(Prayer offered on the school-wide intranet for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday, 31 March 2017)
Chicago Service Learning Trip Members and Faculty/Staff Chaperones–February Vacation 2017
(Prayer offered on the school-wide intranet for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday, 31 March 2017)
Chicago Service Learning Trip Members and Faculty/Staff Chaperones–February Vacation 2017
(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 30 March 2017)
Let us remember, that we are in the holy presence of God.
In my classroom there is a statue of the Blessed Mother Mary that I’ve had for a couple of decades that my students have probably seen. Sometimes when writing on the board, it falls off. One time when it fell about 10 years ago I looked at it and the hands were missing! I looked all over the floor and couldn’t find them. It struck me at that moment that I was getting a message from God and His Mother that my students and I were supposed to be those hands –doing God’s work in the world. I know that sounds corny, but I have definitely seen students acting as the hands of God’s work on Earth.
It’s evident in all of the service organizations, but one can also use any moment of any day to be God’s hands in the world. As it says in the 1st letter of Peter, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
A good example of this is a story that my son sent me about Je’rod Cherry, former safety for the Patriots. He happened to be at a youth event with his wife and saw a movie about an underprivileged boy who was on the verge of starvation and it struck him hard that he was throwing food away while children just like his own four were struggling to live. Je’rod had become a special-teams player for the Patriots in 2001, just in time to win three rings in four years and, ultimately, to show up at that conference and declare himself ready to do something useful with the most important ring to him – the 2001 ring. He had no clue he was walking into a day that would inspire him to raffle his ring to protect two dozen orphans in Thailand from the scourge of extreme poverty, drugs, sex trafficking and childhoods without an education, as well as helping other children in Kenya, as we are doing with the Rice Bowl.
None of us has a Super Bowl ring to donate, but we all get opportunities to do selfless acts and to do something really worthwhile in our lives. God guides us to be in just the right place at the right time- but we have to take the first step to agree to be the hands of Christ and His Mother, Mary, in the world.
Let us pray.
Lord, help us to feel the pain of those in poverty so that we can rise to a life of joy-filled, unselfish service. In Acts 20 vs. 35 it says “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak, and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Let’s get going-it’s time to lend our hands!
St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts, forever.
Leslie Martinelli–Science Teacher
(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 28 March 2017)
Let us remember that we are in the Holy Presence of a Loving God…
Your Word is a lamp to my feet, O God,
And a Light unto my path…
This verse from Sacred Scripture (a line from the longest psalm in the Bible, Psalm 119:105,) has resonated with me for quite some time and will serve as my theme for this morning’s prayer.
As we embark on this Lenten journey, I thought I would share how I am challenging myself to grow closer to Jesus during this Lenten season.
During February break I started to contemplate how I can grow closer to God this Lenten season. I knew I wanted to pray more, sin less, and do more for others, but I wasn’t sure how that would look. I stumbled upon an App called the Bible Project. I had used some videos from this ministry before when teaching Scripture classes but as I was exploring the website more in depth, I noticed that they offered a reading plan to read through the entire Bible in one year’s time. While this is a challenge that extends far beyond the 40 days of Lent, I thought it would be a great way to immerse myself in God’s Word every day. I experience God’s Word in Mass and certainly in our daily routine here at La Salle, but I wanted a way to connect with God more deeply and more intimately, through His Word, and this particular plan offered me a structured method to do so. I started this daily reading plan which incorporates short videos that are engaging and informative, a couple chapters to read, and one psalm each day upon which to meditate. I already feel a shift in my attitude and outlook. And after all, that’s what Lent is all about—a season to remind me of what’s truly important, my relationship with Jesus. God’s word is a lamp to my feet, reminding me to put one foot in front of the other, one day at a time, in loving trust of His plan for me. Throughout my life, God has demonstrated His boundless mercy, His unwavering faithfulness, and His amazing love for me. Spending time with Scripture each day reminds me of how blessed I truly am, and helps me to see the world from His perspective. God’s Word reminds me that just like God had a plan for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He also has a plan for me. Despite my limitations, flaws, and imperfections (of which there are plenty I can assure you), I am, as we all are, a part of something greater than ourselves, God’s story…And ultimately that’s what Sacred Scripture is, God’s story. And it is a love story. In my humble opinion, it is the greatest love story one could hope to be true. So while this particular Bible Project App and reading plan is something that is working for me, I pray and hope that you find a way that works for you to connect with God more deeply this Lenten season. God is not limited by space or time, so it is never too late (or too early for that matter) to take advantage of an opportunity like Lent to grow in our faith.
Let us pray…
Dear God, thank You for this Lenten opportunity that You provide us with to know You, to love You, and to serve You better.
Thank You for Your Church that gives us these Holy Seasons to prepare our hearts and our minds and our spirits, to receive Your abundant grace which you lavish upon us.
