The Beginning of the Whole Story

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 15 May 2019)

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

During this year of 2019 we have been celebrating the 300th anniversary of our Founder’s death.   And celebrate is, indeed, the right word there, because John Baptist de La Salle’s death might mark the end of the founding story, but it was just the beginning of the whole story.  In fact we here, at La Salle in Providence, are living the John Baptist de La Salle story.  And today we join with the entire Lasallian world to celebrate the feast of this giant, this man, this teacher, this saint.

In some sense, I hope and trust, we are all becoming Lasallians.   The freshman students who learn about De La Salle’s remarkable life are becoming Lasallians.  The students who support Breadlines, serve on mission trips, serve meals at Mary House, serve on Christian Service – all becoming Lasallians.  The faculty and staff who participate in formation experiences here in school and across the country – all becoming Lasallians.

But at the very core of the Lasallian world is the body of vowed Brothers.

These are men who have handed down, from Brother to Brother, from generation to generation, the Founder’s vision of service, of goodness, of love for the poor and the marginalized.

These are men who have committed themselves for life, have given themselves completely to God, and to the mission of bringing salvation, now and eternally, to those, to us, who do not know salvation.

And these are men who have invited us all to act in association with them as they pursue their mission.  How blessed are we – how blessed am I – by that invitation!

This morning, on this glorious feast day, Brother Thomas Gerrow and Brother Frederick Mueller will renew their vows in our presence.  Believe me when I tell you that these men have greatly enriched La Salle Academy in many, many ways.   And this morning, as we listen, they will recommit themselves, yet again, to the service of the Lord, to the love of the poor, to the salvation of all.

Let us pray.

God of mercy and compassion, thank you for the extraordinary life, witness, and ministry of the De La Salle Christian Brothers in our Church.  In your wisdom you have called these men to generously serve, pray and share your healing love.  Grant them continued grace and strength, and deepen our appreciation for their vocation.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.

Live, Jesus, in our hearts!  Forever!

Michael McNamara, AFSC–Math Teacher

VOW FORMULA

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, prostrate with the most profound respect before your infinite and adorable majesty, I consecrate myself entirely to you to procure your glory as far as I shall be able and as you will require of me.

For this purpose, I … promise and vow to unite myself, and to remain in society, with the Brothers of the Christian Schools who are associated to conduct together and by association, schools for the service of the poor, to go wherever I may be sent and to do whatever I shall be assigned, either by the Body of the Society, or by its Superiors.

Wherefore, I promise and vow association for the service of the poor through education, stability in the Institute, obedience, chastity and poverty, in accordance with the Bull of Approbation and the Rule of the Institute. I promise to keep these vows faithfully all my life.

Our Responsibility for All God’s Creation

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system and the school-wide intranet for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 9 May 2019)

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

Symbols are signs that can be very powerful reminders of the values we hold dear and even communicate the core truths of who we are and what we believe. Take for instance our own American flag, signifying our core values of liberty and justice for all, as well as the great sacrifice that so many men and women have made to defend those values.

As Christians, and Catholics in particular, there is no greater symbol than the crucifix.  Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ laying down His life for us is the ultimate sign of God’s unconditional love for each and every one of us.

And as the springtime rolls around in New England, even the robin is a sign that the doldrums of winter have passed and new life and warmth is on its way…

This morning I would like to reflect on another symbol in line with our celebration of the Lasallian Tercentenary…Hopefully you are viewing this symbol in your homerooms now.

The green watering can represents the green life of our planet. And the water represents the source of life on our planet. Anyone who knows me knows I have the opposite of a green thumb…But whether or not we are gifted in the art of gardening or not, we all have the ability, and responsibility, to care for our common home, planet Earth.

In his encyclical Caritas in Veritate or “Charity in Truth”, Pope Benedict XVI puts it this way:

“The environment is God’s gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole…In nature, the believer recognizes the wonderful result of God’s creative activity, which we may use responsibly to satisfy our legitimate needs…while respecting the intrinsic balance of creation. If this vision is lost, we end up…abusing creation and all God’s creatures, including ourselves…which is not in line with the Christian vision of nature as the fruit of God’s creation. Nature expresses a design of love and truth.”

Love and truth. God is love and God is truth. His love and truth is embedded in all of Creation, including within each and every one of us. Today, let us seek God’s grace to help us change our attitude and outlook toward creation and toward one another. May we strive to be responsible citizens of Earth that we may prepare ourselves to be joyful children of our Heavenly Father.

Let us pray,

Dear God, help us to cultivate grateful hearts for the wonders of creation. Inspire us to take responsibility to care for our planet through conscious consumerism and a simplistic way of life. May we see with eyes of faith the miracle of Your handiwork in ourselves, in one another, and in all of creation.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever.

Anthony Russo–Campus Minister

A Prayer at Ramadan

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday, 7 May 2019)

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

Yesterday marked the first day of Ramadan, the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and one of the holiest months of the entire year. Ramadan is the month in which the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) received the first revelation of the Qur’an from God through the Angel Gabriel.

Throughout the month, all Muslim adults in good health are expected to fast from dawn to dusk, 4AM to 8PM, without any food or water. We do so for two main reasons: to bring us closer to God, but to also remind us of the suffering of those less fortunate than us. We were all created equal in the image of God, yet we are still not all equal in this world. Only in Ramadan does the rich man break his fast alongside the poor. The white alongside the black. The privileged alongside the underprivileged.

We start our fast with a meal called sehri, where we wake up before sunrise, eat a breakfast that should sustain us, say a prayer, and go back to sleep. After we wake up, we spend our day in reflection and repentance, saying prayers at the appropriate times. It’s essentially a normal day, until the evening, after the sun has set, where we say the evening prayer and break our fast with a meal known as iftar. It is tradition to break one’s fast at a mosque with a date (the fruit, that is) and a cup of water. After the fast has been broken, we eat to our heart’s content until it is time to sleep, and the cycle repeats. After 30 days, give or take, Ramadan ends, and we commemorate with Eid-ul-Fitr, the festival of breaking the fast, which is celebrated in the community with plenty of food and presents.  So essentially, it is our Christmas.

As the Ramadan season starts, let us pray for a peaceful month, where all of us can reflect on our own lives and relationships with not only God, but with each other as well.

Allaahum-maghfir lee, warhamnee, wahdinee, wajburnee, wa ‘aafinee, warzuqnee, warfa’nee

O God, forgive me, have mercy on me, guide me, support me, protect me, provide for me and elevate me.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.

Hasan Raza–Class of 2019

All Life Is Sacred

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday, 3 May 2019—Pro-Life Week)

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

We are made in the image of God, each and every one of us. No exceptions. From the first chapter of Genesis to the most recent edition of the Catechism, this statement above describing who we are and what kind of person God wants us to be is at the heart of morality. It is the foundation for loving people, our God and ourselves.

The Scripture tells us that from the moment of conception, God knew us and loved us: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you/ and before you were born I consecrated you” (Jeremiah 1:5). Sacred Tradition also speaks of the dignity of all life, confirming that every human life is sacred until natural death, from womb to tomb.

Sometimes, the lives of others or even our own life may not be perfect, and life can make demands on us that are not what we want. Children and adults who are disabled or ill require a great deal of demanding care. Sometimes other people can be annoying, inconvenient, or even our enemy. But each life is precious to God as we are. We can never throw a life away. The beginning and end of every life is up to God, and only God.

Let us pray,

Lord, help us to remember that all life is sacred.  In our prayer during the month of May, we remember the unborn, the sick, the handicapped, the imprisoned, and all those who do not have a voice, that You watch over them and grant them your healing and peace.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Ayobami Ayorinde–Class of 2021

 

Wake Up—Stay Awake—Wake Up the World

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 1 May 2019–Religious Brothers’ Day)

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

In 2015 Pope Francis asked us to celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life.  Many people did just that. We had a wonderful opportunity to think a bit about the Christian life as experienced by Sisters, Brothers, and priests in religious orders. The invitation of Pope Francis for the Year of Consecrated Life hit me hard.  He said: “Wake up the world.”

My response to the Pope’s invitation was this: Who me?  As we celebrate today the recently created annual Religious Brothers Day, I want to return to the Pope’s invitation. If I am to wake up the world, I should, myself, be awake!  I take this to be a call to conversion, a call to awake from my slumber, a call to be alive and attentive to the good news of Jesus and to invite others to wake up as well.

