“It’s An Incredible Joy!”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday, 2 May 2017)

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

Good Morning,

Yesterday, May 1st we celebrated the First Religious Brothers Day.

The idea for such a day came out of a group known as “The Brothers Think Tank” of which I am a member.  The Think Tank was formed about 5 years ago to look for ways to make BROTHERS better known.

One of the first things they did was to petition Pope Francis to declare a year of Consecrated Life – Consecrated Life is Religious life – members of Religious Orders – men and women who serve the Church in a special way………..And he did it.  And 2015 was that year.

Last year the Church headquarters in Rome – what we often refer to as the Vatican – published an official Document entitled: “Identity and Mission of the Religious Brother in the Church.”

Here are two lines from that document: “Rooting his life deeply in God, the Brother consecrates all creation, recognizing the presence of God and the Spirit in creation and daily events.  Because the Brother recognizes this active presence, he can proclaim it to his contemporaries.”

The Think Tank members were very happy with this document and decided to make it the focus of their “National Symposium of the Religious Brother in the Church“ which was held just a month ago at Notre Dame University in Indiana.

Another thing the Think Tank members decided to do about a year ago was to have a Day designated as “Religious Brothers Day.”  Yesterday, May 1st – Feast of St. Joseph The Worker – was that day.

Before closing with a short prayer I’d like to share with you the words of a Young Brother I know who recently pronounced his Final Vows: He said “We Brothers can offer hope and stability in a chaotic society.”

He went on to say that he joined the De La Salle Christian Brothers because of their multiculturalism and their strong focus on education.  “Everyday” he said, “ you have the opportunity to share the love of the Gospel with young people…through teaching, , listening to young people, hearing their faith and reflections.  It’s an incredible joy.”

I want to tell you that as a De La Salle Christian Brother for 60 years,  my life has been filled with much joy. I hope that all students here at La Salle Academy will be Lasallians; I hope that some of the young men here may consider the call to be a De La Salle Christian Brother.

 

Let us pray:

God of mercy and compassion we thank you for the many blessings of our first Religious Brothers Day!  We thank you for the extraordinary life, witness and ministry of Religious Brothers in our Church.  We ask you to deepen our appreciation of Religious Brothers, their congregational charisms, and their commitment to vowed community life.  Grant all Religious Brothers the grace and perseverance they need to proclaim your Holy Word for the life of the Church and our world.  Amen.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Brother Robert Hazard, FSC–alum, former teacher and former principal of La Salle Academy

They Came for a Visit—Not to Stay

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 7 April 2017)

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

“If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority”.  John 7:17

Today, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of our Founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle, the patron saint of Catholic Education.  The Institute that he founded in Reims, France in the late 17th Century, The Brothers of the Christian Schools, is now assisted by more than 100,000 lay colleagues and teaches over 1,000,000 students in 80 countries in the world today.

As a lay colleague in this shared mission, I am often amazed to be part of such a significant global movement.  I am humbled to offer some words of reflection on our Founder’s feast day.

When I began to reflect on what I might say, inspiration came from an unusual place.  On the side of the glass milk bottle we have delivered to our house it says, “They came for a visit not to stay.”  This saying is true of all of us as we were sent by God to visit during our human existence and then return to God.  The question then becomes “What do we do on our visit?”

St. John Baptist de La Salle was a man who continually prayed to God to answer that question in his life, i.e. what God wished him do on his earthly visit.  The answer was not easy for him as it moved him out of a comfortable and privileged life and would win him some true “Brothers” and some serious opposition.

The answer for him came in two parts.  The first part was most likely obvious to a man who felt a call to the priesthood at an early age.  The idea that God’s salvation is the greatest gift that anyone can ever receive would be clear to him.  The second, that a human and Christian education was essential for the young men entrusted to his care, most especially the poor and marginalized, came to him gradually and led him to commit more and more of himself to what became his life’s endeavor.

This idea that education can lead to salvation was not universally accepted and many in power in De La Salle’s time and even some in power now deny education to some for their own selfish ends.

