1942 – 2017
Mass of Christian Burial
Chapel of De La Salle and his Brothers
July 22, 2017
Given by Brother Brian Carty, FSC:
For sixty years Brother Ray’s life and mine have paralleled. In 1957 we were freshman classmates in high school, trying to discern at the ripe old age of 14 if we had a vocation to be a Brother. In high school we boarded, lived in community, and made our novitiate together in Barrytown. All of us novices got to know each other well and the characteristics that came to define us as adults were formed in those years. That is why they called this period of training, formation! The Brother Ray you all knew was the same one that I got to know sixty years ago. Of all of the things I could say about Ray, let me share with you the one aspect of Ray that I believe truly defined him and made him the person we came to know and love.
(Addressing Brother Ray’s Casket) It seems to me my very dear Brother that you hate to lose! Ray was a fierce competitor, so losing was not an option. He was a good athlete, his preferred games being basketball and handball. In basketball he was all over the court, seemingly inexhaustible. When he drove to the basket with his shoulder lowered, you got out of his way. I made the mistake trying to stop him and paid the price. We also played football and he was the team’s fullback. Again he would just lower that shoulder and plow into the line without fear. He would play three-wall handball ferociously, taking on any and all comers. He ruled the court. He was the best! He let you know that! This quality of hating to lose and never giving up defined him.
In college, like me, he was a Biology major. We were in many of the same classes. He had the habit of “borrowing” my notes to make sure that he didn’t miss anything. He fought for those A’s, whatever it took. He liked to remind me from time to time, just how well he did! “So Brian, what did you get?” was his favorite question to me. He liked to remind me that his GPA was a little higher than mine. I told him that was because he took the easy “A” electives. I took the tough ones. Before we could graduate we had to take three full days of comprehensive exams, where we were tested on anything and everything in our major field. I got an A and he got a B+. He wasn’t happy! I, too, was and still am, a little competitive!
As we both aged, Ray’s professional life and mine turned from Biology to counseling and child care and then to teaching. His counseling psychology degree from NYU, followed by his MSW from Columbia, fed into his competitive nature. It gave him bragging rights because he earned both degrees while still working full time. His competitiveness morphed, or should I say matured, into his being passionate about the people he was asked to care for, whether it was the boys at Saint Peter’s on Staten Island, or in the Elm cottage at Lincoln Hall, his clients at the Family Outreach Program, his students at Saint Raymond’s, his students at Manhattan College, or his beloved little family of the Kappa Delta Pi International Education Honor Society. He wanted nothing but the best for them. His Ph.D. brought him great joy because it allowed him to have an even greater impact on the world by allowing him to train the people who would be the next generation of caretakers.
Ray was indefatigable. If someone needed him, he was there. He couldn’t say NO to anyone who needed him. He set a high standard for himself. Like I said, he hated to be anything less than his best! He tried to take care of everyone else. He just forgot to take care of himself. Saint La Salle asked his Brothers to give of themselves selflessly and that he did that with a “Lasallian Ferocity! “
The story of Brother Raymond needs to be told and each of us here is the story-teller. Find a way to write your own eulogy for Brother Ray and share it on social media. Let the world know that there are people who truly care about others and who dedicate their lives in humble service to God and to the people for whom God asked them to care. That is how we change the world.
I will sorely miss you, Ray, my fiercest competitor, my Brother, and dear friend. So, true to the spirit of our loving sixty-year competition, I have to say, Ray, just remember who got an A on the comps and who got the B+! Just saying!! Love you, Dear Brother.
Given by Brother Dennis Lee, FSC:
Good Morning, Lasallians. My condolences particularly to Ray’s family and to the Brothers’ community here at Manhattan.
Thank you, Brian, for your great reflection. What a blessing you have been in each other’s life. I did not meet Ray until the midpoint of his life, but I have been blessed to call him friend and Brother ever since, both in community and in moments such as traveling to Bethlehem with him at Christmas a few years ago.
