Another Tale of Friendship

 

Marist School Class of 2014!

Marist School Class of 2014!

Each May, our school newspaper (the Blue & Gold) puts out a special senior edition for its final issue of the year.  The publication normally include features on standout students, a list of where everyone is going to college, photos of the class, and more, but for this year’s edition, I decided to write a column entitled “A Tale of Friendship” – because I couldn’t sum up my senior year better than through the very topic of that article.

In it, I referenced Emory University President James Wagner’s address at this year’s Emory commencement.  He had particularly described the joyfulness of his Class of 2014 – and yet I realized that if I were to similarly categorize our Marist graduating class, I would immediately say that we are one of friendship.  Sure, we’ve always been very close as a group, no matter the challenges that have been thrown at us, but I could have never imagined the strong bonds that would form specifically in these last nine months.  And I could have never imagined my final year at Marist any other way.

At the end of the summer entering senior year, it seemed as though our entire class was becoming more open to the opportunities that would come its way than ever before – and that could not have been more evident than on the first day of school as we hugged and cheered and posed for pictures before our opening term assembly.  Yet the friendship continued, week by week, from the Friday night football games to the study halls to prom to the senior prank to our last day of school.

So yes, although graduation on Saturday was exciting and celebratory, it was also the end of an era – and my entire class realized that on that day, we would be formally parting with our two hundred best friends.  We will certainly see one another over the summer and at Marist reunions or sporting events in the future, but the official link of our education won’t be there anymore.  And that link was such a magical thing that made my Marist experience all the more positive.

Whenever I speak about Marist, I always bring up the community – because that is what we as a school are all about: being together in word and deed, being neighbor to anyone and everyone, being Marist.  And like many ideas, our school is hard to describe.  You can talk all you want about the spirit and the service and the courses that you could find at Marist, but it’s the feeling you get talking to the students or faculty that makes Marist stand out most.

And that’s what I’ll miss.  I’ll miss the memories and the friendships that I’ve made, but I know that I’ll always come back to Hughes Spalding Memorial Stadium and the bleeding blue and gold.  I know that I’ll always come back to Woodruff Auditorium and the beautiful costumes and musical performances.  I know that I’ll always come back to the chapel and the stained glass windows and the peaceful meditation garden.  I know that I’ll always come back to Marist.

Marist Friends

Marist Friends

an attitude of Gratitude

Morning Prayer: an attitude of Gratitude
May 23, 2014
Prayer by Mr. Brian Freel, Director of Campus Ministry

Thank God.  sigh…

Thank God it’s Friday.

TGIF.

Thank God, this is the last day of classes.  Graduation is tomorrow.  It’s a 3-day weekend!

We have much to be thankful for.  An attitude of gratitude should come easily to followers of Jesus.  Sometimes I flippantly say “Thank God” or even, I’m sorry to say, mockingly.  At Marist, when someone holds the door, we look at them and say “Thank you”.  If we can be intentional then, let’s be intentional in Thanking God.

Let us pray – God, help us to be grateful – help us to celebrate all the blessings we receive from You.  As the letter of James says, “Every good and perfect gift comes from you”.  Thank you, God.

Mary, seat of wisdom, pray for us.

the Faith of a Child

Morning Prayer: the Faith of a Child
May 22, 2014
Prayer by Mrs. Trisha Urrea, Modern & Classical Languages

God has made me many things.  To you all, I am a teacher or a coach, perhaps a friend.  To my family, I’m a daughter, sister, wife.  Yet to my children, I am simply mom.  But any mother knows that also means I’m a nurse, a chef, a referee, a jungle gym, and a Ghostbuster…among other things.

A while ago, my son Harrison called out for me in the middle of the night.  He was certain there was a monster hiding under his bed.   At his request, I checked for him, and just as I suspected, I didn’t find a monster.  I hugged him and talked with him to try and calm him down so we could both get back to sleep. I asked him this question: What’s bigger than that monster?  Being a question he had heard before, he knew the answer, so he took a deep breath and responded, “God.”  I reminded him that when God is in our hearts there is no reason to fear because He will always protect us.  He seemed satisfied with that answer, and soon after he fell back to sleep.

A few days later, Harrison returned the favor.  While I was preparing dinner one evening, I noticed a surprise guest crawling toward me with his 8 little legs.  Not being a fan of spiders, I let out a scream which made my children come running.  “What is it, Mommy?” they asked.  Trying not to sound too afraid, I said nothing and just pointed at the spider.  My daughter squealed and ran to the other room, but my son put his sweet hand on my arm and said, “Don’t you know what’s bigger than that spider?”  The unyielding faith of a child is a powerful thing.

