Friday, December 20, 2013

Alex's Eggnog Cookies

We like to carry on Alex's annual tradition of making these cookies for Christmas.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Alex's Helmet: What Brotherhood Really Means

by Julian Gonzalez

Great football teams always have a tradition that unites the players before every game. Clemson has the tradition of touching the rock before charging the field, Notre Dame football players tap the “play like a champion today” sign prior to game time, and like these schools, there’s a small high school football team in Ave Maria, Florida, that also carries on a powerful pre-game tradition. 
Shamrock captains look skyward as they remember Alex and celebrate a playoff
that earned the team a trip to the state finals on December 14, 2013.
(Photo courtesy of the author's parents, Asst. Coach Don Stuller & Mary Stuller)
Instead of a rock or a sign, this strong band of brothers touch the helmet of one of the biggest inspirations to every football player that has ever worn the blue and gold of Donahue Catholic Academy. The helmet of a former player, captain, and leader named Alex Klucik. He was a team captain on the first ever football team of Donahue Catholic leaving behind a legacy incomparable to others.

Sadly, about four years ago, he passed in a tragic car accident. Extremely sad at the time, we can now look back on his life and cherish all the good he did for not only Donahue football, but everyone he knew in his life. We can also take comfort knowing with a smile, he watches his Shamrocks take the field every week.

Alex was not just any ordinary Donahue Shamrock football player; he was a leader, a captain, and a friend. Alex was the first one at every practice and game and the first one to hit the field. He led the charge, breaking the banner, before every home game, and he remained passionate through every minute he wore the pads.

His effort exceeded that of every one else and his care for the team made him truly a worthy captain. He expected nothing less from all of us than our absolute best and was always there to mentor his friends and teammates in times of need. I always looked up to him as an older brother and someone that was there for me through my early years of high school and I know for a fact many others felt the same way.

Not only was it an honor to play with him, but it’s even more of an honor to be able to say he was my friend. The Donahue football tradition of touching his helmet will never be forgotten. When every Shamrock football player places their hands on Alex’s helmet, they know what brotherhood really means.

It means never forgetting your brother and offering up all the pain and struggles on and off the field for him. We touch his helmet to offer up the entire game for his memory and for a brother we will never forget. Alex exemplified what it means to be a Shamrock. His memory and the tradition of  Alex’s helmet will be carried on, remembered, and honored forever.

Julian Gonzalez graduated from the Rhodora J. Donahue Academy of Ave Maria in 2012 and was a member of the Donahue Shamrock football team throughout is first three years of existence. He is a sophomore at Florida State University.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Update: Alex Klucik Memorial Fund supports Shamrocks, Oratory & Adoration

Well, it has been over three years and this is a belated update about how the contributions to the Alex Klucik Memorial Fund are being spent. THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to this Fund - it is a great joy to be able to keep Alex's legacy alive by funding these projects. (*** scroll down to read more about the Fund  ***)

To date generous donors have given $8,483.62 to the Fund. The current unspent balance is $4701.01. The Fund has contributed $3,782.61 to the following projects:
  • $2,000.00 to purchase football pads and helmets for the Donahue Academy Shamrock football team. Alex was the first captain of this team and his brothers also play Shamrock football.
  • $1,001.39 to crate, ship and install the "Good Shepherd" statue that the Klucik family commissioned Marton Varo to sculpt as a gift to the Ave Maria University Oratory in memory of Alex (no money from the Fund was used to purchase the sculpture). This was Alex's parish church and he was enrolled as a member of AMU's class of 2014.
  • $781.22 to purchase four leather arm chairs for the Adoration chapel at Ave Maria University. Alex began his last day on earth with a holy hour in this chapel.
In addition, the Fund sponsored and conducted an informal fundraising drive this past summer and raised over $8,000.00 for the mission convent of the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist in Ave Maria so the Sisters could purchase a new minivan (there was no administrative cost and the funds were donated directly to the Sisters). The Sisters taught Alex for 7 years (in Ann Arbor & Ave Maria), and Alex's sister is now a novice with the Sisters.

We always welcome contributions, and we also invite you to suggest specific projects the Fund might wish to help fund. The Fund itself has zero administrative costs and 100% of your contributions will be donated to the three charities named below. Donations will be held in trust by Ave Maria University.

