“So Friend, Look Up!”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 26 January 2016)

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

 “Moments

Have you ever had a moment
that seemed significant
but you don’t know why?
Like
Somehow the earth collaborated with the stars to make this moment possible?
Like
You’re talking to your husband of 10 years but you just met and he’s 10 years older than you..
Like
Everything you’ve ever done has led up to this moment
and
you don’t know why.

You’re not doing anything significant
just walking
or maybe talking
Or maybe doing whatever it is that you do every day at this time and nothing should be different but for some reason
It
Is.
Have you ever begun to question why it is that
this
Has never happened before?
Is there really something crazy happening?
Did the moon and the sun really converse and reschedule so that the lighting was just right to make you feel like you are glowing?
Or maybe you really are glowing.
Maybe the only reason you’ve never felt this before
is because you’ve never let yourself
Maybe you’ve never lived knowing that
Your life
Is
Significant.
That every time you do anything,
the world is affected.
When you smile,
You bring light into a place that’s never seen it.
When you laugh, you’re pouring out rays of sunshine that not even the sun himself can compete with.
And when you
look up,
And you see the way that the sky and the ocean are always locking eyes
You give wisdom
to a foolish world.

But when you look down
and you see the way that the earth longs to be set free,
Longs to be up where the sky is, or where the ocean is
–always flowing so swiftly–
You’re dimming your light
You’re dimming the world around you.

So friend
Look up!”

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Let us pray…

Heavenly Father, give us the Grace to live our lives with a positive attitude, one of love for ourselves and others. In dark times, help us to recognize and find comfort in your love. Open our eyes to the light and beauty around us instead of allowing our attention to be consumed by trivial, fleeting things. We ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts… Forever.

Driany Galvão (Class of 2017 and member of Voices Ink–student creative writing group) and Amanda Broccoli (English Teacher)

“You Did It for Me”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 13 January 2017—the 5th and final day of Haiti Solidarity Week)

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

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As we prepare to give our offering to the Hands Out For Haiti Campaign, let us listen to the words of Matthew’s Gospel:

Jesus says to his disciples: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.

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Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’

And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’

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Let us pray,
Jesus, our Lord and our brother, open our hearts today so that we might generously respond to the young people of Haiti who really are the least members of your family. Remind us that whatever we do for them, we do for you. Amen.

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Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Logan Lilgeberg–Class of 2017 & Captain of Boys’ Hockey Team

Making a Sacrifice—Who? Me?

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 14 January 2016)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

De La Salle and Poor
It is the winter of 1683-1684 and the high price of food and the harshness of Winter turned the city of Reims, France into a huge poor house of starving people. To the three newly-started schools of the Brothers and to the Brothers’ House on Rue Neuve the poor came in droves, adults and children alike, many of them close to starvation. None of them went away unprovided for. John Baptist de La Salle, the wealthy priest and reluctant founder of schools for poor boys, now lived with the handful of new Brothers. He had decided after much prayer and spiritual direction, to hand over his wealth so that he too would be poor like his Brothers. So the daily distribution of food went on until there was nothing left; and then, De La Salle himself had to beg for the bread he could no longer afford to buy.

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Flash forward to the winter of 2010, January 12th, and the devastating earthquake that flattened much of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, killing an estimated 316,000 people, leaving 2.0 million people homeless, and making orphans of hundreds of thousands of children. Like its Founder, Saint John Baptist de La Salle, the Lasallian World could not just stand-by and watch the suffering of people that they had so long served in Haiti. Through world-wide donations, including a substantial gift from the faculty, staff and students of this school, the educational and health needs of hundreds of young people and their families is being met by our brother school, the St. Jean Baptiste de La Salle School in Cazeau, a small town on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. Each January, since that initial gift, our community has donated about $10,000.00 annually through our Hands Out to Haiti Campaign—to help build the Health Center, to build athletic fields and provide athletic equipment, to purchase uniforms and books, and to provide tuition help to the now 521 youngsters being educated in Grades pre-K to 7.

schoolyard haiti

Unlike John Baptist de La Salle, we are not being asked tomorrow to give away all our wealth and to go out to beg for food. We put in our $5.00, get a chance to dress-down for the day, and go home tomorrow night to a good meal and a warm house—with all our toys (cars, I-pads, X-boxes, etc.) to keep us occupied.

