Interfaith Social Action and Social Justice Day

Prayer Canvas that will be displayed at the Boston Marathon!

Prayer Canvas that will be displayed at the Boston Marathon!

Interfaith Social Action & Social Justice Day
A Davis Academy & Marist School Joint Program

On Tuesday, January 28, 2014, Marist School students participated in a day of social action and social justice throughout Atlanta with students from The Davis Academy Jewish Day School.  This is a continuation of an Interfaith Dialogue program begun last spring and this past fall with our current 8th graders.  You can read Rabbi Micah Lapidus’ blog @rabbispen about The Davis Academy/Marist School Interfaith Dialogue Partnership.

Some of the different organizations that were visited were:

Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) – “Everyone who is thirsty, come drink from the waters.  All who have no money, come and eat.” (Adapted from Isaiah 55:1) The Atlanta Community Food Bank collects and distributes food locally to organizations that serve the hungry and needy in Atlanta.  Over 15,000 people contribute to the ACFB in one way or another, and is seen as a leading example for food banks around the country.  We will be in the Product Recovery Center, sorting boxes and cans of food to help ACFB serve the community.

Atlanta Community Food Bank volunteers helped package and sort over 6,000 pounds of food!

Atlanta Community Food Bank volunteers helped package and sort over 6,000 pounds of food!

Books for Africa (BfA)“Turn it and turn it again, for everything is in it.” (Ethics of the Fathers 5:26, on reading the Bible) Books for Africa sorts and sends books to communities in need in Africa.  Books are donated by publishers, libraries, schools and individuals, and the books are sorted so that they’re in useable, complete sets when they arrive in Africa.  We will be sorting books and packing boxes upon boxes to be sent to foster educational excellence in Africa.

Books for Africa volunteers sorted and packaged over 12,000  pounds of books to be shipped to the developing world!

Books for Africa volunteers sorted and packaged over 12,000 pounds of books to be shipped to the developing world!

Medshare “Whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” (Talmud, Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:9) Medshare saves perfectly sterile, safe and usable medical supplies and repackages them to send them to the developing world, where these supplies are hard to acquire.  They save millions of dollars in unnecessary medical waste from landfills and send thousands of tons of medical supplies around the world.  We will learn be packing and helping to ship medical supplies around the world, reducing modern medicine’s carbon footprint while increase modern medicine’s worldwide impact and saving lives!

Medshare volunteers packaged and helped sort hundreds of pounds of medical supplies to be shipped to places in the world where these resources are not available.

Medshare volunteers packaged and helped sort hundreds of pounds of medical supplies to be shipped to places in the world where these resources are not available.

VolunteerStock – Located at Davis Academy, students worked at 3 different stations throughout the morning:

  • The Prayer Canvas consisted of completing spaces on a prayer canvas that will honor the Boston Marathon bombing victims, survivors, first responders, and the residents of Boston.
Working together to create the Prayer Canvas.

Working together to create the Prayer Canvas.

  • Card Making for patients that are visited by Jewish, Catholic, and other Christian social workers in their nursing homes and hospitals. Cards will also be given out at a food bank at a Valentine’s Day meal.
Over 500 greeting cards for those in assisted living and senior citizen centers.

Over 500 greeting cards for those in assisted living and senior citizen centers.

Students made 674 sandwiches for Open Door Community Shelter.

Students made 674 sandwiches for Open Door Community Shelter.

The day was cut short due to the snowfall at noon.  Afternoon plans to convene at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center to hear Stephon Ferguson ( had to be cancelled, but the morning was well spent in collaborative social action.  On her drive home from Marist School in the snow, Mrs. Justus found herself gridlocked next to this vehicle.  I think this says it all!






Learning Beyond the Core Curriculum

Learning Beyond the Core Curriculum

            For the next two weeks or so, if you happen to pass through Marist School’s main office (quite possibly on your way to Admissions!), you may notice a display case, covered in text, photos, books, and a map of our Brookhaven neighborhood.  And as overly academic as the case may appear at first glance, that presentation tells of the history of our city: of the cemetery hiding in the trees behind Best Buy (it exists!), of the meadow that used to flourish right where Murphy Candler is now, of the plantation house that General Sherman stayed in in the 1860s.  I would know the display case well – because I helped put it together!

