A Marianist icon that was commissioned in honor of the order's bicentennial and being taken to Marianist communities around the world was on display at Chaminade Julienne on Thursday, December 8. The icon's visit correlated with the school's celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
"The icon itself was made by an Italian Marianist artist," said school chaplain, Fr. Bob Jones, SM. "The icon is a way to unify every Marianist community. The icon started its travels in France, which is the foundation site of the Marianist Sisters, and then traveled to Switzerland, Italy, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Mexico, and now it's in the U.S."
The icon contained a picture depicting the Wedding at Cana and two letters from the order's founders, the Venerable Mother Adèle de Batz de Trenquelléon and Blessed William Joseph Chaminade.
"What's unique about these letters is that they were written by Adèle and Chaminade," Fr. Bob explained. "Those letters are more than 200 years old. They aren't a facsimile, they are originals. To see something the founders touched is really cool."
The icon was placed in front of the altar at Emmanuel Catholic Church during the school's Mass. In his sermon, Fr. Bob acknowledged the importance of the icon's visit and reflected on the Wedding at Cana.
"That scripture was very dear to Fr. Chaminade," shared Fr. Bob. "Specifically, because in that scene is one of the few places Mary speaks in the Bible. In it she says, 'Do whatever He tells you.' Fr. Chaminade took that as the motto of the Marianists - do whatever He tells you. We are to listen and to have that stance of faith.
"The icon helps us enter into that scene," Fr. Bob continued. "It's depicting that scene from scripture and the icon draws you into it. This icon has three individuals, Jesus, Mary and one of the servants. The invitation is for you to put yourself in the place of one of those individuals. Most of us would put ourselves in the place of the servant.
"As Marianists, one of the things we take away from the Wedding at Cana is that water is very ordinary. We believe that God can take it and make something wonderful of it, and He can do the same with us."
Brothers and priests from the Society of Mary and Marianist Sisters from around the U.S. attended the Mass. Another special guest, Fr. Chami, a mascot-like character, also made an appearance during the recessional.
"It was a fun thing to show the kids that this wasn't a regular Mass," Fr. Bob noted. "It hopefully created a memorable moment because it's not something you see every day."
Fr. Bob added, "All of this is much bigger than CJ. It's so easy for us to be insulated, that we're just CJ in downtown Dayton. Yet, we wouldn't be here, existing as we are, if Fr. Chaminade and Adèle hadn't started this 200 years ago. We really are a legacy of that foundation."
Posted December 14, 2016