UPDATE – Eatontown, NJ – The District will have a New Jersey native helping to lead its educational mission beginning this Fall. Brother Frank Byrne, FSC, has accepted the invitation of newly named Provincial / Visitor, Brother Robert Schaefer, FSC, to serve as Auxiliary Visitor, effective September 1, 2021.
Brother Frank currently serves as President of Christian Brothers Academy, an independent, Catholic, college preparatory school for young men located in Lincroft, New Jersey. Founded in 1959 and taught in the Lasallian tradition, CBA is dedicated to helping students become intellectually mature and morally responsible leaders for the Church and society. Br. Frank is no stranger to District Administration and the larger Lasallian mission, having served as Provincial/Visitor of the legacy New York District from 2002-2009.
“I am pleased that Br. Frank has graciously accepted my invitation to be an Auxiliary Visitor for the District,” said Br. Robert. “Br. Frank understands fully the impact a quality Catholic Lasallian Education can have on the lives of young people, and his experiences from the classroom to the board room will help our leadership recognize the many areas we can boldly shape our continual mission to serve the young, especially the poor.”
“I am humbled to have been asked to join the District’s new administration,” said Br. Frank. “While it is an honor to be asked to serve our Brothers and Partners-in-Mission, my greatest privilege has been to lead my alma mater, CBA, these past twelve years. I will miss the opportunity to support the incredible faculty, staff, leaders, families, and most importantly the students of CBA on a daily basis. I pray my experience will hopefully benefit the larger Lasallian family.
Appointed in January of this year by Brother Robert Schieler, FSC, the Superior General for the worldwide Christian Brothers’ Institute, Br. Robert Schaefer will spend the coming months selecting his leadership team, and planning next steps for the educational mission of DENA. Auxiliary Visitors share in the Visitor’s role as “the guarantor of the unity and vitality of the District” and in the Visitor’s principal responsibility for the animation of its ministries, communities, and associations in union with the Lasallian Region of North America, and the Center of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.
As Br. Frank transitions from his role as President of CBA, he will work with Brother Thomas Gerrow, FSC, who will succeed him as President for the Academy for the 2021-2022 academic year, as appointed by the current Provincial/Visitor, Brother Dennis Lee, FSC, with the Christian Brothers Academy Board of Trustees in accord.
January 22, 2021 – This week, the Superior General of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, Brother Robert Schieler, FSC, announced the appointment of Brother Robert Schaefer, FSC, as the third Visitor for the District of Eastern North America, whose term will begin September 1, 2021.
Brother Robert Schaefer is a native of Maple Glen, PA (a suburb of Philadelphia), educated at La Salle College High School (’85) and La Salle University (B.A. ’89, M.A. ’95), where his vocation was awakened by the many Brothers who were his teachers.
His most recent apostolate as the Secretary of Formation for the Lasallian Mission for the Institute has given Br. Robert the unique opportunity to more fully appreciate the global nature of its work. Prior to his Institute service, Br. Robert served as teacher, campus minister, assistant principal, and principal, mostly at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, but also at Seton-La Salle High School (Pittsburgh), and Bishop Walsh High School (Cumberland, MD). Br. Robert is well versed in the everyday workings of DENA’s educational ministries.
“The breadth of his experiences, combined with his positive attitude, good humor, and abundant zeal makes Br. Robert an ideal candidate to assume leadership for our District,” said Br. Dennis Lee, current Visitor of DENA, who will be concluding his four-year term this fall. “We thank Br. Robert for his spirit of service which has been manifested throughout his career, and we ask God’s blessings upon him as he brings together his leadership team. Special gratitude is extended to Brothers Michael Andrejko and Frank Byrne for being nominees throughout the nomination process.”
In the coming months, there will be a gradual transition of responsibility, with the newly appointed Visitor assuming his role on September 1, 2021. Updates of this transition will be added to this page.
The Election of the Visitor
So how was Brother Robert Schaefer appointed to this leadership position? After serving his four-year term, the current Visitor Brother Dennis Lee’s “mandate” as Visitor will conclude on August 31, 2021. Per the District Chapter guidelines, the Brothers of DENA entered a process of three nominating rounds for the next Visitor in September 2020.
The initial nominating round was open to all Brothers of DENA who have been in perpetual vows for at least five years. The Brothers nominated up to four Brothers. These results as well as the results of the second round were sent to a Brothers’ community for a tally. The second nominating round consisted of those Brothers who received a qualifying number of votes as approved by the District Council. It was during this time that the Brothers and their Partners-in-Mission were invited to share in a discernment process with these Brother nominees. The third nominating round consisted of the three Brothers receiving the highest number of votes and who, through this discernment process, agreed to leave their names in for consideration as Visitor. These three Brothers were invited to write a position paper detailing their vision for DENA for the next four years. These papers were shared with the Brothers. Five meetings, conducted through Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic, were scheduled in November to allow the Brothers to hear firsthand, the Brother nominees’ visions as well as an opportunity for Q&A.
In late January, the ballots of this third and final nominating round went unopened to the Superior General and his Council in Rome who retains the freedom to appoint the Visitor.
Brother Robert Schaefer was then appointed by Brother Robert Schieler, Superior General, on January 20, 2021. Brothers Dennis Lee and Robert Schaefer will be working together during these coming months to begin the transition process.
Special gratitude is extended to Brothers Michael Andrejko and Frank Byrne for being nominees throughout the nomination process.