May Your Word guide our feet and light our path always, Amen.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever.
Anthony Russo–Member of the Campus Ministry team
(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday, 21 March 2017)
Let us remember we are in the holy presence of a loving God
Any person who knows me or was ever forced to spend anywhere from 3-7 minutes in my presence knows I sing and dance ALL the time. I’m not a good singer by any stretch of the imagination but I am very fascinated by lyrics and trying to decipher what they mean. My favorite singer is a man by the name of Ben Rector. I had not heard a single word about him until my sophomore year, when the alphabetizing gods aligned and Mr. Ricci unknowingly sat me next to my good friend Jared for World History class. After spending many days talking about Ben’s greatness, he suggested I go home and add him to my Spotify immediately. As I browsed his music, I came to a song titled “I like you.” It was in this song that I found the quote that now hangs above my bed. It reads, “Life is not the mountain tops, it’s the walking in between.”
And I know that this may seem like a simple message but to me it resonated more deeply. You see this quote will mean something exceptionally different for every person in this building. All of our mountain tops may be similar: graduations, birthdays, state championships. These are the “big” things in life, the ones we tend to remember and reflect on. We often spend so much of our time and energy focusing on these mountain tops that we forget all about the best part: the walking in between, the common day to day efforts that eventually lead us to our goals.
Seniors graduating this year, think of the people who helped you achieve your goals, your big things. Think about all the work, the perseverance and the joy that went into making it to the mountaintops. This is where the real beauty of it all lies. Every person needs a cause in order to produce any type of effect on the world. We all need a reason for being and I certainly have found that reason through La Salle and everything that I’ve learned here. Looking across the caf I’m taken aback by the things that people in this building have taught me, whether it be that you gave me an extra pencil (my loyal locker neighbors) or you gave me the best friendship I have ever had. So to those friends in homeroom listening right now, I want to thank you. I, like any human, tend to mess up a lot. If it weren’t for this messing up or the people helping me through it each day, each year then I certainly wouldn’t be where I am.
Those who helped likely forgot that they even did these things, or were so impactful. There are underclassmen who have taught me the importance of pancake art and spike ball. There are teachers who have stayed after with me, responded to my confusing emails and done everything in their power to make sure I reach my goals. These are the things I’m most thankful for.
I challenge each one of you to think of all the little, often overlooked things you cherish from a friend, teacher, family member or whoever has been there for you on a random Tuesday when you need it most. These are the people who will be there to see you walk across that stage and onto your next trail.
I also challenge you to think of the little ways in which you can help others reach their next mountain top. It is those who endure the walking in between with us that will stand proudly with us at the top of mountain and smile.
Let us Pray.
Lord, remind us to embrace even the most typical of days and encourage us to find the strength within ourselves and each other as we make our own respective journeys up the mountaintops. May the walking in between be ever so lovely.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us!
Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!
Abby Almonte–Class of 2017
(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 17 March 2017)
Justin: Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God…
Justin: If you know anything about Mrs. Weber, you know that she always likes to start class with a quote. So, it would only be fitting to begin today at La Salle the same way, with a quote from Saint Patrick.
Mrs. Weber: “I know for certain, that before I was humbled I was like a stone lying in deep mire, and he that is mighty came and in his mercy raised me up and, indeed, lifted me high up and placed me on top of the wall. And from there I ought to shout out in gratitude to the Lord for his great favors in this world and for ever, that the mind of man cannot measure.”
Justin: Let us pray. Dear Lord, may we always recognize, and give thanks for your presence in all that lifts us up, and allows us to see. May we see your light in others, and may we never forget that we can be the light that they see. May we feel you in someone’s smile, the sun that lights our days, the laughter of our friends, the feeling of family – in every sense of the word, in everything that your love enables us to know, and all that we cannot even imagine. Amen.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle….pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts….forever.
Jessica Weber–Spanish Teacher AND Justin Gervais–Class of 2018
(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 16 March 2017)
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of a loving God …
Take a second to think about your day yesterday. What did you do? (pause) Where did you go? (pause)
Yesterday after a few after-school errands with Mrs. da Silva, we drove home in our car and walked into our house. I sat down on our couch to relax for a few minutes after what seemed like a long and tiring day. Around 8 o’clock I ate my leftovers from a local restaurant – delicious short rib pie with potatoes and carrots. We watched a few episodes of a TV drama set in medieval England. After more episodes than I am proud to admit, I got ready for bed and drifted off to sleep with the sounds of our central heating system making noise as it heated the house. Does this routine sound familiar to you? I’ll bet that most of us had a similar afternoon and evening yesterday (hopefully with less Netflix binge-watching).