Let us pray:  Almighty God, we thank You for the many blessings You have given us.  Remind us that our faith in You should be childlike and unwavering.  We ask You to be with us always to calm our fears, whether they are upcoming final exams, uninvited spiders, or monsters hiding under our beds.  Amen.

Mary, seat of wisdom, pray for us.

A Look to the Future

Morning Prayer: A Look to the Future
May 20, 2014
Prayer by Matt ’15

With the seniors graduating, many of us are beginning to wonder where we will go in life.  We wonder what our vocation will be.  A vocation is a call from God—and it doesn’t always have to be a call to the religious life.  So this morning, we ask God to help us hear His call to us and ease our worrying about the future.

Let us pray.

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 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 will I 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 (by Thomas Merton).  Amen.

Mary, Seat of Wisdom.

Pray for us.

A Meaningful Moment…

May 19, 2014
Prayer by Fr. Joel Konzen, S.M., Principal of Marist School

Good morning.  Yesterday, amid the steady rain, we added another name to the Marist campus as part of the school’s long history and the people who have helped to make it.  The soccer scoreboard now designates the long and graceful field in front of it as Stadler Field in honor of Mr. Stadler and his 39 years of coaching soccer at Marist.

I say “added a name” because you are aware that there are plenty of other names on campus—Esmond Brady, Father Colin, Kuhrt, Wooldridge, Laird, Father Brennan, Father Hartnett, Dean Hargis, and so on.  These names are not quite around every bend, but, if you look close, you’ll count a lot of them in the halls and on our fields.  A place that forgets where it came from is like a ship at sea without direction or even without power.

Yesterday we also blessed the new Ivy Street Center.  While that’s not a person’s name, it represents the heritage of 61 years that Marist spent in downtown Atlanta, which is now almost the first half of our Marist story in Atlanta.  For the many people who grew up there and came to own their talents there, the name Ivy Street is as meaningful and as alive as the word “Marist” on your car window or your t-shirt.  We want to remember all those who laid the groundwork for what we have today, what we enjoy and maybe even take for granted.

Let us pray.

O God, we are grateful for the chance to learn, to make friends, to grow up in countless ways, and especially to ponder your goodness and your works in this place called Marist School.  We give thanks today for all of those who have gone before us, and we think particularly of those teachers who will be leaving Marist at the end of this year, who have served as mentors and examples as well as instructors in their subjects.  Bless these living exemplars of faith and fortitude, and, for the many who have died but who were much alive here, we give you thanks and we pray that they will be one with you and have their reward for the lessons in virtue and in knowledge that they imparted.  For our faithful benefactors, too, we pray—grant them fulfillment in this life and everlasting peace in the next.  In your name, O Holy God, we pray.  Amen.

Mary, Seat of Wisdom, Pray for Us.

4 years later

It is the last day of school for our Senior Class.  Check out this “flashback” to their first official Marist event – to one of their last.

New Student Welcome Night 2010

New Student Welcome Night 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

Senior Day!

Senior Day 2014!  Nahom will attend St. John’s University and Maeles will attend Rice University.

 

 

 

 

Congratulations to all seniors as you embark on a new journey in the fall.  Good luck and Godspeed.

Mothers

Morning Prayer: Mothers
May 12, 2014
Prayer by Fr. Bill Rowland, S.M.

A couple of years ago, I attended the Marist Mothers prayer group. These mothers meet faithfully every first Friday of the month.  They begin with a discussion about some aspect of our faith and then they end with prayer. They pray for their children, for the students, faculty and staff at Marist, and for each other.

I came to the meeting in May. This is the meeting when those mothers whose sons and daughters will be graduating from Marist are encouraged to share their feelings about that.

The mothers shared how much their children had matured while at Marist and how it seemed like only yesterday that their child was just that: a child. Now, they were young adults. They talked about how proud they were of them, how excited they were for them as they prepared to go to college, the fears and apprehension that sometimes haunted them because they know the dangers that are out there. Those mothers whose last child was graduating Marist talked about how much they will miss all the other parents with whom they had become friends and the void they will feel because their weekdays and weekends won’t be filled with activities associated with their children. They recalled how they had looked forward to no longer being stuck in traffic while going to yet another school function. Now that reality was upon them,  it didn’t bring them the peace and satisfaction they had anticipated. They ended their sharing with prayers that were heartfelt and earnest as they entrusted their son or daughter to God’s loving providence. It is not easy to let go and to let God. The tears flowed freely.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. It doesn’t seem right for us to let that day go by and not to pray for our mothers at Marist. They keep vigil for us students, faculty, and staff through their prayers as do those mothers who meet faithfully every Friday morning after Mass to pray the rosary on our behalf.

