31 May 2013
Charley Matt (AC '86) posts the following from his nephew
Alex Fournet presently studying in Leuven and
is a resident of The American College Mater Dei community today. Alex gathered a
group of students from the Faculty Choir to preserve our Anthem, "O
Sodales" which they sing in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception.
Alex writes: "We'd have done a better job, but with exams and all,
we didn't have time to really arrange it like we'd have liked."
The group includes the following members: Alex of course, with
Witheringtonthe first to the right, and the second to left is
Matthew Knotts. They both live in the Mater Dei community with Alex.
Second from right is Jonas Bognar (AC '2011), a former AC
seminarian. To his left are two of our friends, Michael Cross and
Mateussz Jarmuzewski. The
Anthem can be reached on You Tube from our Home Page
28 May 2013
Bob Flannery (AC '73) is celebrating his 40th anniversary on 2 June.
Writer Dalus Downs submits the following article (edited for
limits) and reprinted with permission..
Reverend Robert B. Flannery, formerly of Lawrence, Kansas and a
priest of the Diocese of Belleville in Southern Illinois, is
observing his 40th Anniversary as a Roman Catholic priest at 3 pm on
Sunday afternoon, June 2nd, at Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church
located on the corner or Walnut and Poplar Streets in
Carbondale. A dinner reception for invited guests will follow at
The Newman Catholic Student Center.
“I can’t believe it has been that long a time – four decades, wow!”
said Flannery. “It’s a very exciting time for me and a time of
tremendous gratitude. It will be wonderful to have some of my family
members present so they can meet people who I have ministered to or
served with over these many years. It will be great to see so many
people I know coming together for this occasion.”
Flannery is the son of Dorothy B. Flannery, the late Lawrence S.
Flannery, Sr. and the stepson of Monte E. Flannery of Lawrence. He
graduated from Saint John’s School, Central Junior High, and
Lawrence High School in Lawrence, Kansas before beginning his
undergraduate and graduate studies at Saint John’s University in
Collegeville, Minnesota, and The Catholic University of Louvain
in Leuven, Belgium.
“Early in my life I thought about becoming a priest. In grade
school, I would play like I was the priest celebrating Mass with my
younger brother as my altar server,” Flannery said. “The thought
would go back and forth as I considered becoming a social worker and
could be married and have a family. But the more I thought about it
– especially in later college years – I knew the greatest gift I
could share with others would be my faith along with other ways in
Flannery received a bachelor of arts in sociology with a minor in
philosophy in 1969 from Saint John’s University in Collegeville,
“I actually first went to Saint John’s University – which is
operated by the Benedictine monks of Saint John’s Abbey – with the
plans to become a Benedictine monk,” he said. “However, after a year
and a half, I realized that I felt more called to be a diocesan
priest where I would be a pastor as well as open to other ways of
possibly serving along with parish ministry.”
Flannery received a master’s of arts in theology with an emphasis on
scripture from Saint John’s University School of Theology-Seminary
“I was an exchange student for the first semester of my third year
of theology at The American College . . . at the
Catholic University of Louvain, in Leuven, Belgium,” he said. “I
also took my divinity courses for preparation for the priesthood and
pastoral ministry both at Saint John’s and at The American College
Flannery was ordained a deacon at Saint John’s in March of 1971 and
was ordained a priest in Belleville, IL on June 2, 1973 by Bishop
Albert R. Zuroweste.
After ordination he received a master’s degree in counselor
education from Saint Louis University in St. Louis and has done
further studies at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, the
University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, IL, Georgetown
University, in Washington, D.C., Centro Pro Unione in Rome, Italy,
Orientale Lumen Conferences in Washington, D.C., Istanbul, Ephesus
and Cappadocia, Turkey, and attended the Parliament of the Worlds’
Religions in Barcelona, Spain in 2004 as well as the World Council
of Churches’ 9th Assembly in Porto Alegre, Brazil in
During his 40 years of priestly ministry, Flannery has served as
associate pastor, high school guidance counselor and religion
teacher, coordinator of the Teens Encounter Christ retreat program,
diocesan vocation director, director of continuing education of the
clergy, seminary spiritual director at The American College Seminary
in Leuven, Belgium, vicar of permanent deacons, director of
ecumenical and interreligious affairs, member of the diocesan
liturgy, pro-life, ministry to priests, priest-wellness, pastoral
plan and restructuring committees, priest convocation chairperson,
diocesan consultor, president, vice-president and treasurer of the
presbyteral council, chair of the diocesan millennium committee,
priest personnel board member, dean of the South Deanery, and pastor
for 29 years in four parishes in Southern Illinois as well as
canonical pastor for six parishes during his tenure as dean.
