Thursday, February 13, 2014


Robert Droel’s visit with us gave him the opportunity to shadow Brothers and volunteers and the community the chance to reflect on what was worth seeing.  Bob visited the “Lower 9th Ward”, the most devastated area in the city even today; population has not returned and large swaths of the area are empty.  Charles drove him around the French Quarter [it was raining Charles said] and on another day got him to experience the 30 mile long Causeway over Lake Pontchartrain.  At the end of the week, Charles took Rob to see Travis Wain’s work and the three of them went to Café Reconcile where Brother Joe Fragala ministered for three years before his untimely death.  The Café was renovated and upgraded dramatically with the support of the famous chef, Emeril Legasse and others.  Joe’s picture is located so that he keeps his eye on the kitchen.  Travis Wain had Joe in class and he and his family were close personal friends of Joe.

On Saturday, February 8, John went to the Archdiocesan celebration of the World Day for Consecrated Life at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of the Holy Family, a congregation begun by Mother Henriette DeLille who is a candidate for canonization.  Over 250 religious joined with Archbishop Gregory Aymond for a prayer service.  When John arrived, Sr. Beth Fitzpatrick greeted him with: “Blessed art thou amongst women”, since he was the only male there besides the Archbishop.  Later, Br. Herman Johnson, OP, [the first Brother Prior in the history of the Order] who lived with the Brothers at Rice HS in Harlem, came with a Dominican priest—a lone Franciscan Brother also came.  The Archbishop was a student of the Sacred Heart Brothers at what is now Brother Martin HS; after the luncheon he stopped John and asked about the Volunteer Community; Sr. Beth had waxed eloquent about her visit here a week ago and Archbishop Aymond is always mindful and vocally, publically grateful for the women and men religious in the Archdiocese, always speaking of his ‘co-ministers.’

Lauren Zanfardino and her friend, Hillary [owner of a new puppy that is now a major factor in Lauren’s schedule] went to Comic Con on Saturday.

 A local paper began with: “Remy Dee’s electric blue tail swayed ever so slightly as she followed a train of gun-toting stormtroopers and a sultry Spider-Woman through a ballroom in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on Saturday.

Dee was dressed as Twilight Sparkle, the popular Hasbro toy and character in the 1986 movie “My Little Pony.”

The 26-year-old burlesque dancer, nicknamed “The Chalmation Sensation,” was bedecked in a form-fitting hot purple top and a shimmering blue wig with a horn on it.

“These are my people,” she said, gesturing toward the thousands of fantasy lovers, sci-fi fans and comic-book enthusiasts who were milling throughout the room.

“If I wear a ‘My Little Pony’ shirt to the grocery store, people would look at me funny,” she said. “Here, I get hugs.”
Dee’s costumed brethren had assembled for Comic Con, a pop culture and fantasy gathering that touched down in New Orleans for the fourth time this weekend.” 

Lauren quite enjoyed it and shared the story with Erika, Travis and Br. John at some point on Sunday morning.  The age differential in the group was at least as wide as Lake Pontchartrain, despite John having knowledge of such things through his own brother, another devotee of such rituals.  Luckily it appears Lauren is not allergic to zombies or glitter and can be in the same room—but forget peanut butter.


The Peace Initiative group met at Grace United Methodist Church on Canal Street at 6:30 PM on Tuesday, the 11th.  John joined Sr. Claire Regan a fellow board member for a group of religious seeking to cooperate with programs working to end violence in the New Orleans community.  Several other Catholic religious were in a group that was multi-racial, and varied in faith traditions.  At these monthly meetings there is some attempt at inclusivity, but there are also cringe-worthy moments.  But good will prevails and folks are beginning to learn to walk together.  The prayer we recite is based on one Archbishop Aymond drafted which is recited each Sunday at Mass.


This is the adaptation of Archbishop Aymond’s ‘Family Prayer’ suitable for all Faith traditions.

Loving and faithful God, through the years the people of the Greater New Orleans area have turned to YOU in times of war, disaster, epidemic and illness. We come to you, Our Creator,  and ask you to help us in the battle of today against violence, murder and racism.

We implore you to give us your wisdom that we may build a community founded on the faith values that give respect to the life and dignity of all people.

Bless parents that they more form their children in faith. Bless and protect our youth that they may be peacemakers of our time. Give consolation to those who have lost loved ones through violence.

Hear our prayer and give us the perseverance to be a voice for life and human dignity in our community.


BLOG 02.13.14

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