The Brothers want to take the “good news” of Jesus seriously. We try each day to embrace and live that “good news.”  Such a goal would be impossible without the grace of God.

The Brothers’ way of life brings a faith that wants to grow to a prayer-filled community of men with a common vision for service. We are inspired by the witness of St. John Baptist de La Salle.  Our work always centers on the needs of young people as they grow in mind, body, soul, and spirit.

The Brothers aim to develop individuals who are thinkers, people with heart, men and women who tend to their souls, and folks who care about others and stand with the poor. We do this work together as we celebrate Jesus who lives in our hearts.

Being nurtured and formed over the years with other Brothers in our Lasallian heritage has been accompanied by a wonderful development. We have been inspired by a grace-filled collaboration with other Lasallian educators. These men and women serve in our schools with great energy, faith, and dedication. They also have been formed in the Lasallian spirit. All Lasallian educators hope and pray every day that our students come to find God’s love as they develop their intellects, serve those in need, and make the world a better, more just, place.

We Brothers ourselves would never have created Religious Brothers’ Day.  It is not in our way of living to say “Look at us.” However, this day reminds us of the Brothers’ commitment to pray deeply, teach passionately, live simply, and stand with the poor. We are reminded today that the Brothers’ way of life in community and school must always be renewed by the spirit of faith and zeal that was so important to our Founder.  This sense of renewal is also important for all of us — young and old — whatever forms our life commitments take. Without commitment and renewal of commitment, we will not succeed in waking up and, we hope, helping to wake up the world!

I ask all of us this morning: Are there challenges that call us to wake up and work for a better world?  Wars rage, terrorism grows, family life is in stress, religious commitments waver, the church disappoints, government is paralyzed, and the problems of race, poverty, and injustice at times seem overwhelming. The Pope in 2015 specifically called on religious men and women to wake up the world.  Surely, that invitation also applies to everyone. All of us, in our own ways and according to our individual vocations, are called to wake up and do some waking of others.  Only then, will our world be better as we awake and move toward God’s dream for us.

Where does or will that happen for you as La Salle students? The opportunities are endless and so are the ways to respond.

Be on the lookout each day for how you can remember and celebrate God’s holy presence. If that is your daily practice, you may just wake up, stay awake, and wake up the world.

Thank you to Mrs. Estes for inviting me to share these words of reflection as we celebrate Religious Brothers Day and thanks to all of you for listening.  Have a great day, La Salle!

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Brother Robert J. Wickman, FSC—District Administrator, Resident of La Salle Academy Brothers’ Community, and former teacher at La Salle Academy

Where Does God Call Me To Be?

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system and the school-wide intranet for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday, 30 April 2019)

Good morning, La Salle and De La Salle!

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

This has been the year of the air-pod.  You know, those wireless earbuds that everyone seems to be wearing.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started speaking to someone only to realize they couldn’t hear me because their air-pods were in.   Hence, the meme displayed in front of you.

All this has me thinking about the importance of listening.  No, not just hearing in order to figure out what to say in response, but truly, actively listening.  I believe there is also the ability to listen to your life, to where you are and to where God calls you to be.

When I was a child, my maternal grandmother whom I called “Vavo” used to have the best good byes— she’d hug you hard and say something in Portuguese which loosely translates, “Pay attention, child.”  As a kid, I always wondered what she meant.  What did I need to pay attention to?  But as I got older, I began to see the wisdom of her words—pay attention to the place and situations you find yourself in, pay attention to the people around you,  pay attention to what your family and close friends are telling you, pay attention to where you experience joy, pay attention to what moves your heart.  Catholics call these questions the process of discernment, that is, paying attention to how and where God moves us into action.   God calls each one of us to discover where we might use our gifts and our passions in service to the world.

I often tell my students that our most important job while on this planet is to discover why God has created each one of us.  There is something you and only you—with your particular interests, skills, and quirks—can do in this world.  And when you do it, the world is so much better for it.

Many decades ago, when I was in high school, I thought I’d become a pediatrician.  This seems funny to me now.  Given my squeamishness at blood and my emotional reactions to things, I would have made a terrible doctor.  But God did use the people in my life—teachers, coaches, friends, Christian Brothers—and some experiences, even some wrong turns along the way—to help me see that I contribute to the world and to God’s kingdom by being a teacher.  And I give thanks for that vocation every day.  That calling has filled my life with joy and purpose.