Early in his priesthood De La Salle was invited to assist in opening a school for the poor boys of his hometown— Reims, France.  As he came to see what was needed in the schools, he also came to see that these young boys had very little understanding of God’s love in their lives.  He saw that they either had very busy and absentee parents or no parents, and thus they were unable to provide the time and education for their children necessary to understand God’s salvation.  Thus, he came to see that a truly Christian school must teach skills that allow students to obtain meaningful work and provide the students the time for the prayer and reflection needed to ascertain God’s plan for salvation.  So, De La Salle focused his schools on places where practical skills were taught and prayer was constant.

This pragmatic approach to education led him to become a true innovator in his educational approach.  Yet, perhaps the most important element of his method is that he knew he could not do it alone.  He knew he needed other men to be his “Brothers” in his work.  He also truly understood that the work he was embarking on was not his own but God’s work.

Truly this was a man who made the best of his visit.  He poured himself into God’s work.  And even though the work was not always easy and the path not always clear St. John Baptist de La Salle and his Brothers trusted the will of God and have driven forth this mission that continues 298 year past the end of his own life.

We at La Salle are able to see his work in action and reminders about his life are ever present.  My favorite reminder is in the cafeteria where his last words are written in the center of the cafeteria— “In all things, I adore the will of God in my regard.”

Let us pray…

Loving God, let us be inspired to make the most of our visit here on earth.   Let us listen to your will in our lives and have the courage to live it.  Amen.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts … forever!

Timothy Donovan–Social Studies Teacher

Touched by Sam’s Eternal Spirit

A Personal Remembrance of Sam Jenkins

Brother Frederick C. Mueller, FSC, Ed.D.

1 April 2017—A Celebration of the Life of Sam Jenkins

It was early in the first semester of the school year, Autumn of 2012—I am not sure of the exact date—but I am sure of the exact spot—a couch in the center lounge of Campus Ministry at La Salle Academy, that I met Sam Jenkins.  I know it was not the first time I had seen him in there as I passed through the space regularly for a few quiet moments in the Blessed Sacrament Meditation Chapel, but I became curious about this young man working diligently by himself on some school work—pen in hand and open book, no cell phone distractions.  In meeting for that first time Sam told me that he had transferred, that he had taken the Sophomore Religion course as a Freshman and that as a Sophomore at La Salle he was doing independent study using the Freshman Religion text.  As the conversation progressed he mentioned that he played hockey—was a goalie—and immediately I realized that I would be spending some time with this young man over the next few years in one of my roles at La Salle—that of Boys’ Hockey moderator.

 

Indeed I did spend time with Sam over those next three years and got to know something about him—how he was really bright (since I never had to call him into my office to talk about poor grades); how he was a young man of many interests—a young Renaissance man—who could move easily from the hockey rink to the Chorus Room as a member of Men’s a-Capella chorus, to the stage as a player in Othello, to the computer lab, to the English classroom and the debate team; how he had a perpetual smile, a cheery word, a firm handshake every time we greeted each other (sometimes a few times a day) as I engaged in my ministry of the hallways being present before and after school and between classes.

 

However, what I treasure more than knowing about Sam was coming to know Sam.  I discovered a young man who was comfortable in his own skin (on dress down days when students could be out of dress code, Sam would invariably appear in brightly colored or pastel shorts and shirts or with lounge pants with little boats or watermelons on them—a declaration by Sam of his individuality).  I discovered a young man of great loyalty and fidelity—never the starting goalie, Sam never complained about being a back-up or a 3rd or 4th string goalie; he was at every practice whether early in the morning or late in the evening doing what his coach asked him to and filling in whenever or wherever needed; even during his Senior year he was at almost every game and frequently in the locker room cheering his team mates on as they won the State Hockey Championship.  I discovered a young man who valued community—be it his family community so clear in his pride in his younger sister coming to La Salle or the school community itself.  One day early in the second semester of his Senior year he appeared at my office door (a frequent occurrence) and sat across from me excited to share with me the news of his choice of college—a massive search and plenty of open doors for him.  He proudly said, “I found a place like La Salle—small, a real community, a place where I feel I can belong—Swarthmore.”  And at Swarthmore he did indeed find a community where he could both fit in and be himself.  And finally, I discovered a young man of profound depth, great sensitivity, and deepening spirituality.  Later in that second semester of his Senior Year Sam came up to me in the corridor and announced, “I am thinking about becoming a monk!”  Quickly in my mind I am thinking—a Brother?  A Trappist monk?  He must have seen the pensive look on my face and said, “A Buddhist monk!”  I am sure he saw surprise flash on my face but the conversation ended there and he went on and I thought—how appropriate!  Sam loved the outdoors; he was an environmentalist.  Sam also loved the big questions.  Buddhism, which he was studying that semester, was a way for him to join in an organic whole the outside world and the inside world.  I never saw him in a saffron robe but it would not have been far-fetched.

