Missioning Mass Reflection of Tony Oroszlany Twenty‐second President of Loyola School September 9, 2011
‐ Very Reverend Provincial David Ciancimino; ‐ Headmaster, Jim Lyness and Loyola’s faculty, staff, administrators, students, parents, alumni and alumni parents; ‐ Loyola School Board of Trustees Chair, Bob Sheehy, Vice Chair Julie Casella Esposito, and all other Trustees; ‐ Fr. George Witt, Pastor of the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola and Fr. Jim Dugan, Associate Pastor; ‐ Fr. Bob Reiser, President of St. Peter’s Prep; Fr. Ken Boller, President of Fordham Prep; Fr. Joe Costantino, Pastor of The Church of St. Francis Xavier; ‐ Fr. Vin Biagi, Fr. Chuck Frederico, Fr. Ray Salomone and Fr. Jim Keenan of The New York Province; Fathers Sehler and Paredes of Loyola School;
friends and former colleagues; benefactors; and distinguished invited guests; thank you all for gathering here today to share in our Mass of the Holy Spirit and my missioning ceremony to commence Loyola School’s 2011‐2012 academic year.
It is a joy to share this day with my family. Here representing my family are my wife, Eileen; my mother, Norah; my sisters, Ann and Nora, my brother, Peter; Eileen’s parents, her brother, and other extended family. Unfortunately, my father could not be with us today, but he did want to make sure that I sent everyone his best. So, to
our students, you can be assured that your parents will continue to make requests of you for years and years to come!
‐‐‐‐‐‐ I was just missioned to be Loyola School’s next president by the Very Reverend Provincial David Ciancimino. As famed sports broadcaster Dick Enberg would say, “Oh my!”
I must admit that this does feel a little surreal sometimes. “Surreal,” however, is a term that pulls all of us away from reality, so most of the time, I realize that I feel “blessed” to lead a school about which I care so very deeply. To me an ideal high school is ‐ Jesuit, co‐ed, small, ‐ in New York City, with a commitment to academic excellence, ‐ an extremely talented faculty, a terrific student body, a supportive community, ‐ a passion to help students grow to be the best that they can be, ‐ a school with a vibrant extracurricular program, ‐ a school with a long history (let’s say a 110+ years), ‐ and an educational tradition to lean on which helps guide decisions (let’s say 450+ years on that one).
Luckily, all of those things describe Loyola School perfectly. We are indeed a very special school! And I sincerely thank our Board of Trustees for offering me the opportunity to be Loyola School’s president and I look forward to working with them in envisioning our school’s future.
So…..A Franciscan and a Dominican were debating about whose order was the greater. After months of arguing, they decided to ask for an answer from God when they died. Years later, they met in heaven and decided to go to the throne of our Lord to resolve their old disagreement. God seemed a bit puzzled about the question and told them he would reply in writing a few days later. After much deliberation, God sent the following letter:
My beloved children, Please stop bickering about such trivial matters. Both of your orders are equally great and good in my eyes. Sincerely yours, God, S.J.
Considering our Lord’s feedback here, I have a tall order in front of me. As Loyola’s first lay president, following 21 Jesuit presidents in our 111 year history, I want to assure you of our continued commitment to Ignatian educational paradigms. I realize that I will be standing on the broad shoulders of former Jesuit and lay leaders, and all that they accomplished in bringing Loyola to where it is today, including our founder, Fr. McKinnon, Fr. Gannon, Fr. Haskins, Sr. Nora Cronin, Fr. Prior, Fr. Katsouros, Mr. Michael Guerra, Mr. Danilo Tramontozzi and many, many more wonderful educators. ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
In preparing my reflection, I asked a few department chairs, and some of our more veteran faculty members, what adjectives or short descriptors they would think of to 3
complete the sentence, "Loyola is.....". Their thoughts were priceless. They answered, “Loyola is:”
Family Ignatian A home away from home Joyola
Like a sacrament: it leaves an indelible mark! A school where the individual matters
Tradition, Innovation, Style
A lovingly demanding school
A wonderful place to work
A community of Christian concern
The response “a community of Christian concern” reminded me of something the respected Deacon Greg of the Diocese of Brooklyn recently wrote. He said,
Christianity isn’t singular. It’s plural. Let us pray [for] a realization that faith makes demands on us. But love makes us want to meet those demands. Being here, belonging here, is key to what it means to be Catholic – a word whose very definition means “universal.” It isn’t singular. It’s plural.
