When One of Us Hurts—All of Us Hurt

When one of us hurts–all of us hurt.

The following was received from our Lasallian Brothers and Colleagues in the Philippines:

The Brothers and the Lasallian Family of the Lasallian East Asia District and the Sector of the Philippines are deeply grateful to all the Brothers, Lasallian institutions, and Districts from all over the world for their words of encouragement, prayers and pledges of donations for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (locally named in the Philippines as typhoon “Yolanda”).  Thankfully, none of our schools were in the direct path of the typhoon, although some schools have reported minor damages to their infrastructure. This Category 5 Typhoon is one of the strongest storms observed in world history. In 2013 alone, the Philippines has experienced an unusual number of over 20 typhoons already, but days of preparation and massive evacuations could not prevent the devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan’s strong winds and storm surges sweeping coastal towns of several islands. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates about 9.8 million people are affected and more than 10,000 feared dead.

We can unite with them in prayer (through a video prepared by the Mid-West District):

We can join with them by sharing some of our resources with them:

In solidarity with our Lasallians in the Philippines, the District of Eastern North America has set up a fund to coordinate donations to aid in the relief efforts. All donations will be forwarded to the Lasallian East Asia District (LEAD) so they can be given to the Philippines Sector.

Click here to make an online donation

Or donations can be mailed to the District Office:

Br. Dennis Malloy, FSC
District of Eastern North America
444A Route 35 South
Eatontown, NJ 07724

Please make checks out to: FSC  DENA
In the notes section put: One La Salle Philippines

When one of us hurts–all of us hurt.

Brother Frederick Mueller

“Teach us to step outside ourselves”

(Prayer offered by Christine Estes on the Public Address system at La Salle Academy on Thursday, 14 November)

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

Most people who know me know that I am a huge fan of Pope Francis. In fact, last Wednesday Mr. Ciccone came running to my office to show me a photo of our Pope that so inspired me I want to pray about it.

Last week, in a crowd of about 50,000 in Vatican City, the Pope paused for a moment to embrace a man whose face was completely disfigured with tumors and boils. The man suffers from a genetic disorder that causes thousands of tumors to painfully form all over his body, making his face barely recognizable as human.  In a moment that went viral last week, the man buried his head in the Pope’s chest, while the Pope pulled him close for an embrace and a blessing.  If it is OK with your homeroom teachers, I invite you all to find this image using your phones after prayer.


In a recent tweet, the Pope commented, “Teach us to step outside ourselves. Let us overcome the fear of getting our hands dirty so as to help those in need.”  In his short time as Pontiff, Francis has chosen to embrace so many. Rather than getting caught up in the trappings that come with being Pope like a fine residence or sweet pope mobile,  Francis has reminded the world of what Jesus came to preach.   Jesus–the one who was not afraid to dine with prostitutes, to be touched by a hemorrhaging woman, or call the tax collector Zaccheus down from a tree–this Jesus came so that all might know the infinite mercy and unconditional love of God.  But the story does not end here.

jesus and woman

Here’s where you and I come in. Once we have experienced that love and mercy, we are compelled to share it with those most in need.   Last week, Dean Kelly prayed about how God’s humble beginnings made it so that we have an approachable God.   But friends, here’s the thing. God becomes approachable only insofar as we are unafraid to approach where there is pain, injury, loneliness, or suffering.  I’ve often commented to anyone who’ll listen that we live in an emotionally scarce world.  People go through pain and suffering alone and in silence.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.   People are starving for connection, for someone who will pause and listen.   Will that person be you today?

Today, I challenge everyone in our La Salle family….find this picture of the Pope. Make it the screen saver on your phone or iPad or desktop. Let it inspire you so much that the next time someone in need crosses your path, do not shy away or run in fear. Be courageous. Approach.  Bless. Embrace.


Let us pray–
God of Mercy,
We have a million reasons why we are afraid of the pain of others. But all of these reasons pale next to the light of your infinite goodness.  Give us the courage to step out of our places of comfort to be your presence in a hurting world.

St Francis of Assisi: Pray for us
St John Baptist de La Salle: Pray for us
Live Jesus in our Hearts: Forever

Christine Estes (Campus Minister)

“Whatever You Do for the Least of My Brothers and Sisters…”

Each Wednesday morning, when about one quarter of the Senior Class (85 or so young men and women) leaves school, they enter upon a new high school experience—Christian Service.  Designed to be a type of “capstone” Religion experience, Christian Service allows students the unique opportunity to make what they have learned in Religion classes and in their other classes a reality.  Whatever their faith or religious belief, young people are confronted face-to-face with the great universal religious truth of “Love your neighbor” or “Do good unto others” or “Whatever you do for the least of my brothers or sisters.”