Appointed in 1998 as the ecumenical and interreligious officer for
the diocese, he was elected regional representative and then
president of the Catholic Association of Diocesan Ecumenical and
Interreligious Officer for two three-year terms continuing to serve
as chair of the summer institutes committee, as a member of the
faiths in the world committee, and the board of directors. As
president, he was asked to lead an eight-member delegation of the
association to the 250-participant Ecumenical Evening Prayer Service
held at Saint Joseph Church in New York for Pope Benedict XVI’s
papal visit to the United States in 2008.
For the past fourteen years, Flannery has been pastor of Saint
Francis Xavier Church in Carbondale, Illinois serving as dean of the
South Deanery for the past ten years.
“I am thoroughly grateful to be the pastor at Saint Francis Xavier
Parish. When I was first approach by, at the time, Bishop Gregory, I
was a bit reluctant at first because it meant that I would be
farther away from my family home in Lawrence, Kansas. However, ever
since I have been here, the parishioners and community have been
very welcoming,” Flannery said. “The parish and community are ideal
settings for my role as ecumenical and interreligious officer of the
diocese, as well as with all of the diversity and benefits of being
part of the atmosphere fostered by Southern Illinois University.
Included in this is the fact that every weekend there is a great
variety of visitors who come to Mass whether students, parents,
tourists, visitors to the malls or for whatever reason. We have a
great choir and music program, our religious education program for
all ages, vibrant small Christian communities, an active Knights of
Columbus and Women’s Club, volunteers and committee members, Parish
Pastoral Council, parish staff, Teens In Spirit high school program,
Catholic school which we co-sponsor with Saint Andrew Parish in
Murphysboro, and our cluster relationship with Saint Andrew in
Murphysboro and the Newman Catholic Student Center has been a great
joy. The parish has many people of varied regular and professional
backgrounds, and everyone works well together.”
In Carbondale, he has been president of the Carbondale Interfaith
Council, past chair of Carbondale in Harmony, a presenter and
committee member of the Carbondale Interfaith Dialogues,
vice-president of the Good Samaritan Ministries, a member of the
neighborhood Arbor District board of directors, spiritual care
committee member at Carbondale Memorial Hospital, and board member
of the Gaia Interfaith Center at Southern Illinois University.
“The church is my life, and it means a tremendous amount to me. It
is like family, to be sure. One of the benefits and blessings of
being pastor of a parish for fourteen years is seeing parishioners
grow the stages of live: birth, schooling, graduation, marriage,
death and bereavement, and everything in between. It is truly a
gift, and I love the people of the Saint Francis Xavier parish
family. They have been understanding and supportive of my various
other commitments and responsibilities, and truly a friend to me
both in good and difficult times,” Flannery said. “I hope my wider
involvement with the larger Carbondale community, and my national
and international experiences have been a gift to them as they see
the world in another light, from other perspectives. I believe my
preaching has been affected by all of the above, and I feel I have
been a better preacher because of my difference experiences and the
people I serve at Saint Francis Xavier. I am truly grateful to be
here at the pastor here.”
For the last ten or more years, Father Flannery has coordinated the
annual Carbondale In Thanksgiving Interfaith Service in November as
well as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Service in January,
the latter for both Carbondale and in Belleville for the Catholic
“This is where I live and pastor. This is where ‘the rubber hits the
road.’ This is my home. I love Carbondale and the people of Saint
Francis Xavier because of its demographics, various personalities,
diversity of races, religions, ethnicities, nationalities, and
cultures,” Flannery said. “Being raised in another college town,
Lawrence, Kansas, where the University of Kansas is located, makes
me feel close to the atmosphere in which I grew up. I love serving
on the various boards, committees and groups in Carbondale because
it gives me an opportunity to help out in our community, and to get
to know people who are not part of our parish, but still very
important to our great city.”
