(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 23 May 2014)
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of a loving God,
Long before the hipsters and even Mr. Albanese there was one great man of suspenders, Brother Amian Paul Goodwin. Who could forget those red suspenders running off his broad shoulders that seemed to glow against the black of his Brother’s attire? So central to his appearance, I often wondered if these elastic bands were in fact holding him together.
Perhaps it will always be Brother Paul’s physicality that will remain my most vivid memory of him. All the stories, prayers, and witticisms aside, it is the look of that bulldog face, the Brother’s white collar and that shining silver crucifix necklace framed in those crimson suspenders that is emblazoned in my mind’s eye.
The thing about suspenders is that unlike a belt, which provides support from all around, suspenders provide support from above. Resting on your shoulders, the strength of the bands pull upward. And maybe it is this exact distinction that makes suspenders so intimately connected to Brother Paul’s character and not just his appearance.
You see: Brother Paul’s suspenders mean more to me than just a fashion statement; they are a reminder about a way to live a life of faith and trust in God. Brother Paul, in his life of service to the Church, always was mindful that his support came from above. No matter the challenge, Brother trusted that God would be there, looking over his shoulder, lifting him up in times of need, and supporting him from above.
Brother Paul’s life is a testament to how to truly live a Christian life and how blessed we are to have shared so much of it with him. And now what a noble obligation it is for us to imitate his life of faith, service, and community, constantly deepening our own connection to God.
Brother Paul was blessed in his life to have “belted support,” support from all around him. His life was one of love shared with his students and colleagues, friends and family, and of course his community of Brothers. And when all this support could no longer sustain him, Paul was unshaken in his devotion to God and God’s plan for him. As strong as his faith was in his youth and health, Paul’s belief in God’s purpose for him was only strengthened as he continued to seek support from on high in his final days. What a lesson in courage and trust in God.
And now whenever I remember Brother or when anyone thinks of him, you can always imagine him sitting on your shoulders, like a trusty pair of suspenders: a guardian, a model, a teacher, ever guiding and inspiring us to seek support from above, keeping Christ at the center of our lives. So, at the sage wisdom of an English mastermind, the last thing this prayer needs is another sentence.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.
Brother Amian Paul Goodwin and Brother Gerard Duncanson…pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.
Brian Ciccone (Social Studies Department)