 

Over the past year and one half that he has been away in college his frequent return visits (three times over the most recent Christmas break) revealed to me that Sam was continuing to grow—as someone secure in who he was, as a loyal and faithful friend, as a person who treasured family and community, and as a young man who had not lost his gift of deep reflection.

 

La Salle Academy will miss Sam—La Salle is more than bricks and mortar, more than alums returning to reunions; and, Sam will continue to be remembered as a treasured member of our Lasallian Family.  The Boys’ Hockey Program will miss Sam—forever he is a part of that team that broke the 38 year drought and that will never be forgotten!  And I will miss Sam and his on-going friendship.  Sam may be gone but there is a part of me that will continue to be touched by Sam’s eternal spirit.

 

I won’t say “Sam, rest in peace”—much too passive for Sam.  Rather, “Sam, continue to live—now and forever in the loving presence of that God whom you sought.”

Love—A Gift to Be Received and Shared

(Prayer offered over the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 3 February 2017—the 5th and final day of Catholic Schools Week)

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

Today marks the end of Catholic Schools Week.  Each morning, we have heard people reflect on what their Catholic, Lasallian education means to them.  This morning, I hope to do the same.

I’d like to start by telling you about Avery, Bella, Lux, Aria, Kendall, AaQuil, Yeilin, and Amit. These are the names of the beautiful children I got to spend each Wednesday with while out on service. I was fortunate enough to visit Beautiful Beginnings, on Elmwood Avenue in Providence for Christian Service. The first two times I went, I was uncomfortable. I felt a language barrier between the teachers and myself. I didn’t get to connect with the children the first two times I went because I was put to work with infants, who couldn’t speak or even walk. It wasn’t until I visited my service site for the third time that I truly felt God’s presence. I saw Avery playing with the kitchen set. It’s tough to work with children who are unable to speak because they can’t express their true feelings to you, but in this moment Avery’s actions spoke louder than the words he couldn’t speak. He turned around, saw me sit down in the play area and put on the biggest smile his tiny face could hold. He rushed towards me as fast as his tiny legs could crawl and just sat plopped down in the middle of my lap. I felt comfortable. The teachers were smiling.

The children ranged in age.  Lux was the youngest at 7 months old.  Aria was the oldest at almost a year and she spent most of the time trying to figure out how to walk around the room.   Each time I arrived, I would play with the children inside as I helped them stand on their own two feet and let their tiny fingers grasp onto mine. If the weather was shining, we would take them all outside to catch a break of a new scenery. It was planned perfectly that when it was time for me to head back to school, it was nap-time for the children at Beautiful Beginnings.

I learned different things about my myself each time I went out for service. I learned about true  patience when 6 children were all crying at the same time. I learned about my ability to stand up for myself, and not let a language barrier come between two people. I learned that it’s okay to not always feel comfortable and welcomed, because God didn’t create his whole world to be easy.  Lastly, I learned from the children around me.  I learned the value of compassion and appreciation. It was little things that made them smile, and it should be the little things that make us smile as well. They showed me that true happiness comes from the things in life shared with others. They showed me the beauty of giving and receiving love.  I grew to love those children and couldn’t believe that 6 weeks before I had never met them. Love is a gift from God that is meant to be shared and received. During my time at Christian Service, I loved those children and through their actions I received love back. My message after finishing up my Christian Service experience is to be grateful with the life you have, use the ability of patience as life is not always easy, break down the barriers that stand in the way of you and another person, and love one another as they are your brothers and sisters. One act of kindness can be imprinted on another’s soul forever.  I am grateful for the opportunity to serve that I was given as a member of the class of 2017 at La Salle Academy.