He and his parish have also been actively involved in a Lutheran,
Anglican and Roman Catholic relationship among the parishes of
Epiphany Lutheran Church, Saint Andrew Episcopal Church, and Saint
Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Carbondale, which began with his
initiative shortly after beginning his pastorate here.
“In 1999, the Lutheran World Federation and the Vatican signed the
historic agreement, the Joint Declaration on the Document of
Justification, for which ecumenical groups were to celebrate in
their local areas. And so I called the then-pastor of Epiphany
Lutheran Church of All Saints to see if he would be interested in
doing a common service to celebrate the occasion. He agreed, and we
held it at the Lutheran parish with a combined Lutheran-Catholic
choir. One of us preached, and the other presided at the service. We
did that for several years, going back and forth, for Epiphany
Lutheran Church and Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church,” Flannery
said. “Then I suggested—since our National Workshop on Christian
Unity has a gathering called LARC (Lutheran, Anglican and Roman
Catholic) and since Epiphany Lutheran and Saint Andrew Episcopal
Church in Carbondale already do services and ministries jointly on
occasion--that the three of our parishes celebrate each year an
Ascension Thursday Evening Prayer Service followed by a reception.
We have done this for the past ten or more years rotating the
location and preacher for the event.
“Then two years ago, at the suggestion of the rector of Saint Andrew
Episcopal Church, the Lutheran and Episcopal parishes invited Saint
Francis Xavier Catholic Church to be part of their Lenten Wednesday
night simple soup meals followed by an Evening Prayer Church. All
three of our denominations are liturgical in nature and very much in
common regarding our liturgy and prayers. This has become a great
tradition for us. Two are usually held at Epiphany Lutheran Church,
two at Saint Andrew Episcopal Church, and one at Saint Francis
Xavier Catholic Church.”
Carbondale Interfaith, formerly Interchurch Council, started in
February 2000 with an ecumenical palm burning service when a local
Presbyterian pastor called Flannery to see if he had any ashes he
could use for Ash Wednesday.
“I mentioned this at the clergy brown bag group that meets each
month, and the other pastors (Disciples of Christ, Unitarian,
Baptist, Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist, and United Church of
Christ) wanted to have ashes for Ash Wednesday, so we met on the
Tuesday before Ash Wednesday at Saint Francis Xavier Catholic
Church, bringing our old palms from the year before, held a short
scripture service, burned all the palms from the various
congregations and traditions, and had our ‘ecumenical ashes’ to use
at our different churches the next day on Ash Wednesday,” Flannery
said. “The tradition continues till today, although we have met at
various churches, including the former Unitarian Fellowship
building. For the last number of years, it has been hosted by the
First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, following their Pancake
Supper for Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. We also
have an ecumenical blessing of palms on Palm Saturday where we
usually bless the new palms from our various congregations to be
distributed throughout the weekend liturgies or services.” Ad
25 May 2013
Ed Sirois (AC '74) announces a
new Facebook page for the Alumni
Association. We are pleased to announce that the
American College Alumni Association now has a Facebook page.
This will allow for ongoing communication between members, a place
where you can post comments, photos, videos, and links to websites
or blogs that you think will be of interest to other alumni.
To get started, go to our home page on this site, find the Facebook
symbol at the top left, and log on (or create a new account - it's
free). Be sure to click on "like" so that whenever new
comments, news or anything else is posted, you will be notified.
That's all there is to it -- read, post news and comments, upload
photos and videos to your heart's content!
If you have a Smartphone, you can download a free Facebook app from
iTunes and enjoy it all when mobile.
