Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fr. Jerzy Schneider, SDB

Fr. Jerzy Schneider, SDB (1923-2011)
Rue Eisen of Don Bosco Prep contributed to this obituary
Fr. Jerzy Schneider, SDB, a member of the Salesian community of Don Bosco Prep High School in Ramsey, N.J., died on the evening of Nov. 22, 2011, at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, where he had been taken after suffering a heart attack the day before. He was 88 years old.

Earlier this year Fr. Schneider celebrated his 65th anniversary of religious profession; he made his first vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience on Aug. 26, 1946, at the Salesian novitiate Krakow, Poland.

Fr. Schneider was born to Filip and Ludmila Schneider at Zywiec, a town in the far south of Poland, on Aug. 3, 1923, and baptized in the parish church not long after.

During the German occupation of the country, Filip Schneider refused to put the family on the volkslist, a register of German people, and as a consequence the family home was confiscated and Jerzy, then 18, was sent to a labor camp in Breslau, Germany. He would spend the rest of the war there, constructing, maintaining, and gardening in greenhouses. During his limited break times he liked to read a Bible that a professor friend had given him before he was interned. His reading deepened his faith and his love for God and stirred in him the desire to become a priest in spite of all the suffering and trauma he saw around him and indeed had experienced himself.

When the Russian Army liberated the labor camp in February 1945, Jerzy started walking the 200 miles toward Krakow through the snow. He was wearing wooden-soled shoes he’d made himself. Polish people kindly offered him food and shelter along the way, and at times he was able to hop a train for short rides where the tracks hadn’t been destroyed. The fiancĂ©e of a friend whom he met en route passed word to his parents that he was alive and was going to Krakow to become a priest.

At Krakow he encountered the seminarian Karol Wojtyla, who would be ordained the following year and who had himself been forced by the Germans to work in a stone quarry while studying secretly for the priesthood. Karol had lived in the Salesian parish of St. Stanislaus Kostka in Krakow as a university student and during the occupation (see Salesian Bulletin U.S.A., Spring 2011). As he met with Jerzy over the course of three days, he directed him toward the Salesians instead of the diocesan seminary.

Jerzy had never heard of St. John Bosco or the Salesians, but he contacted them and was admitted to the novitiate at Krakow in August 1945 with 20 other young men.

After his profession Bro. Schneider studied philosophy in the Salesian seminary in Krakow, earning a B.A. in 1948. He carried out his practical training from 1947 to 1949 at St. Joseph’s Hospice in Prusy, a village near Krakow. St. Joseph’s included an orphanage and academic, trade, agricultural, and evening schools; apparently on the basis of his wartime experience, Bro. Schneider worked in the agricultural school. He made his perpetual profession on Aug. 27, 1949.

Following theological studies first in Krakow (1949-1951) and then in Oswiecim (1951-1953), Fr. Schneider was ordained in Oswiecim on May 30, 1953.

Ever since childhood Fr. Schneider had been interested in art. Realizing his talent, the provincial sent him to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow in 1955. For six years he took up art history and all the practical applications of drawing, painting, drafting, and sculpting. In 1961 he was awarded a master’s degree in fine arts, which would become his chief apostolate for most of his 58 years as a priest.

From 1961 to 1967 Fr. Schneider was part of the Salesian community of Oswiecim (Auschwitz in German), motherhouse of all the Salesian work in Poland, which now is divided into four provinces. He was rector of the chapel at the Auschwitz concentration camp from 1965 to 1967, and at that time developed a museum for eight Salesians who had been martyred in the camp. One, Fr. Joseph Kowalski, has already been beatified, and the cause of the others is in process.

Fr. Schneider continued his artwork, especially paintings of Christ and the Madonna and Child. One painting, The Red Madonna, attracted a great deal of attention at a Krakow exhibition, and some Polish Americans who saw it convinced the provincial to send him to America. The arrangements were facilitated by Fr. Joseph Tyminski, director of Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, and Fr. Arthur Slomka, a Polish Salesian working from the Prep.

And thus Fr. Schneider came to the U.S. in 1967, although he remained officially a member of the Krakow Salesian Province. He spent the rest of his life at Don Bosco designing and executing works of liturgical art in a studio there. For some years he taught modern languages, art, and drafting at the Prep. He went to many local parishes to celebrate Mass in Polish and looked after the numerous Polish immigrants in northern New Jersey and southern New York, such as at St. John the Evangelist Church in Mahopac, N.Y., where he was feted on his 80th birthday in 2003.

