Peace Without Limits

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 21 September 2017–the 1st day of the month-long International Lasallian Days of Prayer for Peace)

Let Us Remember We are In the Holy Presence of a Loving God…

Happy First Day of International Lasallian Days for Peace. For those of you who are not familiar, this is a month long peace awareness project that calls upon Lasallian schools worldwide to participate in. As Lasallians, we will be fostering peace in our world through prayer, study, and action beginning today, September 21st (the United Nations – sanctioned International Day of Peace) and ending on October 21st.

This year’s theme is “Peace Without Limits.” What does this mean?

When I think about a tangible thing that does not have a limit, I think of a circle. What about a circle is so special? Well, you cannot find a beginning or an end. There is no fine line where the circle starts or ends. This is what peace should be in our own lives. There should be no border, no boundary, no restriction and no limits.

Personally I find inner peace by creating mandalas, otherwise known as a sacred circle. They allow me to find my center and it truly brings me peace of mind as I allow my creativity to flow.

In cultures around the world, we can see various sacred circles upon which cultures foster their faith. If you look at the floor outside Campus Ministry, you can see a labyrinth, a sacred circle that allows people to walk to find healing, soul assignments, and self- knowledge. Buddhist Monks work days creating sacred circles with sand in which the pray over each grain of sand, to then brush away as a display that nothing remains forever. The Irish culture has the Celtic knot in which no end and no beginning can be found. The Native Americans have dream catchers which they believe have no end and beginning because death is a part of life and a spirit lives on. And there are so many more.

Now it is our turn!! What does La Salle Academy, Providence RI’s sacred circle look like? How do we foster peace right here at 612 Academy Avenue?

Each homeroom has received a brightly colored square with 1/4th of a circle. It will be your job to create part of our La Salle Academy mandala (OUR sacred circle). How do you see Our community fostering peace? What does peace look like to you? What action can WE take as a community to be peacemakers in the world we live in?

Together we are going to collaborate as a Lasallian community to display our values, morals, and mission through a Mandala. Let your creativity juices flow and have fun as a homeroom displaying what your peace of mind looks like.

Let Us Pray,

In the words of Monsignor Gregory Ramkissoon, the founder of Mustard Seed Community…

“There certainly seems to be a lot of turmoil in our world today. Many people are suffering from the effects of natural disasters and human conflicts; or the fear of terror and violence; of the loneliness of abandonment and displacement. Yet in spite of this, the word of God is alive and active, ever present and always at work through each of us. As we have seen in recent events, we need only to activate the unconditional love of God, already dwelling within us to make a difference in the lives of others. Let us continue to help each other move beyond turmoil to lasting peace, by allowing God’s Word to guide our every thought, word and action.”

“We pray for a peace that will make us whole and transform us into ambassadors of justice for Your sake. Lord, give us Your peace!” (DENA Prayer)

St. John Baptist de La Salle – PRAY FOR US

Live Jesus in Our Hearts – FOREVER!

Katie Haidemenos–Campus Minister and Young Lasallian

To Glorify the Lord By Our Lives

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 19 September 2017)

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

After our La Salle mass last week, Fr.  Woodhouse said, “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.” What does that mean?

First, the declaration is that we go peacefully. St. Francis de Sales said, “Do not lose your inner peace for anything, even if your whole world seems upset.” This can be very challenging some days especially during times of sorrow or crisis, but the second part tells us how to relieve the sorrow- by living a life that glorifies the Lord. That’s a tall order -to live in imitation of Christ- even though we know as Christians, that’s what we’re called to do. I think young people are great at this.

Our La Salle and De La Salle students do wonderful outreach for those most in need. And the key is the joy they show whenever they’re reaching out to those who struggle. It would not be glorifying the Lord if giving alms were done by people who were grumbling about it, so they do it with smiles. By our good works we give light to those who walk in darkness. This is what Christ did for us by dying on the cross and continues to do for us every day especially when we are fragile and weak from trials. Remember the Footprints prayer- that at our saddest and most troublesome times of life the Lord carries us in His arms.

And since God chooses the weak and humble ones of the world to do His most important work, we must never let an opportunity pass where we could help someone else in need. It could be the person close to you or someone you don’t know living across the globe. We must let our light shine so that others may send the love we’ve shown to them out to others in the world- which is the only way we’ll get true peace.

In Matthew, chapter 5, we hear, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Let us pray.

Lord, you have given us everything that we need and never leave us alone; give us the grace today and all days to work for our neighbor and spread our lights in the darkness so that we may “glorify the Lord by our life.”

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.

Live, Jesus in our hearts, forever.

Leslie Martinelli–Science Teacher

Help Us To Forgive

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

Good morning, La Salle!

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

In the Gospel reading at Mass yesterday, we heard Jesus speak about forgiveness. At the start of the passage, Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered him, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” Jesus then went on to tell a parable about a king who, out of compassion, forgave his servant a large debt. That servant, having just been forgiven, then turned around and demanded repayment of a much smaller debt from one of his fellow servants, refusing to show him the compassion that he had just received.

Unfortunately, more often than we might like to admit, it seems you and I act a lot like that unforgiving servant. Of all the commands that Jesus gives His disciples, it seems that forgiveness may be the one that gives us the most trouble. Indeed, Jesus commands us to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and to visit the imprisoned. And though we often fall well short of fulfilling these commands, we can see the good in them. We can see the suffering of the hungry woman in the soup kitchen, the ill-clothed homeless man in the dead of winter, the sick woman in the nursing home.

Far more difficult, however, is seeing the wounds in those who sin against us. The man who cuts us off on 95 because he’s late again and can’t afford to lose his job. The colleague who slips up and says the wrong thing because she was up late with a sick child. The classmate who ridicules us in front of his friends, because it seems like the only way he can get their attention.

It is as if, when we are hurt, we bear the invisible weight of human sin and frailty going back to our first parents; that when they ate the forbidden fruit, they planted a seed that has spread its roots all the way from the Korean peninsula to the Persian Gulf, from Charlottesville to Twitter, and into our own living rooms. And we, you and I, are forced to bear the weight of one another’s transgressions so that, slowly, this tree might be uprooted. A difficult task, no doubt. And one that certainly bears more consideration than a brief morning reflection.

But lest we think ours is a God who cannot sympathize with us, let us remember that man who bore this very tree of sin through the streets of Jerusalem. A man who, when He was finally nailed to that tree and raised up for all to see, turned to His Father and said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, please help us to forgive. Although it may take years, or even a lifetime, when we are so deeply wounded, please help us to find encouragement in the example of Your Son and guidance in the words of a loving soul. And please forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Amen.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Brian Bennett–Religion Teacher

“Christ Has No Body Now But Yours”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 8 September 2017–Help Houston Day)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

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

 

In the Gospels we read the account of the disciples being tossed about on the stormy lake with Jesus nowhere in sight.  It is dark, the winds are howling, and the disciples cower in fear in the back of their small fishing boat.  All of a sudden they see what they think is a ghost approaching them on the water, and they cry out in even greater terror.  Peter jumps out of the boat to approach this ghost that identifies itself as Jesus; but, as soon as the strong winds buffet Peter he loses his courage, he loses his faith and begins to sink beneath the waves.  Jesus reaches his hands out to him, leads him back to the safety of the boat, and the storm subsides.

Two weeks ago today on the Gulf Coast of Texas a mighty storm, Hurricane Harvey, brought destructive winds, enormous storm surge, and torrential rains to millions of people in Texas and Louisiana.  People cowered in fear on the second floors of their homes as the waters rose; some people ventured to their rooftops, their courage ebbing, yelling for help as their neighborhoods became lakes.  In the midst of this chaos and destruction, Dr. Stephen Kimmel, a pediatric surgeon and a graduate of La Salle Academy (Class of 1981) ventured out in the dark at the height of the storm in a canoe to paddle to a nearby hospital where a 16 year old young man needed emergency surgery.  Dr. Kimmel performed the successful surgery—yes, through his hands holding a paddle and a scalpel, Jesus reached out to that young man and saved him.

Matt Maloney, a La Salle grad (Class of 2005), an all-state athlete, a teacher at Saint Michael’s Academy in Austin, Texas, and the brother of Mrs. Megan Maloney Carey of our faculty, joined with his fellow members of the Texas Search and Rescue Team and went into the face of danger in Port Aransas, Texas, to save people both by amphibious vehicle and by boat—yes, through his strong hands and arms, Jesus reached out and saved many.

Three high school students from Strake Jesuit in Houston, a school much life our own, took their boat through their neighborhood to rescue those who were cut off from the rest of the world; and, workers in a Mexican bakery surrounded by flood waters and unable to escape did not cower in fear—they baked 2 tons of bread to feed the homeless in the shelters of Houston.  Through the hands of those high students and the hands of those bakers, Jesus reached out to those in need.

I have no doubt that were such a catastrophe to occur here in RI (God forbid!) members of the La Salle Academy community would find ways to reach out to those needing assistance, much as Dr. Kimmel and Matt Maloney, our fellow Lasallians, did.  Being 1,500 miles away from Houston should not stop us from being the hands of Jesus that reach out to our brothers and sisters in Texas and Louisiana, people who are desperate for assistance and still are fearful about their future, people like the Lasallian Sisters of Vietnam (a group of religious women associated with the De La Salle Christian Brothers) whose convent, chapel, and educational center serving Vietnamese children in Houston were completely destroyed.

This morning we too are invited to allow our hands to be the hands of Jesus.  We use our hands today to reach deeply into our pockets and pocketbooks to give not only the minimum donation but to go above and beyond that, as Dr. Kimmel and Matt Maloney did.  Through our hands and our sharing some young people in Houston might be able to get clothes to wear to school when they start in a few weeks; through our hands and our sharing some families might be provided a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving in a shelter because they have no home to return to; through our hands and our sharing some kids might get gifts for Christmas to have a little joy as they live as displaced persons; through our hands and our sharing the Lasallian Sisters might be able to re-open their educational center.  Through our hands and our sharing, we allow Jesus’ hands to reach out to save the thousands drowning in desperation and hopelessness.

And, after we have given, we use our hands in another way, clasping them in prayer that God might look with favor on our brothers and sisters in Texas and Louisiana and now in the Caribbean islands and soon in Florida as they face the devastation of Hurricane Irma.

So, let us pray now in the words of Saint Teresa of Avila:

“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”  AMEN.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC

What Inspires You?

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

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

What inspires you?

There are many things that can provide inspiration: Witnessing individuals or groups of people accomplish great things, even a seemingly small random act of kindness, a majestic sunset, a beautiful piece of art, a song that speaks to you, an individual who strives to overcome adversity, all of these and other inspirational experiences seem to strike to our very core. There seems to be something inside of us that yearns to be inspired. When inspired we seem to work toward becoming the very best version of ourselves with an extra dose of enthusiasm and energy.

So I ask again, what, or who, inspires you?

I want to share two experiences of inspiration I have had during the past week.

Watching the news a few short nights ago, I saw a story about Bert Ramon. Ramon is a Houston police officer who has helped to rescue over 1,500 people over the last week in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Ramon also happens to be undergoing treatment for his stage 4 colon cancer. His positive attitude and selfless action in the face of personal and national adversity, really touched me. Ramon said himself that he is hoping his story will inspire others and witnessing Bert’s courage certainly inspires me to to be a better person, to minimize my complaints and negativity, and to strive to be a man for others no matter the circumstances.

Over the long weekend, our children were gathering their school supplies and trying on their first day of school outfits. When our Gracie’s dress didn’t fit, my wife took her to find an outfit that did. Not too long after they had left, I received a text from my wife telling me that they had driven by a man who was homeless and Gracie was in tears because she wanted so badly to help that man. They ended up bringing him a meal and making his day a little bit brighter. I was so touched by the compassion demonstrated by Grace. Like any other 9 year old diva, she can certainly be a handful at times, but she has a heart for others and showed me in that simple action of mercy what it means to have a heart like Jesus.

I am inspired every day. I am blessed with an amazing wife who is constantly putting our family’s needs before her own in big ways and small. I have two children who awe me with their genuine goodness and love. I get to work with amazing colleagues who inspire me with their endless supply of kindness and generosity. I am privileged to work with young people who inspire me with their multitude of gifts and talents.

Inspiring others always involves some level of sacrifice—sacrificing one’s time and talent to make someone else’s day a little brighter. Let us continue to inspire one another this year. We all have gifts and talents to share and with God’s grace working in and through us, we can provide the inspiration that others are yearning for.

Who can you inspire today?

Let us pray,

Holy Spirit, we ask that You inspire our thoughts and our actions this day and every day. Open our hearts, our minds, and our eyes to see the inspiration all around us.

In moments of doubt and discouragement, inspire us to rise above adversity.

Lord Jesus, we continue to pray for all those affected by the hurricane in Houston and we pray for all those who may be impacted by Hurricane Irma. Comfort all those in need, and continue to raise up heroes to inspire those in despair.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Anthony Russo–Campus Minister

 

Life Is Hard

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday, 5 September 2017)

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

At the beginning of any new undertaking, spirits are high, expectations are higher and life is grand! Whether it be the start of a new theatrical season, a new sports season, a new school year, a new job, or even a new life as a newly married couple, or a new life with a newborn baby, the high can be exhilarating! But as some many of us discover, the grand beginning, the “high” of a new life can be laid low….FAST! For some this reality can be made apparent; not doing well in an audition, suffering an early defeat for a team, or an injury to a key performer – like Julian Edelman for the Patriots. These “downs” can bring even the strongest among us… crashing down. And what a crash it can be.

Life for all of us is HARD! There are highs and lows, good times and hard times, times when we feel like we can conquer the world, times when it’s a struggle to get out of bed in the morning. There are times when school is going great, and times when everything is going wrong, times when everybody is your friend and times when nobody knows your name.

Up and down, up and down, up and down. And no YouTube video can bring you out of it, no funny cat video, no instagramming with friends, nothing.

 

Perseverance and faith are virtues that ALL of us must pray to possess to deal with the ups and downs of this life. Just like all theatrical seasons, sports seasons, school years, new courses, jobs and marriages, babies, persevering and trusting in all those scary “downs” are essential to finishing the ride. Sometimes I find most sinister about our current culture is the illusion painted that life can be one big HIGH. Funny shows, cool songs, entertainment, entertainment, entertainment paint that picture EVERY DAY. But it’s not real.

Life is hard. Life is a roller coaster, no matter our best attempts to control it. What is needed MOST is a realization of this fact; and perseverance and trust to get us through those ever dreaded down times.

Let us pray:

Almighty God,

We come to you with a heavy heart for Houston and all those communities affected by this storm. While it’s tempting to ask you “Why did this happen?”, we humbly submit to your will and instead ask, Lord, for you to be a beacon of hope among the wreckage.

Grant safety to the men, women, and little children navigating the dangerous flood waters. Strengthen local the citizenry as they provide shelter and aid for their communities. Specifically, give wisdom and present resources to workers to provide for the physical needs of those who have lost homes, precious belongings, and are possibly separated from their loved ones. Give them courage to minister to the spiritual needs as well.

No doubt considerable fear and anxiety haunt those in affected areas. Grant unshakable peace and rid this storm’s victims of the spirit of fear. Show us all how to respond to the needs of those struggling with frustration and fear, that we may serve you well through your son Jesus Christ.

Guide us Lord as we attempt to help the victims of this hurricane from afar by our efforts this coming Friday as we celebrate Maroon and White Day in the High School and Blue Day in the Middle School.   Help direct the funds we raise to help alleviate some of the stress in Texas.  AMEN.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Donald Kavanagh

“Get Up Because You Are Too Old To Sleep”

Reflection offered to faculty and staff at the Opening of School Retreat (Monday, 28 August 2017)

When asked if I would situate the theme of our retreat in a Lasallian context, I readily volunteered.  I figure that after 46 years of getting up for school (a greater length of time than many of you have been on this earth) I had better know what gets me going, keeps me going, gives me energy, and enlivens my ministry.  You may have heard the story about the person badgered by his mother to get out of bed and go to school with her attempts and his hemming and hawing until finally the mother said: “Wake up, son, it’s time to go to school.” “But why, Mom?  I don’t want to go.” “Give me two reasons why you don’t want to go.”  “Well, the kids hate me for one and the teachers hate me also.”  “Oh that’s no reason not to go to school.  Come on now and get ready!” “Give me two reasons why I should go to school!”  “Well, for one you are 52 years old.  And for the other you are the Principal!”

Hopefully, something more than our position as teacher, counselor, administrator, coach, staff person motivates us to face the school day.  For John Baptist de La Salle the forces that motivated him were faith and zeal—and he set these as the Spirit of the Institute, thus our spirit as Lasallians.  He considered faith as the gift of seeing all things through the eyes of God, that is, viewing ourselves, our colleagues, our students, our world as good, of worth, lovable.  And the consequence of that faith is acting with zeal, with burning love, with passionate dedication.  For De La Salle and for us Lasallians, we are inspired by faith in the loving God AND we zealously act upon God’s call to us.  To see and to act—faith and zeal!

So upon rising, as I shave, I have prayed for more than 35 years e.e.cummings’ poem “I thank you god.”

 

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

At 69 years of age I am indeed grateful for another day of life, and the gift of another day comes with the challenge to live the day with ears awake and eyes opened.  Ears awake and eyes opened to hear and see God present in all the events of the day—from a colleague’s complaint or request for prayer to a student’s angry outburst or expression of gratitude.

This is what gets me going and keeps me going; this is what gives me energy.

Let me conclude with a short passage sent to me a few months ago by the Brother who was my Assistant Novice Director 52 years ago, now in his late 80’s.  It is an excerpt from Making all things new by Ilia Delio: “Get up because you are too old to be asleep, lest you die in your sleep and the world dies of neglect.  Grow up because it is time to move on.  The world is begging for new and more abundant life.  The life of the world is your life, and your life belongs to the whole of life.  Stop trying to preserve yourself; lose yourself in something more than yourself because you have the power to christify life, to help unify it, to raise it to a new level….”  I hope he sent this to me as an affirmation and not because I can’t get out of bed!  This is Lasallian zeal—this is our Lasallian birthright—to lose ourselves in the salvation of young people, just as De La Salle did, because we believe, we have faith that what we do each day does count!

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever.

Brother Frederick C. Mueller, FSC

How Is Your Heart Today?

A Reflection for the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Friday, 23 June 2017)

(The following was a prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday, June 4, 2009)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

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

Tomorrow is the First Friday of June.  I am not sure how many of you know that on each First Friday of the month a good number of faculty and staff members sign up to spend time in the Meditation Chapel of Campus Ministry during their free period to pray for the school community.  During the hours of the school day there will always be a person there praying for the rest of us!!  This practice is part of a long tradition in the Catholic Church of perpetual adoration on First Friday—a day dedicated to the Sacred Heart.  Now you might be saying—why are we honoring a part of the body as holy and sacred?  The Sacred Heart is the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  You may have seen a statue or a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (maybe in your home or in your grandparents’ home or in your parish church)—often the picture is of Jesus from the waist up with one hand pointing to or touching his heart which is outside of his clothes and is wounded or pierced and surrounded by a crown of thorns.  The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a reminder of God’s great love for us—“God so loved the world that He gave His only Son”—and Jesus’ great love for us—“Greater love than this has no person that one lay down one’s life for a friend.”  And Jesus did lay down his life for us—for each of us—Scripture telling us that after his death on the cross one of the Roman soldiers pierced his side with a lance, pierced his heart to make sure he was dead, and immediately blood and water flowed out.  Jesus gave his last ounce of blood for us.  It is that heart so filled with love that we remember and honor on First Friday’s and indeed, in a special way, during the month of June which is dedicated to the Sacred Heart (as November is dedicated to the Holy Souls and May is dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth).

 

The heart we see depicted in the pictures and statues might look like a Valentine’s Day heart or the cartoon heart that pounds and flutters to depict a budding romance; however, the heart of Jesus is far different from the sentimental, sugary, saccharine sweet heart of commercialism and pop culture.  It is a heart of expansiveness, a heart of courage, a heart wounded but still welcoming.  And it is this heart that we are challenged to make our own.  Each day we Lasallians pray that Jesus live in our hearts forever—we pray that the heart of Jesus come to life in our hearts, that the heart of Jesus become our heart.  Now that is a challenge!!

How expansive, how open is our heart?  Do I welcome the stranger, the outcast, the classmate who is different?  Or am I closed-hearted, letting in only those like me?  Do I allow my heart-strings to be tugged or am I so hard-hearted that I reject anyone or anything that might deeply touch me?  I know that many of you Seniors opened your hearts to those you served in Christian Service.  I know that those of you who went to Jamaica opened your hearts to the young people at Mustard Seed—your reflections clearly indicate that.  Will I, will you, open our hearts today and allow them to be tugged on or will we close them off—make them  hearts of stone, impenetrable, unable to be wounded?

How courageous is our heart?  When the lion in the Wizard of Oz sought a heart he was looking for courage.  Am I willing to stand up for what I believe?  Am I willing to be a leader in my group and put an end to rumors, scandalous talk, bullying, etc.?  Or am I weak-hearted and faint-hearted, afraid to say or do anything that might call attention to me?  Am I lion-hearted and a brave-heart or am I chicken-hearted and a cowardly heart?

How willing am I to allow my heart to be wounded?  A sign that we are alive is that we suffer heartache and even suffer heart-break.  If our heart does not ache after a heart-breaking loss (as last week in the lacrosse or baseball games) or after a poor performance in our school work, then our heart was never in it—it was not important enough.  Heart ache measures the strength that we desire something or want something or love something or someone.  One need only experience the loss of a close family member through death or the loss of a friend through moving away or the loss of someone we love because our paths move in different directions (as will happen over the next week of so with our Seniors and those of us who have come to care deeply for them)—one need only experience that to know that hearts can break and hearts can ache.  Yet, it is in the very woundedness of our hearts that we can become stronger and welcome another dream, another challenge, another person to love.  The heart grows stronger when we live through the wounds that inevitably come in life, when we welcome them as part of life, when we welcome them as gift.

So, how is your heart today? Expansive and open, courageous, willing to be wounded for the sake of something or someone you love dearly?  Will Jesus find in your heart, in my heart, a resting place today for his Sacred Heart?

Let me suggest that tomorrow you make some time to visit the Meditation Chapel of Campus Ministry during part of a free period or during part of lunch.  Be quiet, check your heart beat and see if the Heart of Jesus is beating within you.  Pray for the school community, pray for your classmates, pray for the Seniors who will be experiencing some heart ache, if not heart break, over the next week as they leave a place they have called home to venture into places they do not yet know.  And pray that they have an enjoyable and safe Prom tomorrow night.

 

Let us pray: Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love.  Have mercy on us!  Heart of Jesus, source of all life and love.  Have mercy on us!  Heart of Jesus, patient and most merciful.  Have mercy on us!  Heart of Jesus, make our hearts like yours—full of life and love, holy and pleasing in God’s sight.  AMEN.

 

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

May the Heart of Jesus live in our hearts…Forever.

Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC

Have Faith in How Far You Can Go

(Student Address delivered at the Commencement Exercises of La Salle Academy on Thursday evening, 8 June 2017)

Your Excellency, Bishop ­­­Evans; Brother Thomas; Mr. Kavanagh; Representatives of the Diocese and the Brothers of the Christian Schools; Members of the Board; Faculty; Alumni; Parents; Guests; and fellow members of the graduating Class of 2017.

Everything we’ve worked for the past four years has led to this very moment. A moment where we take time to reflect on what an incredible journey it has been. It’s a lot to absorb. If it’s too intense, just pause, and think about Mr. McGinn’s basketball skills from beyond the three point line.

It takes a lot of courage to send an email of yourself shooting an air ball to a class of 326 students. But that captures what our dean represents. Humility, humor, and so many other virtues. That’s Mr. McGinn. Someone not afraid to sing karaoke at the Christmas movie night, nor someone afraid to walk around during every lunch and ask if everyone’s “hangin’ in.” He was a dean who, during a class assembly in the theater or the auditorium, could transition so effectively from the crux of a serious message to calling out an unsuspecting student about dress code in the back row. He deserved the video our class made of 100 reasons why we love him. And so with the acknowledgement of one of our strongest mentors, role models, and leaders over the past four years, let’s now move to our class- what this class has done, what this class will do, and what this class’ legacy will be.

Here at La Salle, our mascot is the ram. And I think that the ram is so appropriate to describe our class and our journey. For example, there were times when we butted heads. We butted heads with each other, our teachers, our parents, and even ourselves. But all the hardships we faced were a necessary part of high school. Hardships ranging from growing up, to changing relationships, to resisting an increasingly materialistic culture, to frustration about schoolwork, to difficult losses on the athletic field, to waking up to that same blaring alarm on a cold morning that only an iced coffee from La Salle Bakery could fix.

But after every hardship we faced as a class — we bounced back like the Patriots in the second half of Superbowl 51. The times when we butted heads with each other, our teachers, our parents, and our alarm clocks didn’t stop us from climbing the tallest of mountains. What defined this class was doing more than 8:30 – 2:30 every day. Every single person in this class found something they cared about at the Academy both during and outside of classes…they found a place where they were happiest. This class achieved extraordinary feats in the classroom, was involved in clubs, won countless state championships, put on successful plays, performed in distinguished concerts, showed wild school spirit, and served our community.

As rams, the difficult terrain we navigated didn’t stop us from keeping a resilient sense of humor and positivity. It didn’t stop us from dancing on top of lunch tables, having tailgates before a big game, or just laughing with friends until our stomachs hurt. As seniors, we’ve enjoyed a senior-only parking day, movie nights, a dodgeball tournament, and free Palagis during lunch. And throughout these four years we’ve learned to be comfortable with one another. It’s clear we came a long way since awkwardly singing the La Salle fight song in bright yellow t-shirts with Mr. Finnegan during a sunny freshman orientation.

Every individual in our class is just that-an individual. Over the past four years, we have met and interacted with people who come from unimaginably different backgrounds and cultures. And at La Salle we are encouraged to celebrate that diversity-that diversity of thought, culture, and religion. But paradoxically while we’re all different, while we’re all individuals, we’re also all the same because La Salle is something bigger than all of us individually. As members of the La Salle Academy Class of 2017 we represent the classes that came before us, and pave the way for every class that will come after us. Together, we pay tribute to our identity as a Catholic school which executes the vision of St. John Baptist de La Salle-to unite men and women of diverse backgrounds in the pursuit of faith, service, and community.

Our journey up this mountain of high school allowed us to fulfill the essence of our collective Lasallian mission. Just like rams sacrificed in the Old Testament, we were called over these past four years to be, and continue to be, living sacrifices for those who need us most in our community through our service. As a class we have touched the lives of others in our local community through Lasallian Youth and Christian service, our national community through service trips, and our international Lasallian community through partnership with our sister school in Rongai, Kenya.

The world needs young men and women like us.

And in such tumultuous times, the world needs us more than ever. Today is the day we stop to take in the incredible view we have worked to achieve and to give thanks for each other and every person that helped get us here. As rams we look back at the mountain we just climbed. We remember the beautiful moments when we stayed up long nights talking with a friend, performing in a play, winning a state championship, acing a test we worked for, attending mass together, making a difference for others in our community through service, taking senior privilege, or one of my personal favorites, getting a call the night before a snowstorm at 7 o’clock sharp with a friendly “Good Evening. This is Mr. Kavanagh calling from La Salle Academy.”

But we also remember the less glamorous moments-frantically trying to submit an essay on Google classroom 10 minutes before midnight, cramming late into the night for an exam the next day, or matters more serious like getting in a fight with a close friend, or losing loved ones.

But let’s not be complacent with our achievements, nor dwell on the hardships of the past. We look back, but we also look ahead to the sprawling landscape ahead of us, and marvel at all the other mountains in the distance yet to be explored and conquered. But we won’t just stand here and take in the view. In the words of a beloved teacher at La Salle I’ve had, “Take pride in how far you have come, but likewise have faith in how far you can go.”

Let’s not underestimate ourselves.

No matter where we go after this point- whether we go to college, take a year off, start a business, serve in the military or the Peace Corps, pursue a religious vocation, work to provide for family, whatever we do- Let’s strive to learn more, to achieve more, and to serve more, each and every day. That’s what we’re capable of, and that’s what La Salle calls every one of us to do now and forever.

But I’m not worried about our class- a class that’s been defined by doing whatever it takes to make it happen instead of just taking in the view. So in the same zealous spirit with which we have approached these past four years, congratulations to us, the La Salle Academy Senior Class of 2017.

Alexander P. Philips–Alumnus, Class of 2017