Let us Pray:

Dear God–Thank you for this Lasallian school community and for the gift of our Catholic education.  Keep our hearts and minds open to the lessons we can learn when we serve others.  And finally, help us to find the true happiness in the little things in life, just as my friends at Beautiful Beginnings helped me.  Guide us to see good all around us in the world as we strive to grow in patience.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle — Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts — Forever.

Sydney DeCesare–Class of 2017

Touching the Lives of Others

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 2 February 2017—4th day of Catholic Schools Week)

Good morning!

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

This is my 9th year teaching at La Salle – my first without a child in the building. I arrived at the beginning of my Amanda’s sophomore year. I will always appreciate the grace and maturity she displayed when she got the unnerving news that Dad would not only be driving her to school every day, but coming inside as well.

As it turned out, teaching here helped me foster a deeper relationship with my children. For that, I am forever grateful.

Mrs. Pare and I raised shy kids – La Salle made sure they didn’t stay that way.

Here, Amanda, developed an appreciation for science and psychology. I saw her embrace opportunities – like a Service Trip to Montana – to touch the lives of others. Today, she is an RN, and I can tell, a caring one. She is compassionate. She enjoys listening to her patients and talking to them. She has received letters from family members, thanking her for brightening a dark room.

In Carlene, I watched as a shy little girl blossomed into a confident student, who, like her big sister, seized opportunities. She is deathly afraid of flying — most comfortable at home with family, yet she summoned the courage and traveled to Arizona for a Service Trip and later, to Spain.

In Jimmy, I watched as another shy kid came into his own. I saw a bit of myself. Imagine what a feeling it is as a father to be able to say my son and I combined to score 634 points while playing varsity basketball here. O.K., so that breaks down to 630 for him… 4 for me – but let’s not get bogged down in detail.

I tell those stories because people in this building made them happen…  I wonder if they know.

I wonder if Ms. Estes knows that Amanda’s compassion for her patients – that penchant for listening — that is a piece of her in my daughter.

I wonder if Ms. Chapman, Mr. Ciccone, Ms. Doyle, or Mr. Martinez know that Carlene stepped out of her comfort zone and soared because she felt safe and secure in their presence.

I wonder if Mr. McParlin or Mr. Simonelli knew just how shy Jimmy was – that he was not comfortable as a leader. But by connecting to him, they helped him reach his true potential.

I wonder if Ms. Frega knew how important it was that her Freshmen English class was so interesting, especially to a reluctant reader.

I wonder if Ms. Cottle knows that my children always – always – mention her kindness and coolness when they talk about their time here.

I wonder if Mr. Heroux knew how much my girls learned from working in that dentist office.

I wonder if Trainer Rob knew that the 10 minutes he spent working on Jimmy’s mangled ankle one Sunday afternoon gave a kid a chance to secure a lifelong memory.

I could go on and on.

Oh, it wasn’t always warm and fuzzy.

Amanda scoffed at dress code. Right, Mr. Finnegan? Carlene, well she actually didn’t give me any trouble. Jimmy… let me put it this way.

For the entirety of last year, if you watched closely as I arrived at work — you would have noticed that as I walked along the first floor corridor each morning to sign in – my pace would quicken as I pulled even with the entrance to student life and my neck would turn to the left where I would pretend to be admiring our beautiful wall of photographs. What I was really doing was avoiding eye contact with my friend, Mr. McVey – Jimmy’s dean.

In the end, I guess what I wanted to say is that the lessons of Algebra II, British Literature, Biology, History, Spanish, and all the other classes are so important. There is a practicality to every class taught in this building.

But more important, are the lessons being taught – no, being lived here every day — that are more important to our success in life… lessons of kindness and compassion, of touching the lives of others.

 

Let Us Pray

Dear God, help us to connect with one another, to learn those lessons of kindness and compassion and to carry those lessons out into a world that so desperately needs them.