Let us pray:

We pray for young mothers, who give life and count toes and tend to our every need; May they be blessed with patience and tenderness to care for their families and themselves with great joy.

We pray for our own mothers who have nurtured and cared for us; May they continue to guide us in strong and gentle ways.

We remember mothers who are separated from their children because of war, poverty, or conflict; May they feel the loving embrace of our God who wipes every tear away.

We pray for women who are not mothers but still love and shape us with motherly care and compassion.

We remember mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers who are no longer with us but who live forever in our memory and who nourish us with their love.   Amen.

Anonymous

Mary, seat of wisdom, pray for us.

Landmarks

Morning Prayer: Landmarks
May 7, 2014
Prayer by Mr. Jai-Sun Bolden, English Department

Proverbs 22:28 says “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.”

As a boy, my father set landmarks verbally and physically. When I was about six years old, I broke off a wonderfully sculpted dirt clod from the ground and heaved it as hard and far as I could…CRSHHH. I shattered my neighbors bathroom window. As soon as my father heard this, he snatched me up off the ground.  After I felt my arm yank up, I literally blacked out.  I can only remember waking up the next day with a sore backside. The next day happened to be Sunday, so I guess you could say my father knocked me into the next week.

When I was around six or seven, I received a Speak and Spell for my birthday.  For those of you who don’t know what a Speak and Spell is, it was an early 80’s version of a tablet for kids. It was a gigantic, red and yellow, talking keyboard that taught children how to read.  As a creative six year old, I thought that my Speak and Spell would make a great talking battleship for my favorite GI Joe action figures during bath time.  Thus, during bath time, I took Lieutenant Torpedo, Seargent Gung-Ho, and Snowjob into the tub to ride and do battle on their new Speak and Spell Battleship. For a minute, the Speak and Spell was everything I had imagined as the Joes battled on the deck of their new state of the art talking battleship. But when I made the Speak and Spell dive underwater [sound effect], a hideous, terrifying electronic gurgle sound emanated from the 80s machine shattering my bathtub bliss.  My father who was within an earshot barged in and again. I felt his hand snatch my arm.  He yanked me out of the bathtub and, well, let’s just say getting a whooping while you are dripping wet in your Birthday suit does feel every bit as bad as it sounds.

But one of the greatest landmarks my father set occurred when I was about 8 years old. I had once again indulged in my favorite past time of throwing rocks in the front yard, and fortunately, I broke another window, the window to our living room. My mother told me to wait for my dad to get home and that he would deal with me.  When my dad came home, he took me outside right to the window. “Did you break this window?”, he asked.

At this moment I had my very first understandable bout with temptation.  I felt like a little Jesus standing on top of a very real mountain being tempted by a tangible Satan within my mind.  “Tell him your friend Marcus did it.”  “Tell him the wind did it.”  Eventually, I stammered out, “I did it”, and immediately braced for impact.  Awaiting another prodigious pounding to my backside, I closed my eyes and tensed up as best as I could.  I waited for three seconds with my eyes closed…The blow never came. My dad told me to always tell the truth and be honest at all cost, even when you make a mistake.  He told me he was proud of me for being honest.  I never received another whooping after that.  That moment in time was a landmark. I feel as if the Lord allowed me to learn the value of honesty and integrity in that moment, and He knew I would someday testify about this landmark that my father set.  Strangely, when I remind my dad about this moment, he doesn’t even remember the event.  He did not realize that his decision that day still affects me thirty years later.

But you do not have to be a ‘father’ to set a landmark.  God, the greatest Father, works through each of us, to set landmarks in the lives of the friends, family, and strangers we interact with. Let us all be mindful of the great impact our words, actions, and decisions can have on other people.  Through our right words and decisions, God, the Father, just may be using us to set a landmark in the life of another, helping them to draw closer to Him.

Let us pray:  Lord, we thank you for the spiritual landmarks that you have given us in our lives that have allowed us to draw closer to you.  We pray that we allow your Holy Spirit to guide our actions, our words, and our decisions so that You may work through us to help set landmarks in the lives of those close to us.

In Jesus name, Mary, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.