Three hundred years ago, our Founder, John Baptist de La Salle discerned his unique calling—to leave the security and comforts of clerical life, to form a small community of Brothers that would teach poor boys on the streets of Rheims, France.  Because of that discernment, because he trusted in that call, the Church, the world,  and indeed, you and I would never be the same.

When you pass by Campus Ministry or go to the cafeteria today, I invite you to take a look at the clock celebrating the 300 years since the passing of our Founder John Baptist de La Salle.  We add a new symbol to the clock today—that of the headphones.

As you look at the symbol, take a minute to pray for the courage to listen to your own life, to ask yourself the question: Where does God call ME to be, today and in the days to come? How and in what ways does God call me to trust in him today?

Let us pray:

Spirit of God,

We experience your presence in these Spring days–days of sun, growth, and life.

Help us to pause,

To listen to your will for our lives,

To hear your desire for us in the voices of those who love us.

Give us the courage to trust in your mysterious and gracious ways

So that we can grow into becoming the men and women you created us to be.

 

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

Live Jesus in our Hearts: Forever!

Christine Estes–Director of Campus Ministry

 

Christos Anesti—Alethos Anesti

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday, 26 April 2019)

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

This coming Sunday is Easter Sunday. Of course, most of you probably already had your Easters last week, but for Orthodox Christians everywhere who follow a different calendar, Easter lands on this Sunday. Our family is Greek Orthodox, so for us, this is Holy Week. Now usually when people hear we’re Greek Orthodox they are really confused. No, we don’t believe in Zeus or any form of Greek mythology. We are Christian and we believe pretty much everything that Roman Catholics do; we just have a different way of celebrating it.

Anyway, Marina and I wanted to take some time to share with you what Easter is like for us and things we do each year to celebrate. One of my favorite things to do during Easter is go to the midnight service on Holy Saturday. Everyone gets candles and the room is lit only by their light. The Church is filled with hymns and everything about it is truly beautiful. Plus, at the end of the service everyone tries to keep their candles lit until they get home in an attempt to bring back with them the light of Christ. It’s sort of like bringing back a blessing. Now, is trying to drive home in the middle of the night with an open flame in your car the safest thing in the world?? I mean…probably not. But we’re Greek and it is just what we do.

When day hits on Easter Sunday, you can find us surrounded by family, and lots of Greek food. Greeting people on Sunday is always done the same way. One person says, Christos Anesti, which means Christ has risen. Then the other person responds, Alethos Anesti,  which means Truly, He has risen. This is really just an emphasis of what Easter is really all about. So basically, Easter for us is a bunch of Greeks with Greek food, being loud and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.

Another tradition we have is the red Easter eggs. This is where we hard boil eggs and dye them red to represent the blood Jesus shed for us. We then all gather together, each with our own egg, and one by one hit the egg on that of another person. We make sure to say Christos Anesti and Alethos Anesti each time. At the end, whoever has at least one uncracked side of an egg wins and has good luck for the rest of the year. I never win but it’s fun nonetheless.

So there you have it, a little piece of us and who we are as Orthodox Christians. At the end of the day, we as Greeks have a lot of pride in our faith and who we are, and we would not want to have it any other way. Come this Sunday, take a second to think of your Orthodox brothers and sisters, because when push comes to shove, we are all celebrating the same thing; and the way we do it is just in the details!

Let us pray.

Dear God, may we all find comfort in each other’s common ground, but may we all find awe and respect for the things that differentiate us from one another.

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

Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever.

Elena Rouse–Class of 2019 and Marina Rouse–Class of 2020

Together We Are Writing The Story

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system and the school-wide intranet for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 8 April 2019)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

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

The date is April 7th—the year 1719.  It is Good Friday.  Surrounded by his Brothers from the community of Saint Yon, near Rouen, France, and other Brothers from nearby communities who had come together to pray for their beloved Founder on his deathbed, John Baptist de La Salle uttered his final words.  Those last words—words that we see every day in large script in the center of our cafeteria—were: “I adore in all things the will of God in my regard”.  In other words: “I accept all that God has given to me, the good and the not so good, and I thank God for what he has done for me in my life”.  Having quietly spoken these words of great faith, John Baptist de La Salle passed from this earthly life into eternal life.