For the students, faculty, and staff of the Rongai Agricultural and Technical Secondary School, our twin school in Rongai, Kenya, however, that routine went a little differently. After an eight-hour day full of academics, including agricultural and manual skills-based classes, they set out for an hour or two in the fields to plow, seed, weed, and harvest as well as to care for their chickens, pigs, and cows. They then had two hours of free time to play sports and eat dinner before attending remedial classes for an hour and personal study time for an hour and a half. At 9:30 p.m. they gathered for prayer and then hit their net-covered bunk beds in their dorms at 10 p.m. As we speak, they are following the same routine right now. I’ll bet that very few, if any of us, could say that our day yesterday went anything like the day our brothers and sisters in Rongai experienced.
Although the “live off the land” nature of their lives may sound attractive, there are many aspects of their lives that do not. Most of the students of Rongai Agri and Tech School come from very poor and single-parent families. It is almost impossible for them to afford an education. Donations provide for scholarships, supplies, salaries, and much more. Currently, the school is in need of funds to repair the floor of the school, to buy new computers and classroom furniture, and to pay for a school bus to bring students to outside activities. For most of the students at our twin school in Rongai, Kenya, an education is their only way out of extreme poverty. And their only way to get an education is through generous donations of money and resources. This is where you come in …
All of the proceeds from tomorrow’s dress down day go to the Rongai Agricultural and Technical Secondary School. You are asked to make a minimum donation of $5, but please consider donating more to help our fellow Lasallians in Rongai, Kenya to thrive and not just survive. My challenge to you today and tomorrow is two-fold: Number one: donate what you can financially in homeroom tomorrow and Number two: really read the signs posted around the building today to give yourself some idea of what life in Kenya is like.
Let us pray …
Lord God, you have given us all that we have and call our own so that we can use it all for the good of those around us. We thank you for the great gift of our twin school in Rongai, Kenya. Inspire us to open our hearts to our fellow Lasallians in need and to contribute generously to tomorrow’s dress down day collection. Shower down your blessings upon the students, staff, and faculty of the Rongai Agricultural and Technical Secondary School and upon our community here at La Salle Academy. We ask these things through Christ the Lord. Amen.
St. John Baptist de La Salle … pray for us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts … forever.
Charles da Silva–Religion Teacher
(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday, 13 March 2017)
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
Anyone who has class with Mr. Tanski knows that he often offers a riddle as a bonus at the end of a quiz. He used a particular riddle that stuck with me. It goes like this, “I never was, am always to be. No one ever saw me, nor ever will. And yet I am the confidence of all who live and breathe on this terrestrial ball. What am I?” Give up? The answer is “tomorrow” or “the future.” Let me just repeat one part. “I am the confidence of all who live and breathe on this terrestrial ball. ” That part of the riddle made me think. We all really do put so much confidence into the future. We rely on the future.
It seems as though we are always preparing for something. We consume ourselves in the future, planning out our days and weeks, getting ready for tests and quizzes, college, dreaming about what will come to us in days that are not today.
Look around at everyone sitting in homeroom with you. These people, this classroom… This is a moment. There will never be another just like it. Take it in, because it’s already gone.
Moments are passing by us like speeding cars, and it’s rare that we notice it. In all of our stress about the future, we tend to forget about right now. There is no better time than right now to do the things we want to do: to better ourselves, to do something out of our comfort zones, to stop procrastinating. We all know that thinking and planning for the future is important. But in light of this, we have become so reliant on tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day. That can become an endless cycle. If we dream about tomorrow bringing great things and don’t do anything today to make them happen, we set ourselves up for disappointment, once we realize that we missed our chance yesterday. So, I challenge you to live in the moment today. Appreciate things now. Do things now. Because in reality, God gives us the present. What we do with it now becomes the future.
Let us pray.
Please give us the wisdom to recognize that every moment is a gift from you. We ask you for the motivation and courage to live each of our moments in your service. Amen.
St. John Baptist de La Salle, Pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts, Forever.
Carpe Diem, La Salle!
Katherine Kerr–Class of 2019
(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 9 March 2017)
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of a loving God.
As many of you know, yesterday was International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the achievements of women around the world and a day to call to mind all the work that is yet to be done. And of course, this week we mark Poverty Education Week at La Salle.
So this morning, I want you to think about a girl or woman that you love and respect—a friend, spouse, mom, sister, aunt, girlfriend, grandmother. As you hold this woman or girl in your mind and heart, I’d like you to consider these realities:
According to statistics released last year by the National Women’s Law Center, 42 million women in the US live in poverty (that is 1 out of every 3 American women) More than half of all poor children lived in female-headed families in 2015. And one out of every six women in the world is a victim of attempted rape in her lifetime. These women and girls are someone’s daughter, mother, sister, friend.
There are so many places in the world where it is just not safe to be a girl.
