Br. Brice Bycynski, from the inaugural class of 1967, and one of the first students to join the Marist religious order, rang in the beginning of another half-century at an all-school Mass in the high school’s Red and White Stadium on Monday morning.
The late-summer heat and humidity did not deter the hundreds of brothers, alumni and family members who sat in folding chairs on the artificial turf, as Cardinal Francis George celebrated Mass.
Concelebrants included five priests that had attended Marist, including Fr. Tom Hurley from the class of 1985, now the pastor of Old St. Patrick’s Church.
The Mass honored Marist’s past – the founding classes of 1967 to 1971, and the original faculty brothers that were present to greet 320 freshmen boys as they traipsed into what was essentially a construction site 50 years ago.
The Mass also honored the future – the current students sitting in the bleachers fanning themselves with their programs.
It was for them that Cardinal George directed his homily: “Don’t ever sell yourselves short because in Christ you are far better than you, yourselves, can imagine,” he said.
Concelebrants included five priests that had attended Marist, including Fr. Tom Hurley, from the class of 1985, now the pastor of Old St. Patrick’s Church.
Although Marist began as a Catholic boys’ high school, the school transitioned to a co-ed enrollment during the 2002-2003 school year, when alumni expressed a desire to send their daughters to Marist.
The high school continues to focus on developing an innovative and demanding college preparatory curriculum that serves Chicago-area and suburban students at all academic levels and promotes a legacy of faith, family and service.
Current Marist students received 50th anniversary pins that were blessed by Cardinal George.
In his post communion remarks, Marist president, Br. Patrick McNamara, fms, thanked parents for their commitment to Catholic education, as well as the students who came over the weekend to clean up the Red and White Stadium after last Friday’s victory over football rival, Brother Rice High School.
Then, in true school fashion, past and present students, and brothers, sang along as the Marist band played the school fight song.
After the Mass, it was back to business, as students
gratefully reentered the air-conditioned school building for their next class.
Read Patch's coverage of Marist High School's 50th anniversary: