“You Did It For Me”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 12 January 2018—the 5th and final day of Haiti Solidarity Week)

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

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As we prepare to give our offering to the Hands Out For Haiti Campaign on the 8th anniversary of the earthquake, 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.

Ryan Schwender–Class of 2018; Co-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, 11 January 2018—Day 4 of Haiti Solidarity Week)

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 additional classroom space, to build athletic fields and provide athletic equipment, to purchase uniforms and books, to hire native Haitian teachers of English, and to provide tuition help to the now 645 youngsters being educated in Grades pre-K to 9.

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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?

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Maybe, after some moments of reflection (if you dare), you might decide 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 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.”

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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

HAITI–Rich in Happiness and Joy

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 10 January 2018–3rd day of Haiti Solidarity Week)

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

What is the first thing you think about when you hear the word Haiti? The Caribbean? The major earthquake in 2010? Hurricane Matthew? How it is a poor third world country? Yes, these facts are all true, but what most people don’t know is the fact that it is the first black independent nation in the world and has a strong culture, beautiful beaches, amazing food, and bright and beautiful people. I traveled to Haiti this past summer and I experienced so much. I got to experience the fine beaches with the crystal clear water that allows you to see the ocean floor and aquatic life, the soft white sand and tall coconut trees The horizon can be seen at a very distance as well as the fleet of sailboats taxiing merchants from one end to the other.  It is common to have troubadour players drumming Haitian ballads at the beach.  It will not be a complete picture if I don’t put emphasis on the various delicious seafood dishes whose fresh smell is very enticing.   The popular grilled conch served with fried plantains,  with a side of onions, tomatoes, lettuce and slices of juicy avocado are to die for.   

What truly amazes me to this day is the joy the children had making kites out of broken pieces of wood, string, and black plastic bags. I got to witness what truly makes Haiti a beautiful country: its people. The friendly people who greet you with a smile, the people willing to help who ever in need, the people who know they have less and make the best out of each day.  This is what truly makes Haiti beautiful. Though Haiti itself is a poor country, the people are rich in happiness and joy.

Let us pray:

God of all people,

This morning we pray for the people of Haiti.

Although they lack material wealth, there is much we can learn from their joy and their simplicity.

And help us all to work together so that all your children can enjoy the abundance this world has to offer.  Amen.

 

St. John Baptist de La Salle: Pray for Us.

Live Jesus in our Hearts: Forever!

Sara Gedeon–Class of 2018

One Lasallian Can Change the World

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 9 January 2018—the 2nd day of Haiti Solidarity Week)

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

Every weekday morning, in the Cazeau neighbor of Port au Prince, Haiti the roosters crow to welcome the rising sun over the mountains that surround the city while students and their families arrive to the gates of College de Saint Jean Baptist de La Salle. By the time the school bell rings to begin the day, over 650 students line up according to grade in their neatly pressed white and blue uniforms and they too begin their day with prayer, “Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.”

Over 300 years ago, our Founder, Saint John Baptist de La Salle realized the transformative power of education. Being well educated himself, he was fully aware that to give a child, a young person, an adult the gift of an education was to unleash human potential—the potential to transform a person, a family, a neighborhood, a community, a society and yes, a nation.

That is why, after the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010 the Brothers of the Christian Schools along with an Order of Sisters from Argentina, fondly referred to as the “Blue Nuns” because of their blue colored habits, began the project of building a school and a health and nutrition educational clinic in this section of Port au Prince, Haiti. What were once barren fields welcomed a small endeavor and what began with one building is now a thriving educational compound with 5 buildings that include a wing for pre-kindergarten classrooms, a main building for Kindergarten-8 grade classrooms, a new building for the developing secondary school, the Health and Nutrition educational center and the Brothers’ residence. It is a source of great hope in this neighborhood and a source of great hope for the future of the students who attend, indeed for the future of Haiti.

Permit me to share with you a story or two. Within walking distance to the school is an orphanage, New Life orphanage. It is supported by a Protestant denomination and the Director, a woman named Miriam, hails from Newtown, CT. One day, when I was visiting the orphanage she told me the story of how after the earthquake the number of children in the orphanage doubled within 72 hours. One of the concerns that was keeping her up at night with worry was the thought of how were all the children, especially those newly orphaned by the earthquake, going to receive an education? These children had arrived at her orphanage from all over the Port au Prince area with little or no information about themselves. It was clear to Miriam that many of them had not attended school before the earthquake and the ones who had received a minimal education at best.

Then one day Brother Nicholas, a Brother from the school community who was in charge of overseeing the construction of the first school building and the Health and Nutrition center visited the orphanage to tell Miriam about a new school that was being built within walking distance. When Miriam explained that she had children who should be in third or fourth grade but they had never learned to read or write, she shared “what Brother said next were miracle words, his words answered my constant prayer.” She continued, “Brother replied in response to my concern, don’t worry, we will take the students where they are at, regardless of age and steadily bring them up to grade level so they can successfully continue their studies with us.” Miriam’s eyes were filled with tears as she expressed her gratitude to all who made this possible.

You helped to make this possible…by your support and generosity throughout these past years- you have given the miracle of education to hundreds of young boys and girls and by extension their families. You have given them hope and the possibility of a brighter future.

Last spring when I was visiting the school, I attended the seventh grade English language class. Remember: for most of the students their first language is Creole and then French. Therefore, learning English would be their third language! The students were very interested in hearing about the Lasallian schools in the United States. They had many questions about your school day and what you are studying and the various sports and co-curricular activities you have here at La Salle. One young man raised his hand and said “whenever you can please let the Lasallian students know how grateful we are for all they are doing to help us receive an education. We are so proud to be part of the Lasallian family and we work very hard in our studies, please tell them thank you.”  So let me now say “thank you.”

Right now, this morning at the school, there are 15 Lasallians from La Salle University on a service immersion trip. They are engaged in tutoring students, organizing art classes and coordinating athletic activities. There is also a delegation of nurses from La Salle University who are working with the Sisters at the clinic to provide basic health care to the students, their families and those in need from the neighborhood. Let us keep them in our prayers.

By your generosity over the years you and other Lasallians have assisted in providing classroom resources, computers, an English teacher, the construction of new classrooms, sports equipment, a van for school transportation and an incredible transformation of the school’s aquifer into clean drinking water for the school and the neighborhood-just to mention a few items.

There is a famous quote from the young Nobel peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai “one child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”

Permit me to add, one Lasallian caring for one Lasallian can change the world as well.

So on behalf of Brother Dennis Lee, Visitor of the District of Eastern North America, Brother Lanes, Principal of College de Saint Jean Baptist de La Salle School and especially the students and their families: Thank you, to each of you for being that one Lasallian changing the world…together.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us

Live Jesus in our hearts forever.

Maryann Donohue-Lynch–Associate Executive Director, Office for Mission and Ministry (District of Eastern North America)

A Fresh Start in 2018

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 3 January 2018)

Good Morning

Let us remember that we are in the Holy Presence of a Loving God.

At this time of year we often reflect on the past year and plan for the coming year.  We make resolutions to improve – lose weight, improve relationships, work harder to earn better grades, and more.  Yet our resolutions are often forgotten in the hectic pace of maintaining our existing lives.  Our intentions are pure but good intentions not acted upon have no long-term effect in our lives.

2018 can be our best year ever OR it can be a year of mediocrity and regret.  The world is not a beacon of caring and kindness today.  Praise and encouragement are in short supply not only in our daily lives at school but in our homes and our communities.  People do a lot of things right.  Validating others’ efforts and accomplishments costs us a few words and a few minutes and makes a tremendous positive impact on others.  Demeaning, discounting, or dismissing others does not build a strong community nor does it build trust and respect among our fellow Lasallians.

Each of us has the opportunity for a fresh start right now.  How are you going to take advantage of this opportunity?  I’ve got some ideas, some suggestions.  First, ground yourself in well-being and service.   You can’t be of service to anyone without feeling vibrant and strong.  Fuel your best self with healthy food.  Lean proteins, fruits and vegetables at every meal can help build your physical, emotional and spiritual health.  Make service to others your priority.  Clarify your servant purpose writing down how your actions and decisions improve others’ quality of life.  Write down your values, the principles you hold dear and add behaviors that insure that when you demonstrate those behaviors you’re living your service values.

Second, surround yourself with those who support your purpose and values and challenge you to align to them every day.  We need a community of values with aligned people who share our values, who struggle along with us to live our purpose, and who call us on our mistakes when we miss the mark.

Third, invest time and energy every day in service and grace.  Defining your purpose and values is one thing, but acting on them daily is a bit harder.  Don’t just look for opportunities to serve, act on them.  Engage with others.  Praise their aligned behaviors.  Give credit. Validate efforts.  Thank people every day.

The amazing thing about demonstrating service to others is that our own needs become secondary but are often fulfilled because our actions to serve others brings us peace and significance.

Our opportunities for a fresh start come around not just once a year but every single morning.  How will you serve others with grace today?

Adapted from:  S. Chris Edmonds – Speaker, Author, Executive Consultant

Let us Pray:

You are Christian only so long as you look forward to a new world, so long as you constantly pose critical questions to the community you live in, so long as you emphasize the need of conversion both for yourself and for the world, so long as you in no way let yourself become established in a situation of seeming calm, so long as you stay unsatisfied with the status quo and keep saying that a new world is yet to come.  You are Christian only when you believe that you have a role to play in the realization of this new reality, and when you urge everyone you meet with a holy unrest to make haste so that the promise might soon be fulfilled.  So long as you live as a Christian you keep looking for a new order, a new structure, a new life.  Happy New Year!

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Donald Kavanagh—Principal

Glad Tidings to the Poor

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 18 December 2017)

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

As we began the third week of Advent, we read in the book of Isaiah:

God has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners.

This passage is quite powerful especially if you think of it in relation to how our founder reflects on Saint Nicholas.  Saint John Baptist de La Salle wrote of Saint Nicholas long before the legend of Santa Claus spread across the United States.  He describes Saint Nicholas’s love of the poor and he specifically writes of four young people that Saint Nicholas encountered who were enslaved, treated as captives and prisoners.  Through great personal sacrifice Saint Nicholas freed each prisoner from their captivity, he helped to heal their broken hearts, and through his devotion to God brought glad tidings to the poor.

In my God is the joy of my soul; for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation and wrapped me in a mantle of justice.

In today’s Gospel of Matthew we are reminded that Joseph is visited by an Angel of the Lord in his dreams and commanded to name Mary’s Son Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.

The Gospel of Matthew reminds us that the birth of Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy :

They shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.”

Glad tidings in deed, that God is traveling this journey with us.

Today and tomorrow as we celebrate Christmas within our Lasallian community be mindful that God is with us, present in every person we encounter.

Let Us Pray,

God, we beg of you, to lead us on the way to heaven by the path you have traced out for us. Help us to embrace the perfection of your state that you have brought us into. Help us remember you have always and will always desire that we find in it the way and the means to be sanctified.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for Us.

Live Jesus in Our Hearts…Forever.

Mark Carty–Social Studies Teacher

Bless Our Waiting

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 14 December 2017)

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

Have you ever been consumed by waiting? You know the kind of waiting that persists, where time stands still and silent no matter what you do?   Maybe you feel this way as you wait for the start of Christmas break?

To date, my most profound experience with waiting was when my husband was deployed to the Middle East as a major in the Army Reserves in 2006.  He was stationed there for fourteen months.  We had two young children at the time and each day during these fourteen months seemed an eternity.  Normal tasks like grocery shopping or doing laundry were drudgery.  Even more difficult were the “big days,”  our wedding anniversary, my daughter’s first birthday, Christmas.  Thank goodness we had plenty of family support and eventually one day became one month.  And soon, we strung months together to arrive at fourteen months.

I’ll never forget the day of my husband’s homecoming—seeing him arrive in the gate at the airport, the sight of my two toddlers clinging to their dad’s legs.  The months that followed were marked by wonder, awe, appreciation.  Just being able to sit, have a conversation or share a meal with my husband felt like such a blessing,  It was as if we were given a brand new beginning.

This Advent and every Advent, we are called to this kind of holy waiting.  In return for this, we are promised God’s unconditional love in the most surprising, most irrational of all places…..a poor crib.  After the wait, comes the promise of grace.  After the longing, comes the beauty of seeing the world anew.

In the Advent words of the prophet Isaiah, “the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all the people will see it together.” (40: 5)  In that day, “the wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat,” “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord,” and “a little child shall lead them.”