20 May 2013
John Ludwig (AC
'74) posts the following:
Jim Murray, a 1974 AC classmate of mine
from Buffalo, died last Friday, May 17. the funeral is
scheduled for next Friday, May 24, at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
Church in Orchard Park, NY. His obit follows:
- James J. (AC '74) Beloved life partner and spouse of
30 years of William Roof; brother of Mary Goodspeed, Pam, Annie and
Patrick Murray; special uncle of Kim, Kristin, Mark and Gary;
cherished brother-in-law of Cathleen Antonio, Debra Reilly, Patty
Guerin, Laura Smardz, Karen, Robert and Ronald Roof. Relatives and
friends may visit the LOMBARDO FUNERAL HOME (Southtowns Chapel),
3060 Abbott Rd., near Lake Ave. on Thursday from 4-8 PM. A Memorial
Mass will be celebrated in Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church, 3148
Abbott Rd., Orchard Park on Friday morning at 10 o'clock. IN LIEU OF
FLOWERS, DONATIONS MAY BE MADE TO THE BUFFALO CHORAL ARTS SOCIETY IN
JIM'S MEMORY, PO BOX 266, BUFFALO, NY 14205. Jim served for many
years as a Probation Officer Supervisor. Online condolences may be
18 May 2013
Bernie Healey (AC '96) posts the following today:
Professor Rik Torfs has received the required
majority of votes in the second round of the rectorial election. His
four-year mandate as Rector will take effect on 1 August 2013. The
second voting round for the office of Rector was held on 17 May
2013. Of the 9,709 eligible electors, 4,576 participated in the
second round of voting. A total of 1,822 weighted votes were cast.
Professor Karen Maex received 736 weighted votes. Professor
Rik Torfs received 772 weighted votes. There were 19 blank
Professor Rik Torfs has thus obtained the required
majority. The Board of Trustees appointed him Rector of KU Leuven
effective 1 August 2013.
Rik Torfs was born on 16 October 1956. He holds
licentiate degrees from KU Leuven in law (1979), notary sciences
(1980), and canon law (1981). In 1987, he successfully
defended a doctorate in canon law.
He was appointed lecturer of canon law at KU Leuven in 1988 and was
promoted to full professor in 1996. He has published more than
300 articles in scholarly journals and has taught as a guest
professor at many universities abroad.
Professor Torfs plays a prominent role in the Belgian media
and commentates regularly on the relation between church and
society. He was also active as a politician and served as a
senator in the Belgian parliament.
During the 1990's when Rik was Decaan of the Canon Law
Faculty, he, along with Bernie Healey, was responsible for
revitalizing The American College's Graduate program by underwriting
much of the advertising those years that brought in over twenty
canon law students from around the world. DEW
11 May 2013
John Ludwig (AC '74) reports on a
Fr. John G.
Vrana (AC '74 Graduate) is a native of Cleveland and
was ordained as a priest for the Diocese of Cleveland in 1967. He
studied at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada and at the
Katholike Universitet te Leuven in Belgium where he earned the
degree, Doctor of Sacred Theology. He was assigned to teach at Saint
Mary Seminary in Cleveland. During his eighteen years on the
seminary faculty he also served as Spiritual Director. He serves as
a director for retreats at JRH and elsewhere and continues to serve
as a spiritual director for priests, women religious and laity. He
is currently on staff at St. Jude Parish in Elyria, Ohio.
20 April 2013
Thanks to Mary Louise,
George's wife, we have some updated news on our alumnus George
Francis Cora (AC '56). Mary Louise writes with regret that
she and George cannot attend the reunion this year. "We wish
we could join you all but it just isn't possible at this point.
George is having more difficulty all the time with getting
around. This is his 8th year of being challenged by Parkinson's.
He uses a walker at all times due to very poor balance. He is tired
a lot but in good spirits and peace of heart."
" I get him out for Mass most
weekends and for rides and to lunch when he feels up to it. We are
glad for warmer weather and the ability to finally get out on our
lovely porch in our condo. We moved here in August of 2011 and it
has been a wonderful move....such good and caring neighbors. He
celebrated his 83rd birthday this past week on April 17....we had a
quiet but lovely day of phone calls, cards and messages from all
over to bring him greetings and cheer."
George often remembers and
shares his Louvain days with me and others. Our dear friends
John (AC '57) and Mary Jane O'Brien continue to enjoy the
sharing as well. We sailed together for 30 years and really miss
those wonderful times with them...sometimes weeks at a time on the
Chesapeake. They come to our home to visit and stay now....whenever
we can find times to fit our busy schedules!!!"
" We surely wish we could join you
as we enjoyed such gatherings very much in the past. Please give
our best regards to all who come. We'll be with you in spirit."
(signed) Mary Louise Chesley-Cora
this letter was sent to me personally so I have done slight editing
of some personal information.)