However, I ask you to find a few minutes during the rest of this day and tonight to be quiet and to reflect. What if the earthquake or another natural or man-made disaster happened here in Rhode Island? How would we feel if we were deprived of everything we take so much for granted? Well, that is how De La Salle and the starving of Reims felt during that bitterly cold Winter and that is how the students of the St. Jean Baptiste de La Salle School felt following the earthquake! I would never wish that feeling or those disasters on anyone, but it is good from time to time to ask ourselves: what really counts, what is really important, when it comes down to it, what do I truly need?

Sacrifice-Mother-Teresa

Maybe, after some moments of reflection (if you dare), you might decide tomorrow to forego that Dunkin Donuts flavored coffee and bagel or that extra fries; maybe you might decide to skip the movie you are planning to go to over the weekend or to not buy the CD or DVD or Apple i-tunes you saved for with your Christmas money. Are those things REALLY necessary? Making a sacrifice is not something we hear about often. However, today I ask you to consider making a sacrifice, making a sacrifice like John Baptist de La Salle, making a sacrifice that hurts a little bit—making a sacrifice tomorrow when the envelope is passed in your classroom, as you sit comfortably in your dress-down clothes in a warm building. And as you consider this request, think about the young people of Cazeau, Haiti who are being clothed in school uniforms, and given medicine, and being taught because of the extra dollars that you contribute.

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They will not be able to thank you in person; but, believe me, your reward will be great when our loving and merciful Father welcomes you into his Kingdom, there to share eternal blessings with so many other generous Lasallians, like Saint John Baptist de La Salle. Jesus will say to you and me, as he did to his disciples on the Mount: “Come to me, you blessed of my Father—for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was without clothes and you gave me school uniforms, I was sick and you provided medication, I had no opportunity for education and you provided a school and you taught me.”

least-of-these

Let us pray,
Jesus, our Lord and our brother, open our hearts today and tomorrow so that we might generously respond to the young people of Haiti who really are the least of your brothers and sisters. Remind us that whatever we do for them, we do for you. Amen.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Brother Frederick Mueller

We Stand in Solidarity

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 13 January 2016)

 

(Mr. D) Let us remember we are in the Holy presence of g-d.

 Mikerlina Dragon, Charles Kerby

(Mr. D) Good morning. It is hard to believe, but it has been over six years since the devastating earthquake hit Haiti. As we mark the passage of time this week and silently, or openly, express gratitude for all the good we have in our lives, let us solemnly remember the almost 300,000 Haitian lives lost as a result of the earthquake. Let us also extend our thoughts and prayers to our Haitian brothers and sisters here at La Salle and in Rhode Island who have been directly hurt by this tragedy.

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(Marc) I grew up in small village in the north of Haiti called Cap Haitien. It wasn’t a busy town, but it wasn’t boring either. The houses were decent and we had a lot of family living close together. We lived a pretty good life, but we decided to immigrate to the United States when I was younger. When I went back to visit this summer, I felt strange about how some parts of Haiti were just like I remember when I was a kid before the earthquake and other parts were totally ruined. In a weird way, it felt like places here that have people living in poverty next to people who are doing ok.

 

(Marc) It’s important to know what is happening to Haiti because people are living in terrible houses with no access to running water, hot water, or toilets. I visited a place in Haiti, and the people were lucky because they did have land, but the house was so small and ruined with no doors. It’s easy for us not to think about this because we’ve never really experienced that or seen what it’s like. It’s weird for me too because I grew up in a middle class home just like many students here.