Today we here at De La Salle Middle School and La Salle Academy, bearers of his name, celebrate the 300th anniversary of that passing.

Throughout this year we are remembering this event, not with sadness, but with much celebration.  We rejoice that, after 300 years, the story of Saint La Salle lives on—in the Lasallian world in more than 80 countries, in the committed Lasallians, partners and Brothers, who across the globe try to do each day what De La Salle did in his time, and in the more than one million students, of all races and religions, who receive a Lasallian education.  And, we celebrate today that the story of St. La Salle is alive and well here—each of us shares “one heart” burning with zeal to act with love and justice, “one commitment” to be women and men of faith, service and community, “one life” answering God’s call to be the best persons we can be.

The Lasallian story is woven into our individual stories.  The short video that we will soon view gives us a quick glimpse of these stories.  It is our 300th Anniversary Card—a card we send first to ourselves and then to our brother and sister Lasallians in the United States and around the world through the gift of social media and the internet.  In the weeks and months ahead we will hear and see more of our own Lasallian stories, stories that illustrate that Saint John Baptist de La Salle lives on in and through those who answer the call to be Lasallian.  “His story is our story.  Together we are writing the story!”

At the end of the video, Mrs. Estes will conclude this morning’s prayer.  Homeroom teachers are now asked to play the video!

Link to Video

Together,  Let us pray

Dear God,  we thank you for your servant St. John Baptist de La Salle and for his willingness to leave behind the world he knew for one that you drew him to.  We thank you for that first community of brothers—born of hope and struggle, faith and zeal.  We pause in gratitude for we are part of that story—a story that has spanned centuries and continents—and has animated the minds, hearts, and souls of so many.  Spirit of God, we trust that you will lead us today and in the days to come, so that we may faithfully continue to add chapters to this Lasallian story in new and creative ways.

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

Live Jesus in our Hearts: Forever!

______________________________

Today, to mark the 300 years since St. John Baptist de La Salle passed from this world into eternal life, a relic from his body will be on display in the small chapel in campus ministry.  A relic is the physical remains of a saint in the Catholic Church.  Catholics do not worship relics.  Instead, this relic serves as a concrete, tangible memorial to our founder.  If you have time today, stop into the chapel in campus ministry, sit for a minute in that chapel, and give thanks for this family story of ours, and for all the ways that your life has been blessed because you are a Lasallian.

In a moment, members of Lasallian youth will visit all the homerooms in our high school and middle school to distribute gifts to mark this special day.  I encourage you to wear and display this memento of our founder proudly, today and every day.

Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC and Christine Estes (Prayer);  Elissa Cerros and Drew Lagace (Video)

 

 

A Chapter of Our Story

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday, 3 April 2019)

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

How often do you think about being a member of the Lasallian community?

What did you think of when I asked that question? Did you think of your teachers? Your favorite or least favorite classes? Your friends? Do you have teammates? Is there a club or activity you enjoy doing?

Now I’d like you to take a moment to look around the room. Go on. Is there someone that you saw that you don’t know very well? Do you know what La Salle means to them? Do you know their stories?

There are so many different people in this school. Every person has a different hobby, different interests, different aspirations. Some people are in a bunch of clubs while others aren’t in any at all. Some love being here and never want to leave, while there are other people that can’t wait to finally be free to explore what the world has to offer. The way one person might see the world could easily differ from the way somebody else does. Each human being has a completely different story, but we all are lucky enough to have a chapter on La Salle Academy. As we are fortunate enough to be able to have these experiences with each other, though our time together is limited, making the most of it is important. As you interact with your classmates and teachers today, remember that your actions help determine your role in that chapter of someone else’s story.

Let us pray.

Lord, let us recall the importance of being a member of the La Salle community in 2019. Remind us of the power of our words and actions and the example we can set for others. Even though we don’t know every detail of the lives of the people we see and speak to on a daily basis, help us strive to create a positive impact on them and in our community. Give us the strength to do our part to make the world a better place.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for Us.

Live Jesus in Our Hearts…Forever.

Katie Rico–Class of 2019