Meanwhile, The Red Madonna was published on the cover of Sign, a national Catholic magazine, in December 1967, and Fr. Schneider’s work was shown in such venues as the Contemporary Christian Art Gallery on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. He was asked to execute murals and other paintings in many churches, including St. Hedwig in Floral Park, N.Y., Immaculate Conception in Mahwah, N.J., and others in Trenton and Pittsburgh. He also designed vestments for several companies over the years.

According to Rue Eisen, public relations director at Don Bosco Prep, Father Schneider’s “work encompassed a large body of sacred art as well as art inspired by nature. This can be seen in the slide show he created, and the copies he has amassed here of his large body of work. In it, there are many expressionistic Madonnas; some were red Madonnas, others were blue, brown or grey. He also depicted Christ in many paintings in these same color themes. His work can be considered expressionistic, cubist or post-modern. He has modern landscapes of trees and mountains. He also was a photographer…. He worked long and hard at his art. He told me that he was asked to create paintings by many of his directors and provincials, who then gave them away as gifts. He didn’t know where much of his work had gone, but he said that it was given away by his superiors as gifts to their superiors or visiting dignitaries. His sister in Poland maintains a collection of some of his work.”

In the late 1970s he built an altarpiece in molded and hammered copper for the chapel of Mary Help of Christians at Don Bosco Prep, and between October 1989 and February 1990 he carried out a major redecoration of the chapel.

Writing in Don Bosco Prep’s alumni magazine in 2003, Mrs. Eisen observed: “Fr. Schneider’s life has been arduous with many ordeals and trials, yet he offers it all up to God and remains joyful. He is highly intelligent with a wry wit and a strong manner. His artwork is of museum quality.” She also noted his life of prayer and service and his confidence in God’s generosity.

Fr. Schneider is survived by his sister Ludmila Pawelek of Zywiec, Poland.

Fr. Schneider's funeral was celebrated in the chapel of Don Bosco Prep on Nov. 25. Fr. Tom Dunne, the provincial, presided, and Fr. Schneider's former pupil Fr. Steve Shafran preached. Fr. Steve also is a former director of the Prep, and he described some of his conversations about art with Fr. Schneider.

Fr. Schneider was buried in the province cemetery in Goshen on the 26th.

Fr. Clement Cardillo, SDB

Fr. Clement Cardillo, SDB (1925-2011)
Fr. Clement Cardillo, SDB, a member of the Salesian community of Orange, N.J., died at St. Catherine of Siena Nursing Home in Caldwell, N.J., on the afternoon of Nov. 22, 2011. He was 86 and had resided at St. Catherine since March of this year.

Fr. Clem was the son of Anthony and Beatrice Cardillo and was born in Port Chester, N.Y., on June 20, 1925. The family were members of the Salesian parish of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary there, and Clem was baptized there on August 30, 1925.

After completing his first year of high school in Port Chester Junior High School, in September 1940 Clem enrolled at Don Bosco Seminary in Newton, N.J., as a sophomore and graduated from high school in June 1943. He entered St. Joseph’s Novitiate in Newton in September and professed first vows on Sept. 8, 1944.

According to the practice of the era, Clem did his first year of college studies during the novitiate. For reasons not indicated in the records—poor health would be a reasonable guess—after his profession Bro. Clem did not continue at Don Bosco College in 1944-1945. In 1945-1946 he taught American history and general science at Don Bosco Juniorate in Suffern, N.Y., and the following year taught geometry at Salesian HS in New Rochelle.

In the fall of 1947 he returned to Don Bosco College and graduated in August 1950 with a B.A. in philosophy. During the 1948-1949 year he also taught and assisted the high school seminarians, and from 1949 to 1951 he was assistant to the novices. During the 1950-1951 school year he also began his theological studies at Fordham University.

From 1951 to 1954 Bro. Clem studied theology at St. Anselm’s Institute in Bollengo, Italy, where he was a capable student. A note by the director in March 1952 indicates that he was outstanding in his piety, of a “good and open character” with good abilities but weak health. He was ordained by Bishop Paolo Rostagno of Ivrea in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin on July 1, 1954.

