What Could I Have Done Differently?

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 15 November 2018)

Good morning.

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about car rides home with my dad after sports practices or competitions.

Having four younger brothers meant there wasn’t much one-on-one time between parents and children in my family, so having these brief car rides gave me the rare opportunity for time with my dad.

If it were after basketball practice, we’d have to drop off my friend, Jen, first. If it were after swim, I would be ravenous and barely able to focus on anything other than food. Sometimes we’d listen to the evening radio show with Delilah on Coast 93.3 and my dad would make fun of sappy stories callers would share and Delilah’s cliche advice. There were nights he would relay a comical incident I had missed at home. Often, he’d ask about school. But no matter the particulars, he would always ask about the practice or game and come back to the same question:

What do you think you could you have done differently?

It wasn’t nitpicking, critical, or demeaning. He didn’t ask what I could have done better, just differently.  It didn’t matter that a teammate overthrew a pass, or set a bad pick. All he wanted to know was about my choices and my actions. He didn’t just ask this question when my team lost, or practice hadn’t gone well – he asked no matter the circumstance. And in doing so, my father taught me an important life lesson.  He was training me to think about alternative approaches, to find better ways to communicate with others, and to assess my own actions and worry less about things I couldn’t control in others. Over time I came to realize that the only actions I could control in life were my own. Asking what I could have done differently challenged me to constantly evaluate my choices and my affect on the world around me.

I realize now it was a question he must have asked himself every day.

After he died three years ago, there was much grieving and the immediacy of the loss brought larger memories to the surface more often. But now, after some time has passed, I find my mind returning to simple moments with him which in many ways contributed more significantly to my development and approach to life than anything else.

Now, as a parent, I think about how much I want to emulate him. And maybe asking myself, at the end of each day, “What could I have done differently,” is start.

Let us pray:

Heavenly Father,

When we become frustrated and anxious about events and circumstances around us, give us the grace to recognize and relinquish what is beyond our control.

Guide us, as my father did, to honestly assess our roles in our families and communities and to determine the ways we may best serve others.  Amen.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us

Live Jesus in our Heart…forever.

Emily McLean–English Teacher

With Strong Faith We Can Do Amazing Things

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 13 November 2018)

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of our loving God….

Immigrants faced many hardships in the United States.  They worked at the most menial labor and experienced discrimination both as foreigners and as Catholics.  Uprooted, without pastoral care, they were strangers even in their own Church.  The Catholic Church in America was English speaking and not equipped to deal with the non-English speaking immigrants.  There was even a political party that wanted the borders closed to keep Catholics out of the country. Despite this, the great majority of these immigrants desired to return again to their Catholic faith and devotions.  Seeking the help of religious women, a Bishop asked a nun to go to New York to work with the immigrants.  She hesitated because her dream was to go the the Orient.

Wanting to do the will of God, this nun went to the Pope.  She would not get the answer she hoped for.  The Pope knew of the nun’s desire to go to China, but he told her, “Not to the East, but to the West.”  Weighing heavily on the Pope’s heart was the terrible conditions of the immigrants in America.

The story you just heard didn’t happen 5 years ago or 10 years ago or even 50 years ago. It happened over 100 years ago towards the end of the 19th century and the immigrants were from Italy.

The plight of the immigrant has always been with us and in 1889, this nun being obedient to God’s will, would not go to China but to Chinatown in New York City and the fast growing lower East Side where she and six of her sisters would minister to the over 50,000 Italian immigrants were trying to survive bodily and spiritually.

The nun was St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, whose feast we celebrate today.

She found disappointment and difficulties with every step. When she arrived in New York, the house intended to be her first orphanage in the United States was not available. The archbishop advised her to return to Italy. But Frances, truly a valiant woman, departed from the archbishop’s residence all the more determined to establish that orphanage. And she did.

In 35 years, Frances Xavier Cabrini founded 67 institutions dedicated to caring for the poor, the abandoned, the uneducated and the sick. Seeing great need among Italian immigrants who were losing their faith, she organized schools and adult education classes.

As a child, she was always frightened of water, unable to overcome her fear of drowning. Yet, despite this fear, she traveled across the Atlantic Ocean more than 30 times. She died on December 22, 1917 of malaria in her own Columbus Hospital in Chicago.

In 1946 she was the first U.S. citizen to be canonized a saint.

St. Frances Cabrini shows us that when we have strong faith and turn our hardships over to God we can do amazing things.

So as we begin Spirit Week we can contemplate this prayer that was written by St. Frances Xavier Cabrini and ask the Holy Spirit to help us to always turn to God in all of our needs and to be aware and help the less fortunate in our world.

Let us pray……

Fortify me with the grace of Your Holy Spirit and give Your peace to my soul that I may be free from all needless anxiety, solicitude and worry. Help me to desire always that which is pleasing and acceptable to You so that Your will may be my will. Amen.

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini – Pray for us

St. John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for us

Live Jesus in our hearts – Forever!

Reverend Thomas Woodhouse–School Chaplain

This Amazing Place!

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday, 9 November 2018)

Good morning La Salle and De La Salle.

Let us remember that we are in the Holy Presence of God.

Today, as we get set to commence with Spirit Week on Tuesday, let us also remember what an amazing place this school really is. Two weeks ago, students, faculty, staff, coaches, administration, and parents came together to put on our annual Open House in an effort to express just why La Salle Academy is an amazing place. Our values of faith, service, and community were on full display. Last weekend, we witnessed students share their gifts and talents both on stage and behind the scenes for the production of Anything Goes. Yesterday morning La Salle students were recognized for their academic excellence or displaying Lasallian virtues in some fashion at the Student Recognition assembly. Today, thanks to the Social Concerns Club, we had the option to dress down to raise money for local soup kitchens and homeless shelters in RI. This afternoon, a group of students will board a bus to head off to La Salette Retreat Center for a Kairos Retreat.  And this coming weekend, there are three State Championship games on the docket. There are countless other reasons why we are all blessed to be part of this community. God is truly present each and every day here, so today let us remember that and allow this astounding reality to form our minds and our hearts.

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, we thank You. We thank You for the amazing people we get to spend each day with here at 612 Academy Ave.  We thank You for providing us with a mission to learn from one another and to serve one another. We pray in a special way today for all our students going on retreat or competing this weekend. And we pray for all the individuals and all the families in need at this time. May our hearts be generous as we do our small part to alleviate just a small portion of their suffering.  Amen.

Saint John Baptist de la Salle…Pray for us

Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever.

Anthony Russo–Campus Minister (delivered by Katie Haidemenos–Campus Minister)

On Election Day–A Voice

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday, morning, 6 November 2018)

Good Morning, La Salle Academy and future Lasallians shadowing here today.

Let us remember that we are in the presence of a loving God.

What is today for Americans?  Well for many school age students, it is a day off of school. (sorry La Salle!)

For adults 18 and over, it’s a day to vote.  But you won’t hear me delving into the heated world of politics here this morning.  (Honestly, my rule of thumb is to not engage in any political conversation unless it’s in real good company!)

So instead, I would like to take this opportunity to look at “a vote” on a smaller scale:

Small disclaimer first; I am not one with words —- the students in my classes can attest to that, I’m sure.

Usually, lacking a better vocabulary word to use, I might stretch a definition a little too far or take an analogy in a crazy direction, to try and get my point across.  So English teachers, please forgive me!

I found a definition for the noun, vote.   Vote:  the formal expression of a choice between two or more issuespeople, etc…… and then I thought…….okay Erica, take it where you will…..

So, what is a “vote”?  To me, it is a voice.

A voice that can be heard, felt and witnessed in all that we do.   Each and every day of our lives when there is a choice to be made our voice is present.

Our voice can be used to break others down.   It can be the cause of pain and the creation of enemies.    Our voice can be loud and intolerant so that we do not truly hear others.

But our voices can build each other up.   They can cause happiness and create friendships.  Our voices can be quiet and patient so that we can truly hear others.

Let us pray.

Lord, you have given each one of us a voice—a beautiful voice created in Your image.

