Bleeding Miracles

A Reflection from Kairos 91
Segments from a college fictional writing assignment by Keith Enterante ’11, Kairos 91 Retreat Rector

It’s a wonder how so many miracles can happen in a room. And how they are issued from the mouths of forty-six high school seniors. Well, actually their hearts. Maybe God was present, maybe He wasn’t, but when a seventeen year-old boy learns the magic of empathy, I suppose anything is possible. The room was white, a massive projector screen consuming its center core, a beacon of promise and potential. A black amplifier sits behind forty-six chairs and in front of two long oak benches, where I plopped myself to witness the miracles. Then there was the podium. It was placed in front of the projector screen, where the boys watched song lyrics tell stories that only the amplifier could voice. It was at this podium where I watched forty-six hearts courageously bleed for the sake of empathy and understanding. It was there where clarity for all who have searched for seventeen years, whether they knew it or not, was discovered.

I have always appreciated the power of stories. It’s no wonder I want to be a novelist, punching keys to reach hearts all around the world. Writing, indeed, is bleeding, especially because it holds no promises. My stories may or may not assimilate themselves into society, and I may or may not make money from them, but in this one life, I know that writing is what I was born to do. And sometimes, that’s enough. Novels, the beautiful babies of a writer’s mastered craft, often go unnoticed- collecting dust on a shelf, untouched and forgotten like bitter memories. Ironic that so many of those stories are born from bitter memories, and people pass them by ignorant of their power and love.

But what happens when a story is voiced, and not written? What happens when a boy verbally confronts his past for the first time, and faces it like a man for the first time? Tears fall, hugs envelop the room, and spirits are lifted to shine through the darkness. Know what else is ironic? I’m recollecting my memory of last week for a fiction writing class, but there is nothing fiction about it. What was fiction were the personal lies those forty-six boys told themselves before the retreat. Among those: real men don’t cry, it’s not cool to be a gentle…man, and God’s love is conditional. The podium erased those lies and so many more, the podium unmasked loving truths, the podium told the story, and I watched from an oak bench.

You would think the miracles would be found elsewhere. You would think they’d unveil themselves outside of that room, in the hills that overlooked Santa Barbara, which was shrouded in a fog, like a bad omen from the aftermath of Deltopia’s darkness and destruction. Deltopia’s lies. We were above the fog – above the lies, and overhead the sky was golden blue. You could hear the wind rustle the eaves by day, and the cicadas and toads belt their throaty songs by night. The view was beautiful. The forty-six boys came from below; they weaved through those green hills in a large bus that was their one-way ticket to clarity. They climbed the mountain lost and choked from bitter life memories, and descended it four days later touched by the spirit of love and empathy. They ascended the mountain as boys, and descended it as men.

With open hearts, the tears bled freely from forty-six men. Empathy stole the room and chased the lies outside of the door, passed the marble statues that watched a quiet pond like angels, passed the ghostly dormitories where the wind often howled at night like undead spirits, passed the courtyard where forty-six boys first arrived weighed down by masks, and it is my hope that those lies died in Santa Barbara’s fog down the hill below. Like I said, God may or may not have been present, but at that moment, empathy’s magic established itself in a new atmosphere of love, hope, and clarity. And love is what humans do best.

This was my fifth time up the mountain, but this is my first time writing about it. It’s 11:55 p.m. and this assignment is due tomorrow. But I’ve hardly been working, hardly bleeding, because when I descended the mountain, I was changed too. My mind has never been clearer; I’ve never been so enveloped by so much understanding.

From the Desk of Fr. Tony – April 2014

Dear Friends of St. Francis,
You may have noticed an announcement about Capuchin Franciscan Heritage Days on our school website. We will honor Capuchin Franciscan Heritage Days during the period, March 17, 2014-April 18, 2014 and encourage all members of our St. Francis community to connect with one another, and join in prayers and activities that benefit our community and those in need.

Some may remember four years ago, when the Minster General of the worldwide Capuchin Franciscan Order came from Italy, to St. Francis High School to join in our celebration as the Capuchins marked 100 years of service in the United States. It was in 1910 that the Irish Capuchin Franciscans, filled with missionary spirit and inspired by Francis of Assisi’s vision came to the United States to serve poor immigrants looking for a new life. As Capuchins, we strive to be men of prayer and action, living and working together in community and ministry. Through our vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, we are men of faith, hope and love. It has been said that St. Francis wrote to the entire Order, “Hold back nothing of you for yourself, so that he who gives himself totally to you may receive you totally.”