Fr. Clem spent his first years as a priest at Don Bosco Juniorate in Haverstraw, N.Y. (1954-1955), teaching French, among other things; at St. Michael’s School in Goshen, N.Y. (1955-1956), as catechist (campus minister and infirmarian); and at Sacred Heart Juniorate in Ipswich, Mass. (1956-1960), as prefect of studies and then as catechist. In 1960 he became director of the Ipswich juniorate, serving there till 1965, the same year that he earned a master’s degree from Boston College in educational psychology; his thesis was entitled “The Assessment of Minor Seminarians.” He interned at the Boston V.A. Hospital and in a Boston-area public school system.

In 1965 Fr. Clem was named pastor of St. Anthony’s Church in Paterson, N.J., where he served until 1980. Of that period he wrote: “It was with trepidation that I took the assignment of being pastor of St. Anthony’s Church in Paterson in 1965. It was my very first parish, and I feared I would not be up to the task. But the Lord was kind to me. He blessed the church with good-hearted parishioners, and through their dedication and commitment I was able to purchase five properties, renovate the rectory and the church, install centralized air conditioning, and construct the St. Anthony’s Men’s Club. But most of all I was able to help the community of Christ enrich their faith and get closer to the Lord.”

When he stepped down as pastor, he was saluted in the House of Representatives by Congressman Robert Roe of New Jersey “in recognition of his exemplary achievements, in service to God and to our people, so unselfishly dedicated to the betterment of mankind,” and “of the love, affection, and reverence with which Fr. Cardillo is held by all of us who have had the good fortune to know him” (Congressional Record, Aug. 19, 1980).

While he was pastor he continued his psychology studies at Boston College and Columbia University, earning a doctorate from B.C. in 1972. His dissertation was entitled Empathy and Personality Traits. Licensed as a psychologist in New Jersey, he directed his practice primarily toward priests and religious. In 1980 Bishop Lawrence Casey of Paterson appointed him co-director of the diocese’s Consultation Service Center, where he worked for 28 years, until the diocese terminated the service as a cost-cutting measure. He continued in private practice, counseling both religious and lay people, until retiring on Jan. 1, 2011. In that period he belonged to the Salesian communities of Paterson (1980-1991) and Orange (from 1991). The fees he earned helped Salesian seminarians with financial needs.

In addition to serving as director of the Paterson Diocese’s Pre-Cana program for a number of years, Fr. Clem was a member and was twice chairman of the N.J. Board of Psychological Examiners, which administers examinations to those applying for state licensing, checks their credentials, and investigates complaints of unprofessional conduct.

On Oct. 31, 1982, New Jersey’s Federation of Italian Societies honored him as Man of the Year, saluting “the impact of his fine deeds, whether they be at the spiritual, psychological, or social level.”

In 1998 Pope John Paul II named Fr. Cardillo a recipient of the papal medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice in recognition of his services to the Church, particularly in the Paterson Diocese.

Fr. Clem always found his Salesian vocation “a source of joy and peace.” He once wrote: “My life as a Salesian has not only enriched my personal life, but it has allowed me through my ministry to bring comfort to people suffering both mental and spiritual anguish. Albert Einstein once said, ‘Only a life lived for others is worth living.’ I truly believe that this has been the focal point of my vocation.”

Fr. Steve Leake, director of the community in Orange, said of Fr. Clem: “Our Salesian Constitution #18 states that the Salesian ‘knows that by his work he is participating in the creative action of God and cooperating with Christ in building the kingdom.’ Fr. Clem lived this constitution to the full as he worked with zeal as a pastor, psychologist, teacher, and friend to so many. He was a tireless worker for souls in the manner of Don Bosco!”

Fr. Clem is survived by his brother Joseph of Chevy Chase, Md., and his sister Gussie Marino of Old Lyme, Conn.

Fr. Clem's funeral was celebrated at Our Lady of the Valley Church in Orange. Fr. George Hanna, former pastor of Holy Rosary Church in Port Chester and present pastor of the Church of the Nativity in Washington, offered some reflections at the wake on Nov. 25. Fr. Tom Dunne, the provincial, presided over and preached at the funeral Mass on the 26th. Burial was in the family plot in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Port Chester.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Homily for Solemnity of Christ the King

Homily
for the Solemnity of
Christ the King
Nov. 20, 2011
Ezek 34: 11-12, 15-17
1 Cor 15: 20-28
Ursulines, Willow Drive, N.R.

“I will look after and tend my sheep” (Ezek 34: 11).

In the middle of the 10th century B.C., the Lord very deliberately chose a shepherd boy to become king of Israel. Jesus, the Son of David, that shepherd boy, called himself a good shepherd, and he showed his goodness by seeking the strays—like Zacchaeus, whose story we read last Tuesday; by feeding them, with divine teaching when “they were like sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:34), with bread and fish, and finally with his own body and blood; by healing them, binding up their wounds—with physical cures and with reconciliation between them and God. And so in multiple ways and on several levels Jesus “looked after and tended” God’s sheep, and still does.

Christ risen and triumphant: fresco in the apse of St. Catharine Church, Spring Lake, N.J.

Without adverting to the image of a shepherd, St. Paul stresses the ultimate pastoral work of Christ, “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:20). In his resurrection Jesus brings home to the Father’s sheepfold all who stray into the realm of death, binds up those injured by sin, gives long-sought rest to the weary and the hurting, “rescues them from every place where they were scattered” (Ezek 34:14) by the illusory power of the Evil One. In the resurrection of the Son, our “almighty and merciful God breaks the power of evil and makes all things new” (Collect)—first of all, human beings, by restoring them to their original grandeur as images of God.
Christ feeding his flock with the Word of God: Sermon on the Mount by Gustave Dore'
In his audience last Wednesday, Pope Benedict touched on this theme. “In the world,” he said, “there is much evil, there is a permanent battle between good and evil, and it seems that evil is stronger. But, no, the Lord is stronger. . . . Christ wins and goodness wins. Love, and not hatred, wins.” Our belief in Christ’s resurrection affirms our belief in the power of love and of goodness to break the power of evil, the power of sin, even the power of death.* Christ is indeed the master, the king, of the universe.

And this good king, this good shepherd, guides his flock securely and safely toward his Father’s verdant pastures (Ps 23:2). Christ, the victor over death, can be the firstfruits of the resurrection only if he represents a much greater harvest by inaugurating the resurrection of all who belong to him. He is king of the universe because he has a numberless constituency, an immense following of disciples whom he has not only taught but has also saved, whom he has “shepherded rightly” (Ezek 34:17) into the kingdom of God.

We acclaim our king today, and we praise the Father who begot him and sent him to be our savior-shepherd, the judge who condemns death and wins for us the verdict over Satan and his allies.
* http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1104504.htm

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Homily for 33d Sunday in Ordinary Time

Homily for the
33d Sundayin Ordinary Time
Nov. 13, 2011
Matt 25: 14-30
Christian Brothers, Iona College

“A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them” (Matt 25: 14). I suspect that most people’s favorite parts of the Gospels are the parables. We all love a story. And, unlike some of the long discourses that we find in other parts of the Gospels, the parables show us the Lord’s teaching in action.

In these last weeks of the Church’s liturgical year, the readings usually encourage us to think of the Last Things: death, judgment, heaven, hell. So in recent weeks we’ve already had 2 parables of judgment, the wedding feast for the king’s son with the attached parable of the wedding garment (Matt 22:1-14), and the 10 virgins (25:1-13); we hear a 3d one today; and next week we’ll hear the most explicit one, in which the Great King gathers the nations to pass judgment on every individual (25:31-46).

