This semester, I am teaching a section of English III. Our first theme assignment required the boys to write about any bad habits they acquired in 2019 that they would like to eliminate this year. One of the boys wrote candidly about his inclination to procrastinate on schoolwork (though he submitted his assignment on time), and this month, I contrast his theme with the message of immediacy in the Gospel of Matthew.
In Matthew, the writers use language in the story of Jesus beginning his ministry that is important in the lives of our boys. As Jesus summons his disciples for the first time, the writers of the Gospel of Matthew use “at once” and “immediately” to describe how the disciples responded to His call. The apostles Andrew, James, John and Peter never delayed in their decision to follow Christ.
It is easy to allow the noise of everyday life to distract us and lure us into the trap of procrastination. Great discipline and focus is required to block this out. Let us encourage our sons to reduce their distractions and prioritize their lives so they may hear the loving voice of God, who calls on us all to serve others.
I pray that your son follows the example the Gospel of Matthew teaches us so that they may respond, at once, to His call.
In the Gospel of Matthew, the story of the Magi is told on the Solemnity (or ceremonious observance) of the Epiphany. Essentially, the Gospel of Matthew explains how King Herod, tyrannical leader of Judea, summoned the Magi to his palace and asked them to go out and find the Christ child whose coming the prophets predicted for many years. The Magi followed Herod’s orders and found the Christ child in Bethlehem as the prophets foretold.
The story then takes a turn. The Magi were supposed to return to Herod and tell him exactly where the Child was located so He could be slain as Herod felt threatened by His power.
The Magi approached the Holy Family’s home with gifts for the Child. Upon leaving the Holy Family, they returned home “by another way.” I find their decision to both significant and timely as we begin another semester at CBHS. It signifies their belief in who they saw. Their experience was so powerful that they listened to their dream and did not return to the evil King Herod. And, it is timely as we begin another calendar year and new semester with new opportunities, dreams, hopes, and wishes.
May we all seek to follow the Magi’s example of acting on faith—they followed a star on faith and listened to their dreams, believing then in the redemptive power of the Christ child so much that they chose “another way,” rejecting the King Herod and his evil intentions. It is my prayer that our boys experience daily opportunities that enable and challenge them to find another way to navigate our complex world. Messages of materialism, consumerism, bigotry, and despair that are prevalent in our society can be muted with the power of the Christ child. It is the Magi’s story of faith that inspires us this semester and beyond to renew our own faith and to have the courage of the Magi to choose another way.
On behalf of the Brothers, faculty, staff and students at Christian Brothers High School, I wish you and your family a merry Christmas and happy and prosperous new year in 2020! And, to our brethren of the Jewish faith, we wish you a holy Hanukkah this season. As we enter the second week of Advent in our Christian faith, we find ourselves preparing in joyful anticipation for the birth of Christ.
During December, we focus on the virtue of sacrifice with our students. As we prepare our hearts for Christ’s birth, we reflect on the mystery of living in God’s holy presence and recognize Him in the poor, marginalized, and abandoned. Students are encouraged to make sacrifices in their lives through our collection for the Catholic Charities Food Bank and our toy drive for St. Jude patients. The time, money, and energy students expend allows them to live out the Lasallian mission and become modern Magi sharing God’s love with others and acknowledging His presence in all members of our Memphis community.
Like the Magi, we are called to give of ourselves and be faith filled as we near the birth of Christ and the Christmas season. These wise men, who traveled a great distance to see the Christ child, had a faith so strong they saw and believed that Jesus was indeed the Savior of the world! Their faith radically changed the world as they adored the Christ child who lay in a bed of a straw. Let us pray that we can have the faith of the Magi and recognize Christ in all around us as we live in the holy presence of God.
The month of November can be humbling. For Catholics and other Christians, we recognize the Saints in Heaven on November 1, All Saints’ Day. The following day, All Souls’ Day, we remember those who have died and may not have made it to Heaven yet. I find these two days humbling because I wonder on which day will I be remembered? Pondering these options leads me to take inventory of the choices I make, my commitment to prayer, and my willingness to listen to God’s voice in my life.
