This month of April, Manhattan College celebrates its Lasallian tradition and mission by affirming the day-to-day activities and events that students, faculty, administration and staff all organize and attend. Mission Month was coordinated with the college community and the Office of Mission by the Vice President for Mission, Brother Jack Curran.
The recast of De La Salle week all started when Curran read an Op/Ed in The Quadrangle written by Michelle DePinho one year ago on April 24, entitled “How ‘Lasallian’ Was De La Salle Week?”
“But what did this broiled cheeseburger have to do with anything?” DePinho wrote referencing the BBQ on the quad held for De La Salle week last year. “More specifically, how Lasallian was De La Salle Week? Did the events we partook in really reflect the ideals of a Lasallian institution or increase awareness of our school’s religious heritage?”
“She was very observant and reflective in her writing. She raised some issues,” Curran said.
“What she was saying was, there’s a Lasallian tradition, but do the students understand it? Maybe what they’re seeing is a big BBQ on the quad. How do we connect that with our rich heritage?”
Curran was determined to recast the connection of mission and the MC community this year. Curran was inspired by a speech President Brennan O’Donnell gave at a faculty convocation, in which O’Donnell noted that the MC community brings life to our Lasallian values every day.
“Together and by association with thousands of other Lasallians in more than 80 countries of the world, during April we take some time to reflect on our mission as a Lasallian Catholic College,” O’Donnell said in a letter to the MC community about Mission Month.
“The events are sponsored by a wide range of departments, programs, and individuals and reflect the diversity and dynamism of our community. Their richness reminds us of the pervasive and multi-faceted richness of our tradition as expressed in our day-to-day work.”
“We didn’t have to come up with a special set aside week for De La Salle and make up events,” Curran said. “All we had to do was look at what’s happening already on campus and affirm it, and link it to our values.”
“I looked at the campus calendar for April. I noticed the event ‘Light up the Quad Blue for Autism Awareness Month.’ Doesn’t that relate to our mission, ‘respect for human dignity?’ There’s a link.”
Curran collected all the events on MC’s campus calendar, plus ones that were not online, and added them to the mission month schedule of events.
“More than 50 events in 30 days,” Mission Month posters state.
The Mission Month posters also include the Jewish star, the Christian cross and the Islamic crescent as symbols of MC’s inclusive mission.
Dr. Mehnaz M Afridi, religious studies professor and director for the Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center affirms the connection between daily life at MC and the mission.
“The Center has always kept with the mission of the college in its goal of excellence in teaching, human dignity, ethical conduct, social justice,” Afridi said.
“The Center creates awareness and education about how human beings can get usurped by prejudice and ideologies that ultimately destroy human life. Our mission is to create and nourish all lives and all of my events are centered around preserving, remembering and respecting lives of all faiths.”
Plaques of MC’s mission statement are present all over the campus buildings, and remind us that the mission is present in our daily lives at the college. For Mission Month, additional banners are placed on the quad and on the outside of the RLC building. These banners state the focus of Mission Month.
“Excellence in teaching, respect for human dignity, reflection on faith and its relation to reason, an emphasis on ethical conduct and a commitment to social justice.”