They Are Our Brothers and Sisters

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 17 November 2017)

Good Morning!

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

This Sunday is the First World Day of the Poor as established by Pope Francis. All week we have been focusing on instances where we see God in the marginalized. Today, I’m asking you to remember those who have to stand in line at soup kitchens to get enough food to eat and those who have to go each day to find a place to sleep at night at shelters. Who are “these people”? They’re just like you and I. Many years ago I was fortunate enough to do a Lasallian Social Justice week on homelessness in San Francisco. The first day we stood in line with those waiting at a soup kitchen to get food. To my surprise, there were teenagers in line, one who had a stack of books she had just gotten at the local library. There were elderly people like your grandparents, men in business suits, and families with little children. The little children brought tears to my eyes as I thought on a time when my own children were young and if they had had to go to a soup kitchen to get food, how that would’ve made me feel. The gospel asks us to not only give out of our surplus, but to give from our want. Think of all of the money that we waste in a week and if we could just sacrifice one trip to get a drink or sweet, what that would mean collectively to the soup kitchens and shelters. They could give a little more to those waiting in line and to allow second helpings for the little child who says they’re still hungry!

So, on Tuesday, for our Thanksgiving Dress Down Day, please be generous. Give not only the $5, but perhaps there’s a little more that we can sacrifice for those most in need. Let’s listen to the words of Pope Francis:

Let us Pray.

“I invite the whole Church, and men and women of good will everywhere, to turn their gaze on this day to all those who stretch out their hands and plead for our help and solidarity.  They are our brothers and sisters, created and loved by the one Heavenly Father. This Day is meant, above all, to encourage believers to react against a culture of discard and waste, and to embrace the culture of encounterso that we can become an even greater sign of Christ’s charity for the least and those most in need.” –Pope Francis

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

Live, Jesus, in our hearts, forever.

Leslie Martinelli–Science Teacher and Co-Moderator of Social Concerns Committee

I Am Lasallian

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 16 November 2017)

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

Good morning! My name is Karen Clements and I am a teacher at The San Miguel School.  Thank you for inviting me to join with you today in prayer. As a member of the La Salle Academy class of 2003, I have to say that it feels good to be back home with “family.”  Now some of you already know me, either as your sister, your friend, your colleague, your former classmate, or perhaps your former student and to the San Miguel alum out there, you know me as your 5th grade teacher.  However, to the majority of you, we’ve never met. So why is it then that I say we’re “family”?

A few years back, one of my students at San Miguel wrote an essay entitled, “What it Means to be Lasallian.” Although he was only 11 years old at the time, his words inspired me in the way I think about our Lasallian family. In his essay he wrote, “I am Lasallian. I am a part of the Lasallian family. I am loved, supported, valued, cared for and I belong. To be Lasallian means to do whatever it takes to help others in need. I receive so much at San Miguel and I’m grateful. Now it’s my turn to pay it forward.”

My Lasallian journey began as a student at La Salle in 1999, and now, 18 years later, I am a teacher at a neighboring Lasallian school.  Throughout these years, I have had the privilege to witness the power of the Lasallian family.

One of my favorite times of the week is on Wednesday mornings when students from La Salle, who are completing their Christian Service course, join my 5th graders and me in our classroom.  These seniors act as my assistant teachers. I love having the extra set of hands in my classroom, but more than that I love to watch the bonds that develop over the course of about 6 weeks.  Earlier this year, at San Miguel, we had a special prayer service in celebration of International Lasallian Days for Peace. At this prayer service students created “peace rocks.” On each rock they wrote a peaceful quote or positive message. These rocks now circulate around our school as ways to support one another in times of need. At this prayer service, our Christian Service helpers were there to participate. Every once in a while a rock passes by that is signed, “From, Your Brother, at La Salle.” To me, this rock is a symbol of the strength of our two communities joined together as one.

Thank you to Ethan, Daryl, Nick, and Braedon and to all Christian Service students, past, present, and future, who have served as friends and role models to my San Miguel students and others in our community.

There are many times throughout the year in which students at San Miguel and La Salle show support for one another, but nothing tops the way in which De La Salle Middle School and La Salle Academy take care of their brothers at San Miguel during the holidays.  Thank you for the time, energy and thoughtfulness that go into putting together Thanksgiving food baskets and Christmas presents each year. These selfless acts of caring for your neighbor are what make our Lasallian community so strong.

Over the years I’ve discovered that being Lasallian doesn’t end once you graduate from La Salle Academy.  Being Lasallian is a way of life.  As Lasallians, we are here “to do God’s work.”  Each of our Lasallian journeys may look different, but we must be open to the unexpected ways in which God is knocking at our door.

