2009-07-31 EL SALVADOR

El Salvador Honors its Centenarian

Brother Julian Goñi was born in l909 in the town of Cirauqui in the Narrava Region of Spain. His parents, Pedro Goñi and Maria Esparza, brought up eight children, Julian being the second and the most active. His father wanted Julian to be a teacher, a desire that has been Brother Julian?s obsession over a hundred Aprils, because you may still hear him protesting that, in recent years, the school Principals have not been offering him the chance to teach a few classes. The idea that Mr. Pedro Goñi held dear came to be realized rather perfectly when his son chose to become a Marist Brother, a man dedicated to the education of young people.

When Julian was ten years old, he entered the juniorate in the town of Arceniega, and at twelve years of age he went to Grugliasco. His novitiate was made at Santa Maria, and from there, at eighteen, he traversed the Atlantic to Cienfuegos, Cuba. The year was l926. In fact, it was in Cuba that Brother Julian spent the most fascinating and memorable years of his life, years that left their imprint upon him: an identification with the country of Cuba and with the former students of the Marist Brothers? Cuban schools. In l961, like all the other Brothers and members of other religious congregations, he was forced to leave the country. He then went to Chile on temporary assignment and in l965 came to Santa Anna, in El Salvador, the country in which he has lived and worked up to the present day. And thus it is that from the day of his birth, June 27, 1909 up to June 27, 2009, one hundred years have passed. A mere century!

The centenary celebration was the occasion for a spontaneous human and religious outpouring of friendship and affection from all the Brothers of El Salvador. Even those who were too far away to join the celebration were close to us in spirit in paying their respects to the centenarian. We were delighted to show our appreciation to Brother Julian and to honor his vocation as Marist Brother, since we too are happy to share with him in the same Marist mission. Everyone joined in the expressions of happiness, even those who know that they have no chance of reaching one hundred years of age!

If you were to ask Brother Goñi the secret of a long life, he may tell you something like the following. If you have attended Mass, go to another. Drop in at the post office every day. Take a walk in the city each morning and afternoon. Do not neglect visiting your friends or else the friendships may be lost. Do not miss the opportunity of making a trip, whether it?s to Los Cóbanos, San Salvador or Miami. Do not stay too long at the same place. Move, even if your steps are short. Do not fail to read and write, and to publish if you can. Do not put too much credence in what others say. Keep your faith and your convictions as solid as an oak.

Brother Tomas Arroyo Lozano


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