(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 12 October 2018)
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen!
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
Yesterday the universal Catholic Church celebrated the feast day of Pope Saint John XXIII. Referred to popularly as “Good” Pope John, he is best known for convening in the early 1960’s the 2nd Vatican Council, an event that continues to have a profound impact on the Catholic Church and the world. However, less well-known about Pope John, Angelo Roncalli before his election as pope, is that for most of his life he was a Vatican diplomat whose warmth and charming personality led him to some of the most challenging assignments—Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey in the years leading up to and including World War II, a position that enabled him to save thousands of Jewish refugees, and France during the last years of the war and post-war years. It was here in these countries that he met and befriended the Brothers of the Christian Schools who recognized his assistance to them in their mission of education by awarding him a letter of affiliation to their Institute.
A letter of affiliation is a very special and formal recognition extended by the Institute, through the Superior General and his Council, to those persons who have supported the Brothers in their work, not only through their service, but also through their professional, personal and fraternal relationship with them. These individuals who identify with and show an appreciation of Lasallian spirituality over a long period of time and who have assisted the Institute in its Mission become honorary members of the Institute, Affiliated members, who may now use the initials AFSC (Affiliated Brother of the Christian Schools) after their name.
Tomorrow at a Mass and ceremony here at La Salle, our principal, Mr. Donald Kavanagh, will join this select group of Affiliated Brothers, like Pope Saint John XXIII and like our own Math teacher Mr. Michael McNamara.
Mr. Kavanagh once wrote that, from his days as a student here at La Salle, “I was never without an identity as a ‘La Salle boy’.” In his years since that time he has served the Lasallian Mission for some 40 years, all but 10 of those years here as a teacher, coach, Senior Dean, Assistant Principal for Student Life, and Principal since the year 2000. As a Lasallian he has championed those values that we associate with a Lasallian identity: faith, service, community.
His service is self-evident, not only because of the amount of time he has given to the Lasallian Mission, but more especially because of the quality of that service, be it reaching out to the marginalized through his championing of programs for those who need special help or being present to students and faculty in times of need. Mr. Kavanagh is a man who recognizes the importance of creating a community of learners and teachers—with an open door policy and with his presence at almost all student and faculty events. He is also a man who has incorporated Lasallian spirituality into his own personal spirituality. In his own words: “Our spirituality of recalling that we are in the presence of God not only illuminates the reality which exists but also gives us hope in the reality that is coming. Mindful that we live in God’s presence gives us the ability to be teachers who plant the seed of God, to be sowers without demanding the benefit of reaping. It gives us the ability to be women and men of hope who keep telling the story of God….Our Lasallian spirituality means tuning-in to the nearness of God, the same nearness of God in which Jesus lived and worked….To live in God’s presence means to grasp the never-returning moment, to be wholly one with ourselves, and to be ready to bear the cross of the present.”
We Brothers are honored to call Mr. Kavanagh a “Brother” and we at La Salle are graced to be the recipient of his long-term commitment to the Lasallian Mission and to each of us. When you see Mr. Kavanagh today, be sure to congratulate him on this honor, but more especially thank him for the life of faith, service and community he has shared and continues to share with us.
Let us pray:
We use the words of our Brother Superior General and his Council in Rome that can be found on the decree to be given tomorrow to Mr. Kavanagh: “May the Lord, in his goodness, confirm this Affiliation and, through the intercession of St. John Baptist de La Salle, shower you with his blessings.” Amen.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.
Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC