BOSH at 200


Ricky Hubert

If you’ve been keeping up with the times at McClancy High School, it’s no secret that the Brothers of the Sacred Heart have recently celebrated their 200th anniversary of global ministry. In celebrating this incredible milestone, Brother Robert Connolly SC reassures us with a laugh “I wasn’t there at the founding.”, Yet at 90 if there’s anyone at McClancy that we could call the epitome of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart it’s Brother Robert.

Mr. Melito, Brother Robert and Mr. Castrataro celebrating 200 years of BOSH serving youth.
Photo by Mr. Thomas Hopkins, Director of Communication

In our sit down, we began by discussing the moment when he knew this was his calling from God. He was 13 playing basketball on a Saturday and was asked by a priest what he wanted to do with his life. In response, he pointed to the residence of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart declaring, “I want to be one of them.” After that he went home and told his parents, and the rest is history. 76 years after he received that call, he says the best part about being a Brother is that, “you’re doing God’s will, helping and educating the young people.” We also discussed the  many titles Brother  has held through the years such as Provincial, Postulant Master, Novice Master, McClancy Principal, and McClancy’s first President. To quote our current President Mr Melito, “Brother Robert Connolly is McClancy High School”. However, Brother doesn’t let that information go to his head. As seen during the recent bicentennial mass Brother referred to his experience in one word, humbling. Despite all this, when it comes down to the real basics of why Brother joined the order, “They give you 50% off tuition at Catholic Universities for all Religious life. That’s the real reason I joined!” he shouted out with his signature laugh. 

Bishop DiMarzio celebrated the BOSH liturgy and thanked the Brothers for their service to the Brooklyn Diocese.

Another fan favorite in the building is Brother Bryan DePorres SC, the youngest of all the Brothers of the Sacred Heart in the United States of America. “I wish there were people behind me. The Franciscans have a lot of young brothers.”  He joined the order at 19 years old, “I was ready” he recalls. Brother further explained that he had  a classmate that was the niece of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart Vocation Director, this symbolism was enough for now Brother’s call from God was clear. Also clear to Brother was the standing ovation that the Brothers received at their Bicentennial mass, “I wasn’t surprised, you know the kids.” What did surprise Brother was the gift from the administration, a 200th anniversary jacket bestowed to all the Brothers in gratitude for their service to the school. Brother noted the Sacred Heart logo on the back of the jacket. In response, I told Brother that logo is on the back of all the  sports uniforms as well. “I like that,” he said with a giddy smile. That moment put me on an emotional high that stayed with me as I re-entered my Eucharistic ministry class. 

As a Eucharistic Minister, I found myself sitting down after a training session with our instructor  Brother John Hebert SC, celebrating his 65th anniversary as a Brother of the Sacred Heart this year. I asked him what it felt like to be a Brother for so long. He took his time coming up with an answer to meet the levity of the question. Brother eventually responded “ extraordinarily blessed” later adding “Two of the people I was closest to died last year, it helps me to appreciate the gift of life even more”. We spent the rest of our brief conversation before the homeroom bell rang reminiscing about the fun times we spent on our BOSH mission trip to Mississippi back in July, 2019. Brother states he is “most grateful” to have this life as a Brother. However, these interviews with the heartbeat of our school reassured what I already knew; that we are “Most grateful” to have them here with us.