Let us pray.

Loving Father,

We turn to you with grateful hearts for what we have, and with great anticipation for what is yet to be.

Bless us with a sense of unity, a spirit of cooperation, and generous hearts as we embrace the responsibilities and challenges that face the Lasallian Family.

Guide us; strengthen us; bless us with your presence; and help us serve you faithfully now and through the ages to come. Amen.

– adaptation of St. John Nepomucene Parish Prayer

 

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

San Miguel, Pray for us.

Live Jesus in Our Hearts, Forever.

Karen Clements–Class of 2003

When The Lights Go Out

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 27 October 2017)

On Thursday morning an accident in the neighborhood (lightning strike) destroyed a transformer and caused an electrical outage in the area, including the school.  The building was in darkness for more than an hour, except for emergency lights.  Students were dismissed early.

 

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

So sometimes the lights go out.  One second the world is bright and warm, then suddenly it’s not.  Perhaps you have experienced this recently.  Yesterday when La Salle went dark something very interesting happened, but maybe you didn’t see it, and perhaps you missed something special.

As I walked the hallways of the dimly lit school and peered into classrooms what I saw was, well, illuminating.  With cell phone flashlights and white boards, teachers continued to teach.  Students huddled around laptops, faces a glow from their screens in cooperative learning.  Your deans and administrators ran from floor to floor, room to room, building to building to ensure the safety of our community.  One dean stood in the rain to ensure that buses arrived; parents came to the call of their children without hesitation; and, student drivers left the campus, their cars filled with friends in need of a ride home.

You see, the darkness didn’t really stop us.  Yes, maybe it ended our day a little early, but it didn’t stop us from learning and could not stop us from caring for one another.   And life is like this, our mission as Lasallians is like this, and our faith is like this.

The struggle between light and dark is as old as time itself.  God himself drove out the darkness at the beginning of time.  Later he would send us his only son to be the light of the world.  And just think back to your Civics class and Plato’s Cave.

Darkness can be scary; it is filled with chaos and the unknown.  However, no matter how pitch black the darkness can be, there is always a glimmer guiding and urging us to find our way out.  And yesterday reminded me how important it is to be that light for one another.  In little ways, we were able to show our own sense of goodness, and those little actions lit our school with a glow that required no generator.

So I wonder, are you ready to be the light of the world, as Lasallians and Christians? When the gloom of loneliness and cruelty descends, are you ready to be the light of kindness and friendship for those in need?  Where justice is obscured by intolerance, will you be a beacon of hope for those marginalized, abused, and forgotten?  When the dusk of hate and violence falls upon us, will you be brave enough to shine a light of love, empathy and compassion, even when it is for your enemy?

And if all seems lost, when it feels as though everyone and everything has abandoned you, will you be wise and faithful enough to know that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has never left your side?  Walk closely then with him and you will never find yourself in the darkness.  And as quickly as the lights sometimes go out, they just as quickly turn back on.

 

Let us pray,

Our Founder, John Baptist de La Salle said in his Meditations, “In the light of faith you see things quite differently.”  Father in heaven, help us to seek out the light of knowledge and love from those in our community.  Strengthen us to brighten the path for others who may be lost in the gloom of night.  And when all that is left is your grace to hold fast to, be with us oh Lord, our light and our way.  No darkness can ever consume us with you at our side.

 

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us!

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever!

 

Brian Ciccone–Social Studies Teacher and Assistant Director of Admissions

 

The Hero Inside

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 17 October 2017—International Lasallian Days of Prayer for Peace)

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

As you all know, we are near the end of the Month for Peace. Here at La Salle, we have had a few events to pray for peace such as prayer by the flag pole outside the field house and the release of a rosary made with biodegradable balloons. It was truly beautiful! And I would like to thank all those who participated and organized these activities for giving us all the opportunity of being part of a movement for peace— peace, something that often times seems so elusive. As most of you know, I come from Spain and unfortunately my country is going through a phase of great turmoil and it breaks my heart. But it is not only my country that is experiencing such lack of peace; it is happening in so many places across the world and in our own communities. I am aware that one person alone cannot change the world but one person alone can change someone’s world and in turn this second person can change someone else’s life and hopefully this can be the beginning of a chain effect. I am not going to ask you today to accomplish enormous feats, I am talking about small shows of kindness, opening a door, asking how someone’s day is going, offering a helping hand, and do not forget the power of a smile (as Maddie Hopkins said in her prayer a couple of weeks ago). I consider myself extremely lucky because I receive so often these acts of kindness here, in our Academy! One of my favorites is when we are in homeroom and one of my students, in a very loud voice, wishes a fantastic day to everyone in class. I have to say, that there is no better way to start the day. I feel that love for each other, and it makes me happy, it makes me feel … yes… peaceful!