In our own community at St. Francis High School, we take this to heart and each day commit ourselves to developing individual spirituality through the sacredness of St. Francis’ teaching and enriching the minds and hearts of young men. The sixteen Franciscan virtues that are taught over the course of a student’s four years at St. Francis are evidence of this. As we began the fourth quarter, we introduced the virtue of goodness. Goodness can be used as a noun, adjective and adverb. Common themes of goodness imply something that is commendable, enjoyable, reliable, beneficial, kind, noble, admirable and of course, something that is most welcome. Goodness further suggests excellence of attitude, character and morality, If we were to take the Greek word for goodness, agathosune, the translation would be “zealous activity in doing good” or “active goodness”. As we celebrate these Capuchin Franciscan Heritage Days, I ask you and those you love, to practice goodness. Actively connect with your brothers and sisters. Pray in earnest. And actively seek occasions to serve those in need. In short, I ask you to take to heart St. Francis’ wisdom, “Preach the Gospel at all times – use words if necessary!” In this way, we will hold back nothing of ourselves and give totally to those brothers and sisters most in need. May our Risen Christ bless you and watch over you.

Easter Blessings,
Fr. Tony

From the Desk of Fr. Tony – March 2014

Dear St. Francis family,

As a Catholic community, we will celebrate Ash Wednesday in just a few days and begin our Lenten journey. I find it noteworthy that our third quarter virtue, faithfulness, coincides with the Lenten season. During the Lenten season, we are called to pray, to fast and to reach out to those who are in need. Simply put, we are called to be faithful.

There are many definitions of the word faithful:
1. Strict or thorough in the performance of duty – think of a faithful worker.
2. True to one’s word, promises, vows etc.
3. Steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant as described as a faithful friend.
4. Reliable, trusted, or believed.
5. Adhering or true to fact, a standard, or an original; accurate such as a faithful account or a faithful
copy.

In honoring the virtue of faithfulness, we commit ourselves to the practice of being faithful, in relation to each of these definitions. As faithful Catholics, we understand that almsgiving, charity, and love to others is most important in our Lenten journey. If we wish our prayers to be heard, we must listen to the plight of those in need. Beyond this, we must also recognize that God does not always answer our prayers in the way we expect. But He does always answer. To have faith and trust in God means that we recognize His activity in our circumstances even when they may seem hopeless. In our human eyes, we may see things are not getting better and fear that God has abandoned us. We must trust that God sees the big picture and that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He is at work, even when we don’t realize it. “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

We must also remember that God works through ordinary people like you and me. When we offer help or an act of kindness to someone else, we may very well be an answer to their prayers. So I ask and encourage you, during this Lenten journey, commit yourself once again to being a faithful disciple – be the answer to prayer for a brother or sister in Christ – and make time to nurture your faith through prayer and reflection. Be sure to ask the same of your family! By doing so, I am confident, we will grow in our faith and we will continue to be blessed by our Heavenly Father.

Happy Lent!

Blessings,

Fr. Tony Marti, OFM Cap.
President

Faithfulness 2013

St. Francis football team motivated by underdog role against state, national power Serra

Article written by By Gerry Gittelson, Special to the Daily News

http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/sports/20131031/st-francis-football-team-motivated-by-underdog-role-against-state-national-power-serra

The school has gone 49 years since winning a Southern Section football championship, but St. Francis has remained competitive year in and year out, and this season the Golden Knights are doing more than merely plugging away.

With a high-powered offense that averages 444 yards and 44.5 points per game, St. Francis (8-0) is off to its best start since 1966 heading into a Mission League showdown at 7 p.m. Friday at Serra (8-0), ranked No. 4 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and No. 7 in the nation by USA Today.

St. Francis has a challenging academic curriculum and rigorous entrance requirements that force the Golden Knights to turn away a lot of talented prospective student athletes that other nearby private schools readily accept. An occasional all-state type like Dietrich Riley (ex-UCLA) has shown up through the years, but mostly St. Francis succeeds on home-grown talent.

As a result, the trophy case is not overflowing with championship hardware, and the school usually is not mentioned in the same breath with other elite private-school programs like Oaks Christian, Alemany and Chaminade.

Instead, the campus has a small-town feel with a hearty supply of pride and school spirit. Nearly every graduate goes on to attend a four-year university, maybe not to play major-college football but perhaps with an extra dose of loyalty and commitment — qualities missing at some of the other highly competitive programs.

The Golden Knights are not a football power in the traditional sense. Nevertheless, they’ve made the playoffs 12 times in 13 years since former UCLA quarterback Jim Bonds took over as head coach.

St. Francis, ranked No. 3 in the Western Division, figures to be in for a big challenge Friday at defending champion Serra, which already has defeated Notre Dame, Chaminade and Harvard-Westlake.

