If you were to sit and chat with Brother Lenny Carlino, SDB, you'd quickly get the impression from this humble, soft spoken member of Seton Hall's Class of 2014 that he doesn't consider himself "extraordinary." Yet given the remarkable feats he has already achieved in his young life, it's difficult to perceive him as anything but.
Brother Lenny is the first graduate from Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology to be chosen to give the valedictory address at Seton Hall's Baccalaureate Commencement Ceremony, during which he will graduate with his Bachelor of Arts in Catholic Theology. It was a distinction he earned by presenting a sample valedictory speech to the University's Commencement Committee. For inspiration, he looked no further than his own minor – music. "Music is one of my passions," says Brother Lenny. "In my speech, I compared my experience at Seton Hall to a symphony orchestra." Soon afterwards, he was notified that he had been selected as this year's speaker, representing the Class of 2014.
Music has been an important part of Brother Lenny's life ever since the third grade, when he learned to play his first instrument: the violin. "I realized I had a skill set, so I kept at it," he says. "Then, when I was a junior in high school, I had a private teacher who introduced me to the viola." Since then, he has learned to play a jaw-dropping four additional instruments: the guitar, bass guitar, piano and ukulele – the latter he actually taught himself to play – and has showcased these talents as a member of the Seton Hall University Orchestra. He also sings, having performed with the University choir and even at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC).
Another significant part of his life has been the Salesians of Don Bosco, a religious order in the Catholic Church which Brother Lenny joined in 2009. The Salesians trace their roots back to St. John Bosco in Turin, Italy, in 1859. "He wanted to serve the young and poor in a spirit of gentleness and kindness," Brother Lenny says. "It's important to communicate with them in a way they can understand and in a way that conveys the love of a community." This mindset reflects the primary focus of the Salesians, which is, as Brother Lenny explains, "Evangelization by education, and education by evangelization. We have a very strong focus on studies, so I feel that as a future priest, it is my duty to know as much about my faith as possible so that I can answer any questions people have."
Brother Lenny is currently in his fifth year of formation. In a couple of years, he will be placed in a Salesian school to teach, and then he will pursue his theology studies – which he will likely do in Jerusalem – en route to his ordination and his S.T.B.
But, first thing's first. Brother Lenny will address his fellow
Seton Hall graduates this month as a Catholic theology major and music
minor, and when the ceremony is over, he will continue down the path of
learning and discipleship. "I'm looking to follow a life path in which I
feel called and in which I'm able to serve others," he says. "This is
the time that I need to build that foundation for whatever future is in
store for me."