Never forget that we all have a hero inside us waiting to be released to change someone’s world for the better, because, as my AP Students know, being a hero is being a regular person who achieves something remarkable for others, just like mom and dad!

Let us pray the prayer for the International Lasallian Days for Peace:

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Mercedes DiMascio–World Languages Department Chair

Over All These Years—The Power of Prayer

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 26 September 2017)

Good Morning.

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

As the Director of Alumni Relations at La Salle and a 2003 Alumna myself, I have the opportunity to meet many Alumni from various class years that have graduated LSA and now live locally here in Rhode Island, all over the country and even throughout the world. Many of our Alumni have embarked from LSA and have entered the world by making a positive impact on their own lives and the lives of others: some as positive role models, some serving in their community, some leading by example daily in their own homes and careers. This Friday kicks off our annual Alumni Reunion Weekend where The Alumni Office will be hosting 5 on-campus reunions at LSA for the class years’ ending in 2’s and 7’s. One of our classes will be celebrating its 65th Reunion and another class its 20th. Our Student Ambassadors will be leading on-campus tours highlighting what the campus is like presently, followed by the alumni attending their reunion receptions at various campus locations where they will see some of their classmates from years ago. It never ceases to amaze me when Alumni return back to campus and share memories of their time at LSA—from when it was an all boys’ school before 1984 to presently being co-ed, to their stories of their favorite teachers and some can even remember their freshman homeroom #’s.  I hear stories of academia, friendships made here at LSA, faith formation, good sportsmanship on the field, service in the community, charism and kindness …  too many to recite.  When the Alums return they almost always mention what is obvious – the new changes to campus that are visible here at LSA. They say, “There is now a middle school?” I reply, “Yes, it is the De La Salle Middle School. Notice the blue hallways and blue lockers. These middle school teachers are doing great work teaching students that are eager to learn and they’re starting their journey at De La Salle in the 6th grade.”

The Alums will continue on the tour and notice the LSA Shea Science Center on campus and will ask in one of the classrooms, “What is that?” I’ll reply, “What you are looking at are 3-D printers and we recognize that our students are very fortunate to have the opportunities to utilize these outstanding resources that many of our Alumni have contributed greatly to.”

They’ll notice the well maintained and manicured fields, the classrooms filled with students learning, the art, theater and music rooms on the ground floor, all the opportunities this campus offers. A place for all to grow, all to serve and all to learn.

I always remind them that the mission … the mission of LSA, remains the same. Although much of the campus has had improvements over time, the mission of our founder Saint John Baptist de La Salle, the De La Salle Christian Brothers and what it means to be “Lasallian” has and always will remain the same. It is that core mission that guides us daily as a school community, guides our remarkable faculty and staff to do the great work we do and allows our outstanding students to do their best daily both in and outside the classrooms, on the stage in the theater, out on the fields or courts at a game or when serving the community.

It startled me when one Alum asked, “Does someone still lead morning prayer?” I replied, “Yes, of course we still lead morning prayer.” We pray as a community and we give thanks; we express gratitude for those that have come before us creating the legacy and rich tradition we have here at La Salle. Think about that for a second, we pray daily. Not only in homeroom at the sound of the bell for morning prayer, but we pray together as a community out on the Cronin field for our opening of school mass where our school Chaplain, Father Woodhouse and our Campus Ministry team celebrate with us, we pray in front of the grotto before games asking for strength and guidance, we pray before classes as a community, we pray aloud and to ourselves. We pray before Reunions for the Alumni and express thanks for our experiences, while students at LSA,  that have made us who we are. The power of prayer is extraordinary and although some things have changed on campus, prayer is something we are proud to share with one another daily as it is what makes LSA the great place that it is.

Let us pray,

We ask you Lord to guide our entire student body from our De La Salle Middle School to the high school; please guide our teachers, Brothers, mentors, coaches, deans, entire faculty, staff,  LSA community and alumni; and, guide our faith and service throughout the years as we strive for excellence and true greatness.

Guide us to ask questions about things we do not know.  May our students always believe in themselves and not have any doubt about what they are able to achieve. With the power of prayer, all is possible. Continue to allow our student body to do their personal best. May they continue to inspire others and share what they learn here at LSA and shine it on the world as many of our Alumni have. Our students are part of the La Salle Family and tradition, and will one day be an Alumna/Alumnus. We ask to embrace faith throughout our days and remind us daily of “the positivity and power of prayer.”

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for Us

Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever !

Daniela Mansella Paolino—Director of Alumni Relations and Class of 2003

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

“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