You Did It For Me

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 11 January 2019—fifth and final day of the “Hands Out for Haiti” Campaign)

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

As we high school students prepare to give our offering to the Hands Out For Haiti Campaign and as the middle school students reflect on the contribution they made yesterday, 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.

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.’

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.  During this Lasallian Jubilee Year as we celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the death of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, keep us ever mindful that as Lasallians we are all one in the heart of our Founder, in the life of our Founder, and in his commitment to service of the least among us.  Amen.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Kyle Chelo—Class of 2020 (Member of the La Salle Academy Boys’ Hockey Team)

Make a Sacrifice?—-Who? Me?

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 10 January 2019—4th day of the “Hands Out for Haiti” Campaign)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

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

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.

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 additional classroom space, to build athletic fields and provide athletic equipment, to purchase uniforms and books, to buy a van for transportation, and to provide tuition help to the now 700 youngsters being educated in Grades pre-K to 10.

Unlike John Baptist de La Salle, we are not being asked today (for the De La Salle Middle School) or tomorrow (for the high school) 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 tonight or tomorrow night to a good meal and a warm house—with all our toys (cars, I-pads, I-phones, 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, and when it comes down to it, what do I truly need?

Maybe, after some moments of reflection, you might decide today or tomorrow to forego that Dunkin Donuts flavored coffee and bagel or those 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 this morning or tomorrow morning 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 uniforms, and given medicine, and being taught because of the extra dollars that you contribute.

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 books and teachers and taught me.”

As we continue our celebration of the 300th Anniversary of the Death of our Founder, Saint John Baptist de La Salle, let us honor him not just by words or by pictures with 300th Anniversary signs but by imitating his generous heart, his self-less life of giving, and his commitment to be of service to the least, the last, and the lost.

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, the last and the lost 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, FSC

Haiti–Its Faithful and Friendly People

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 8 January 2019–2nd Day of the “Hands Out for Haiti” Campaign)

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

Good morning.

My name is Idylla Louis and I graduated from La Salle in 2015.  I am here to give you a look into what the island of Haiti is like and the beauty that some have the opportunity to experience.  Both my parents were born in Haiti.

When flying over the island preparing to land, you see the beautiful mountains and lush trees.  When you land, you are hit with warmth that can only be found on the wonderful island.  At the airport, you are greeted by smiles and the music of Haitian troubadours.  This prepares you for what’s to come on the island if you allow yourself to be immersed into our culture and our people.

Although Haiti is an economically underdeveloped nation, Haiti’s identity is much more than that.  We are a country with a rich history and a diverse group of people.  I am proud to call it my home.  If you have the opportunity and time, I encourage you to visit, to take the time to get to know its landscape and its people.

Let us pray:

God, thank you the beautiful country of Haiti, for its faithful and friendly people.  As a Lasallian family connected around the globe, we remember that the children who attend our Lasallian school in Haiti are our brothers and sisters.  This week, during Haiti Solidarity Week, we pray that we may give generously, knowing that education changes lives, provides hope, and gives people options out of poverty.

St. John Baptist de La Salle: Pray for us

Live Jesus in our Hearts: Forever!

Idylla Louis–Class of 2015