Let us pray:

Dear God, source of all goodness, bless our waiting.  Give us pause amid the frantic pace so that we may really see in unexpected people and places.  Give us new eyes.

This Christmas, as we fix our eyes on the baby Jesus and the holy family, help us to see all the holy families in our midst.

We pray all of this in the name of your son, and our brother, Jesus.  Amen.

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

Christine Estes–Director of Campus Ministry

Lasallian Virtues—Habits of the Heart

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday, 13 December 2017)

Let us remember that we are in the Holy Presence of God.

Each semester in our Christian vocation classes, we ask our seniors to write an essay that describes an individual teacher, coach, or fellow classmate that really demonstrates one or more of the 12 Lasallian virtues.  Virtues are simply good habits that build one’s own character while also serving the needs of others.  This semester, one of our senior students interpreted the assignment in a unique way and I would like to share some of that essay with you now.

She begins…

“In my mind, being Lasallian is not embodied by one person, but by the entire community of La Salle.  There are individuals who make La Salle great, but I think that as a whole, the true identity of La Salle is reflected really clearly.  A couple of times a year, the entire school gathers for Mass.  Even though the student body can be rowdy and loud at times, during Mass the whole student body gathers and feels a sense of togetherness.  Each person feels a sense of dignity and belonging as they stand in the crowd with hundreds of other Lasallians who share similar ideals. The environment of a Mass is never compromised and even though it is often held in a field house or on a football field, I still feel like I am at a Mass where people are respectful.

The quiet dignity of Mass is replaced at football games with the prudence of the Beehive.  Even though there are hundreds of students cheering on the football team and tailgating, the Beehive is a respected cheering section at games.  I have been at countless football games over my four years at La Salle.  Never once have I seen an official of the game come up to the fan section and kick someone out or yell at them for unsportsmanlike conduct.  Prudence can be defined as the ability to control one’s actions.  As an avid fan, it is not always easy to control one’s emotions during a game.  Sometimes during a difficult play or quarter, it is easier to just lash out against the other team instead of cheering for our own team.  I have witnessed the Beehive handle these situations with prudence.  Students are able to control and present themselves in a manner that can be respected not only by other fans, but by the players on the football teams and parents.  It is clear to me that those who come to the games are trying to help the team do better while having a good time.  

Finally, the La Salle community shows vigilance at lunches.  One definition of this virtue is “the action or state of keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties.”  High school lunches are often stereotyped as the worst part of the day for those who are not lucky enough to have a large group of friends.  The only time I ever saw someone sitting alone at a La Salle lunch was this year.  One sophomore was unlucky enough to have senior lunch and had no one to sit with.  Within five seconds of her sitting alone, a group of seniors asked her to sit at their table, and they became friends.  Lasallians look out for one another, and have the best interests of everyone at heart.  This vigilance is shown especially in the lunchroom, but also around the school when someone drops their books and someone helps pick them up or when someone holds the door open for another.

Overall, being a Lasallian means having a faith that guides you to help and respect others.  La Salle is able to foster these virtues because of the leaders and teachers who set positive examples and live these virtues in their own lives.  It would be easy for someone to crack a joke in the middle of Mass, start booing the opposing team, or allow someone to sit alone in the lunchroom, but at La Salle it is not about taking the easy way.  It is about taking the way that will lift the community up instead of just one person.”

 

Let us pray…

As we continue to prepare for the birth of our Savior, let us also strive to develop these habits of the heart, i.e. virtues, that build our own character while building up our community as well.

And in the Christmas spirit of humility and generosity, let us continue to be gifts to one another all year round.

 

Saint John Baptist de la Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Anthony Russo–Campus Minister

The Meaning of Giving and Receiving

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 12 December 2017)

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

Growing up going to a Catholic school, with a Protestant mother, and a Jewish father, religion was always questionable.  As Hanukkah approaches, beginning this evening, I began to think about what I know Hanukkah to be. Before I really understood what religion was, I just thought I was lucky because I got more presents than my friends did during the holidays because I celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah.  Thinking back, I remember the days when my brothers and I would gather around our menorah, arguing over who got to light the candles, playing dreidel, eating latkes, listening to our dad recite the prayers, and waiting until we were old enough to say them ourselves.