God calls each of us to be Saints in Heaven. He calls us to love, forgive, and encourage one another to live as He intended for us to live. I find the increasingly secular, materialistic world a barrier to our eternal salvation, especially for the young men in our school. We embrace this challenge as Lasallian educators to create a loving, nurturing, and supportive environment in which our young men can be formed and thrive as aspiring Saints!
Hearing Walnut Groove, our outstanding Jazz band, play “When the Saints Go Marching In!” during our recent Open House brought a smile to my face. This Louis Armstrong classic invokes reflection and remembrance that life on Earth is short! And, thankfully, the song reminds us of our chance at redemption and eternal salvation and how we all have a yearning to “be in that number” and become a Saint.
On behalf of the Brothers, faculty, staff and students, I
wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving and joyful holiday season.
Christian Brothers High School is engaging in a strategic
planning process. Where do we want to be
in the next 3 – 5 years?
Part of planning for our future must include considering how
Christian Brothers High School plays a part in the long-term sustainability of
Catholic education in Memphis. For many
years, there have been conversations in the CBHS community and beyond, as to
the potential for adding a junior high program to the school. Some raise the question from a position that
considers only how this would benefit CBHS.
Others raise the question as part of a bigger question. How can CBHS contribute to strengthening
Pre-K – 12 Catholic education in Memphis?
Both questions have been raised, yet never effectively answered, which
has created the potential for an ongoing roadblock to effective planning.
The decision was made to conduct a study on the feasibility
of adding an expanded mission to serve young men beginning in Grade 7. Catholic School Management, a subsidiary of
Christian Brothers Services, has been retained to assist us with this study.
The feasibility study includes the collection and analysis
of both quantitative and qualitative data.
Catholic School Management is currently studying demographic data that
we have shared with them. Individual
meetings and focus groups will be conducted in mid-October. The study should be completed by
Thanksgiving. The results of the study
will serve to define further the planning environment on which Christian
Brothers High School’s strategic plan will be built. Planning activities will continue into
We want to emphasize
that a decision has not yet been made to add a middle school atChristian Brothers High School. We are only raising the question. Is there a need for a middle school? Will our community support the idea? By doing this study, we will put the question
to rest. Regardless of the outcome of
this feasibility study, strategic planning will continue, and the Christian
Brothers High School community can anticipate the release of a strategic plan
by the end of this 2019 – 2020 school year.
Thank you for your support and interest in Christian
Brothers High School. Be assured of our
prayers and the prayers of the entire CBHS community who remember our friends
and benefactors daily before the Lord.
Please pray for us. We will keep
you apprised of the results of the study.
As part of student orientation in August, the boys heard from Fr. Robert Favazza on the topic of listening to their vocational calling. Pastor at St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church in Somerville, Fr. Favazza is a Memphis native and inspired our students through the telling of his vocational story and by sharing several strategies to help the boys discern their own paths in life.
A question Fr. Favazza posed to the boys that I hope generated some reflection: “How do you want to spend your love?” He explained that we are all made in God’s image and likeness; therefore, we are made to love others. A vocation is ultimately our decision on how we choose to spend God’s love for us on other people. A boy’s journey at Christian Brothers High School requires him to serve others and to “spend his love” on other people.
Let us pray this month that we can encourage our boys to serve others to spread the kingdom of God. It is our aim that they determine their personal and professional vocations and that they come to know a loving and caring God while at CBHS. With our encouragement and example, they can discover God’s will for their life as they grow to love and serve their families and communities.
Welcome to the 2019-2020 academic year at Christian Brothers High School. We hope your summer was peaceful and rejuvenating. We will be back in shirt and tie dress code sooner than some may wish!
The Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools continues its tercentenary celebration this academic year of our founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle, and we have so much for which to be grateful at CBHS! We are certainly thankful that you have entrusted us with the education and formation of your son.
For more details regarding orientation week and the beginning of the school year info, please read our Student Life section. Mr. Morris provides you with many of the details and some commonly asked questions that can help you navigate the beginning of the school year.
In the Counseling section, Dr. Hill shared a very informative article that connects social media usage and anxiety in young adults. We encourage you to read that article. Also, in our Lasallian Formation section, Mrs. Neuman shares a prayer for gratitude that we encourage you to use in your family throughout the month of August.
We are grateful for our new staff and faculty members who are joining CBHS this fall: Mrs. Dana Alford, Business Office; Mrs. Chris Autry, Controller; Mrs. Jamie Elkington, Director of Marketing & Communications; Mrs. Erin Brick, Learning Specialist; Mrs. Carolyn Grisanti, Art Teacher; and Mr. Kyle Gehringer ’13, Engineering Teacher. With these new additions on board, we are very excited for the coming year.
We wish your son a year of academic, religious, and fraternal growth! May he strive to do his best work and be of service to his family, school, and community! Thank you for sharing your son with us. We look forward to a great year at CBHS.
We are nearing the end of an outstanding school year at Christian Brothers High School. Our students, faculty, and staff are working diligently to conclude this school year with excellence. Please continue to monitor your son and his work, as our underclassmen continue to work through exams which begin on May 20. Our seniors are wrapping up their work over the next week with exams and graduation practice, so there is some excitement in the air!
We congratulate the class of 2019 on their graduating from CBHS on May 11. These young men have served as great leaders this year. We challenged them to be positive leaders and to set a tone of excellence this school year. As we approach the end of this academic year, we recognize their leadership and their contributions to the life of our school. We are very proud and humbled to participate in their formation over the last four years.
If your son is an underclassman, please note a change in programming. We will host our Br. J. Stephen O’Malley Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, May 14 at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium. So, if your son has been on the Honor Roll (First or Second) for three quarters, he will be recognized at this ceremony. Additionally, all departmental and special recognition awards will be given at this ceremony. You will be notified via email and the boys who receive either a departmental or special recognition award will receive a formal invitation at school next week. Some of the awards are still to be determined, so please stay tuned and plan to attend this ceremony as it will be meaningful for your son (s)!
I would like to thank our graduates’ parents. We are grateful for your partnership over the last four years. Your son (s) is now part of a legacy that spans the globe and many years of great teaching, learning, and formation. So, thank you for entrusting your son (s) to us!
This weekend we will celebrate the 300th anniversary of St. John Baptist De La Salle’s death on Sunday, April 7. That day in 1719 was Good Friday. At our Founder’s Day Mass on Thursday the Brothers from CBHS and CBU and three visiting Brothers from Chicago, including Brother Auxiliary Visitor Bede Baldry and Brother Thomas Johnson, Novice Master for Brothers Mark and Matthew last year, all renewed their vows. Being a witness to their recommitment to the education of the young is always an inspiring moment for all in attendance. I encourage you to ask your son about the ceremony and discuss his perceptions and observations of this occasion.
It is my hope and prayer that the boys understand, and are inspired by, the commitment that is made by these men. Brothers Mark and Matthew professed their annual vows as young Brothers as they continue their journey toward making final vows in a few years. As I watched the vow renewal ceremony unfold, the word “commitment” was at the forefront of my thoughts. Seeing Br. Joel, Br. Mike, Br. Roman, Br. Phil, Br. Henry, Br. William, Br. Ignatius, and several others renew their vows just as thousands of Brothers have done for 300 years is a humbling and inspiring experience.
After Mass Thursday, Br. Robert Werle, the former archivist for the Midwest District, said over 550 men have come through Memphis and served as Brothers of the Christian Schools since 1871. We have so much to celebrate and for which to be grateful this April week as part of our Lasallian mission, especially the Brothers who have impacted the lives of generations of young men in our great city. It is my hope that some of our students will feel and accept the call of God to become Christian Brothers and carry on the great life and work of St. John Baptist De La Salle 300 years after his departure to heaven.