THE FULCRUM
December 7, 2020 Edition
From the National Office
Greetings from San Antonio, Texas!

I'd like to take this opportunity to say a sincere and heartfelt thank you for the warm welcome and encouragement I have received from so many members of our Marianist family as I began the role of LIFE Coordinator this summer. What a year to begin a new job! But the Holy Spirit has surrounded me with such inspiring and mission-centered people to look to for examples, including the Marianist educators and LIFE Moderators who further the mission of Marianist LIFE and are doing so in creative and unique ways this year. And of course, as I continue to look to the lives of our founders, I am reminded that each of us are called to be missionaries in all times and situations. Echoing this important call, the 2020 National Coordinating Team chose "I am like a brook" for the theme of the virtual program and I am so proud to share that LIFE teams are still sharing our Marianist charism and building authentic Christian communities in their schools and parishes during this time when young people need connection, faith, and purpose more than ever.

I look forward to continuing to meet more of you and hearing about how Marianist LIFE has played a part in your own faith journey. My husband served as a moderator at LIFE Pacific a little more than a decade ago and I was blessed to attend LIFE South as a moderator and recently as a member of the Coordinating Team. We both owe a great deal to the people and mission of Marianist LIFE for shaping us as Catholics, as educators, and as people. These experiences have had a profound impact on my friendships, my faith, and my family and it is a privilege to serve Marianist LIFE as we celebrate the first 50 years and embark on the next chapter together!

#iamlikeabrook,
Erica Duarte, LIFE Coordinator
LIFE 2021 Summer Program Registration
We are hopeful that it will be safe and feasible to offer in-person, regional programs in the summer of 2021. Updates will be posted on our website at www.marianist.com/life. If you have questions about the summer program, please contact Erica Duarte or Deanna Snyder at marianistlife@sm-usa.org.

Important Dates

  • LIFE Pacific
  • Moderators: June 16-24
  • Students: June 19-24
  • Regional Coordinator: Christopher Casupang

  • LIFE Central
  • Moderators: July 9-16
  • Students: July 11-16
  • Regional Coordinator: Kim Matzen

  • LIFE South
  • Moderators: July 19-26
  • Students: July 21-26
  • Regional Coordinator: Antonio Mari
 
Celebrating 50 Years of Marianist LIFE
This year marks the 50th year of Marianist LIFE! Take a trip down memory lane with this video, created by Andrés Novela.
Click the image to view the video.
LIFEr REFLECTION - SUMMER 2020 PROGRAM
John Pierre Cayabyab – Archbishop Riordan High School
San Francisco, CA
 
A life changing and eye-opening retreat held over Zoom, how can this possibly be enjoyable? This was my initial reaction after hearing the unfortunate announcement regarding this year’s summer program as a result of the pandemic. Regardless, I figured I might as well attend despite my expectations. To my surprise, what I thought would have been a few days of boring reflection resulted in an experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Our moderators, Mr. Magnaye and Mrs. Martinez worked tirelessly to put together a retreat that was both impactful and enjoyable, adapting to the challenges at hand. I truly feel like I’ve gotten to see a new side to my Crusader classmates here at Riordan. Moments of vulnerability, personal stories, tears shed, laughs shared — these are only some of the many aspects which I did not expect. Each day presented the feeling of safety and comfort which helped settle us into the safe space we established. For the first time in a long time, I shared a piece of my writing and managed to shed some tears as I read. For the first time in a long time, I experienced that feeling of having my throat close and eyes water, not because of sadness, but because of the sheer, overwhelming happiness that overcame me at that moment. I was able to articulate my feelings for my faith through my writing and pronounce it to my fellow LIFErs, which to me, was enough to bring tears of joy. This retreat did more than cement our spot as a member in the LIFE Team; rather, it instilled the responsibility of our mission in Christ and stressed the importance of being a role model for others to follow. The medallions that were given are a symbol of what we stand for, a physical reminder that we are the light that shines for others. Because of this retreat, I’ve exposed myself to a deeper and more passionate side to my faith. I will be forever grateful that I decided to join the LIFE Team and witness this enlightening experience alongside my classmates.
Where in the world is Toni Mesina?
Update from Toni Mesina, former LIFE National Coordinator
In August, I started working at The Crefeld School in Philadelphia. It is a small, independent 7-12 school that focuses on Progressive Education, and encourages student engagement in many different ways. I teach English 11/12, co-teach a Graduate by Exhibition course for seniors, and am a co-Advisor to students grades 9-12. Not only is the school's approach to education fascinating, but their emphasis on social justice is truly remarkable. After 9 years of planning social justice modules for LIFE, I know God led me to Crefeld for a reason! Having been out of the classroom for 9 years, I had much to learn technology-wise. That, coupled with a very different type of school system and Hybrid/online teaching has been overwhelming, but I am immensely happy. LIFE 2020's theme "I am like a brook" is my theme for this year of learning. I know I am blessed.