“We know we’re in store for a tough games with Serra, so we’re just taking things one step at a time and preparing to play hard,” St. Francis running back Joe Mudie said. “We’re 8-0 and we feel great. Our whole team has played well, and we just have good team effort.

“Everyone on the team believes in each other, and everything has been clicking on offense and defense and special teams.”

Being an underdog, not just tonight but in general, serves as motivation.

“It motivates us more and makes us prepare even harder,” Mudie said. “We’re not focused on making a name for ourselves, just on playing hard. I mean, publicity is good, but it’s not the most important thing.”

Mudie is coming off a career night, rushing for 225 yards and two touchdowns Friday in a 44-14 victory over Harvard-Westlake. He has rushed for 987 yards — 412 over the past two games — and scored 13 touchdowns in addition to 25 receptions and 29.3-yard average on kick returns.

Mudie is among a group of key seniors including quarterback Ty Gangi, linebackers Kevin Maloof and Michael Weber and defensive lineman Ricky Urzua.

Gangi, a first-year starter, has passed for 1,543 yards and 18 touchdowns, and he also has scored five touchdowns. He has taken advantage after waiting patiently for a opportunity, and the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder has passed for at least one touchdown in every game.

“I learned a lot during the spring and summer, and I’ve just practiced hard,” Gangi said.

Having Bonds as the head coach has helped Gangi a lot. In high school, Bonds led Hart to a Northwestern Conference championship in 1986. His coaching mentor is Bill Redell, who plucked Bonds, then 23, as an assistant at St. Francis before Bonds eventually took the head job at Alemany for three years. When Redell moved to Oaks Christian, Bonds returned to St. Francis.

The coach still enjoys a tradition of playing long toss with his quarterbacks every day and Gangi has a good grasp of team concepts, and that’s something the coach has instilled.

“I’ve got a couple of really good receivers with John Carroll and Dylan Crawford,” Gangi said. “John is a big target, 6-4, 220 pounds, and he’s coming off a big game last week against Harvard-Westlake. Once I get him the ball, he can really run with it, too. Dylan, he’s only a sophomore, but he’s been really great because he’s so fluid, and he’s great at adjusting to the ball.”

Gangi operates behind an offensive line featuring seniors Trevor Provencio (6-2, 290), Joe Loubier (6-5, 260) and Austin Finton (6-1, 240). Provencio is a co-captain along with Mudie and Maloof.

Maloof is the cousin of world-renowned businessman Joe Maloof, the ex-owner of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and present owner of Palms Casino in Las Vegas.

Maloof is a part of a hard-hitting defense that has allowed an average of just 15 points and forced 15 turnovers.

“We’re a really stout defense. I’m happy but there’s always room for improvement,” Maloof said. “We just keep practicing hard every week, and I think we’ve got a chance against Serra. We plan on taking it to ‘em.”

Bonds is the architect of St. Francis’ success. When he first left Alemany to take the job, he said it was an easy decision to make because St. Francis just felt like home.

“I enjoyed my time at Alemany, which was my first head-coaching job, but I had made some great relationships at St. Francis with Bill Redell and the administration, and when Bill left, he kind of gave me a head’s up and brought me in,” Bonds said. “It’s was just a place where I wanted to put my feet on the ground and wanted to be for a long time.”

Bonds is 102-57 at St. Francis. He has a group of seasoned assistants, including offensive coordinator Joe Monarrez, who has been at St. Francis for 17 years, and defensive coordinator Mark Gibbons, who has been there 21 years.

If St. Francis can forge an upset Friday, it would be perhaps the biggest regular-season victory in Bonds’ career. Of course, no one expects it to happen, but Bonds and the Golden Knights believe in each other, and for him that’s the most important thing.

“I like St. Francis because we have such good kids,” Bonds said. “They’re very respectful young men, they’re academically motivated, and I have a great staff. I’m having a great time here.”

The History and Tradition of the GOLDEN KNIGHTS

During the 1950s and 1960s, competing against powerhouse in the Catholic Conference, Parochial League and Santa Fe League, St. Francis athletics teams were known simply as “The Knights.” It was before a particularly key game against powerful Mater Dei that the GOLDEN KNIGHTS were born.

Legendary head coach Jack Friedman, to honor the most dedicated of the Knights and to inspire the team to victory over Mater Dei, established the GOLDEN KNIGHTS to form a nucleus of team leaders, dedicated absolutely and totally to football excellence with each member singled out by the Varsity coaching staff for his desire, hustle, achievement and dedication to St. Francis athletics.