You see, last term I enrolled in an elective called “Introduction to Archival Research,” a two-student class that gave me one hour each day to organize, document, and research the materials in our Marist archives – because although few people are familiar with the archives, that place exists as well!  Over the course of the term, we visited various historical sites in the Brookhaven area, sorted through old documents, and looked at Marist’s past – all in hopes of creating that presentation as our one final project.

And you may think, Why would the school offer a class about archiving?  Yes, I admit, it’s a bizarre course to choose – yet Archival Research is just one of the examples of the many options we students receive as far as electives are concerned.  Because every year, I get four elective spots, and every year, one of my hardest decisions is picking what to fill those credits with.

Just to give you some examples, by the time I graduate, I will have taken Journalism and Young Adult Literature through the English department; Astronomy & Planetary Science and Ornithology through the science department; Leadership & Society and Integrating Computer Applications through the social studies and computer technology departments; Drawing & Painting and Chorus through the fine arts department; and Lifesaving & Aquatics and Body Conditioning & Awareness through the physical education department – just to name a few.  And there are even more classes that I’ve wanted to take but that I’ve never had the space for: Creative Writing, Religion & Philosophy, Modern Middle East, History & the Holocaust, Gardening… and the list goes on.

So although, yes, I take the usual maths, sciences, languages, and beyond, those courses can only personalize my schedule to an extent – because where we students really take control of our schedule is with our electives; those are the classes that push us to pursue our true interests, that allow us to choose exactly what academic path we want to follow, and that prepare us for all the options that await us in college.

Vocational Prayer

Morning Prayer: Vocational Prayer
January 28, 2014
Prayer by Mr. Drew Ditzel ’01; Marist Theology Teacher:

Some of you are being called into the ministry. I know that is weird and kind of bold of me to say, but it’s true.

Trust me, I know you are not supposed to be a minister. I know you are supposed make money as easily and enjoyably as possible. But sadly, that is no one’s vocation. No one is special for wanting that. I currently also want that. And it is very easy to take what we want and think it is the way it is supposed to be.

But what vocation is is a claim that God is bigger than the way things are supposed to be. That a job can be more than a paycheck. It can be a place we encounter and pursue God.

I get to say the prayer today during religious vocational week because I am an ordained Presbyterian minister. And when I was deciding to be a minister, I had lots of thoughts. I remember being afraid I was going to let down my parents. That I was not good enough to be a minister. That people would judge me. That I would miss out while others were going after what we were all supposed to be going after in other jobs.

And then one day as I was supposing what other occupations would be better than minister, it dawned on me that if we are talking about what is supposed to happen with this life it is that I am supposed to work for a while and then die. That is everyone’s real supposed to.

But dang it if I didn’t worship the God of resurrection. So maybe I should stop thinking the things that are supposed to happen are going to give me peace and start wondering where the God of life might be calling me to do.

And I tell you the most freeing day of my entire life was the day I told my parents I was feeling called to be a minister. Not because that is what everyone’s job is supposed to be but it is where my vocation was.

I wonder where your vocation is?

Lord God,

Take the chains of what is supposed to be away and help us to dream what is possible. Turn the death of work and resurrect it into a vocation. Soften our hearts so we don’t feel the need to declare our future but can listen to where we may be called. Give us faith to believe we are your beloved people far above anything else.


Mary, Seat of wisdom, Pray for us.

Catholic Schools Week Morning Prayer: Vocations by Fr. Joel Konzen, S.M.

Morning Prayer: Catholic Schools Week: Vocations
January 27, 2014
Prayer by Fr. Joel Konzen, S.M.

Good morning.  This week is recognized nationally as Catholic Schools Week.  You’ll see a banner attached to the bridge between the Gunn and Chanel Buildings that celebrates our Catholic school heritage.  We are welcoming today students and their teacher from another Catholic school, the Colegio San Jose in Callao, Peru.  Bienvenidos a nuestros visitadores de Peru.  Somos felices en acogerles a Vds.

This week here at Marist is also a time when we give attention to the theme of vocation—the calling that each of us responds to when we discern what it is we’re supposed to do with the gifts that God has given us.  Because we are in a Catholic school, the whole idea of letting the Holy Spirit move us toward where we can best use our talents is not strange to us.  We look and listen for signs, from what other people tell us our strengths are to what we feel drawn to over and over again.  For me, I had to acknowledge that it was service to the church that kept coming back to me, in my own prayer and discernment and in what I was hearing from others.