And speaking of plural, the most important attendees here this afternoon are our students. You are why we exist and the reason for Loyola School’s being. I offer an extra special welcome to our Class of 2015 and to those students who transferred into sophomore and junior years. I point out the following remarkable passage, to our students, that was first written over 400 years ago, from the Society of Jesus’s original plan of studies:
The development of the student’s intellectual capacity is the school’s most characteristic part. However, this development will be defective and even dangerous unless it is strengthened and completed by the training of the will and the formation of the character.
It is, therefore, because of the Society’s original curriculum guide that we declare, in Loyola’s mission statement, our desire to care for the whole student. ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
Barry Lopez of the Class of 1962 won the National Book Award in 1986, but he is also famous for saying, “Sometimes a person needs a story….more than food to stay alive." And so, I’d like to share a little bit of my own background.
As many of you know, I am the son of immigrants. My father was born and raised in Hungary, with a few terrific years in Italy, before moving to the United States, and my mother traveled to NYC from Ireland when she was just 18 years old.
As you might imagine, my parents greatly appreciate the rewards given to those committed to hard work, in their new homeland. Their four children all earned master’s degrees, and because of their commitment to us, my brother, sisters and I genuinely appreciate the importance of a great education. I value all that Georgetown and Fordham offered me on the undergraduate and graduate levels, but do honestly most appreciate all that Loyola provided me on the high school level because of the total commitment of its wonderful faculty, staff and administration to the development of each and every student. A tradition that has only been enhanced since my time as a student at Loyola. 5
During our childhood, my father instilled in us the importance of hard work and my mother did the same for the love and care of others …. and in many ways they were channeling St. Ignatius. So, when I pray St. Ignatius’s Prayer for Generosity and say the words “to toil and not to seek for rest,” it resonates deep inside me, as does Ignatius’s stirring thought that, "Love is shown more in deeds, than in words." ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
Many people have asked me what kind of a leader I will be. In speaking to that question, I want to share with you my thoughts on leadership in general and educational leadership in particular.
Our students should know that I love idea behind Babe Ruth’s line, "It's hard to beat a person who never gives up," but when it comes to the pursuit of excellence, no one quite matches St. Ignatius’s concept of the magis.
St. Ignatius would often ask, "What have I done for God? What am I doing for God? and What more can I do for God?" Many believe that the concept of magis finds it roots from Ignatius’s inquiry of what “more” he could do for God. Magis means “the more,” and helps promote vision and dreams within schools. We can all be constricted by the idea of not changing because of tradition. Fortunately, magis, fundamentally helps educators keep current world developments within our organizational sites. Because of magis, Loyola students are driven to perform better, our faculty strive to educate better, and administrators and trustees look to service the needs of our Loyola School to the best extents possible.
Thomas Jefferson once said, "In matters of style, swim with the current; In matters of principle, stand like a rock!" So you can expect Loyola School to keep current on matters like technology and you can also be assured that our commitment to both our Ignatian roots and our independent school identity will remain steadfast. I believe that all of us in the Loyola community are ambassadors for our Jesuit and independent school mission and I look forward to working with all of you, as Loyola’s new President, to help make Loyola all that it can be in our work to “influence those who will influence others.”
I do wish to express my sincere gratitude to those who helped organize today’s mass and celebration. Special thanks to the Very Reverend Provincial David Ciancimino; Fr. Witt and the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola; Jim Lyness and Bob Sheehy for their roles in the missioning ceremony; Sue Baber, as Director of Campus Ministry; the advancement office; Cristiano Tiozzo, our Director of Music; our liturgical singers and altar servers, and those who have participated as readers, Eucharistic ministers, and gift bearers.
And now, I invite you all to join us for a reception in Wallace Hall, located just beneath the church, immediately following this liturgy. God Bless.