Alex Klucik Memorial Fund
c/o AMU
5050 Ave Maria Blvd.
Ave Maria, FL 34142

You can also give via PayPal by clicking the donate button:
*** As we said back when the fund was established in 2010, the Alex Klucik Memorial Fund will be used in the Ave Maria community to keep Alex's memory alive and to support the Christian ideal that Alex sought to live.  The Fund is designed to support several organizations that enrich and shape the lives of young people, as they did for Alex. Donations to the Fund will be helping young people and honoring Alex's memory, and we invite you to consider making a contribution to the Fund, which will use the money to support these three organizations:
  • In Florida and Michigan Alex attended schools run by the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist (, a new community that started with 4 sisters in 1997 and in 2013 has over 110 sisters and continues to grow. One of Alex’s most important mentors was his theology teacher, Sister Teresa Benedicta, who became a close friend to the family after he died. One of Alex's sisters is a Novice Sister in this community. In addition to operating two schools near their motherhouse in Michigan, they also have about 40 sisters at small mission convents who teach at 9 schools in California, Texas, Florida, Arizona, South Carolina and Ohio. These women “serve the Church by deepening the renewal of Catholic education and bringing consecrated women religious back into the schools.” Donations to the Fund will support this community.
  • In 2007 Alex began his sophomore year at a brand new Catholic school in Ave Maria, Florida. The Donahue Academy ( is an amazing, small, K-12 school where the teachers, students and families helped and inspired Alex to grow into a fine young man. Among his mentors there were teachers, coaches, the headmaster, and other parents. Alex was very dedicated to sports and was the captain of the school's first Shamrock football team, which began his senior year. He also coached the school’s JV basketball team. Donations to the Fund will support the athletic programs at the school.
  • Alex was enrolled at Ave Maria University ( and died 3 weeks before he would have reported for freshman orientation - and at the 2014 graduation ceremony he was made an honorary graduate. Donations to the Fund will support AMU.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Varo's Good Shepherd installed in Oratory in Alex's memory

Good Shepherd ~ Bonus Pastor

in memoriam Alex Klucik  ~  by Márton Váró, MMXIII   ~  in the Ave Maria Oratory

On July 30, two days before the third anniversary of Alex's passing, we were privileged and pleased to install the new sculpture of Christ the Good Shepherd in Alex's memory inside the Ave Maria Oratory. The sculpture, of pure white marble from Cave Michelangelo in Carrara, was created by Márton Váró, who also created the large Annunciation relief that graces the front of the Oratory.* Father Cory Mayer blessed the statue after the noon Mass.
 * The Alex Klucik Memorial Fund provides support to various projects such as AMU and Donahue Catholic; we feel it is important to point out that no money from the Fund was used to purchase the sculpture.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Father Rich Pagano said it: Nourishing Mother

Ave Maria University alumnus Father Rich Pagano was in town today to celebrate Mass at the AMU alumni weekend. Father Rich knew Alex well from his time pre-ordination as a youth ministry leader in town. During Father Rich's homily today he spoke of AMU as a nourishing mother - alma mater - and so today I decided to share something I wrote years ago.

As an admirer of AMU since I began my own studies at its sister school (Ave Maria School of Law) back in 2000, I penned this tribute to what would have been Alex's alma mater (he is an honorary member of the class of 2014 and he likely would have been graduating this Spring). In honor of this week's AMU alumni reunion, I am dedicating this song to Alex and all the deceased students and alumni as a tribute to their school - a great school - and to the people who love her. Here is the sheet music, with the lyrics of the 3rd verse below:

Verse 3

Saints go before us
Light the path afire
Lift up the chorus
All our deeds inspire
Our virtue never tire
Guide us along the way
May this we always pray
Ave Maria
Fill our hearts anew
Ave Maria
Ever, always, true

Some of the Goodly Beggars know the tune and have the sheet music (but I don't know if they would be ready to play it just yet). While this is a song of tribute that evokes my observations of what the school intends to stand for and the source of the nourishment it provides, I understand that having never been a student of AMU, I might have gotten it wrong. 

*Full disclosure: AMSL alums will recognize that the song is very similar to that school's alma mater. The tune is the same, the lyrics are different.