Some of us—most in fact—will be called to serve God as married persons and as parents, although that’s a few years down the pike for the majority.  Others will be called to live the single life and to serve that way.  Some will be called to the priesthood and religious life.  A few of us attended the funeral Thursday of Father Fogarty at St. Thomas Aquinas in Alpharetta, and it was a blessing to see some of our own Marist alumni as priests attending the funeral.

The Marist Fathers and the rest of the faculty feel we have a calling to help students discern what God might be directing you to do after you leave Marist.  We try not to do that by pushing you to one thing or another, but we are here to talk with you on retreat, or after school, or in casual meetings in any given week.  Whatever you are called to do, we have confidence that you will have the support of the Marist community behind you and that you will take seriously the need to look carefully at how you can best serve God’s people and realize your own hopes in the future.  Let us pray.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  O God, we praise you who have made us with different but abundant gifts to share with others.  Help us to know how we might best use those gifts for the sake of building up the Kingdom of God and for the betterment of those around us.  Guide us to good decisions about our future, and give us courage to respond with an open heart to even those callings that seem to be a challenge for us, so that we might serve you well in this life and come to be with you forever in the next.  In Christ we pray.  Amen.

Mary, Seat of wisdom.

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Morning Prayer: Not All Who Wander Are Lost
January 10, 2014
Prayer by Jason ’14:

“Not all those who wander are lost.” At this point in many of our lives, we are scared of the future. Excited by the possibilities, but scared of what else could happen. We are all searching, meandering, wandering, trying to find something, even if we don’t know exactly what it is. But we’re not lost. Lost implies we have no idea where we are and no way of getting to where we’re going.

“Not all those who wander are lost.” This quote by J.R.R Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings, is a favorite of mine that I like to keep in mind at the beginning of every year. We are entering this new year and leaving behind the old one. In doing so, we are leaving behind our old hopes, dreams, and desires and entering a world of new possibilities. To all the seniors especially, it opens up so many choices for us that we feel as if we’re overwhelmed. So we wander in this new world, but we’re not lost. We have guidance from parents, teachers, friends, and God. We just have to be open to receiving it.

Let us pray. God, grant us your wisdom and guidance in this new year. Thank you for all that you have given us and allow us the strength to keep moving forward. We ask that you help us to see your will and follow it to the best of our abilities. Help us to have faith that you have paved a path for us, and help us to remember sometimes we need to let go and let you take over.

In your name we pray.  Amen.

Mary, seat of wisdom, pray for us.

Trusting God’s Path

Morning Prayer: Trusting God’s Path
January 9, 2014
Prayer by Sterling ’14:

I asked for Strength…
And God gave me Difficulties to make me strong.

I asked for Wisdom…
And God gave me Problems to solve.

I asked for Prosperity…
And God gave me Brain and Brawn to work.

I asked for Courage…
And God gave me Danger to overcome.

I asked for Love…
And God gave me Troubled people to help.

I asked for Favors…
And God gave me Opportunities.

I received nothing I wanted…
I received everything I needed.


We all turn to God in times of trouble and ask for assistance or for a material good that we feel is a necessity in our lives at that moment, whether that be a good grade on the test next period, or perhaps this week for school to be canceled. But because God doesn’t always answer our prayers on our terms, it doesn’t mean He doesn’t love, care, and look after us. It simply means he has a different agenda.  God is our creator, our provider. God knows what is in our best interest; now whether we agree, is sometimes a different story. But, God has the tendency to give us gifts in disguise, gifts we often do not ask for. Nobody wants or asks for difficulties, danger, or trouble, but it is with these gifts from God that we become the faithful disciples of the Lord that we strive to be. Everything happens for a reason. TRUST IN GOD.


I will share a brief prayer from Thomas Merton,

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me.  I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.  But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.  And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.  Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.  I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

Mary Seat of Wisdom. Pray for us.

Advent, Christmas, and New Year Blessings!

On behalf of Marist School, we in the Admissions Office would like to wish you and your family Advent blessings, a most joyous Christmas, and happy New Year!

Please enjoy this video message from Marist School – Marist Quartet

Special thanks to Christopher ’14, Bryce ’15, Brendan ’16, Nick ’17 and Mr. Tim Johnson of the Fine Arts Department.

Jim Byrne ’83
Director of Admissions