 

Saint John Baptist de La Salle… pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever!

Michael Pare–English teacher, Alumnus (Class of 1985), and Parent of three alums (Amanda [2011], Carlene [2014], and James [2016])

Character Is Who and What You Are When Nobody Is Watching

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 1 February 2017–3rd day of Catholic Schools Week)

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

Saint John Baptist de La Salle founded his first school in 1685 with his sole purpose and mission to educate students on not just science, math and history, but to educate them on how to become better people. With this mission in mind and his courageous drive to step away from the norms of society, De La Salle knew that he could not fulfill this mission alone and began to not just educate, but empower teachers to become leaders to fulfill his mission.

When I think about La Salle Academy today, I think about the people who have answered this calling of selflessness and who truly resemble what De La Salle would expect from a Lasallian teacher—the people that when you step away from La Salle Academy have made a lasting impact on your life.

One of these people is Geoff Marcone. Mr. Marcone or Coach Marcone is someone who exemplifies the Lasallian educator. He is a true leader. Coach Marcone gets the most out of his students and athletes daily by encouraging and motivating them to be the best at whatever they are doing. This is something that he models on a day to day basis. He always strives to be his best.

Coach Marcone builds relationships through trust. There is truly not a more sincere, genuine and caring person than Geoff Marcone. He checks in with his students daily and puts their needs and well-being ahead of his own, even when he does not have to. Coach Marcone is selfless. He wants all of his students and athletes to be successful. He will do whatever he can to make that happen.

“Character is who and what you are, when nobody’s watching.” This is something Coach preaches day in and day out. In this day and age, it is easy to say things and not follow through. In my opinion, he embodies the definition of character. Geoff Marcone is character. He is the same person all of the time, no matter the circumstances, which is an incredible attribute. He treats everyone with respect. He cares about the people he has developed a relationship with. He is a great father, teacher, coach, role model and friend.

I am blessed to have been a student, an athlete, and a colleague of Geoff Marcone. I am just one of the many examples of someone who has been made better, not just in the classroom or on the field but in the most important game of all, Life.

Today, he will accept one more honor to his already impressive list of accomplishments. He will be named the Distinguished Lasallian Educator at La Salle Academy for this year. I am honored to call Geoff Marcone a friend and even extremely more honored to congratulate him on this prestigious award. Thank you, Coach, for your mission and your leadership.

Let us pray,

Lord, thank you for bringing people like Geoff Marcone into our lives, who truly strive to make us better each and every day with their leadership. Thank you for giving us teachers, coaches, and mentors who model your love and dedication even when we don’t deserve it. Please continue to bring us leaders who will continue to carry out your will and goodness on earth.  Amen.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for Us.

Live Jesus in Our Hearts…Forever.

Michael McParlin–Social Studies Teacher and Alumnus (Class of 2004)

What a Parent Will Do for a Child

(Prayer offered over the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 31 January 2017—2nd day of Catholic Schools Week)

Let us remember we are in the holy presence of God

There were two neighboring tribes in the Andes: one that lived in the valley while the other lived high on a nearby mountain.  It was rumored that the two tribes long ago were one united tribe.  But when the wise old chief died, his two sons could not rule harmoniously. So, the two brothers separated and each took a portion of the tribe with him.

They left their forest home.  One brother went up the nearby mountain, where his people hunted game and built shelters made of timber and wood.  The other brother brought his people to the valley at the river’s edge, where they fished and grew crops.

After many generations, contact was lost between the two tribes.  Sure, there were stories told by the elders of the angry brothers who splintered the original tribe.  But no one was alive who had ever seen their kin folk from the other portion of the tribe.

After a bad winter that caused many deaths on the mountain, the mountain tribe blamed their misfortune on the valley tribe and decided to find them and attack them.

After days of searching they finally found their lost tribesmen from the past and attacked.  The aim of the mountain tribe was only to plunder provisions and retreat back up the mountain.  During the attack, one of tribal raiders took a baby from one of the valley families and carried the infant into the jungle and up into the mountains.

The valley tribe was determined to retrieve their stolen baby but didn’t know how to climb the mountain.  There were no trails that the mountain people used; they didn’t know how to track them in the steep terrain, or where to find the mountain tribe’s village.

