Sharing Our Life and Mission: A Joint Formation Program, established by the Office of Marist Evangelization, has
several components. One critical part of the effort came to life at Sharing Our Mission, a recent workshop in Esopus. Participants included alumni and development professionals from Archbishop Molloy High School(Briarwood, NY), Mount St. Michael Academy (Bronx, NY), Christopher Columbus High School (Miami, FL), St. Joseph Academy (Brownsville, TX), Central Catholic High School (Lawrence, MA), Marist High School (Chicago, IL), Marist High School (Bayonne, NJ) and Roselle Catholic (Roselle, NJ). The workshop reinforced participants’ understanding of St. Marcellin’s mission and they discussed how to best incorporate it into professional practices. Here’s what a few members of the organizing committee had to say about the endeavor.
An Exciting Program
Juan Gomez, development director, Christopher Columbus High School, appreciated the benefits of getting face time with his professional peers. “It was great to have an opportunity to speak to other development directors from the other Marist schools to see how they combine their fundraising efforts with the Marist Mission always in the forefront,” he said.
From connecting with fellow Marist schools to giving participants a fuller understanding of the Marist Mission, the merits of the program are many. Julie Androshick Boyle, director of development, Mount St. Michael Academy,
shared her thoughts about Sharing Our Mission. “The program is interesting,” she said, “because it allows an articulation for all of us, religious or not, of the Marist Mission of educating and serving those most in need that, in essence, is a calling to treat every human being with the utmost dignity, while at the same time increasing our own dignity in the process.” Androshick Boyle specifically identified one of the strongest benefits of the program as “being able to talk with my peers regarding how to translate mission into action by serving others.”
Richard Karsten, president, Archbishop Molloy High School, and Evangelization Board member, also played an integral role in the workshop’s planning and in the event itself. “Sharing Our Mission deepens the understanding of what makes a Marist education unique,” he said. “By connecting ‘like-minded’ individuals from the schools, presentations and discussions have more impact because the focus is on putting Champagnat’s guiding principles into action in real-world situations.”
Karsten brought this enthusiasm to life by presenting at the workshop, covering topics including development, alumni relations, branding and marketing, and relating them to the writings of St. Marcellin as well as anecdotes from his own experiences. His focus on the importance of communicating clear messages to alumni set the tone for a productive question-and-answer session as well.
A Team, A Family
Karsten’s role as a presenter was not only valuable for participants who learned from his shared experiences, but also for his own growth. “As a presenter, the process helped me to reflect on how the foundations of simplicity, hard
work and the family spirit can be realized in the approach to alumni development,” he said.
Gomez agreed, also citing an appreciation for the realization that others in similar roles to his are willing to share ideas and provide feedback. He said, “The bonds we formed make me feel comfortable to know that I can pick up the phone at any time and call any one of the other development directors to ask them for advice or to bounce ideas off of them.”
Gomez described some of the exercises from the program. “We had to come up with an idea for each school to do a service project with their alumni. This service project would take place simultaneously to promote a sense of unity. Even though we are eight schools in different locations, the Marist Mission is our common denominator.” While specifics of the project are still being worked out, the wheels are definitely in motion.
The relationships resulting from the association with other Marist schools hit home for participants, and Karsten recognized the importance of these ties. “It helps to know that we share some of the same frustrations and challenges,” he said. “By connecting with our Marist counterparts in other schools, we can maximize the power of a shared spirituality and common purpose.”
For more information on the Joint Formation Plan, please contact Br. Steve Milan at [email protected]