Access to education not only changes the lives of the poor, it transforms societies, governments and economies argues Brother Alvaro Rodriguez Echeverria, F.S.C., the superior general of the Christian Brothers — the largest order in the Catholic Church dedicated exclusively to the ministry of education.
Brother Alvaro will deliver an address on the societal benefits of empowering the poor through globalization in education and will receive an honorary doctoral degree as the guest of honor at Saint Mary’s College of California’s annual De La Salle Week Convocation in the College Chapel on Wednesday, April 24, 2013, at 12:45 p.m. The event will also be streamed on the College's website at stmarys-ca.edu.
In his Convocation speech, Brother Alvaro plans to address the inequities of a 21st century world that is not only divided by economic haves and have nots, but also by an educational chasm separating those who know and those who do not. And, that the key to a future where all can progress is access to education for those with the least resources in our increasingly globally-interconnected society.
"Superior General Brother Alvaro Rodriguez Echeverria is a man of great faith, integrity and vision. We are honored by his presence at Saint Mary's during the College's 150th anniversary celebration," said President Brother Ronald Gallagher. "As our international leader, he has acknowledged the importance of and supported the growth of Lasallian Higher Education. He has also challenged us as members of the Christian Brothers, and our lay partners, to support innovative educational initiatives internationally and to serve in the cause of immigration reform, seek solutions to poverty and campaign for the rights of the child."
The Convocation, which is free and open to the public, is the centerpiece of a week-long celebration of the life of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, patron saint of teachers and founder of the Christian Brothers, and of the College's 150 years of Lasallian heritage and mission. During the campus wide commemoration, Saint Mary’s students, Christian Brothers, faculty and staff come together to increase awareness of and celebrate the life of Saint John Baptist de La Salle and his vision of education for all. The Convocation also includes musical performances by Saint Mary's talented students and faculty,
Brother Alvaro's religious journey, and his commitment to the service of education to the poor, was shaped by 25 years of service in Guatemala during the tumultuous period of the 1970s and 1980s. The country was engaged in a bloody civil war in which thousands of people perished, many at the hands of notorious death squads. Among them was Brother James Miller from Minnesota, who was assassinated in 1982 for his efforts to provide academic and economic opportunities for indigenous young people in Guatemala.
Brother Alvaro will also participate in a panel discussion entitled "Brothers and Partners on the Cutting Edge: Lasallian Leadership in the 21st Century" on Tuesday, April 23, 2013, at 5:30 p.m. in the College's Soda Center. The forum, which features Saint Mary's Christian Brothers and professors, will examine the involvement of Brothers and partners in fighting against human trafficking, creating affordable solutions to urban education with Chicago charter schools, challenging the Catholic Church from within, providing a real and virtual education through the Sri Lanka-Saint Mary's connection, and educating in a war zone at Bethlehem University. The panel discussion is also free and open to the public.
For more than three centuries, the order of the Christian Brothers has served the Catholic Church through a mission of education and service to the poor. Brothers serve in 84 countries, including the United States where they guide six higher education institutions, 54 high schools and 16 middle schools.
Brother Alvaro's many accomplishments include service to the Christian Brothers as superior general, vicar general, auxiliary visitor and visitor of the District of Central America (comprised of Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama), president and vice president of the Union of Superiors General (a global organization of superiors general of Catholic religious orders), a member of the papal advisory council Synod of Bishops, vice president of RELAL (Lasallian Region of Latin America), president of CONFREGUA (Conference of Guatemala Religious) and as director of the Novitiate, the Scholasticate and of the Santiago Indigenous Institute located in Guatemala. Brother Alvaro began his ministry of education as a teacher in Guatemala and in Honduras.
Brother Alvaro completed his novitiate formation in Bordighera, Italy, in 1961. His higher education achievements include completion of the religious studies program at Saint Pius X Institute of the Pontifical University of Salamanca (Spain) in 1963 and his graduate work in philosophical studies from La Salle University, Mexico City, in 1972. Brother Alvaro is the recipient of nine honorary doctorates from universities across the globe, including La Salle University, Philadelphia; Universidad La Salle, San José, Costa Rica; Manhattan College, New York; Ramon Llull University, Barcelona; La Salle University, Bogotá; Christian Brothers University, Memphis; Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota; De La Salle University, Manila; and Bethlehem University in Palestine.
In addition to the Convocation honoring Superior General Brother Alvaro Rodriguez Echeverria, the College will celebrate the life of Saint John Baptist de La Salle with a week-long schedule of activities, including community masses, a variety of guest speakers and a hunger and poverty awareness 5K run. For more information about the visit of the Christian Brothers Superior General and De La Salle Week at Saint Mary's, contact Sally Jamison in the College's Office of Mission at (925) 631-4406 or by email at email@example.com or visit stmarys-ca.edu/mission-ministry-center/de-la-salle-week.
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