You Did It For Me

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

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

As we high school students prepare to give our offering to the Hands Out For Haiti Campaign and as the middle school students reflect on the contribution they made yesterday, let us listen to the words of Matthew’s Gospel:

Jesus says to his disciples: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.

Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’

And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’

Let us pray,

Jesus, our Lord and our brother, open our hearts today so that we might generously respond to the young people of Haiti who really are the least members of your family.  Remind us that whatever we do for them, we do for you.  During this Lasallian Jubilee Year as we celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the death of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, keep us ever mindful that as Lasallians we are all one in the heart of our Founder, in the life of our Founder, and in his commitment to service of the least among us.  Amen.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

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

Make a Sacrifice?—-Who? Me?

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

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

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

It is the winter of 1683-1684 and the high price of food and the harshness of winter turned the city of Reims, France into a huge poor house of starving people.  To the three newly-started schools of the Brothers and to the Brothers’ House on Rue Neuve the poor came in droves, adults and children alike, many of them close to starvation.  None of them went away unprovided for.  John Baptist de La Salle, the wealthy priest and reluctant founder of schools for poor boys, now lived with the handful of new Brothers.  He had decided after much prayer and spiritual direction, to hand over his wealth so that he too would be poor like his Brothers.  So the daily distribution of food went on until there was nothing left; and then, De La Salle himself had to beg for the bread he could no longer afford to buy.

Flash forward to the winter of 2010, January 12th, and the devastating earthquake that flattened much of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, killing an estimated 316,000 people, leaving 2.0 million people homeless, and making orphans of hundreds of thousands of children.  Like its Founder, Saint John Baptist de La Salle, the Lasallian World could not just stand-by and watch the suffering of people that they had so long served in Haiti.  Through world-wide donations, including a substantial gift from the faculty, staff and students of this school, the educational and health needs of hundreds of young people and their families is being met by our brother school, the St. Jean Baptiste de La Salle School in Cazeau, a small town on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince.  Each January, since that initial gift, our community has donated about $10,000.00 annually through our Hands Out to Haiti Campaign—to help build the Health Center, to build additional classroom space, to build athletic fields and provide athletic equipment, to purchase uniforms and books, to buy a van for transportation, and to provide tuition help to the now 700 youngsters being educated in Grades pre-K to 10.

Unlike John Baptist de La Salle, we are not being asked today (for the De La Salle Middle School) or tomorrow (for the high school) to give away all our wealth and to go out to beg for food.  We put in our $5.00, get a chance to dress-down for the day, and go home tonight or tomorrow night to a good meal and a warm house—with all our toys (cars, I-pads, I-phones, X-boxes, etc.) to keep us occupied.

However, I ask you to find a few minutes during the rest of this day and tonight to be quiet and to reflect.  What if the earthquake or another natural or man-made disaster happened here in Rhode Island?  How would we feel if we were deprived of everything we take so much for granted?  Well, that is how De La Salle and the starving of Reims felt during that bitterly cold winter and that is how the students of the St. Jean Baptiste de La Salle School felt following the earthquake!  I would never wish that feeling or those disasters on anyone, but it is good from time to time to ask ourselves: what really counts, what is really important, and when it comes down to it, what do I truly need?

Maybe, after some moments of reflection, you might decide today or tomorrow to forego that Dunkin Donuts flavored coffee and bagel or those extra fries; maybe you might decide to skip the movie you are planning to go to over the weekend or to not buy the CD or DVD or Apple I-tunes you saved for with your Christmas money.  Are those things REALLY necessary?  Making a sacrifice is not something we hear about often.  However, today I ask you to consider making a sacrifice, making a sacrifice like John Baptist de La Salle, making a sacrifice that hurts a little bit—making a sacrifice this morning or tomorrow morning when the envelope is passed in your classroom, as you sit comfortably in your dress-down clothes in a warm building.  And as you consider this request, think about the young people of Cazeau, Haiti who are being clothed in uniforms, and given medicine, and being taught because of the extra dollars that you contribute.

They will not be able to thank you in person; but, believe me, your reward will be great when our loving and merciful Father welcomes you into his Kingdom, there to share eternal blessings with so many other generous Lasallians, like Saint John Baptist de La Salle.  Jesus will say to you and me, as he did to his disciples on the Mount: “Come to me, you blessed of my Father—for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was without clothes and you gave me school uniforms, I was sick and you provided medication, I had no opportunity for education and you provided a school and books and teachers and taught me.”

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

Let us pray,

Jesus, our Lord and our brother, open our hearts today and tomorrow so that we might generously respond to the young people of Haiti who really are the least, the last and the lost of your brothers and sisters.  Remind us that whatever we do for them, we do for you.  Amen.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC

Haiti–Its Faithful and Friendly People

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

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

Good morning.

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

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

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

Let us pray:

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

St. John Baptist de La Salle: Pray for us

Live Jesus in our Hearts: Forever!

