We kicked off the week with a calendar check on Tuesday evening. It was more an announcement of travel plans! Br. Charles leaves on a Jubilee tour June 19th, returning July 24th; John Petrullo leaves us on June 29th and now is planning a year teaching English in Spain; Br. Bob leaves on July 22 returning August 4 and Matt Beben leaves end of July for further ministry with another religious community, overseas. Travis Wain’s commitment to Helping Hands and Americorps also ends July 31 and he is still exploring possibilities for next year. Now that he knows what coverage is needed, Br. John is engaged in summer planning too.
The week was unseasonably cool and marked by continued pouring rain—the beginning of the second weekend of Jazz Fest was more like Mud Fest. However, the skies cleared on Saturday and it was cool, cloudless and beautiful for the last two days.
On Wednesday, May 1, Br. John participated in “Calling All 5th Graders” for 1,000 students from Archdiocesan schools held at Mt. Carmel Academy. Br. Herman Johnson OP, Sr. Monica Gundler SC, Sr. Regina Marie Fronmueller OSU, and other friends were there for the event. While there John met a graduate from Power Memorial Academy, Class of ’62!
On Thursday, the Steering Committee of ‘Burning Bush’, a group of religious seeking ways to support efforts to end violence in the City, met in the Map Room. Srs. Maura O’Donovan CHF, Kitty Bethea OP, Kathleen Nealon, MSC, Claire Regan, SC and Br. John met with two activist community organizers, Stewart Young and Charles Anderson. Travis Wain came for the meeting, too. There will be a group meeting to explore future directions on Monday, May 06, 2013.
On Friday, a day of incredible morning rains, Br. John facilitated a retreat for 40 or so faculty and staff of Holy Rosary Academy and High School. Held at Holy Angels Center in the Marigny, the congregational center for the Marianites of Holy Cross, it was successful enough that he was invited back to facilitate an opening retreat in early August. The retreat began at 8 AM and ended at 12:30 PM. Len Enger, the head of school, took John to lunch at Rocky and Carlo’s, a famous eatery on the waterfront in Chalmette. If it has not yet been on the Food Channel Show: Diners, Dives and Drive-Ins, it should be. Very down home, and very good. Huge portions, noisy room, lots of hustle and bustle. An experience!
Friday evening, Sr. Nancy Hale CHF and Pauline O’Reilly CHF joined the community for pizza and brought dessert which happily combined ice cream, “Heath Bars”, chocolate and a medicinal shot of Kalua. The sisters came to set up the Blessed Pauline Room for a Friday meeting and the volunteers were able to do some of the heavy lifting for them. On Saturday, about 30 people attended a morning with the Sisters during which they welcomed new and renewing Associates of the Sisters in the presence of their families.
On Edmund Rice’s Feastday, Sunday, May 5th we all went to St. Gabriel’s in Pontchartrain Park for their Confirmation Mass. Charles was Eucharistic minister. That evening Matt was at Jazz Fest, but the rest of us enjoyed a wonderful Mexican dinner that John Petrullo prepared.
We are beginning to get acceptances for Br. Charles Jubilee reception on May 18th. Following is the second part of his biography which appears on the back of his invitation.
Br. Charles Joachim Avendano [continued]
In 1993, after forty-six years in the classroom, Bro. Charles moved to begin a new ministry. With great joy he became a California certified Ombudsman and began assisting his fellow seniors in nursing and home care facilities. After nine years he continued this work on behalf of seniors in Phoenix, Arizona. After five years Bro. Charles returned to Seattle where he resumed his Eucharistic Ministry and Ombudsman labors. He also found time to be the Province Health and Welfare Minister to the senior Brothers. Finally in 2009, Charles joined our New Orleans community and began volunteering at Lantern Light, a Presentation Sisters ministry for the homeless.
Over the cupola of the altar in St. James Cathedral is the inscription SERVUS SERVORUM DEI. Whether teaching, moderating student activities, ministering to the sick and homebound, or serving the homeless, the inscription is the motivation that prompts a joyous greeting of a new day and a sharing of God’s many blessing with others. Being open to a new life style of living brotherhood, exploring new forms of prayer styles, enjoying the New Orleans religious community experience, and trying to be a creative cook, keeps Bro. Charles young at heart. How better to use God’s abundant blessings for the good of my fellow brothers and sisters.
Edmund Rice Christian Brothers New Orleans
"Each Brother is an open letter from Christ-- a message written not with ink but in the Spirit of the living God, with a faithful human heart to carry it." Blessed Edmund Rice