 

(Marc) I know that the media only talks about negative things and the destruction from the earthquake, and it was absolutely horrible. But I want to tell you that we are not a totally depressed people walking around defeated. Haitians are a proud people. We really value education. We spend a lot of time in community with family and friends.

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(Mr. D) Three years ago I had the privilege of being part of a Lasallian delegation that traveled to Haiti to witness the opening of our new Lasallian school in Port-au-Prince. Traveling around the city, what struck me the most was not the destruction from the quake and its aftermath, but the vitality, optimism, and joyfulness of everyday Haitians in the face of such chaos and danger. Amazingly, six years later, almost 90% of all Haitian children are in school receiving an education. One of those places is our school, College of St. John Baptist de La Salle.

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(Mr. D) Each and everyone of us, in fact, students, faculty, administration, and parents from all of our Lasallian schools in the District of Eastern North America should feel proud of the school we have helped to build in Port-au-Prince. Besides contributing to the design and construction of two solid 9.8 hurricane resistant buildings that house the Brothers and our grammar school, a women’s health center was recently finished that is run by local nuns and provides essential family health care and education to women who live in the neighboring tent slums.

 

(Marc) This Friday, we will once again have the opportunity to contribute to these projects with a Dress Down Day to raise funds that will directly pay for more students to attend the College of St. John Baptist de La Salle school in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. For this, I am grateful.

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(Marc) Let us pray,

Dear G-d, as we take a moment of silence and stand in solidarity with the people of Haiti, we thank you so much for all the love and support we have in our lives and for reminding us that in difficult times we are never alone.

 

(Mr. D) St. John Baptist De La Salle: Pray for us,

Live Jesus in our hearts: forever

Gregg DeMaria (Director of Academic Resource Center) and Marc Louis (Sophomore)

Small Decisions—Large Consequences

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system and intranet  for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 11 January 2016)

This week the La Salle community joins in a district-wide effort to raise awareness of the continued effort to re-build and strengthen the island nation of Haiti following the devastating earthquake of six years ago and to raise funds for the Lasallian World’s contribution to those efforts: The Saint Jean Baptist de La Salle School in Port-au-Prince.
As the week goes on we will hear more about this school and the Women and Children’s Health and Nutrition Center, both operated by our very own Christian Brothers. The week will culminate this Friday with a Dress Down Day. We ask for $5 to dress down, but we really do encourage you to give more – sacrifice a morning coffee or a piece of candy at lunch and donate it – your money will have a very real and very meaningful impact on our friends at De la Salle School in Port-au-Prince.

Let us pause and remember we are in God’s holy and loving presence.

Haiti is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and its people have wrestled with poverty since its conception in a successful Slave Revolt in 1791 that resulted in a new and independent country. The world stopped and took notice when the natural disaster struck six years ago, but all too often before and after the earthquake, the world has ignored the many man-made disasters that continue to contribute to the peoples’ suffering.

rice-field-haiti-1980-nicole-jean-louis

On the board in front of you is a painting “Rice Field Haiti 1980” by Haitian-American artist Nicole Jean-Louis. It depicts farmers in the Artibonite Valley growing the West African variety of rice grown in Haiti for over 200 years. For most of those years Haitian farmers grew rice to feed their families and sold the excess at market for a profit. An old proverb tells us: “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” Haiti was self-sufficient in rice and some other produce until the early 1990s. The country was poor – healthcare and education and infrastructure and industry were lacking, but the country could feed itself and enjoyed the sense of dignity that came with that reality. Unfortunately, this “ability to fish” changed 25 years ago by a man-made disaster that could have been prevented.

As President in the 1990s, Bill Clinton called for Haiti to eliminate tariffs on imported, subsidized U.S. rice, as part of a larger plan to free up trade in the hemisphere. This allowed cheap rice produced in the U.S. to be sold in Haiti, effectively putting rice farmers out of business. It not only undermined the existing food chain, but it also undermined a lot of the culture, the fabric of life, and the sense of self-determination that had existed. In an interview this summer, President Clinton said it was one of his biggest regrets. “It was a mistake. It was a mistake that I was a party to. I am not pointing the finger at anybody. I did that,” he said. “I have to live every day with the consequences of the lost capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people, because of what I did. Nobody else.” Yes, President Clinton has to live with the decision, but so do the farmers who lost their jobs. And their families. And the people of Haiti, who after the earthquake had to rely on donations instead of home-grown food.