We continue to pray for Toni's new adventure and give thanks for her service to Marianist LIFE!
LIFE CENTRAL Coordinating Team and Moderators
2008-2013
You are invited to gather, pray, and relive memories from LIFE Central! If you were a moderator or coordinating team member between 2008 and 2013, join in on the virtual reunion Saturday, December 12 at 4:00 pm CST. Email Jessica Uhlig at jess1974.gonzalez@gmail.com to RSVP and receive the Zoom link!
REFLECTION - Jessica González Uhlig
LIFE South 2021 Coordinating Team Member
I never imagined fifteen years ago that I would be invited to help facilitate a retreat for young adults. My understanding and involvement in Marianist activities at the University of Dayton must have made an impression on the Marianist LIFE folks. Fast forward: that weekend retreat experience turned into a transformative and life-changing invitation to become the first female moderator to take boys from Colegio San José, in Puerto Rico, to LIFE Central. After becoming Assistant to Religious Life, and later Head of that office, I was honored to be the Regional Coordinator. By 2013 I said so-long to Marianist LIFE, but LIFE never said so-long to me.  

What I learned by witnessing the impact this program had on young men and women of Marianist high schools and parishes changed my outlook on many things. I saw leadership development through spiritual formation. I listened to students’ stories affirmed by faith, and new-found friendships. Strangers became roommates and many of those roommates are now life-long friends. The thing about Marianist LIFE is that, as many Marianist ministries do, it allows for young hearts and minds to open up, to be vulnerable, to be loved, and to be challenged in faith. It then allows and enables for those minds and hearts to take the God-given talents they bring and with their hands, take on projects, initiatives, and do, even in the smallest of ways, change the world. For now 50 years, Marianist LIFE has changed lives. It changed my life; I took the life skills the students learned and embraced them personally and professionally. When we take a moment to reflect on our own life, faults and sins, recognize and commit to be better versions of ourselves, life with a little “l” becomes more manageable. The program with the big “L” has touched many students and moderators in the most deepest and personal ways.

Now, in 2020, I find myself answering the call once again, because when LIFE calls, I answer. After 20 years in Marianist education, currently developing adult Marianist formation for faculty and staff at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, I am proud to say YES to beginning a new LIFE journey, as Head of Program for LIFE South. I will finally get to spend very special days in God’s country, Mountain Home, Texas, at TECABOCA Marianist retreat center, seeing how the beauty and wonders of nature add to the LIFE experience and transform the faith experience of a new generation of LIFErs! Thank you God, and to our Marianist ancestors, who designed this program to bring Fr. Chaminade’s vision to life, to now allow me to help shape and form the future for 50 more years of this gem of a program! 
Jessica with LIFErs from Colegio San José
Support Marianist LIFE
LIFE Teams are blessed with the opportunity to participate in the summer program, an experience they bring back to their schools and parishes through community meetings and service. The summer program is the starting point for their ministry, which we hope will extend far beyond their high school years. The lasting effect of LIFE is amazing to see.
 
