Brother Henry Francis Marino, CFX

(Brother Rigo)

1934 – 2019

Brother Henry Francis would have celebrated his 85th birthday on September 30, 2019. He enjoyed a full life. He impacted many people. Henry was born and raised in Brooklyn. The son of Henry and Lucia Marino, immigrants from Sicily, Henry was the youngest of four children. He had three sisters. The Marino’s formed Henry in the love of family, Church, the value of education, and naturally his love of the Italian language, cuisine and culture. Henry graduated from New Utrecht Public High School in 1952. After being admitted to Saint John’s University, Henry completed his undergraduate degree in English Literature in 1956.

One of the daemons, or good spirits, that guided Henry was his deep desire to make a difference in the lives of others. It was no surprise, then, that he entered Sacred Heart Novitiate in Fort Monroe, Virginia on July 8, 1956. On September 8, he received the habit of the Xaverian Brothers and the religious name “Brother Rigo.” Throughout his life, Henry would use his many talents to help others: his perception of the individual, his creativity and imagination, his ability to communicate and build relationships, his love of teaching. Oh yes, and his sense of humor.  

Henry already had his BA. So, in 1958, after novitiate he was sent to Saint Joseph School in Somerville, MA and then in 1959 to Holy Name School in Brooklyn. In 1962 Henry went to Saint Xavier High School where his impact is still evident. Many parents of alumni whose sons today are in their sixties still speak with fondness of Brother Rigo’s teaching and involvement with the Student Activities Council. Creativity, care for the individual, energy and outstanding teaching are what they reminisce about. From 1968 to 1986 Henry would teach at Mount Saint Joseph High School in Baltimore and then at Xaverian, Brooklyn.

In 1986 Henry was enrolled in the Institute of Spirituality and Worship at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA. Henry loved the program and tried to share his enthusiasm for the vibrant liturgies at our assemblies and chapters whether we were ready for them or not. Henry spend hours preparing the opening prayer service at our assembly in Tamiment, PA. Many of us were recruited to gather branches for the “Tree of Death” and the “Tree of Life.” Henry was disappointed by the underwhelmed reaction of the group. At another assembly many of us nearly choked to death due to the ritual that sent billows of incense into the chapel! Henry dared to be creative.

Henry was always organized and punctual. He was a hard worker who at times rushed to get the job finished in advance. On occasion, his rushing created problems as with the Open House booklet he produced at Xaverian Brothers High School, the cover of which read, “XAVERIAN BROTHERS SCHOOL HIGH.” Hours before the program started, the new General Superior calmly took corrective action!

Helping others, belonging to a team, listening and relating to others gave Henry great energy. This was especially true during this twelve years at Malden Catholic where he worked with the Campus Ministry team from 1996 to 2008. Often he shared how happy he was to be a part of Malden’s campus ministry team.

If a good spirit, the daemon, guided Henry’s desire to make a difference in the lives of others, at times demons tormented Henry causing him great pain, both physical and emotional, and negatively affected his health and the quality of his lifestyle, including his desire to make a positive difference in the lives of others. The pain was real as was his suffering especially in the last couple of years.

Henry possessed a uniquely human spirit. At times he seemed to struggle with the belief that he was created by the God of love in His image and likeness to be a unique expression of that love. Yet he was. Our Fundamental Principles call us to accept each other readily in all our sinful and graced humanity. That’s what our brotherhood is about. We now pray for our Brother Henry that he experience the peace of God’s unconditional love for him and that he enjoy eternal peace free of all suffering.

May our Brother Henry Rest In Peace.

3 comments on “Brother Henry Francis Marino, CFX (Brother Rigo)

  1. Robert Dunne on

    Brother Rigo was my 8th grade teacher in Holy Name in 1960. Hard to believe he was only 13 years older than me. My memory of Brother Rigo was someone who was fair and caring. Sounds like he devoted his life to his religious calling. Rest in peace teacher.

  2. Thomas Arria on

    I will be forever grateful for Henry’s sense of humor, love of all things Italian, and stories. Most of all, I will never forget his many acts of love and kindness to my boys and to me before, during, and after my wife’s illness and death. Life, for Henry, was “high opera.” I always found it enjoyable to be in his company. Rest in Peace Henry.

  3. George Ramser on

    This is very late, but Brother Rigo was my sophomore English teacher at St. Xavier High School Louisville in 1966-67. He was able to balance humor and discipline in dealing with a group of adolescent boys while maintaining a great learning environment.


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