Idylla Louis–Class of 2015

How Will We Prepare for Christmas?

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday, 4 December 2018)

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

I love Christmas! It’s not just the beautiful Christmas and Advent music, or the food and family times, or even the animated Christmas specials (although the Charlie Brown one is my favorite).  It’s the chance to celebrate that God fulfilled His promise to send His Son to save us—and not wrapped up in jewels, although He is our King, but as a precious, but poor helpless baby. What a gift and what a lesson!

And this year will be even more special because we are also celebrating the 300th year of our founder, St. La Salle, who still guides us today through his words.  As Mrs. Da Silva said last week, we see De La Salle’s spirit alive in our school especially in the outpouring of generosity toward the poor. Sure, there are a few who are more like the Grinch or Scrooge, but I’m sure as in the Christmas stories, they too, in time, will find compassion in their hearts. In the words of our Founder, “God inspires us to walk in the footsteps of his Son.” (Med. 3.3)

And maybe we see some who are like Charlie Brown’s sister, Sally, who is so caught up in the material part of the season that she wants Santa to bring her tens and twenties, but again from De La Salle, “Example makes a much greater impression than words.” (MTR 10.3 [Med. 202.3]) so how we live and act can help others to “Walk along God’s path.” (Med. 75.3)

When we think of the Nativity story of Mary and Joseph having to travel along rocky roads and Mary in discomfort with her pregnancy, only to find the door slammed in their faces because there’s no room, it is just like any of us when there are difficult times and our faith wanes. But our Founder said, “Throw yourself into God’s arms. He will carry you when the road is rough.” (Letter-Palm Sunday) We need only to have faith as Joseph and Mary had and accept Christ in our lives. I heard recently a quote by Neal Maxwell,  “Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus!” And again, from De La Salle, “How long has Jesus been knocking at the door of your heart, waiting to enter?” (Med. 85.1 – Vigil of the Nativity)

We need, then to decide how we will prepare for Christmas in our thoughts and actions, for “we are people whom God has called to live according to the perfection of the Gospel.” (Med. 5.3).

Let us pray. Lord God, may we find the true spirit of Christmas in all of our thoughts, words, and actions. May we be among the faithful who come “joyful and triumphant” and be “visible angels” among all we meet.

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

Live, Jesus, in our hearts, forever!

Leslie Martinelli–Science Teacher

To Be Lasallian

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 30 November 2018)

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

You may not notice this on a daily basis as you go about your busy schedule at the Academy, but, here at La Salle, every single day, we are in the holy presence of a loving God. Yes, I know that the tradition is to begin every prayer here with this statement, but we may not always see or feel this with our eyes and hearts wide open. So, please allow me to illuminate that God is truly present in this building every moment of every day.

When the Social Concerns Club shared the Adopt-a-Family lists with our Lasallian community, the response was amazing. Homerooms have been busily collecting donations and shopping for the items on the wish lists. There has been a tremendous response to the call for help on the part of our wonderful students. After distributing these wish lists to all the homerooms and groups of faculty and staff in the building, there were still two families left to adopt. I sent out an email to the Lasallian community to ask for more help from those willing to give of their own money, time, and effort. Within minutes, my G mail inbox was full of responses! I could not help but feel a deep sense of pride and gratitude that I belong to such an amazing community. This is what it means to be Lasallian.

When I walk into the building each morning, people offer to hold open doors for me, warmly greet meet me asking how I am and asking about my daughters. I receive high fives and hugs from colleagues whom I consider more like family than coworkers. I see the same happen with the students in the hallways as I walk up to my classroom. You engage in meaningful conversations, show each other respect and affection, and come together in times of both struggle and joy. A big win for a sports team is normally followed by a morning of congratulations and pats on the back. When I find a student in tears, it is common to find him or her surrounded by loving friends willing to help make the day brighter. This is what it means to be Lasallian.

When we pray together as a community, whether in class or at a school Mass, the silence is reverent and humble. We find so many ways to pray together, regardless of different religious backgrounds or beliefs. In class conversations, we share traditions and beliefs from our diverse backgrounds and I often find so many students listening intently and wanting to learn more about their peers. You ask questions to understand those around you in a deeper way. This is what it means to be Lasallian.

I could name hundreds of ways that God is present every day at La Salle. Service learning trips, Christian Service, the bond between students on sports teams, in Theater, and in our school clubs, the countless inviting spaces within the building where people come together to make true differences, a note of gratitude from a student or a positive and encouraging remark from a teacher, or simply reading the tremendous things our community is doing when I read from the Daily Bulletin in Homeroom. This is what it means to be Lasallian.

There is an indescribable and palpable feeling of love, togetherness, unity, and community in this building. Our traditions, from the start of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools by our founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle, continue to grow stronger and stronger every day.