Listen to the reflections of the young men and women who just finished 7 weeks of service:

The thing that I’ll remember about Tides is what P. told me, “People don’t know the real me, they don’t know my story. I sometimes put on an act and act up but it’s just for show because they don’t know the real me… they don’t know my life and what I’ve been through.” Also, what I’ll remember is that even though he’s been through a lot of things, he still manages to keep his head up and stay strong. He told me he has lost some good friends.


We go to service in groups to support one another. The work is very new to us and it can be unsettling being out of our comfort zone. Our group has bonded. There were people in my group that even after going to school with them for four years, I did not know. Now we are very close. I have learned how important support is to our group. I help them and they help me.

The first week of service at the Amos House, I was serving rice at the front. I met a man, who said that he had graduated from LaSalle and that he was now seeking food from a shelter. This had a large impression on me because the people we were serving no longer seemed like they were distant and that this would be the only place I would see something like this. I realized that this is much closer to home than I thought, and that circumstances like this can happen to anyone.


During my Service, there was this boy who played for a pre-teen football team. When I first walked into the class, the teacher asked the kids if any of them wanted to go to La Salle, and no one answered. As class went on, I had to work with this child one on one, and he told me that he would do whatever he needs to, to get into La Salle. I found this child moving because he was beyond determined to get to La Salle. If he has that same determination with his studies, he will succeed, and overcome whatever life throws at him. 

LSA football

For these students and so many other Seniors their Christian Service experience opens their eyes to the needs of others and opens their hearts to the possibility of giving of themselves to those not blessed with the gifts they have been given.

Brother Frederick Mueller

More Than a Picture–A Memory

(Prayer offered by Emily Smith on the Public Address system for La Salle Academy on Tuesday, 12 November)

Good morning.

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

Friday night my mother and father came over my apartment for dinner. We were having just a lovely time, until, between bites of her chicken, my mother walked over to the bookshelf, lifted a frame, and only half-seriously accused, “Did you take this picture from a box in the attic?”


“Maybe. But you just leave them up there!” I replied. It’s true – most of the family photos live in the attic of my parents’ home. They lie haphazardly stacked and jumbled in cardboard boxes with the word “Pictures” scrawled across the flaps in permanent marker. And my mother is forever accusing me of stealing photos here and there to decorate my apartment. Sure, I’ve taken some…but it has only been to bring them out into the light. It has often frustrated me that the photos are there but seldom viewed save the few times a year someone drags a box down the ladder and flips through the moments of our family’s life. I never understood this until recently.

Last week at the pep rally, Mr. Tanski remarked that he wanted to bring his daughter to the game that night if it wasn’t too cold and she wasn’t too tired. He said, “I think these types of events are the things we remember from childhood.” I agree, in fact, there’s a photo somewhere in my family’s attic of my brother, Patrick and me – ages 6 and 8 – standing on the sidelines of a La Salle football field (back when it was literally just a field). I remember that day –  the air the contained the chill of the season and the warmth of chimney smoke, the zipper of my coat was continuously scratching my neck, and my brother, father and I tossed a football as the team played in the background. I hadn’t thought about that day in a long time, but when Mr. Tanski mentioned his daughter, I felt I was there all over again. That experience,and moments like it, are an integral part of who I am. This significance of family and the importance of spending time together are values my parents fostered in their children from a young age. This picture of my brother and me, and others like it – remind me of this.

There’s a solemnity that comes with some photographs – especially printed ones. There’s  a silence that comes with looking and contemplating and remembering.  The power in memory is that it reminds us of our foundation.

old photo

But not all pictures are significant and there’s a danger with putting too much emphasis on images. I fear that our culture has turned the function of photographs from memory-capturing into image crafting and self-advertising.  We are obsessed with taking and posting as many pictures as possible and, in doing so, we have lost the significance of moments. We are worried about other people seeing what we do and who we are with instead of actually spending time living.


My mother likes to keep her pictures closed, stacked and labeled. She doesn’t need to see them to know that they are there. I guess in this way, she is the Anti-Instagram Queen. And now that is something I admire. Family photos, to her, are for the family. And she wants to keep them as such – a comfort and reminder of the past.

I challenge us all – next time the temptation to post to Instagram creeps in, save that photo for yourself, print it and put it in your attic or your basement. It’ll mean more in the long run.

I won’t take pictures from boxes in the attic anymore – but I know the photos are there and I can go back to them whenever I want.

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father,

Help us to remember and continue to build our foundations. Guide us to create memories and moments that will sustain our futures. Grant us the wisdom to take the photos that matter.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Emily Smith (English teacher at La Salle Academy)

“The man who has two coats is to share with him who has none….”

(Prayer offered by Matt Daly on the Public Address system for the school on Thursday, 7 November 2013)

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

I was recently reminded of a Christian Service story that I thought was fitting for this morning.