Last Sunday’s parable and today’s, which are consecutive passages in Matthew’s 25th chapter, are also linked to the 2d Coming, to Jesus’ return: “He will come again to judge the living and the dead.” In the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, the bridegroom is long delayed, but eventually he arrives and admits to the marriage festivities those who are ready and waiting for him, and shuts out those who aren’t. In the parable of the talents, the master goes away on a long journey, but eventually returns and demands an accounting from his servants. In both cases, as also in the parable of the wedding guest who isn’t properly dressed (22:11-13), those at fault are consigned to “the darkness outside” (22:13; 25:30; cf. 25:11), banished from the joy, the festivity, and the light of the great hall of the master—from the banquet of eternal life. There’s celebration, there’s reward, there are light and warmth for the faithful, cold and black punishment for the foolish—which, in biblical terms, generally means those who ignore the wisdom of God’s Law.
Tonite’s parable in particular: the mark of fidelity is how the servants handle the talents entrusted to them (25:14). A talent was money, equivalent to 60 or 70 lbs. of silver. This master is entrusting something of very great value to his servants. “Talents” doesn’t refer to what we mean in English, i.e., a certain ability or skill. But the master does apportion his possessions among his servants “according to their ability” (25:16).
So we must ask: What very valuable possession has the Master entrusted to us, his servants, that in his absence he expects us to use wisely and earn a return for him? What investment has the Lord Jesus made in us?
Brothers and sisters, it’s our faith. It’s the Gospel.
Every Christian has been given this priceless gift, not to hoard privately like the 3d servant in the parable (25:18) but to invest and earn a return. Every Christian is responsible for evangelizing, for letting his light shine for all to see (5:14-16), according to his abilities, i.e., according to his state of life and his circumstances. There’s even a news story in the current issue of CNY about that: “Entire Body of Christ Must Be Missionaries,” in which Fr. Andy Small, national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies, is quoted on Mission Sunday last month as telling the congregation in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, “If you’ve been baptized, you’re a missionary. Nobody gets out of the obligation to be a missionary. It’s the essential and most fundamental part of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.”*
So those of us who are religious and educators perhaps have received 5 talents from the Lord to engage in the commerce of our apostolic work, to win for him another 5 talents, many hearts and souls by our words and our example, by our faithfulness to our vows and our love for one another.
Those of you who are lay, spouses, parents, you might have received 5 talents too, or perhaps “only” 2 talents. While you’re not primarily engaged as an apostle like a priest or a religious, you’re still charged with ministry, with evangelization: bearing witness to the truth of the Gospel, to God’s love, to faithful and chaste love, to the dignity of every man and woman created in the divine image—bearing witness to each other, to your children and grandchildren, to the people you work with, to people you see socially.
Your children or grandchildren, too, are witnesses and examples to their peers of what it means to belong to Christ in how they practice truthfulness, chastity, kindness, obedience, going to church, etc.
All of us as citizens who happen to be Christ’s people are charged with bringing the truths and the values of the kingdom of God to bear on public life and public policy: priests and religious by their clear teaching of the social demands of the Gospel, and laity by more explicit efforts to make that teaching a reality in the laws and habits of our state and our country.
At the end of the 1st century, when Matthew wrote his gospel, Christians were persecuted in many places and generally discriminated against. Many of them could easily enuf have lain low and given no public indication of their faith—“burying their master’s money in a hole in the ground,” keeping their faith in the secrecy of their own homes. Likewise, Christians today may worship in their churches on Sundays and in their homes, but “out of fear” (25:25) might leave their faith at that, telling themselves that religion is a purely private matter and has nothing to do with life outside home and church, with efforts to make the kingdom of God a greater part of human life. Jesus’ teaching in today’s parable suggests that he’s not impressed with private faith, faith kept secret: “Throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth” (25:30).
On the other hand, using our talents, putting our faith to work in the world around us, our Master counts as genuine faithfulness and earns his praise and rewards (25:21,23).

* Ron Lajoie, “Entire Body of Christ Must Be Missionaries, Priest Says,” Catholic New York, Nov. 3, 2011, p. 24.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Homily for 32d Sunday in Ordinary Time

Homily for the
32d Sunday

in Ordinary TimeNov. 11, 1990
1 Thess 4: 13-18
Holy Cross, Fairfield, Conn.

This weekend, Nov. 4-6, 2011, I was taking part in a Boy Scout trek-o-ree. My homily to them, as well as to the patients and staff at St. Vincent's hospital this morning, was delivered from a mental outline only. Actually, I'd jotted a few notes on Thursday evening, which I stuck in a book that I proceeded to misplace until this afternoon. So--here's an "oldie" for you.

“We would have you be clear about those who sleep in death, brothers; otherwise you might yield to grief like those who have no hope” (1 Thess 4: 13).

Lack of hope—despair—is one of the great anxieties of our age. In a secular sense, we see it in low voter turnout, as people groan, “What’s the use of voting!” In an existential sense, we see its results in therapists’ bank accounts, in asylums, in the drug markets, in the suicide rates.
People need hope; they always have.

In A.D. 627 the monk Paulinus visited King Edwin in northern England to persuade him to accept Christianity. He hesitated and decided to summon his advisers. At the meeting one of them stood up and said: “Your majesty, when you sit at the table with your lords and vassals, in the winter when the fire burns warm and bright on the hearth and the storm is howling outside, bringing the snow and the rain, it happens of a sudden that a little bird flies into the hall. It comes in at one door and flies out through the other. For the few moments that it is inside the hall, it does not feel cold, but as soon as it leaves your sight, it returns to the dark of winter. It seems to me that the life of man is much the same. We do not know what went before and we do not know what follows. If the new doctrine can speak to us surely of these things, it is well for us to follow it.”[1]

People need hope—hope of a better life next week or next year, hope of eternal life beyond our vale of tears. So the resurrection of Jesus Christ, his 2d coming as the climax of history, and the general resurrection are the core message of our faith, our surety against the sort of grief that leads to despair.