Today, we begin our commemoration of the 300th anniversary of the passing of St. John Baptist de La Salle, a man who sacrificed his own wealth and status to educate poor boys in France who would have otherwise remained marginalized in society. We keep his legacy alive in this building by remembering that we are in the holy presence of a loving God and sharing God’s love with those around us.

Let us pray,

Heavenly Father, we ask you to bless our Lasallian community and keep our traditions strong. Today, we humbly implore you to help us see, with our minds and hearts, your loving presence as St. John Baptist de La Salle did at the start of the Lasallian Institute. Let his legacy stay alive in our building with the same fire that it has had in the last 300 + years.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.

Amanda da Silva–English Teacher

You Can Do More With the Grace of God Than You Think

(A Prayer offered on November 18, 2014 for the entire La Salle Academy educational community)

“Do not have any anxiety about the future,

But leave everything in God’s hands,
For God will take care of you.
Be satisfied with what you can do,
Since God is satisfied with it,
But do not spare yourself in what you can do with grace;
And believe that, provided you want it,
You can do more with the grace of God than you think.”

– St. John Baptist de La Salle

Founder--4 views

In November of 1691, John Baptist de La Salle found himself and his group of teachers in a dire situation. At that time, he and the Brothers had established several schools that provided a Christian education to all children without regard to social class or income, but their ministry was now at risk as opposition to De La Salle’s work grew and this fragile congregation experienced harassment and lawsuits. It was a bleak moment for the struggling movement that would become the Brothers of the Christian Schools.

We might expect that this overwhelming adversity would be enough for our Founder and the Brothers to quit or give up the schools. However, it was in this new crossroads that in 1691 a strong sense of association emerged among three friends—De La Salle, Brother Vuyart, and Brother Drolin. They vowed to keep together for the sake of the mission even if all others left and they were obliged to beg for alms and live on bread alone.  Together, they would discern what was best for the “Society of the Christian Schools” and what God required of them.

It came to be known as “the heroic vow,” a statement that radically committed these founding teachers to the work they were called to do. This “vow of association and union” pronounced on November 21, 1691, was an act of hope at a time when the work of De La Salle and the early Brothers was in serious jeopardy.

Surely these three men were fearful that all might be lost.  As those around them gave up, they must have questioned themselves and their ministry. Yet, in their dismay, they didn’t avoid their difficulties…they didn’t try to go around them. De La Salle, Brother Vuyart and Brother Drolin were steadfast. They had the courage and faith to step through their fear and into the light as they committed to each other and their shared mission.

heroic vow signatures

We all find ourselves in similar situations on that difficult road where fear and uncertainty blind our way. We face many adversities in our lives. Some of them we seem to bring upon ourselves and others seem to come out of nowhere. Some last only for a short time while others we carry for a lifetime. Either way we find ourselves asking, “Why does this have to be so hard?” “Why is this happening to me?” I am sure that these are the same questions that De La Salle and his Brothers were asking in 1691.

Is it possible that we experience these challenges and adversity because God wants more from us? Just as God knew the fruit that the Brothers of the Christian Schools would bear, He knows the gifts and talents that he has given to us even though we may not even recognize them yet. So God will push us, stretch us, prod us, and sometimes bring us to our knees in order to bring about our gifts that those around us so desperately need. So, when we find ourselves with what seems too much to bear, and we struggle to find our way, let us remember the words of our Founder, “Do not have any anxiety about the future, but leave everything in God’s hands for God will take care of you.” Trust and know that “you can do more with the grace of God than you think.”

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Let us pray…

Dear Lord,

We pray for strength as we face our own adversity in our lives. Grant us the courage and faith to step through our own fears and into your light so that we might do your will.

Let us trust in your Providence. Just like La Salle called his Brothers to see themselves as older brothers to their students, so too we are called to be mentors to those around us so we can build a community of faith and love. We are called to touch hearts and change lives like La Salle and so many Christian Brothers have done before us.  We give thanks for all the Christian Brothers and all those who teach around the world in the spirit of De La Salle.

DLS and young man

St. John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for Us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever.

Wynter Kelly–Dean of LSA Class of 2015

We Stand With You

(Statement read following Prayer on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 29 October 2018)

Good morning.

All of us were saddened over the weekend to hear of the mass shooting which happened at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  This devastating and evil act, considered the deadliest, anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history, killed 11 people and injured 6 others.  As a Lasallian family, we condemn all forms of hatred and prejudice.  We wish to extend to our Jewish students, teachers, and family members our deepest sympathies and support.  And we pledge to stand with you, countering all violence with acts of solidarity, welcome, and inclusion.

This afternoon, we stand together with members of our Jewish family and we invite everyone who is able to meet in Campus Ministry.  Mr. DeMaria will lead our community in the Jewish prayer for mourning at 2:45, outside in the circle near our steps adjacent to the cafeteria.

Brother Thomas Gerrow—President

(Song used during Religion classes today as part of Opening of Class Prayer)