By now you’ve all heard the story of Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan—the young woman awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. A prophetic and persistent voice for girls’ education, Malala survived a gunshot and attack as she traveled home from school one afternoon in 2012.
But there are so many other stories, too numerous to mention here—of girls near and far sold into slavery and human trafficking, of female children arranged into marriages as young as 12 years old because their families cannot afford to feed them.
Until the day when ALL men and women live in the fullness that God intends for his children, there is much work to be done. Imagine the world we could all have if women everywhere were not held in the shackles of poverty, sexual violence, and discrimination. As the writer Audre Lorde reminded us, “I am not free while any woman is unfree.”
So what can you do? How can you treat the women and girls in your life with dignity and more respect? How do we speak of women? in our society? in our school? in our communities? in our locker rooms? Do we listen to songs or watch movies that degrade and diminish women? How do these lead us to treat the real women in our lives? The women and girls in my life—my mom, my aunts, and my own daughter Madeleine inspire me to speak out. I hope the girls in your life do the same.
Let us pray:
Jesus, our brother, friend, companion.
You treated the women in your company as people in their own right and there were so many women–
Mary Magdalen, Joanna, Peter’s mother in law, Jairus’ daughter, the woman at Bethany, Martha, the Samaritan woman, the widow of Nain, the woman bent in paralysis, the Syrophoenician woman, and so many of the unnamed ones.
We look to you as we ask forgiveness for the times we have hurt the women in our lives. And we look to you to make us strong, so that we can create a world safe for all of us.
St. John Baptist de La Salle: Pray for us
Live Jesus in our Hearts: Forever!
Christine Estes–Director of Campus Ministry
(Prayer offered on the school-wide intranet for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 8 March 2017)
Members of Best Buddies
(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 3 March 2017)
Let us remember that we are in God’s Holy Presence.
Two days ago in homeroom we took up a Rice Bowl collection for our twinned Lasallian school, the Rongai Agricultural & Technical Secondary School, located in Rongai, Kenya.
In our prayer today, I ask you to pray for the 400 boys enrolled there. The school was established 44 years ago by the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Most of the boys come from poor families. The low-cost tuition at the school allows them a quality formal education, educating their minds and hearts, and providing for their physical and spiritual salvation.
Take a close look at the boy in the image projected on your SMART Board. During a La Salle Service-Learning trip, Mrs. Martinelli took this picture in the Kibera slums—the second largest slum in the world, in KENYA. She didn’t learn the boy’s name, so I will simply refer to him as “Joseph.” Note the jacket and sweater Joseph is wearing. These are the only outer garments he owns, so he wore them year round, even though the temperature was in the 80’s on the day she took this photo. At the time, she guessed he was 8 years old. Today, if Joseph was lucky enough to secure one of the 400 spots in the Rongai La Salle school, he’d be an 8th-grader, preparing for high school.
This past month you probably saw some newly admitted students to La Salle shadowing; here we have approximately 365 spots in our freshmen class. At our Rongai sister school, there are only 90 spots available in Grade 9, and over 1,000 applications were received this year. Some of the monies that we will raise next Wednesday will help them repair and maintain classrooms, including the replacement of old student desks, chairs, and outdated computers. Many of the boys live and work at the school as they come from impoverished families, or in some cases, have no family at all. Their day may begin as early as 4:30 am with chores, and conclude as late as 10:00 pm. All of the students participate in sports and take part in community service. Some of the monies we raise in homeroom collections during Lent will be used for their sports program.
The school has a farm and produces all its own food. They also raise pigs, cows, poultry, and teach farm management skills. Some of the monies raised will buy new farm and carpentry tools and animal feed; and unfortunately, this year, they may need supplemental food due to many of their crops dying from drought.
Other Lasallian schools throughout the United States are paired up with needy schools throughout Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Eritrea. Our twin school partnerships bring together students on two continents, in solidarity as Lasallian brothers and sisters, to share our challenges, accomplishments and experiences. Five summers ago, students from La Salle Academy made a Service-Learning trip to Rongai with Mrs. Martinelli and our former school nurse, Mrs. Cindy Steger. Just think—maybe, some day, maybe when you are in college, you could personally share your gifts and blessings with some students from Africa, in Kenya, as some of our graduates have done. Please give generously in next Wednesday’s HR collection. From your surplus coins and dollar bills, we can help our sister school, which is trying to provide these young teenagers a Lasallian education. God bless you for your generosity.
Let us pray: Master of the universe, help us to remember that we are all made in your image and likeness, no matter where we live on your earth. As Christians and people of faith, help us to follow through on our social responsibilities to others. Holy Spirit, never let us forget that we are social beings in need of others—that we belong to each other, and that we must care for each other.
St. John Baptist de La Salle: pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts! Forever!
David Martinez–Religion Teacher