I now know that Hanukkah, which means dedication, and is also called the Festival of Lights, is not just “extra presents,” but a commemoration of the rededication of the Holy Temple.  After being forced out of the Holy Land by Syrian-Greeks,  Judah the Maccabee led a band of Jews to drive the Greeks from Israel and reclaim their Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Upon defeating one of the world’s mightiest armies, the Jews went on to light the Menorah in the temple.  When they arrived however, they found only one cruse of oil that would last one day.  Miraculously, this oil burned for 8 days, long enough until new oil could be purified.  Because of this miracle, Hanukkah is celebrated for 8 nights by lighting the candles of a menorah and reciting prayers.  Each night, an additional candle is lit using the shamash, or the candle used to light the other candles. Three prayers are recited while the candles are being lighted, the first being: Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah.  This translates to “Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us, to light the lights of Hanukkah.”

Understanding the story of why we celebrate Hanukkah, among other stories, helped me to clarify some of my confusion about religion.  Because of the understanding which I now have, I am able to see presents not as presents, but spiritual gifts that I have received from God as a result of the actions of my ancestors before me.

Let us pray . . .

Lord, please help us to see past materialistic objects and understand the true meaning of giving and receiving this holiday season.  During this holiday season, may we grow in our awareness of other faiths, remembering that You are the Father of all and that we are your children.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Jacob Eberson–Class of 2021

What Are You Doing With Your Talents?

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 6 December 2017)

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

One of my favorite parables come from Matthew 25. In this parable a master gives 3 servants talents (a type of currency or money). To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. After a while, the master went to settle his accounts with his 3 servants. The servant who received 5 talents doubled his money and finished with 10. The servant who started with 2 doubled his as well. Both were given the same reward.

But, the man who was only given one talent buried his talent in the ground. Unlike the other servants, this third servant was unable to turn a profit with his one talent.

One of the most overlooked lessons of this story teaches us that we are not all created equally. We know this from reading the second half of verse fifteen: the master gives to each servant talents, “…each according to his ability.” The master understood that the one-talent servant was not capable of producing as much as the five-talent servant.

We want to protest this as unfair. Yet we know this is true from our own experience. Diversity is woven into the fabric of creation.

Think about it; some of us are better athletes than others. Some of us are better artists than others. Even school comes more naturally to some than it does to others.

Think about these important aspects of your life whether it’s school, sports, etc. Did God give you five talents, one talent, or maybe something in between?

Reflecting back on my athletic career, I probably came into high school as a two talent athlete. At 6’2 I was woefully undersized to play middle blocker on the volleyball team. I wasn’t naturally quick, agile, and my vertical was pedestrian at best. So what did I have to do? I worked out literally everyday after school pushing myself to be faster and jump higher. Eventually I would find myself on a college roster. I was at a small college in the middle  of nowhere, but I was on a team nonetheless. My youngest brother on the other hand was always the best athlete on every team he played on: football, baseball, volleyball, it didn’t matter. Eventually, he settled on playing  volleyball and of course made the top flight club teams, and got to compete at the Junior Olympic National Championships for volleyball. At 6’5 was plenty tall enough to have college coaches sending letters and emails every day. I was so jealous because he NEVER really had to work that hard to be good. It just came naturally to him. He was naturally blessed as a 5 talent athlete.

Even though I didn’t have all the natural abilities of my younger brother, or even some of my teammates who also went on  to play D1 volleyball, I would say that I doubled my talents, and I was rewarded.

You see, even though we’re not created equal in regard to the talents we’re given, there is equality found in the Parable of the Talents. It comes from the fact that it takes just as much work for the five-talent servant to produce five more talents as it does the two-talent servant to produce two more talents.

This is why the reward given by the master is the same. The master measures success by degrees of effort, as should we.

So, my question to you is how many talents did God bless you with? Maybe it’s one, maybe it’s 5. But most importantly, what are you doing with your time here at La Salle to double that number?

Let us pray,

Dear Lord ,help us to recognize our talents including our areas of strengths and weaknesses. Allow us to use our time wisely at La Salle to invest in ourselves to multiply the blessings you have given us.

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

Nik Wojciechowski–Social Studies Teacher