On Jan. 16, a new wall on the first floor of our main hallways was built to separate our students from second floor construction. As the final piece of drywall was put up, the entire school was celebrating our annual Marianist and Notre Dame Founder’s Day Mass in Emmanuel Church. At the end of the liturgy, Brother Brandon Pauloch, S.M., spoke about Mary’s mantle or cloak, which shelters us like the walls of our community.
Excerpts from Brother Brandon’s reflection eloquently describe how Mary’s mantle, like the walls of our school, fosters inclusivity to others. When our students returned from Mass they were surprised to find a brand new wall guiding them to a new path down the hallways of CJ. May our new walls, like Mary’s mantle, continue to provide shelter, prayer and guidance to Christ’s Light.
REFLECTIONS FROM BROTHER BRANDON:
According to dictionary.com, a mantle is “a loose, sleeveless cloak or cape.” It “covers or envelopes.” The word “mantle” is sometimes used in reference to birds that provide shelter with their wings. Sometime later this week, try out a Google image search for “Mary’s Mantle.” You will find images of Mary with her arms outstretched like wings, gathering women and men of all walks of life under her cloak -- her mantle.
Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “What does this have to do with CJ?” I understand, cloaks are not a regular topic of conversation. But I invite you to consider this. Consider that the walls of this church where we are gathered, the walls of Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School in which you spend so many hours, consider that these walls are Mary’s mantle.
What does this mean? You’ve all been gathered here by a mother; you are under her protection and held by her nurturing love. This school is her mantle. But this goes beyond gathering and comfort; you are all in this together, whether you like it or not. Look to your right. Look to your left. That’s your brother and sister. It can get a little cramped under that mantle.
Our ideas and personalities may clash. We aren’t going to naturally like everybody who is in here with us. But, we are all children with the same mother with the same God as Father. Notice the diversity Mary welcomes. When you see different images of Mary’s mantle, you see people from all walks of humanity: women and men, young and old, people of every nation, culture, ability, profession and personality. Everybody belongs. We call this inclusivity, and I have heard story after story of how this is lived here at CJ.
So, if Mary is what makes CJ distinctive and we are all gathered under her mantle, what does this mean practically? How can you live it out in your daily life?
Mary, you are the new Eve and the mother of all nations. You gather all the poor of the earth and tenderly console them. You gather all the diverse peoples of our world and invite them to justice and reconciliation. We place ourselves in your care today. Renew in us our dedication to live the Gospel as you did. Amen. Go Eagles!