Yes, all of us could write a beautiful eulogy for this great man – an avid Yankee fan. I have the honor of speaking because I work on behalf of the District of Eastern North America, a network of 32 ministries with over 50,000 students and close to 5,000 teachers, staff and administrators. Each year, only three of these 5,000 are chosen to be the Distinguished Lasallian Educator of the Year. I was so happy that our District singled Brother Ray for that well-deserved honor in 2015.
Brother Ray was no ordinary teacher. He was unorthodox in his methodology – definitely hands on and computers off. Who among us has not learned the Beauty Prayer – beauty everywhere, including within? He provided safe environments for the students, not only to learn lessons, but to know and to appreciate themselves. An article in the college newspaper, The Quadrangle, two years ago, mentioned that his classroom was filled with hanging butterflies, random beach balls, a lobster on the wall, hula hoops and much more. And he made sense of all his learning aids. Katie Ferriello, a former student, is quoted as saying that he began each class by asking, “What are we celebrating today?” Ray, today, we are here celebrating YOU!
Brother Ray spent 3 years at St. Peter’s; 12 years at Lincoln Hall; 12 years at St. Raymond’s; and 24 years here at Manhattan College. Reflecting upon his career recently, he commented, “I loved all my assignments. I loved everywhere I went.” And as we who are gathered here today can all attest, this amazing affirm-er was much loved. Over the years when I would happen to be at the Brothers’ community here, on the days when he had four long classes, he would come home well after supper, totally exhausted, but, as Brian has observed, he loved giving his all for the sake of his students.
Twice a year, I looked forward to a message from Ray: Christmas greetings – that normally arrived in January; and his graduation message to Manhattan grads that usually arrived in June. This year, it came in July. I received that message this past Sunday afternoon, the day before he was hospitalized. He wrote about his captivation with trapeze artists, who must let go of one trapeze bar for another that is swinging towards them. He asks the graduates if they are ready to let go and handle what the new bar will throw their way.
When Ray is leader of prayer in the Brothers community, he always, yes always, begins with the first verse of Morning Has Broken. The lyric ends with, “Praise for them springing fresh from the Word.” Ray, you have been refreshment for all of us for as long as we have been blessed to know you. And using your analogy, by letting go of this trapeze bar of the earthly kingdom this past Tuesday, we believe that you have sprung afresh to the awaiting trapeze bar of the heavenly kingdom.
I am sure that we were all looking forward to more time with Brother Ray after his recent retirement, but we are comforted that he now is experiencing abundant joy in heaven. By now, he has probably taught all the saints the Beauty Prayer. We all celebrate the beauty of heaven’s newest saint.
Please pray for the repose of the soul of Brother Raymond Meagher, FSC
Born Raymond Dennis Meagher in New York, NY, on October 21, 1942
Entered the Barrytown, NY, Juniorate on September 6, 1957, and, Novitiate on June 26, 1961
Received the Religious Habit and Name, Brother Raymond Aquinas, on September 1, 1961
Pronounced Perpetual Vows at Manhattan College, Riverdale, NY, in 1967
Died at NY Presbyterian Allen Hospital on July 18, 2017
Friday, July 21, 2017
Viewing from 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm (Wake Service at 7:30 pm)
Christian Brothers Community, Chapel of St. Benilde
4415 Post Road
Bronx, NY 10471-3499
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Viewing at Chapel of DLS and his Brothers preceding Mass
Mass of Christian Burial at 9:30 am
Manhattan College, Chapel of De La Salle and his Brothers
4513 Manhattan College Parkway
Riverdale, NY 10471-4099
Burial at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Valhalla, NY
SUFFRAGES FOR OUR DECEASED BROTHER RAYMOND:
District: 50 masses
Manhattan College Community: 30 masses
Each community in the District: 1 mass
Brother Raymond passed away peacefully during the morning as a result of cardiac issues. May he rest in peace.
Staten Island, NY
St. Peter’s Boys High School: teacher
Lincoln Hall: prefect and child care supervisor
Lincoln Hall: director
Lincoln Hall: study
Lincoln Hall: group home director
St. Raymond High School: social worker
St. Raymond High School: principal and director
St. Raymond High School: principal
Manhattan College: adjunct professor
Manhattan College: professor