To support Marianist LIFE, please click on the image below.
Two Generations of LIFErs!
Sabrina Evans and Steve Evans - LIFE Alumni
Steve Evans and his daughter, Sabrina, are both LIFE alumni who cherish the memories they made at Tecaboca while attending LIFE South. Steve and Sabrina each had significant experiences that were all their own, but they appreciate that they share this special understanding of Marianist LIFE and the impact it had on their faith and family. Steve attended LIFE in 1985 and says he did not know what to expect. He recalls, “It was incredibly refreshing in the challenging emotional times that cliques were set aside and the bravado of teenagers from a cross section of youth across the country was paused for a short time to relate to one another.” He fondly remembers meeting students from all over the country including Florida, St. Louis, and San Antonio. Years later, LIFE would play an important role in his daughter’s high school experience. He explains, “As my daughter entered Nolan, I told her one of the must do’s was to attend LIFE. She loved it. Like me, it was an emotional pause, a safe space to be yourself and share experience in a Christian setting.” He feels that it was even more important for members of her generation to set aside phones and technology. Steve explains, “Since we also both attended St. Mary's, we had the heightened experience of going to college with some of our LIFE friends. And we both experienced God in an ideal setting created by the Marianists. As a parent, one hopes to impart special gifts to one's kids, and this gift was particularly rewarding.”

Sabrina is grateful for her own LIFE journey which began in 2015. She says, “LIFE has significantly impacted me by bringing the most amazing people, experiences, and opportunities into my life. Since attending the program, my life has never been the same.” Steve and Sabrina both attended LIFE with Nolan Catholic High School in Fort Worth, Texas. Sabrina recalls, “ I applied after my dad told me about all of his wonderful experiences and memories. The next thing I knew I was crossing over the ‘dam road’ at TECABOCA in a bus full of people who would end up changing my life forever. After attending LIFE, I realized that I really resonated with the Marianist values and after much prayer, I again decided to follow my dad’s footsteps and attend St. Mary’s University.” Sabrina continued to grow in her faith and understanding of the charism as a member of the Marianist Leadership Program at St. Mary's and as a night chaperone for LIFE South in 2019. She relied on her growing faith in particular this past year. She describes, “Upon my graduation from St. Mary’s, I felt extremely lost being a new graduate in the midst of a global pandemic. However, I came to the realization that my passion was to create art and opened my own small business - thus, Simply Sabrina Company was born! I am grateful for my business that allows me to live out my passion every day all from the comfort of my home. I am also appreciative of opportunities to stay involved and use my gifts to provide printed materials such as prayer cards and Christmas cards with my designs on them for other people involved in Marianist LIFE to enjoy. When I attended LIFE, I remember being told that our Marianist mission wasn’t supposed to just last a summer or for the school year, but for life, and now, I can honestly say that couldn’t be more true.”
Steve and Sabrina Evans
From Our Marianist Universities
Graduate Assistantships at the University of Dayton
Share your faith ministering to college students while pursuing a Masters in Theology or Pastoral Ministry. Work alongside seasoned campus ministers and engage in holistic ministerial formation as you form your own ministerial identity and approach. Serve undergraduate students by journeying with them to cultivate faith, foster spiritual growth, and form Christian leaders through spiritual mentoring and discipleship, leading small groups, facilitating retreats, planning worship, coordinating service and justice initiatives, and more. Positions for the upcoming year will be comprised of unique portfolios that include a combination of the following: Residence Life Ministry, Retreats, Service and Justice, and Vocational Discernment ministries. Tuition, stipend, and housing are provided. Application and information at
https://www.udayton.edu/ministry/ga_program/index.php or from Kelly Adamson, 937-229-2574. Applications due February 1, 2021.