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A Reflection on the meeting of the New England Area Xaverian Associates on February 16th
Written by Associate Richard Frost
On Saturday, February 16, we Xaverian Associates of the Northeast Area went to Westwood and gathered together in the Campus Ministry Room at Xaverian Brothers High School – a convenient and comfortable room next to the lower parking lot Entrance. No “upper room” events for us this day, but what we did was meaningful to us all. Nine of us were able to attend: Brother Joe Pawlika, Jim Conley, Brother Richard Mazza, Gail Dennig, Brother Paul Feeney, Michael Novick, Brother Robert Green, Father Dan Magni, Richard Frost. We truly missed those who could not make it. Still, those who were there could represent every facet of Associate membership – in addition to the Brothers attending, there were laypersons and priest, male and female, ex-Brothers and non-Brothers!
So, we gathered to discuss and refine our concept of a “Xaverian Associate”– trying to survey the whole tapestry of ‘Xaverian commitment to Christian living,’ and then to tease out from that tapestry the threads that are specific to the ‘Xaverian Associate.’ Of course, we quickly realized that we could not pull out those threads without unweaving the entire tapestry. No, this is certainly not to say that a Xaverian Associate is the same as a Xaverian Brother, but that the Associate has the same purpose and intent as the Brother. There are no specific Xaverian vows for the Associate, no specific commitment to community life. Nevertheless, the Associate acknowledges that, at some special phase in life, he or she had been changed by the Xaverian Brothers (maybe only one of them), and that change has elicited an ongoing desire to emulate the Brothers – not by embracing their vows or community life, but by committing to the pursuit of Christianity the way the Brothers do – “in the common, ordinary unspectacular flow of everyday life.” We intentionally give our unique witness to the Xaverian way – by daily prayer, outreach to the poor and marginalized, and communion with the Xaverian Brothers. However unique that witness, we share it and make it part of the Xaverian way.
In those few hours we spent together, we shared far more than what I have commented about here – and my reflections fall far short of the more refined description of the “Charism of the Xaverian Associate” drafted by Gail Dennig in our group!
The point is – we did share! All of us offered what we could, honestly and sincerely. We clarified the charism of the Xaverian Associate by living it. In our ordinary discussion we reaffirmed our commitment to live out the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, in our own unique way, but a way that we intentionally merged with the ‘Xaverian Way.’ In other words, we felt “… called,… together with the Xaverian Brothers, to share, promote, and extend the gifts of the Holy Spirit.”
February 18, 2013
A NOTE REGARDING MEETING REFLECTIONS: Thank you to Richard for providing a post-meeting reflection for the New England group. We’d love to collect one such reflection from each group, after each of the Associate meetings. Perhaps, as the meeting closes we can pick one person to submit a reflection to Chris Irr (email@example.com), so that he can include the thoughts in the Associate Notes. As a reflector, take a couple of days to see what from the meeting has remained with you, and reflect upon that which moved or challenged you during the meeting. Or perhaps, you’ll wish to share some insights on what being an Associate has come to mean for you. We hope these reflections can help build the Associate community through communication of our experiences to those other groups sharing in our commitment to the Brothers.
MORE REGIONAL UPDATES
The Virginia/ Southern MD Associates Group met on Sunday, January 27th and discussed, among other things, the Associates’ Charism description. They have submitted a couple of additions/ revisions to the description. Those notes are currently being compiled and once all the groups have had a chance to respond, we will offer a full report!
Mike Buckley reports: “We had a great meeting of the two [Maryland] XB Associate Groups at Hugh and Kathy Boyle’s home yesterday [Saturday, January 6th]. There were also a few more invited guests that were added to the group…our group [Maryland group Coordinated by Brother Cornie] plans to meet on Sunday, April 14th at 10:00 am at 4409 [The Xaverian Brothers Generalate in Baltimore].” Brother Cornie’s Maryland group also met on January 13th at Ann Nichols home. Chuck Ehrman prepared the prayer service: “A Reflection on the Feast of the Holy Family during the Christmas season.”
The Google+ Associates Group will meet on Saturday, February 23rd and share a prayer service prepared by Jonathan Dohanich.
SURVEY: Associate Commitment & Retreat Weekend – July 5th-7th
We currently have the Bon Secours Retreat Center in Marriottsville, MD reserved for Friday July 5th thru Sunday July 7th for our annual Associates Commitment Ceremony & Retreat. All Associates will be invited to attend, but we will have up to five new Associates making a Commitment that weekend. In preparation for the planning of that weekend, we want to collect some information. Please take a moment to complete this online survey by March 1st: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2ZKC7TW. Formal invitations and details will go out soon.
The Lenten Reflections on Living the Charism will continue into Theme Two, “Turning Toward God,” next week. If you have not yet drop by the website to read them, please do. They are going up daily at http://livingthecharism.com. Several Associates have contributed already (Peg Weidner, Kathy Boyle, & Bill Gorman) and more will be participating in the Second Week of Lent.
Thanks to those who are sharing on Facebook and leaving comments on Living the Charism. To read recent comments,”go to the bottom right corner of the Living the Charism home page to the section “Join the Conversation.”
A CHILD IS BORN
Greg and Elizabeth Mason’s new little guy, Lucas Joseph Mason, born January 9th.
MEET THE POSTULANTS
A series of interviews with third-year postulants in Nairobi have been posted to our YouTube Channel, as well as Living the Charism. The young men are engaging and charismatic. For some English is hard, but they all speak beautifully to what draws them to the Brothers.