This column was featured in the September 2016 edition of the eNewsletter which was sent to every student, parent, faculty, staff, and alumni.
This past weekend I was blessed to have been given the opportunity to officiate the wedding of an alumnus. Not that this is a rarity. Actually, I seem to have one every weekend. But as I sit here putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), I can’t help but think about the reasons why those occasions move me.
They move me because I am accompanying alumni during one of the most important moments in their lives. They move me because alumni are choosing to receive the sacrament of marriage in their Church. They move me because I can exercise my ministry as a priest for our graduates. But, I confess, they move me most when I stand at the altar with an alumnus who is flanked by his best man and several groomsmen, all of who are Belen classmates.
This is the essence of Belen’s grandeur, what makes us special. It’s the brotherhood. A fraternity that lasts a long time and is present at the most important moments of our lives. When I lived for three years on the border with Haiti, working at our Jesuit school in Dajabón, my parents visited me once, my brother twice, my Belen classmates… three times, every year. This was so impactful that even the people of the town would express how impressed they were with how large my family was.
The fact is that the rigor of the Belen curriculum, that we huddle under one Jesuit banner and strive to become, over time, men dedicated to the service of others, that we wear the blue and gold and invoke with one voice the protection of Our Lady of Belen, unites us and helps create a brotherhood that is second to none. This is the recipe to our 162 year run.
October is the month of our homecoming. Traditionally it is a time to bring home those members of our fraternity that may have been away for some time but still carry deep within their hearts a love for their alma mater. Football games, dances, pep rallies, and class reunions are nothing more than a means to an end… to flame the fiery passions of the Belen spirit.
October is also the month of the rosary. That special Catholic devotion that in the history of our Church has helped its members overcome insurmountable odds, given comfort to those in distress, and filled with hope those who have struggled to stay true to what is right and good. I encourage you and your family to pray it together. Once a week sit down with your parents or children or friends and contemplate its mysteries. Allow the blessed Mother’s intercession to heal your souls and strengthen your homes. And when you do, say one Hail Mary for Belen.
Belen Jesuit Preparatory School was founded in 1854 in Havana, Cuba by Queen Isabel II of Spain. The task of educating students was assigned to the priests and brothers of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), whose teaching tradition is synonymous with academic excellence and spiritual discipline. In 1961, the new political regime of Cuba confiscated the School property and expelled the Jesuit faculty. The School was re-established in Miami the same year, and over the next decade, continued to grow. Today, Belen Jesuit sits on a 30-acre site in western Dade County, only minutes away from downtown Miami.