Dear Brothers and Sister in Christ,
As we complete our Lenten journey and enter into this Holy Week, let me be the first to send you greetings for a Happy Easter!
Our Holy Father Augustine reminds us that "We are an Easter People and 'Alleluia' is our song!" I hope that we will not only celebrate this Easter Season with great joy, but also radiate this Gospel Joy by the way we live our Augustinian Life throughout the Year! If we are truly joyful, it will show in our relationships with family, friends, and colleagues.
I look forward to visiting many of our parishes and schools during the upcoming visitation with our Prior General and Vicar General, as well as at our Celebrations the weekend of April 24-25 to kick off our Diamond Jubilee Year!
As a reminder, please make your reservations by April 10 if you plan to attend the Gala at the Drake on Friday, April 24 when we will honor Tony Pizzo, O.S.A. and Jim Foody, M.D., as well as remember the life and ministry of the late Ray Ryan, O.S.A., as we begin the year-long celebration of our 75 Years as The Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel. We expect the Gala to be a sell-out! Besides honoring the above mentioned, I also hope to announce the honorees for next year's Gala and the closing events of the Jubilee Year at this year's Gala.
We will continue the celebration the following morning, Saturday, April 25, at St Rita Parish in Chicago at 10 a.m., when we will have the Opening Mass for the Jubilee Year with Prior General Alejandro Moral, O.S.A., presiding. At that Mass, he will Affiliate eight friends of the Province to the Order:
- Deacon David Andrade and his wife Maria from St. Rita Parish in Chicago,
- Frank Caldarone from Palermo's 63rd Street in Chicago,
- Sr. Ardis Cloutier, O.S.F., Assistant in the Province Vocation Office,
- Chuck Engvall from Providence Catholic High School and Member of Province Finance Commission and Trust Boards,
- Deacon Jim Foody from Northwestern Hospital,
- Mike Heeney from Heeney Funeral Home, and
- Letitia Olinger from St. Rita Monastery and High School.
Let us congratulate and welcome these new members of our Order!
Other Affiliations that will take place earlier during the General Visitation are:
- Vancouver Sacred Heart Parish: Adele Laureen Britz and Gus Getz,
- Toronto Marylake: Quinto Annibale, Lou Conte, John Gennaro, Joe Gennaro, Fr. Hogan, and Frank Stadler, and
- Tulsa Cascia Hall: Roger Carter, Bonnie Leighty, and Connie Leos.
The Fidelitas Award will also be given to long-time Coaches Jack Quinn and Gene Schaller. This will happen at a Mass on April 23 at St. Rita High School in Chicago when Bishop Bob Prevost, O.S.A. will be confirming three students. The Prior General and Vicar General will also be present at this Mass.
I would like to share some other Good News from around the Province with you:
- At our recent Vocation Discernment Weekend we had 15 candidates! It is a great sign of encouragement to have so many young men looking at our Order!
- Our Province Advancement Office’s efforts are paying off! Our Trusts are increasing in value, and we have more donors and volunteers than ever before!
- St. Rita High School Senior Ethan Gray will be the only student from the United States to receive the Heart of the Arts National Award this June in New Orleans. Also, St. Rita has registered an increased number of Freshmen for next year!
- Austin Catholic High School will graduate its first class of seven students on May 27 at St. Clare of Montefalco Church. I will preside at the Baccalaureate Mass!
- Fr. Steve Curry, O.S.A., from the Villanova Province, will be the Director of Augustinian Mission at St. Rita High School!
- Fr. Tom McCarthy, O.S.A. will have an increased on-campus presence at Villanova University!
- Fr. Bob Guessetto, O.S.A. will be the Director of FANA Professed at St. Augustine Friary!
- As of July 1, Fr. Tom Firestone be pastor of the St. Matthew, St. John Vianney and St. Michael Parishes in Flint. And, after October 1, also St. Mary Parish. He will have two associates with him in the future. The Augustinian Community will continue to live in the rectory and assist in the various parishes!
While there are challenges that we must face, we have many more blessings to be grateful for and to celebrate!
Let us always remember to count our Blessings and Celebrate them!
A Joyous Easter to All!
Fraternally in Christ and St Augustine,
Very Rev. Bernard C. Scianna, O.S.A., Ph.D.
Prior Provincial of the Midwest Augustinians