The Hero Inside

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 17 October 2017—International Lasallian Days of Prayer for Peace)

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

As you all know, we are near the end of the Month for Peace. Here at La Salle, we have had a few events to pray for peace such as prayer by the flag pole outside the field house and the release of a rosary made with biodegradable balloons. It was truly beautiful! And I would like to thank all those who participated and organized these activities for giving us all the opportunity of being part of a movement for peace— peace, something that often times seems so elusive. As most of you know, I come from Spain and unfortunately my country is going through a phase of great turmoil and it breaks my heart. But it is not only my country that is experiencing such lack of peace; it is happening in so many places across the world and in our own communities. I am aware that one person alone cannot change the world but one person alone can change someone’s world and in turn this second person can change someone else’s life and hopefully this can be the beginning of a chain effect. I am not going to ask you today to accomplish enormous feats, I am talking about small shows of kindness, opening a door, asking how someone’s day is going, offering a helping hand, and do not forget the power of a smile (as Maddie Hopkins said in her prayer a couple of weeks ago). I consider myself extremely lucky because I receive so often these acts of kindness here, in our Academy! One of my favorites is when we are in homeroom and one of my students, in a very loud voice, wishes a fantastic day to everyone in class. I have to say, that there is no better way to start the day. I feel that love for each other, and it makes me happy, it makes me feel … yes… peaceful!

Never forget that we all have a hero inside us waiting to be released to change someone’s world for the better, because, as my AP Students know, being a hero is being a regular person who achieves something remarkable for others, just like mom and dad!

Let us pray the prayer for the International Lasallian Days for Peace:

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Mercedes DiMascio–World Languages Department Chair

Better To Light A Single Candle

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 5 October 2017)

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

For those of you thinking of having your hearing checked, I can assure you it’s me, and NO 10 years hasn’t passed.  So what has made a liar out of me you ask?  Two different but related words. Opportunity and Excuses.  I was given a second opportunity to address the entire Lasallian community, and I could have given Mrs. Estes any number of 1,000 excuses I’ve accumulated over the years, all of which believable but all of which would have been a lie.  So which is worse? Lying to you that I wouldn’t do prayer for another 10 years or lying to Mrs. Estes about doing prayer today?  Obviously, I decided to embrace this opportunity even though it’s not something I enjoy, rather than make an excuse.

Now there are a lot of sayings and comparisons about what excuses “are like”…We’ve all used them, made some up, borrowed a good one from a friend, and it most likely got you out of something you didn’t want to do.  We took a shortcut, or an easier path.  I heard a great quote recently while watching “Racing Extinction” (an environmental movie) but I think it can be applied in everyone’s lives.

It is better to light a single candle than curse the darkness.

As someone who does quite a bit of swearing this resonated with me.  I’ll spare you from any political, environmental  or social examples.  But perhaps your sports team, your club or even your friends need more light and less excuses.  Whether you know it or not, every single student in this building is someone’s light, your parents.  You probably think your parents were put on this earth to ruin your social life, embarrass you and take your phone away!  Well let me leave you with this story: A dear friend of mine whom I went to high school with, sat at my lunch table, shared a limo to prom, shared a position in football and talked on the phone till all hours of the night when his girlfriend dumped him… I think you get the picture.  After high school we drifted apart, we lost touch, and he disappeared.  (This is before cell phones and social media mind you) Recently, I’ve reconnected with him, only to learn that within 4 years of graduating HS, he was homeless and a drug addict. (Let me clarify, Not just did drugs, but did so much drugs he lost his football scholarship, dropped out of school, didn’t pay his rent or bills and got evicted from his apartment.  He lived in shelters and on the streets for for the better part of a year, and he was too proud to tell to his parents or friends).  When I heard this I was speechless, and as a friend I was ashamed I did not know.  But he is very open about his experiences and in what he calls his darkest hour (A time so dark, he contemplated suicide) he met someone.  Someone who believed in him (his candle, a single light).  Shortly after he learned he was going to be a father and there was his second light.  He cleaned himself up, got a job, married this woman, bought a house and has a beautiful family.  It would have been easy for him to continue to make excuses, but in his words, he wanted to be a good example to his children.

Which reminded me what our Founder wrote in his meditations: “Examples make a much greater impressions than words.” And to put it bluntly as my friend Brian would say all the time… Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk.  I hope none of you ever finds yourself in the darkness that Brian did.

Let us pray:

God, help us to remember that our actions speak loudly.  When we are tempted to make excuses, help us to dig deep within ourselves, and step up to the opportunities at hand.  Thank you for the many lights in our life.  And help us to be a light for someone else today.

 

St. John Baptist de La Salle: Pray for Us!

Live Jesus in our Heart: Forever!

Mark Watson—Science Teacher

Take A Minute To Smile

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 3 October 2017)

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

Life is short, momentary, repetitive, a roller-coaster really. So what should you do with it?

In religion we learn that Life is literally a journey to happiness. I read that the average person spends about five months of their lives complaining, and over a year crying, but only 115 days laughing. What does that tell us about the happiness of the average person in society today? Let me ask you- How often do you think you smile?  How many times have you forgiven someone? How much have you loved?

In actuality, these questions have immeasurable answers. We’re never going to know or remember how many times we smiled in our lives. That’s just not how the human mind works. Our memory is made up of nothing but moments, and each day we remember less and less of the moments we have had in our lifetimes. So why don’t we make a change right now, and try to make the moments we do remember positive and good?

Today,  I am giving you this life advice.

Be happy. Be loving. Be kind.

That’s it. That’s all that matters. If you’re having a bad day, take a minute to smile. If you’re having a bad week, have faith that it will pass.

Let us pray,

Dear Lord, help us to be more understanding and kind, for it was you who told us to love our neighbor and forgive their trespasses. Help us to open our hearts to love and to find happiness in our day to day lives.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in Our Hearts…Forever.

Maddie Hopkins–Class of 2018

Less Judging—More Peace-Making

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 28 September 2017)

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

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, or the late nineteen seventies, I locked my infant son in my car. My husband was a Navy submarine sailor and had spent his duty overnight on the boat. We had one car and I needed to pick him up. So at 5:30 am, I put my son in his infant seat and went out to the car.  I opened the door, threw my keys, purse, and diaper bag, on the floor and buckled the seat in. Then I pushed down the manual door lock (1970’s remember), held the handle, and closed the door. Walked around to the driver’s side only to realize that that door was also locked. And my keys were on the floor. Panic. Can’t get back into my house to make a phone call and poor Jay is crying. More than a bit hysterical, I run to my neighbor’s house, yep, at 5:30 in the morning, and ask them to call the police. I run back to the car and am crying harder than my son as I stare at him through the window. My neighbor is not nice. She comes outside and begins to berate me for waking her up and then moves on to the topic of my fitness as a mother. And as any new parent can attest this kind of judgement is painful.

Fast forward some months later, again going on an outing, carrying all manner of baby paraphernalia when I trip. I instinctively put my hands out to break my fall and in the process dropped my son. He slid along the cement walk and had scrapes along his head and bare legs. I felt my neighbor watching as the two of us, both bleeding and crying, headed to the emergency room. Once there, when I provided the details of the accident, I could see the judgement in the eyes of the navy corpsman and doctor. Those judgements still bother me, 40 years later.

Our  negative opinions of others inflict pain, damage relationships, and cause conflict.  We judge others by their body type, skin color, spoken language, political opinions, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and really, just about everything else. And we need to stop. Seriously. Just stop.

Our families, our communities, and our planet need us to be peacemakers in the world. Everyone has a right to live their own life; we don’t know their stories, their struggles, their pain. It’s not up to us to judge their choices. Besides, being judgmental takes up a significant portion of our time—time that honestly would  be better spent reflecting on our own behaviors, figuring out our own life path, and most importantly, learning how to accept others.

Let us pray…

Forgive me, Lord,

When I don’t listen

When I think

I know more than I do

and I do more harm than I’ll ever know.

Help me to be patient

to consider my attitudes

my thoughts

my actions.

Help me to understand

your call to serve

without judging

those I am serving.

Amen

St. John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for Us

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever

Kristine Chapman–Social Studies Teacher

Crack Open the Door

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 27 September 2017)

Good morning, La Salle.

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

For the past few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I would say for this morning’s reflection.  I have been inspired by the words of so many teachers, and if I am being honest, I don’t know if I could give you much more than what has already been said.

However, I thought I would share something that has been on my mind recently, and that is: I believe most high-schoolers get Christianity wrong.

Prior to my recent move to the Ocean State, I taught for 3 years at an all-boys Catholic High School on Long Island, New York; the course I taught was called Christian Humanism, which is formal and fancy talk for “morality.”  In that course, we studied everything—if there was something to be talked about, debated, studied, argued…you name it, we covered it.  It was a great experience, one that I will never forget, but I was always a little afraid when teaching it.  Why was I “afraid”?  Simply put: I didn’t want my students to think Christianity was simply a moral system of “do’s” and “don’ts.”  “Don’t do this, that’s bad.”  “Don’t do that, that’s not good for you.”  “And definitely don’t do that—that might put you into the 4th circle of Dante’s purgatory, as he described in the Inferno.”

Anyone who has a clue about Christianity knows it’s claim: God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.  Christianity, fundamentally, is not a behavior-modification program; it is not sin-management.  To be a Christian means to be redeemed—to be deeply loved by God and to be transformed by that love.  God knows my sins and your sins; He knows what gives us great joy; He knows our deepest desires.  He sees us through-and-through, and loves us all the same.

So today, I challenge you: crack open the door of your mind, heart, intellect, and will just a little bit.  Let God’s light and love inside.  It is there for each and every one of us.

Oh, and remember: the next time you think Christianity is just a matter of “do’s” and “don’ts”…think again.

Let us pray,

Lord, enter into our hearts this day.  Bless all our endeavors, and give us the grace and strength to be the young men and women you have called us to be.

Amen.

 St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.

Live, Jesus, in our hearts, forever.

Daniel McQuillan–Religion Teacher

 

Over All These Years—The Power of Prayer

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 26 September 2017)

Good Morning.

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

As the Director of Alumni Relations at La Salle and a 2003 Alumna myself, I have the opportunity to meet many Alumni from various class years that have graduated LSA and now live locally here in Rhode Island, all over the country and even throughout the world. Many of our Alumni have embarked from LSA and have entered the world by making a positive impact on their own lives and the lives of others: some as positive role models, some serving in their community, some leading by example daily in their own homes and careers. This Friday kicks off our annual Alumni Reunion Weekend where The Alumni Office will be hosting 5 on-campus reunions at LSA for the class years’ ending in 2’s and 7’s. One of our classes will be celebrating its 65th Reunion and another class its 20th. Our Student Ambassadors will be leading on-campus tours highlighting what the campus is like presently, followed by the alumni attending their reunion receptions at various campus locations where they will see some of their classmates from years ago. It never ceases to amaze me when Alumni return back to campus and share memories of their time at LSA—from when it was an all boys’ school before 1984 to presently being co-ed, to their stories of their favorite teachers and some can even remember their freshman homeroom #’s.  I hear stories of academia, friendships made here at LSA, faith formation, good sportsmanship on the field, service in the community, charism and kindness …  too many to recite.  When the Alums return they almost always mention what is obvious – the new changes to campus that are visible here at LSA. They say, “There is now a middle school?” I reply, “Yes, it is the De La Salle Middle School. Notice the blue hallways and blue lockers. These middle school teachers are doing great work teaching students that are eager to learn and they’re starting their journey at De La Salle in the 6th grade.”

The Alums will continue on the tour and notice the LSA Shea Science Center on campus and will ask in one of the classrooms, “What is that?” I’ll reply, “What you are looking at are 3-D printers and we recognize that our students are very fortunate to have the opportunities to utilize these outstanding resources that many of our Alumni have contributed greatly to.”

They’ll notice the well maintained and manicured fields, the classrooms filled with students learning, the art, theater and music rooms on the ground floor, all the opportunities this campus offers. A place for all to grow, all to serve and all to learn.

I always remind them that the mission … the mission of LSA, remains the same. Although much of the campus has had improvements over time, the mission of our founder Saint John Baptist de La Salle, the De La Salle Christian Brothers and what it means to be “Lasallian” has and always will remain the same. It is that core mission that guides us daily as a school community, guides our remarkable faculty and staff to do the great work we do and allows our outstanding students to do their best daily both in and outside the classrooms, on the stage in the theater, out on the fields or courts at a game or when serving the community.

It startled me when one Alum asked, “Does someone still lead morning prayer?” I replied, “Yes, of course we still lead morning prayer.” We pray as a community and we give thanks; we express gratitude for those that have come before us creating the legacy and rich tradition we have here at La Salle. Think about that for a second, we pray daily. Not only in homeroom at the sound of the bell for morning prayer, but we pray together as a community out on the Cronin field for our opening of school mass where our school Chaplain, Father Woodhouse and our Campus Ministry team celebrate with us, we pray in front of the grotto before games asking for strength and guidance, we pray before classes as a community, we pray aloud and to ourselves. We pray before Reunions for the Alumni and express thanks for our experiences, while students at LSA,  that have made us who we are. The power of prayer is extraordinary and although some things have changed on campus, prayer is something we are proud to share with one another daily as it is what makes LSA the great place that it is.

Let us pray,

We ask you Lord to guide our entire student body from our De La Salle Middle School to the high school; please guide our teachers, Brothers, mentors, coaches, deans, entire faculty, staff,  LSA community and alumni; and, guide our faith and service throughout the years as we strive for excellence and true greatness.

Guide us to ask questions about things we do not know.  May our students always believe in themselves and not have any doubt about what they are able to achieve. With the power of prayer, all is possible. Continue to allow our student body to do their personal best. May they continue to inspire others and share what they learn here at LSA and shine it on the world as many of our Alumni have. Our students are part of the La Salle Family and tradition, and will one day be an Alumna/Alumnus. We ask to embrace faith throughout our days and remind us daily of “the positivity and power of prayer.”

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for Us

Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever !

Daniela Mansella Paolino—Director of Alumni Relations and Class of 2003

Peace Without Limits

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 21 September 2017–the 1st day of the month-long International Lasallian Days of Prayer for Peace)

Let Us Remember We are In the Holy Presence of a Loving God…

Happy First Day of International Lasallian Days for Peace. For those of you who are not familiar, this is a month long peace awareness project that calls upon Lasallian schools worldwide to participate in. As Lasallians, we will be fostering peace in our world through prayer, study, and action beginning today, September 21st (the United Nations – sanctioned International Day of Peace) and ending on October 21st.

This year’s theme is “Peace Without Limits.” What does this mean?

When I think about a tangible thing that does not have a limit, I think of a circle. What about a circle is so special? Well, you cannot find a beginning or an end. There is no fine line where the circle starts or ends. This is what peace should be in our own lives. There should be no border, no boundary, no restriction and no limits.

Personally I find inner peace by creating mandalas, otherwise known as a sacred circle. They allow me to find my center and it truly brings me peace of mind as I allow my creativity to flow.

In cultures around the world, we can see various sacred circles upon which cultures foster their faith. If you look at the floor outside Campus Ministry, you can see a labyrinth, a sacred circle that allows people to walk to find healing, soul assignments, and self- knowledge. Buddhist Monks work days creating sacred circles with sand in which the pray over each grain of sand, to then brush away as a display that nothing remains forever. The Irish culture has the Celtic knot in which no end and no beginning can be found. The Native Americans have dream catchers which they believe have no end and beginning because death is a part of life and a spirit lives on. And there are so many more.

Now it is our turn!! What does La Salle Academy, Providence RI’s sacred circle look like? How do we foster peace right here at 612 Academy Avenue?

Each homeroom has received a brightly colored square with 1/4th of a circle. It will be your job to create part of our La Salle Academy mandala (OUR sacred circle). How do you see Our community fostering peace? What does peace look like to you? What action can WE take as a community to be peacemakers in the world we live in?

Together we are going to collaborate as a Lasallian community to display our values, morals, and mission through a Mandala. Let your creativity juices flow and have fun as a homeroom displaying what your peace of mind looks like.

Let Us Pray,

In the words of Monsignor Gregory Ramkissoon, the founder of Mustard Seed Community…

“There certainly seems to be a lot of turmoil in our world today. Many people are suffering from the effects of natural disasters and human conflicts; or the fear of terror and violence; of the loneliness of abandonment and displacement. Yet in spite of this, the word of God is alive and active, ever present and always at work through each of us. As we have seen in recent events, we need only to activate the unconditional love of God, already dwelling within us to make a difference in the lives of others. Let us continue to help each other move beyond turmoil to lasting peace, by allowing God’s Word to guide our every thought, word and action.”

“We pray for a peace that will make us whole and transform us into ambassadors of justice for Your sake. Lord, give us Your peace!” (DENA Prayer)

St. John Baptist de La Salle – PRAY FOR US

Live Jesus in Our Hearts – FOREVER!

Katie Haidemenos–Campus Minister and Young Lasallian

To Glorify the Lord By Our Lives

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 19 September 2017)

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

After our La Salle mass last week, Fr.  Woodhouse said, “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.” What does that mean?

First, the declaration is that we go peacefully. St. Francis de Sales said, “Do not lose your inner peace for anything, even if your whole world seems upset.” This can be very challenging some days especially during times of sorrow or crisis, but the second part tells us how to relieve the sorrow- by living a life that glorifies the Lord. That’s a tall order -to live in imitation of Christ- even though we know as Christians, that’s what we’re called to do. I think young people are great at this.

Our La Salle and De La Salle students do wonderful outreach for those most in need. And the key is the joy they show whenever they’re reaching out to those who struggle. It would not be glorifying the Lord if giving alms were done by people who were grumbling about it, so they do it with smiles. By our good works we give light to those who walk in darkness. This is what Christ did for us by dying on the cross and continues to do for us every day especially when we are fragile and weak from trials. Remember the Footprints prayer- that at our saddest and most troublesome times of life the Lord carries us in His arms.

And since God chooses the weak and humble ones of the world to do His most important work, we must never let an opportunity pass where we could help someone else in need. It could be the person close to you or someone you don’t know living across the globe. We must let our light shine so that others may send the love we’ve shown to them out to others in the world- which is the only way we’ll get true peace.

In Matthew, chapter 5, we hear, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Let us pray.

Lord, you have given us everything that we need and never leave us alone; give us the grace today and all days to work for our neighbor and spread our lights in the darkness so that we may “glorify the Lord by our life.”

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.

Live, Jesus in our hearts, forever.

Leslie Martinelli–Science Teacher

Help Us To Forgive

(Prayer offered  on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 18 September 2017)

Good morning, La Salle!

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

In the Gospel reading at Mass yesterday, we heard Jesus speak about forgiveness. At the start of the passage, Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered him, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” Jesus then went on to tell a parable about a king who, out of compassion, forgave his servant a large debt. That servant, having just been forgiven, then turned around and demanded repayment of a much smaller debt from one of his fellow servants, refusing to show him the compassion that he had just received.

Unfortunately, more often than we might like to admit, it seems you and I act a lot like that unforgiving servant. Of all the commands that Jesus gives His disciples, it seems that forgiveness may be the one that gives us the most trouble. Indeed, Jesus commands us to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and to visit the imprisoned. And though we often fall well short of fulfilling these commands, we can see the good in them. We can see the suffering of the hungry woman in the soup kitchen, the ill-clothed homeless man in the dead of winter, the sick woman in the nursing home.

Far more difficult, however, is seeing the wounds in those who sin against us. The man who cuts us off on 95 because he’s late again and can’t afford to lose his job. The colleague who slips up and says the wrong thing because she was up late with a sick child. The classmate who ridicules us in front of his friends, because it seems like the only way he can get their attention.

It is as if, when we are hurt, we bear the invisible weight of human sin and frailty going back to our first parents; that when they ate the forbidden fruit, they planted a seed that has spread its roots all the way from the Korean peninsula to the Persian Gulf, from Charlottesville to Twitter, and into our own living rooms. And we, you and I, are forced to bear the weight of one another’s transgressions so that, slowly, this tree might be uprooted. A difficult task, no doubt. And one that certainly bears more consideration than a brief morning reflection.

But lest we think ours is a God who cannot sympathize with us, let us remember that man who bore this very tree of sin through the streets of Jerusalem. A man who, when He was finally nailed to that tree and raised up for all to see, turned to His Father and said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, please help us to forgive. Although it may take years, or even a lifetime, when we are so deeply wounded, please help us to find encouragement in the example of Your Son and guidance in the words of a loving soul. And please forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Amen.

St. John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Brian Bennett–Religion Teacher