It was about three years ago on a bitter cold winter Wednesday morning. Students were filing in to Campus Ministry, as was their habit, signing in, and lounging on the couches as they waited for their classmates. Conversation revolved around the weather, how long it took their cars to warm up that morning, and whether or not snow was in the forecast. Students were bundled up in fleeces and ski jackets, wool hats, scarves, and mittens at the ready. And then a young woman walked in with no jacket at all – just her school uniform, shirt untucked a bit. And like the music screeching to a halt in a movie, conversation stopped and everybody stared. “Dude, where’s your coat?” three people asked at once. “I don’t have one today,” she responded. The general reaction was a shrug and return to conversation. Some just said, “You’re crazy,” or “You’re going to freeze.” Concerned, we called the young lady into Mrs. Estes’ office for interrogation. She sat down and proceeded to tell us a story that was both horrible and beautiful.

She had been volunteering at Ella Risk Elementary School in Central Falls for four weeks at that time, and she had formed a nice relationship with some of the students. Towards the end of her time there every week, the teacher would let the class out for recess and the children would debate amongst themselves while they put on their coats who would get to play with our La Salle student first. And for four weeks, she would walk out the door and look back over her shoulder to see two of her students sit down quietly at their desk and put their heads down. It was the same two students every week. Finally, the previous week, she got up enough courage to ask the classroom teacher about the two students. The teacher told her about how every morning the two students would show up to school under-dressed for the weather. No coat or fleece, no wool hat or mittens. Just a long sleeve T-shirt and a pair of jeans or sweats. The teacher called home to find out that in both cases, the young children had winter coats but they were misplaced or lost or stolen and the parent didn’t have enough disposable income to purchase a new one. So, the two would sit inside each week during recess so they didn’t catch cold.


So sad! I remember how much fun recess used to be. But I don’t remember not having a coat. So we asked our student how this story related to her and her lack of a coat that morning. She told us that she wasn’t going to bring her coat for the remaining Wednesdays so when it came time for recess, the teacher would make her stay inside too. She wanted to make the students feel better, make them feel as if they didn’t stand out amongst their peers, be able to keep them company while their friends were outside playing. We sent her on her way, not worried that she would catch cold, but happy that she seemed to catch a bit of fire.

November is an important month to keep this story, this reality, in mind. Three weeks from today we celebrate Thanksgiving. The word, “Eucharist,” the weekly memorial meal we celebrate each Sunday, that word “Eucharist” actually means, literally, “Thanksgiving.” And in that meal we watch members of our church bring ordinary ingredients such as bread and wine to the altar where God receives the gift, transforms it into something extraordinary, and gives it back to us. Let’s use that approach as we participate in the events of this month. The money we bring in tomorrow that will go to provide a meal to a family in need this Thanksgiving, let that be the humble gift we bring to the altar and let God transform it into something extraordinary. The coat or fleece we bring in for our warm coat drive that will end up keeping a child or a homeless vet warm, let that be the small sacrifice we offer up to God.


And in true Eucharistic fashion, in the true spirit of Thanksgiving, let us be forever changed in the experience of sacrificing of ourselves for the salvation of the cold and the hungry.


Let us pray in the words of John the Baptist in Luke’s Gospel.

And the crowds were questioning him, saying, “Then what shall we do? If the Messiah is coming, how should we prepare?” And he would answer and say to them, “The man who has two coats is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.”


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

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Matthew Daly (director of Campus Ministry)

“Unless you change and become as little children…”

Amidst all the bad news surrounding sports one might be tempted to say that sports breeds selfishness, bullying, and a faulty ordering of priorities.  The recent story about Miami Dolphins’ Rich Incognito’s bullying of teammate Jonathan Martin is a tale of insensitivity, racism, and hateful use of media.



What makes the story all the more disturbing is that this bullying behavior had been going on since Incognito’s high school days  One wonders if anyone confronted him on his behavior.  What also makes the story disturbing is that some teammates and other NFL players, as well as others engaged in activities that turn their eyes from hazing and bullying, have tried to explain away Incognito’s behavior as “it helps to create team camaraderie,” or “it leads to male-bonding,” or “it helps to eliminate the weak.”

Enter a middle school football team!!  The actions of this mid-West group of middle-schoolers remind us that sports can be a positive within a community, sports can allow values to shine forth, sports can serve as a means of salvation (in De La Salle’s view of salvation as that fullness of life to which all are called!).

football team


Both for the young man allowed to score the touchdown and for his teammates, a football game was an occasion for them to affirm life, to make actions speak loudly about care and community, to be changed by choosing good over evil.

Those “mere” children can teach all of us a valuable lesson about sports and about life.  When we put the interests of others before our own we often find that we too are fulfilled in a way we had never thought possible.


 Brother Frederick Mueller