Library Dedication – The Holy Family Library in Memory of Father Bandiera

Thank you to those who were able to attend this weekend’s library dedication in memory of Fr. B.  The service was made even more significant with so many of Fr. B’s family members traveling from afar (SC, OH, KY) to be with us.

 

If I were to compare Fr. Bandiera (aka Fr. B) to a weather forecast, today would be fitting; cloudy with a hint of sunshine. But today also reminds me of the unseasonably warm day we had in February of 2017 when we said goodbye to Fr. B on earth. However, unlike that day, today is not a eulogy……

To begin, I will share with you the background and lead up to this event; when the idea of naming a location on campus after Fr. B originated, we considered several options. In the end, we decided that because our school library was the most shared and communal part of our building, this would be the ideal spot. Fr. B had a love of community, and he recognized himself and others as nothing more than a spoke in a wheel, no one person more important than the other……

Low and behold, two months ago I received a communication from the diocese informing me that a new policy was taking immediate effect forbidding all diocesan properties (schools, churches, otherwise) from being named after individuals, I was at-first angry and a bit sullen. After all, this event had already been communicated to our faculty, parents, and alumni. In other words there was no going back. So we drew upon the wisdom that Fr. B taught us, and our idea transitioned to a different thought; keeping Fr. B’s name attached “in memory”, but choosing something dear to his heart as the official name…which was The Holy Family. Hence, that is how and why we are here today with the official dedication of our library as “The Holy Family Library” in memory of Fr. Bandiera……

As we gather for today’s dedication ceremony in memory of our beloved friend, we share the opportunity to recall and honor a person whose DNA is deeply engraved in this institution. Everyone in this room has their own memories of Fr. B. Some knew him for decades, others for years, and perhaps others only in a passing manner. Regardless of depth or length of time, it’s safe to identify him as a big presence……

I can still recall my first impression of Fr. B when I met him in the summer of 2012. Unique to Fr. B, I felt in that singular moment I saw all of his characteristics…his light, his darkness, his sweetness, his roughness, his gentleness, his anger, his brilliance, his handsomeness, and his goodness; all wrapped up in a 5-minute burst. Quite a package indeed……

As time passed, I spent more time with Fr. B and on a daily basis, I grew closer to him. Before I knew it, he became like an element in my life; something I depended on such as air and water. I am not alone when I say that I leaned on Fr. B. I leaned on him a lot. To be truthful, I made a habit of it. If not for his weight-bearing post, I would not have survived my first few years as Principal……

Fr. B was someone easy to lean on because standing next to him made you feel safe. Perhaps not the best example, but one to illustrate my point, standing next to Fr. B was like standing next to Marlon Brando in a
“Godfather” movie; you were proud, you were strong, you were important, you were protected. You felt like no matter what the day brought, nothing was going to touch you……

Fr. B had a particular attention to detail; in food, wine, artwork, nature, church design, etc. If you disagreed with his choice, you most likely heard him say “oh what the hell do you know, you have no taste”; one of his standard lines. Fr. B did what he wanted to do and let the chips fall where they may. This was just the nature of him. When it came to Fr. B, getting permission was simply hypothetical, because the reality was that if his mind was made up, he didn’t give a damn what you thought……

Those of us who shared Fr. B’s life shared his love, his anger, his tenderness, his fury, his patience, his stubbornness, his irritability. That’s right, when it came to Fr. B, he never hid his humanness. One virtue would seemingly be countered with a vice. For some reason though, as I have learned in history books, that is often the case with great men. And I don’t know if history makes great men or if great men make history, but Fr. B is one of the greats; now and forever……

So, we still miss our friend…the force of his nature, his glory, his face, his hands, his humor, his skin, his nose, his power, his peace; but his love and his story , the story that he gave us, is gonna carry on. It will carry on right here in this library; the center, the heart, and the core of this building, which is the exact place he remains in each of us. Fr. B, thank you for your kindness, your strength, your dedication, your work, and most importantly your story…because of the thousands of stories on the shelves of this library, none come close to the one you shared with us……

In closing today’s ceremony, we put together a video montage that we will share. The song in the video, titled “The Whole of The Moon”, was written by Mike Scott, who was the lead singer in a lesser known 80’s British band called The Waterboys. The song was as a tribute to an inspirational figure in the writer’s life who had passed. In the chorus, the singer describes his own perspective and immediately contrasts it with song’s subject…summarizing the difference with the line “I saw the crescent, but you saw the whole of the moon”; and I believe that perfectly sums up Fr. B in comparison to the rest of us….

 

Updated: June 28, 2019 — 12:59 pm