College Hosts Campus Visit With Leader of De La Salle Christian Brothers

Manhattan College welcomed to campus Superior General Brother Álvaro Rodriquez Echeverria, FSC, on Nov. 9 as part of a pastoral visit to the United States and Canada.

On Nov. 9, Manhattan College welcomed to campus Superior General Brother Álvaro Rodriquez Echeverria, FSC, leader of the 6,000 De La Salle Christian Brothers and 100,000 associates who teach nearly 1 million students in 82 countries.

Visiting from Rome, Br. Álvaro’s stop in Riverdale was part of a two-month tour of the United States, including the entire District of Eastern Northern America (DENA), which spans six states, Washington, D.C. and Ontario, Canada.

The eventful day began with Mass and a meeting with Brennan O’Donnell, Ph.D., president of Manhattan College, and senior administration.

Br. Álvaro was then briefed on many of the Lasallian educational opportunities in the community, including the International Lasallian University Leadership Program and the Buttimer Institute, as well as St. La Salle’s Day and Lasallian Convocation at the College.

“There is a commitment that the Lasallian mission must and will continue through the efforts of the faculty. Therefore, the work is ours,” said Fred Abdulahad, Ph.D., associate professor of economics and former dean of the school of business, quoting the late Brother Luke Salm, FSC, professor emeritus of religious studies.

Br. Álvaro commended the College for its variety of informational centers and creative service commitments internationally, as well as locally.  

“To have open eyes to the reality of the young people, the poor of the community, the country, of Manhattan College, is the most important dimension of our Lasallian spirituality,” Br. Álvaro said.

Following the meeting, Br. Álvaro was treated to a walk through campus with three Manhattan College students, two of whom conducted the tour in Spanish for Br. Álvaro, a native of Costa Rica.

A highlight of the tour was a visit to the new East Hill dorm, during which Br. Álvaro was surprised with beautiful views of Manhattan and a large Costa Rican flag hanging in the room of tour guide Gabriel Quiroz, a sophomore business student and Andres Oréamuno, a junior business student.

“He liked the new improvements on campus,” said tour guide Jose Chavarry, a senior history major. “And how the College is modern but still holding onto tradition.”

After a lunch hosted by O’Donnell, Br. Álvaro met with the education department to learn more about the College’s unique programs, including educational outreach in Sri Lanka, China and Namibia, nuclear medicine technology and advanced certifications in autism and bilingual education.

“It’s interesting to see that you are open to this international collaboration and at the same time you are doing very important work here,” Br. Álvaro said, affirming the importance of the teaching vocation.

Br. Álvaro ended his busy day at a casual gathering with some of the most active students involved in campus ministry. Representatives of student government, campus ministry and social action, and Lasallian Leaders discussed ongoing projects, such as the L.O.V.E. program, fair trade campaigns at the College and trips to Part of the Solution (POTS) soup kitchen in the Bronx.

Excited to see Br. Álvaro again since first meeting him in high school, Michael Borger ’11, an MBA student and Lasallian Scholar, asked what Manhattan College can do to better foster its Lasallian mission.

Speaking simply but deliberately, Br. Álvaro stressed the importance of staying connected with alumni, living in an all-encompassing community and serving others. “Every day in each Lasallian school, the school must remember that we are in the holy presence of God,” he said, with a warm smile. “We need to be the face of God for other people.”

See photos from the visit below: