Jonah Cahill-Farella remembers his first day of baseball try-outs at CM.
A junior transfer-student from Framingham, he hadn’t played on a turf field before and forgot to bring the appropriate pair of cleats needed for turf.
He scanned the crowd, trying his best to mask his nerves. Then, out of nowhere, an upperclassman named Mason approached him.
“He gave me his cleats for nothing,” Jonah said, still shocked by the gesture.
“That was the first moment when I realized that this was a team-centered effort and that he was invested in me. He made me feel like I was a part of a team.”
Jonah made the varsity team that season. He worked his way to a few appearances on the mound and, next year, hopes to contribute in a larger role. But, to label him as only a baseball player fails to tell his full story.
“At CM, I feel this sense of responsibility and willingness to help those who are younger than me,” he said.
“I want to make people feel welcome in the same way that I felt welcome. I know that that was something that made a difference for me and motivated me to be the best that I could.”
Off the diamond, he found his role in the CM brotherhood through the school’s Campus Ministry Department. Through Campus Ministry, he participated in the Squires Lunch Program where he and over 40 other upperclassmen ate lunch with the school’s middle school students once a week.
“We would have conversations with [the middle schoolers] about sports, academics, and life outside of school,” Jonah said. “It was an opportunity for me to cross paths with younger kids who I wouldn’t normally cross paths with. I loved being able to serve as a role model for them and to set an example of what it means to serve others.”
He continued to foster strong relationships with all his classmates and even found a mentor in Mr. Kevin Durazo, the Director of Campus Ministry and Jonah’s junior year theology class. When Jonah heard that Mr. Durazo planned to launch the school’s inaugural Kairos Retreat, he signed up.
Kairos, a retreat modeled after the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, gave Jonah a space for him to reflect on the CM brotherhood and understand its depth.
“The brotherhood at CM is special to me because I feel like I can express myself the way that I want to,” Jonah said. “I don’t have to worry about being in a hostile environment. The brotherhood is what it is because everyone is so open with each other and focused on everyone else’s development.”
When he returned from the retreat, Jonah began to appreciate the parts of the brotherhood that he took for granted. He enjoyed the small, subtle conversations in the hallways, lunchroom, and dug out. He recognized others who helped him on English essays and eagerly met with his varsity coach to map out his goals for the upcoming baseball season.
This past summer, he decided to pay the favor forward and live out the mission miles away from campus when he joined the staff at New Spirit Summer Camp. At the camp, he led a small group of middle schoolers and shared his own life experiences with them.
In their conversations, Jonah spoke candidly about the transition between middle school and high school and some of the difficulties associated with it.
From this experience, Jonah took a moment to measure how much he had grown from the day he first joined the CM community.
“I remember, at the public school, I was very invested in myself and worried about my image and my success," Jonah said.
“I really wasn’t concerned about the team, or the group, or any sort of community in the school. In a big school, you compete to get attention. It’s easy to get caught up in yourself.”
Today, Jonah hardly recognizes his old-self. Instead, he understands the importance of serving others and how he fits into a bigger picture.
“When I came to CM, I saw that being in a small-knit community actually helped me grow more than being in large crowd of people because I knew it wasn’t all about myself,” he said.
“If I had to do it all over again, I would choose CM because of the community here. It’s something that I didn’t experience at all in public school.”
Catholic Memorial, the Christian Brothers School of Boston, prepares boys for college, manhood and a world full of unknown challenges, ambiguity and complex problems and the importance of relationships.