In this complex and chaotic world we live in, grant us the wisdom to use our voices for good:  to speak the truth, to speak with kindness, to have courage to use our voice to stand up to injustice, to help the less fortunate and lift the oppressed.  We pray that you grant us the knowledge to know when to keep our voices low, so that those around us may speak their truth, and we can hear them.

With our voices together, walking united in your Spirit we pray:

St John Baptist de La Salle ……pray for us

Live Jesus in our hearts ……forever.

Erica Napolitano—Math Teacher

We Stand With You

(Statement read following Prayer on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 29 October 2018)

Good morning.

All of us were saddened over the weekend to hear of the mass shooting which happened at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  This devastating and evil act, considered the deadliest, anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history, killed 11 people and injured 6 others.  As a Lasallian family, we condemn all forms of hatred and prejudice.  We wish to extend to our Jewish students, teachers, and family members our deepest sympathies and support.  And we pledge to stand with you, countering all violence with acts of solidarity, welcome, and inclusion.

This afternoon, we stand together with members of our Jewish family and we invite everyone who is able to meet in Campus Ministry.  Mr. DeMaria will lead our community in the Jewish prayer for mourning at 2:45, outside in the circle near our steps adjacent to the cafeteria.

Brother Thomas Gerrow—President

(Song used during Religion classes today as part of Opening of Class Prayer)

Amazing Saints

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday, 26 October 2018)

Good morning La Salle and De La Salle.

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

We began this week with morning prayer reflecting on some amazing saints, Saint John Paul II and Saint Oscar Romero. As we end the week (and the first quarter of the school year), I would like to share a story that continues with that theme and actually centers around our own founder, Saint John Baptist de La Salle.

On Monday afternoon, my son Kallan had his 3rd grade faith formation gathering at one of our local parishes. When I went back to pick him up at 5pm, I noticed Kallan had a piece of paper with him and I asked him what they learned in class. He told me that they learned about saints and that each child randomly picked a saint card to read and then complete the accompanying worksheet.  His eyes lit up as he showed me the saint he randomly received, sure enough, our very own Saint John Baptist de La Salle. Hopefully you are viewing that image right now in homeroom (I must say, his drawing of our founder is not too shabby either!)

He told me that he got it by accident, and what he meant was that is was simply a coincidence…However, I believe that while ordinary coincidences may in fact occur, I have come to find that those same coincidences are often-times God-incidences in disguise. Kallan went on to inform me that he shares the same birthday as our founder, April 30 (different years of course).  Quite a coincidence indeed…

During that faith formation session, Father Dave had asked the children, “What does it mean to be a saint?” I was not only proud of Kallan for answering Father Dave in a room of over 60 of his peers, but I was also extremely humbled by his response. Kallan’s definition of a saint is as follows: “someone who loves God.” I was struck by the wisdom of his response, in all its simplicity and clarity.

St Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans that “all things work for the good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”

Sometimes it is hard to see how things will work out for the good and it can be equally challenging to see how the coincidences we experience may in fact be God speaking to us in our everyday lives.

I believe that’s what sets the saints apart, their recognition and acceptance of the fact that God loves us beyond measure and is very much at work in the minutiae of our everyday lives. And because of this, the only proper response is to love God back in return, through love and service to our neighbors, whether those neighbors reside in Krakow or El Salvador, Reims or Rhode Island.

So I guess the question for me to ponder today is this, “Do I love God with all my heart, all my mind, and all my being?” And if so, do I demonstrate that love for God by loving and serving my neighbors?

Let us pray…

Heavenly Father, thank you for the example of the holy men and women who shine your light and love into this world reminding us of your great love for each and every one of us. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity each and every day to love you in return by placing the needs of our fellows ahead of our own desires.  Help us to see Your merciful hand at work in the coincidences and events of our own lives, and to remember that all things work for the good when we trust in your great love for us.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Anthony Russo–Campus Minister



The Flow of Time

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 24 October 2018)

Good Morning.

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of a loving God.