GOLDEN KNIGHTS are chosen to lead the team as much in practice sessions as in games, and as much on campus as on the field. Under the direction of their head coach, they accept responsibility for administering team rules, for organizing drills and boosting team morale. Through their active participation in shaping the goals and values of their teammates, the GOLDEN KNIGHTS have not only been responsible for developing character in others, but for developing their own character as well.

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Today, these descendants of the original GOLDEN KNIGHTS are, perhaps more than any other athlete, visible representations of the ideals, values and mission of St. Francis High School, mirroring the Code of the GOLDEN KNIGHT:

“Victorious in competition, steadfast in his ideals, loyal to his Alma Mater and reverent unto God.”

Video

Celebrating the Virtue of Hospitality

Dear Family and Friends of St. Francis,

I am very happy to extend my greetings to all returning parents – and to those parents who are joining the St. Francis family this school year! Let me say how blessed we are to have you and your sons on campus. The beginning of a school year is always exciting – it is a time filled with renewed energy and enthusiasm. At St. Francis, it is also a time to commit ourselves to our mission to enrich the mind and heart. This mission is twofold – we must commit on a personal level to nurture this and we must also actively seek ways to enrich the mind and heart of our brothers and sisters in Christ. In this way, we model our lives after Christ and after Francis.

As you know, St. Francis High School is unique because of our dedication and commitment to spirituality, Franciscan virtues, and our family spirit. This first quarter, our Franciscan virtue is hospitality. What an ideal opportunity to say to all of you, “Welcome! You are home at St. Francis. We will do everything we can to make this school year a joyful and successful one.”

I hope you and your family had an enjoyable summer and that you had many occasions to spend time with one another. Although most of our faculty was in recess during the summer, we continued our educational work with summer school and with athletics. We have also been busy preparing for the start of the new school year which will include the opening of our new classroom wing and initial launch of our technology initiative. These three new classrooms with the latest technology will be available later this first quarter. I believe you will be very pleased, as I am, with the expansion of our classroom facilities and the steps we are taking to integrate technology into our curriculum.

I look forward to seeing you at the various events on campus throughout the year. Thank you once again for allowing us to help in the education of your sons. We appreciate and value your trust. Once again, welcome! And, GO KNIGHTS!

May the Lord give you His peace!

Fr. Tony Marti, OFM Cap.

President

St. Francis Plans to Launch Technology Initiative

For the past two years, St. Francis has been exploring the next step in technology and education. Extensive research was conducted, interviews with technology integration specialists were held, multiple school site visits were made, and the Board of Directors created a Technology Subcommittee in order to guide the initiative.  These efforts were critical in positioning St. Francis to move seamlessly toward a more inquiry/project-based learning environment to enrich the students and to prepare them more effectively for the future. Ms. Sunita Saxena, the St. Francis Technology Coordinator, stresses that, “The goal of incorporating technology into our classroom is not to be fashionable, but to make learning more meaningful for the students. It requires that we find different ways to deliver instruction to meet the needs of the 21st Century learners.”

One of the first components of this plan involved the creation of a Model 21st Century classroom, which included an interactive white board, class set of iPads, as well as a new computer projection and sound system. Freshman Religion classes, under the direction of Mr. Mark Fredette and Mr. Joe Kim, were the first to explore and benefit from these new instruction tools. In just a few months, Mr. Fredette reports, “The kids love using the Extron board – we were able to incorporate it in a timed map competition. This competition when compared to previous years’ results shortened the learning curve to at least one third. This was one example of a learning activity that used to take students 45 minutes and produced mixed results.  With the new technology, virtually the whole class learned and mastered the concepts in 15 minutes”.  Freshman Cameron Wheeler observes, “When using the iPad to study for a test about the Middle Eastern countries and their geographic locations, we used a Middle East Map quiz game online to study. Then each side of the classroom competed to see who would finish the game first. From then on the map was practically burned into my memory”.  This Model Classroom will provide the blueprint for the most visible part of the St. Francis technology plan. The current construction of a new classroom wing that will house three 21st Century classrooms is scheduled to open in the fall of 2013.  Ultimately, all of our classrooms will be retrofitted with these 21st Century learning tools.

In May, faculty members were issued iPads and in September we will begin 18 months of ongoing and extensive professional development that will facilitate the transition to an inquiry/project-based learning environment. All of this will prepare our teaching community for the rollout of our 1:1 program in which every student will use iPads on campus to access textbooks on-line, and for classroom activities and projects. This program will begin in the fall of 2014 with the classes of 2017 and 2018, and will be followed in the fall of 2015 with the classes of 2016 and 2019.

While this is a major step for St. Francis High School, and most certainly will meet with twists and turns along the way, we are confident that our due diligence over the past two years will result in success. Look for more detailed information as this initiative moves forward.

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