Such evidence as we have in the earliest letters of Paul—and 1 Thessalonians is apparently the oldest—suggest that the 1st Christians expected Christ to return in glory rather quickly. Many of them seem to have expected the 2d coming in their own lifetimes. It was, after all, only 20 years since Jesus had walked the roads of Galilee and the streets of Jerusalem.

This expectation caused a crisis of sorts for the new believers of Thessalonica. Obviously, Christians were dying before the Lord’s return. Did this have some negative effect on their final salvation? Paul reassures them with the bottom-line good news: “If we believe that Jesus died and rose, God will bring forth with him from the dead those who have fallen asleep believing in him” (1 Thess 4:14).

In the Christian’s view, sleep is an apt image for death. We speak of the saints falling asleep in the Lord. We call our burial places “dormitories”—which is what “cemetery” means. In Christ we have this confidence, this expectation, this hope.

We keep November as the month of the faithful departed. This bespeaks our hope for them. After Judas Maccabeus offered sacrifice for sinful Jews who fell in battle against their persecutors, the Bible tells us that Judas “acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death” (2 Macc 12:43-44).

God’s holiness allows no uncleanness, no imperfection, into his presence. God’s justice demands repentance and expiation for every sin, even the smallest. How then do we hold hope for our beloved dead, those who sleep in Christ but who had their human faults and committed sins against charity, chastity, justice, or human life the same as you and I, unfortunately, still do?

The doctrine of purgatory consoles us with this hope. Indirectly the Scriptures and, directly, the ancient Fathers of the Church like Sts. Cyprian and Augustine teach us that those who die in God’s love but with sin still to be atoned for cannot enter heaven until their sinfulness has been completely purged away by the fire of divine love. This doctrine of purgatory was confirmed by several ecumenical councils of the Church and most recently by Pope Paul VI.

So we believe there is heaven and eternal life for the just; hell and eternal anguish for the wicked; and a transitory state of cleansing before heaven for those whom we might call the “almost just” or the “sort of holy.” We are consoled that we can pray for these fundamentally good people and anticipate their eventual sharing in the risen glory of Christ. And indeed we are consoled that we too have this same hope, that our imperfections and daily sins can be purged and wiped away, either by charity in this life or by prayers of our friends after we too have fallen asleep in Christ.

[1] A New Catechism (NY: Herder, 1969) p. 3.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Six Men Inducted as Prenovices

Six Men Inducted
as Prenovices
With Fr. Steve Leake are the new prenovices: Lenny Carlino, Mark O'Dea, Matt Marchand, Greg McClung, Craig Spence, and Steve Eguino

On the evening of Nov. 1, Fr. Tom Dunne "officially" inducted six prenovices at the Eastern Province's house of formation in Orange, N.J. As prenovices, a step up from "candidacy," they'll carry out more specific formation for Salesian life, aiming at an application to the novitiate next May and entrance to the novitiate itself in August.

The director of the community in Orange, Fr. Stephen Leake, gave the prenovices a small statue of Mary Help of Christians and encouraged them to grow in the exercise of charity toward others, in the study of Don Bosco and of the Salesian charism, and in their apostolate on behalf of the young.

The Orange community includes 13 professed SDBs who are staff of the house of formation, of the parish of Our Lady of Valley (to which the house is attached; the community lives in the former convent), young SDBs in 2 postnovitiate periods of formation. The young SDBs, the prenovices, and the candidates are involved in youth and vocation work in the province.

This year there are 9 aspirants or candidates, 6 prenovices, 5 postnovices, and 2 students of theology in the community.

The prenovices include
-- Lenny Carlino, from the Salesian youth ministry program at St. Thomas More Church in Haupaugge, N.Y.
-- Stephen Eguino, from the Bronx, an alumnus of Salesian HS in New Rochelle; his older brother, Bro. Mike, also a SHS alum, is studying theology at Immaculate Conception Seminary in South Orange, N.J., and is part of the SDB formation community
-- Matt Marchand, from Newton, Mass., learned about Don Bosco from reading a comic book!
-- Greg McClung, an alumnus of Mary Help of Christians School in Tampa (like your humble blogger!)
-- Mark O'Dea, an alumnus of Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J.
-- Craig Spence, from Biloxi, Mississippi, is a former Salesian Lay Missioner who served in Paterson, N.J., and New York City