Time.  “From the moment we enter this life, we are in the flow of it. We measure it – and we mark it, – but we cannot defy it. We cannot even speed it up or slow it down. – Or can we? Have we not each experienced the sensation that a beautiful moment seemed to pass too quickly and wished that we could make it linger? – Or felt time slow on a dull day and wished that we could speed things up a bit?”  This was a quote from the movie “The Illusionist.”  As the quarter comes to a close, I’d like you to consider what time means to you.

To me, I think one doesn’t need to look any further than the Bible.  I’d like you to consider these words from “The Book of Ecclesiastes.”  And remember, while there may only be so many hours in the day, which limits your time, you can always find a way to make time for the things that truly matter to you.  Let us pray using one of my favorite verses from “The Book of Ecclesiastes.”

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tare and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

St. John Baptist de La Salle.  Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts.  Forever

Jeff Miszkiewicz–English Teacher

There Is a Time For Everything Under the Sun

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday, 17 October 2018)

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of a loving God.

As a big sports fan, I can appreciate all the success Boston sports teams have had over the past two decades.  If you are old enough, you realize that this wasn’t always the case.

Scripture reminds us that there is a time for everything under the sun. Yes, a time to achieve the success of victory and championships, but also a time of subpar teams, disappointments, and so-called curses of a certain Bambino.

There is a time for opening night of a new season, such as for the Celtics last night, and a time for those October games at the tail end of a long season, like the Red Sox have been playing over the last two weeks.

At this time last year, Gordon Hayward suffered a horrific injury and began his year long process of rehab and recovery. Last night he stepped back on the court and resumed his NBA career. A time to heal and a time to start again.

As we may have also seen last night, there is a time to brace ourselves and take one for the team, and a time to swing for the fences in hopes of hitting a grand slam.

Our seniors know there is a time to complete college applications, and request letters of recommendations, but there will soon be a time to come back to La Salle, see some familiar faces and tell them how your first semester at college is going.

No matter what season we may be in, God is present with us at all times. Coming to know and really own this reality has transformed my attitude and outlook on life; perhaps you can also allow this reality to shape yours.

Let us pray,

Dear Lord, as we approach the end of this first quarter of the school year, help us to use the remaining time efficiently and do our best to finish with our best foot forward. Help us to remember that you go before us always, walk every step alongside us, and always have our back. Jesus, we trust in you.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

 Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Anthony Russo–Campus Minister


To See Christ in Every Person We Encounter

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday, 15 October 2018)

Let us remember that we are in the presence of God…

Relatively recently, we learned about Plato’s Allegory of the Cave in my Civics courses. For those of you who may need a quick refresher, Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is the story about a prisoner of a dark cave who escapes and attains enlightenment after being able to see the sun.

This story begs quite a few questions, like how can I come to understand what is “the truth”? What “light” should I be looking for to find enlightenment?

Now, I acknowledge that I am far from “enlightenment” myself, but I do believe that we need to only look at the light in the eyes of those around us to get closer to “the truth.”

You see, you can look in someone’s eyes and see light of life in those eyes. To me, that light is Christ. You see, Christ lives in persons. He is not simply someone who lived thousands of years ago that we read about in books. Rather, He is alive now. As we Lasallians pray at the end of prayer, Jesus lives in our hearts. He is a part of every person, including you.

In fact, one of my patron Saints, St. Seraphim of Sarov, would greet every person he met by saying “Christ is Risen!” to remind himself and those around him that the Risen Lord lives in each of us. I keep a small icon of St. Seraphim on my desk in part as a reminder to try to see Christ in everyone I encounter. Even St. John Baptist de La Salle urged his teachers to see Christ in all of their students. Now, I am far from perfect in doing so, but I would say if we can work at remembering that our God is a living God, and we work at seeing the Light of Christ in all of those we encounter, and genuinely treat each other accordingly, maybe we get that much closer to understanding “the truth.”

Let us pray,

Dear Father, we thank you for blessing us with your Holy Spirit that dwells and lives within us all. Help us to see You in every person we encounter.  Amen.

St. John Baptist de La Salle..Pray for us!

Live Jesus in our hearts… Forever!

Nikolai Wojciechowski–Social Studies Teacher