13

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