5 March 2013
Philip Aloysius Schwartz (AC '57), 1930-1992, is named the KC
Catholic Man of the Month for his outstanding work with the poor in
the mission field. His cause for canonization has been brought
forth by the Archdiocese of Manila where he served for many years.
Within a year of being ordained for the Archdiocese of Washington in
1957, Father Schwartz was sent to South Korea where he began to
raise money for the missions and established Korean Relief Inc. in
1961. Three years later he founded the Sisters of Mary, a
religious order that continues to serve the poor in Korea, the
Philippines, and Latin America. In 1981, he founded the
Society of the Brothers of Christ, a religious order that cares for
homeless men in South Korea. Father Schwartz was twice
nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his extraordinary service to
the poor. Father Schwartz died of Lou Gehrig's disease on 16
March 1992. By that time, the relief programs he started were
caring for more than 12,000 needy children in Asia and Mexico.
4 March 2013
Alumni News has just learned that both Dr. Frank Ostrowski (AC
'56) and Rev. Stanley Nowak (AC '58) are deceased.
Thanks to Francis (Frank) J. Simpson (AC '68) we have some
news about his current whereabouts and activities. Frank
and his wife Maria were married on 15 July 2006 at the
Maronite Catholic Church in Springfield. They are a blended
family with Maria's three adult children and Frank's two.
Sarah, Frank's younger daughter will get married on 26 April this
year. All the other children are married with five
grandchildren. They still live in Glastonbury, CT.
Frank is now retired from teaching French and Latin at the High
School of Commerce. He keeps busy, though, working part-time
at Rocky's Ace Hardware -- something he's done for some thirteen
years now. His other pastimes include playing in the
second-violin section of the Holyoke Civic Symphony orchestra.
He finds this a thrilling adventure as an unprofessionally trained
Frank has also kept busy on the church front teaching Religious
Education in three parishes for roughly twenty years and still sings
in the Saint Dunstan's parish choir as he has done for the past four
5 February 2013
We have learned that Rev. Stanley Nowak (AC
'58) is deceased but no further information is forthcoming at
the present time.
31 January 2013
Reunion information has been posted on this web site and also sent
to Alumni via regular post. In each mailing there are always a
number of returns; some with corrected addresses and others
undeliverable. Please check the
"Lost Alumni" Page to see if
you can update us with any of these alumni with whom we have lost
John Lemieux (AC '68) reports and our Alumnus, Mike Mullin
(AC '68), passed away today and his funeral will be at St.
David's Catholic Church on 21 January at 10:00 in the morning.
Mike was in the class of 1968 and in the class picture. He
was one of five who were ordained deacons in June 1967 but never
ordained to priesthood. Daniel Michael Mullin is a
native from South Florida, a resident of Fort Lauderdale for the
past 60 years. He is survived by his wife Elizabeth M. Mullin
and son Thomas F. Mullin. He was precede in death by his
sister Mary Ellen Cottone.
Let us remember all our Alumni who have died in the past year, May
they rest in peace!
1 January 2013
Bells ringing from the 15th. century Steeple Ashton (Wiltshire)
church tower just behind the author's cottage, the New Year rang in
with great festivity at midnight witnessed by Alumni Nathan
Miniatt (AC '10), Christopher Robertson (AC '10),
Dominic Byrne (AC '01) and David Windsor (AC '03)after
a fantastic meal as only Dominic could prepare.
The tower bathed in flood light presented a beautiful scene in
the dark of the night as much as it does a majestic scene during the
day as in the photo on the left. Nathan, a third year
seminarian who will be
ordained Deacon this fall, was in England during the North American
College's Christmas break while Christopher came over by
train from Wales. Dominic remains Rector of Our Lady of
Dolours in Hendon (London) where he shall return later today.
A blessed an Happy New Year to all our readers.
Eric Schwartz, the designer and graphic editor of the
original Sodales magazine and a patron of The College from
1993 to 2003, lost his father this morning owing to a stroke,
His father had been in poor health for the past year but seemed to
be recovering some. Please keep Eric, his wife Jana,
his mother Tria and their extended family in your prayers.
May he rest in peace.
Eric's work on Sodales brought the publication from
the efficient Newsletter of the early '90's to a glossy 12-16 page
quarterly. Eric donated all his services to The College.
All back publications of Sodales are available electronically by
writing this website.