By Br. Kevin White, SDB
(Marrero, LA – November 16) – The Salesians of Don Bosco have been present on the West Bank of New Orleans, LA, for almost 100 years. Engaging in many different apostolates and ministries over the years, the Salesians presently animate and work at Archbishop Shaw High School in Marrero and St. Rosalie and St. John Bosco Parishes, both in Harvey.
Four members of the community work and minister full-time at Archbishop High School. Fr. Stephen Ryan is the director of the Salesian community of Marrero and the head of school at Archbishop Shaw High School (Archbishop Shaw, or Shaw), Fr. John Langan is the coordinator of youth ministry (CYM), Fr. Ky Nguyen is the sophomore theology teacher and work-study coordinator, and Br. Kevin White is the freshman theology teacher and beach volleyball coach.
Archbishop Shaw is an all-boys Catholic high school that educates and evangelizes young boys between 8th and 12th grade. The school has seen an impressive and steady increase in enrollment in the past three years, increasing from about 370 students in 2021-2022 to almost 480 students in the current school year. The atmosphere and energy on campus has been nothing short of positive and joyful, as there have been successes and achievements through this first quarter of the 2023-2024 school year. On the sports field, the football team has won eight games in a row, secured the district title, and now has its eyes set on competing in the state playoffs. In the realm of the arts, the band has grown from just under 20 members last year to now having over 50. In the evangelization sector, Shaw recently dedicated the newly renovated chapel, located in the center of campus. The center of the campus—and the school’s mission—is Christ. There have been accomplishment and growth in several areas at Archbishop Shaw High School recently, and the community here prays that it continues that way and works to do so.
Fr. Mark Hyde is the vice director of the Marrero community and pastor of St. Rosalie and St. John Bosco Parishes. Fr. George Hanna is the parochial vicar. The parishes recently had their annual parish mission. Al Barbarino, a layman and friend of Fr. Mark from years back, flew down from New York City to speak to the parishes. That same weekend, St. Rosalie hosted an event called “A Wing & a Prayer Centennial BBQ Wings Cookoff Fundraiser.” This was a great community event, which helped to both fundraise and build community among parishioners. The parishes still keep their Salesian spirit, as St. Rosalie opens a youth center every Friday from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. CT, and St. John Bosco offers a weekly youth and young adult Mass at 8:00 p.m. CT every Sunday. We pray that these parishes may continue to help spread the Salesian charism across the West Bank.
Fr. Wilgintz Polynice runs an ESL program every Wednesday and Friday night, using the Archbishop Shaw High School facilities. He also assists at St. Joseph the Worker Parish, where there is a Haitian community.
We pray that through all of these ministries, the Salesians on the West Bank may continue to bring Christ and the spirit of Don Bosco to others.