Why do I bring this up? Because our decisions have impacts that can ripple through history. Decisions that touch people’s lives in both good and bad ways, with both intended and unintended consequences. Because it reminds us that the best and the brightest of a generation are fallible and often make mistakes. Because some of the biggest problems we face in the world today can be traced back to small decisions made people like you and me. Let’s join together for a week of prayer and action in just a small attempt to make things right.

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Let us pray.
Heavenly Father, bless the people of Haiti and especially the students and faculty of the St. Jean Baptist de La Salle school in Port-au-Prince. May that school and its students be granted a spirit of wisdom to clearly see a path towards a brighter tomorrow and the zeal to work tirelessly towards a new day.  AMEN.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Matt Daly–Director of Campus Ministry

Our Journey to Find Jesus

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 6 January 2016)

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

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany. John Baptist de La Salle wrote a special meditation about the adoration of the kings.

Magi 2

Most people focus on the following: “Recognize Jesus beneath the poor rags of the children whom you have to instruct; adore him in them. Love poverty, and honor the poor, following the example of the Magi for poverty ought to be dear to you, responsible as you are for the instruction of the poor. May faith lead you to do this with affection and zeal because these children are members of Jesus Christ. In this way this divine Savior will be pleased with you and you will find him because he always loved the poor and poverty.” (Med 96.3)

The Founder, ever the teacher, is urging the early Brothers to look past any defects in the kids they were teaching in the early gratuitous schools and love them anyway despite the number of times they may have had to make corrections to their behavior. During that time in France, the kids were probably dressed in literal rags, and as we know, the baby Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes, which certainly isn’t the beautiful baby stuff we see new moms get today. The lives of the early students were filled with chaos, lots of noise, little food, and harsh conditions. St. La Salle was reminding the teachers to look past bad behaviors to see the innocence underneath the Earthly.

Vautier After-Class

This is one of my favorite things that the Founder has ever written and I use it quite often in prayer with both adults and students. When we think about the earlier parts of the meditation, the Magi don’t just find the baby Jesus in the manger easily. They have to go on a difficult journey. They followed a star and ended up slightly off the path at Herod’s palace, which actually made sense because he was a king. They rejected Herod’s son in a silver cradle. They knew that the star was still guiding them on and kept following them to the correct place, which was ultimately the Savior of the world.

John Baptist de La Salle was a holy man before he began his work as the founder of the Christian Schools. As a young man, even though he is wealthy, he is met with tragedy at a young age when his parents die within a year of each other. Instead of doubting God, he continues with his studies to become a priest and get his doctorate in theology, never turning away from God.

This meditation is so powerful because this is the story of his true conversion to loving God through the poor. The Founder, like the rich young man, had always loved God. But it is only when he realizes that he could not possibly separate his love for God from his love for the poor, especially poor children, God’s most chosen ones, does he find his life’s most precious and fulfilling work. He makes his life not about his station in life, but becomes an agent for the salvation of souls through education.

We are all poor in some way, and there are wise men or women who journey with us today and every day to find Jesus in us. I think of the day I was hired as a teacher and someone recognized my worth, or the countless times I was given second chances by the girls who have called me coach over the years. As we travel today, let us see Jesus in each other and journey together toward conversion of hearts for salvation of everyone in our community here at La Salle.

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Let us pray.
Lord, teach me to be generous:
to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost;
to fight and not to heed the wounds;
to toil and not to seek to rest;
to labor and to ask for no reward
save that of knowing I do your will. Amen.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, Pray for Us
Our Lady, Queen of Peace, Pray for Us
Live Jesus in our Hearts, forever!

Margaret Naughton–Campus Minister