Determined, they sent out a group of their strongest fishermen to climb the mountain and bring their baby home.  The men tried first one method of climbing and then another.    After several days of effort, they had climbed only several hundred feet.  Feeling hopeless and helpless, the fishermen decided that the cause was lost, and they prepared to return to their village below.

As they were packing their gear to prepare for the descent, they saw the baby’s mother walking toward them.  They realized that she was coming down the mountain that they had not figured out how to climb up.  Then they saw that she had the baby… strapped to her back.  They were shocked.  How could that be?

The leader of the group greeted her and said, “We are so glad that your baby is safe.  But how?  We couldn’t climb this mountain, no matter how hard we tried.  How did you do this… when we…the strongest and most able men in the village, could not?”

She looked in his eyes, gave him a smile that thanked him for their valiant efforts and softly said, “It wasn’t your baby.”

Never underestimate what a mother will do for her child.

Don’t underestimate how much your parents care for you or how much you are loved.    You may not know and you may never know the sacrifices and burdens that your parents have taken, are taking, and will continue to take for your benefit.   And, never, ever forget that you are a child of God.  And God loves you so much that he sent his only son so that you may prosper and have eternal life.

As a parent, Catholic education for my sons is very important.  We want to provide the best opportunities for our children, to give them a strong faith, a firm moral compass, a solid education and credible role models standing in front of the class.    For me, Catholic education satisfies those requirements and their enrollment in La Salle Academy truly is a blessing.

Let us pray: Tender God, Open our lips to praise your holy name. Cleanse our hearts and our minds of any worthless or distracting thoughts.   Grant us the wisdom and knowledge   to be attentive and respectful as we learn new wonders and dream new dreams.  Bless these studies to our use and us to your service.  Amen.

St Michael:    Pray for us.

St Joseph of Cupertino:    Pray for us.

St. John Baptist de La Salle:   Pray for us

Live Jesus in our Hearts:   Forever.

Deacon Scott Brown–Parent of Matthew (Class of 2017) and Jacob (Class of 2018)

Hear Their Stories

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy community on Monday morning, 30 January 2017–the first day of Catholic Schools Week)

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

“There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you hear their story.”

This is a quote that I first heard at La Salle and one that has stuck with me ever since.

This past week, I listened to the story of a woman and her child when visiting their home in the impoverished, rural community of Nidirí in Masaya, Nicaragua. I met a woman named Selvia, who lives with her little son Isain in a house made of metal sheets. The house has neither running water, nor electricity. While I played catch with Isain, as chickens and pigs ran around our feet, Selvia spoke about her life.

Several years ago, she had to move back home to the countryside, because there were no job opportunities available for her in the city. Arriving home, she struggled to feed her family, had no source of income, and lived in fear that her unstable house would collapse on top of her. After years of struggling, she joined a local organization that promotes woman’s rights, which allowed her to join a woman’s cooperative that specializes in creating natural medicine and hygiene products. This work allows her to give back to the community, while providing her with an income to improve her living conditions. Selvia now has the means to grow her own fruits and vegetables, raise chickens, and strengthen the infrastructure of her house. She thanks God for blessing her and her son and thanks Him each day for giving her life.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet this upbeat, compassionate woman during my immersion trip to Nicaragua with my school, the College of the Holy Cross. After hearing her life story, I could not help but be inspired by her strong desire to better her community, her immense love for her son, and her deep gratitude towards others. Hugging me goodbye with tears in her eyes, she thanked me for taking the time to come to her country and learn about her people. I promised her I would always remember her, and aim to serve others in any aspect of my life that I am able to.

Today marks the first day of Catholic Schools Week. Having attended Catholic schools for the entirety of my educational career, I am called to reflect on its great value. My desire to serve others, as I did on this international immersion trip, stems from the values and ideals instilled in me throughout my years spent at La Salle. During my four years here, I participated in clubs and activities such as the New Orleans service learning trip, Lasallian Youth, the Homeless Sleep Out, the Kairos retreat, and Senior Christian service. These life experiences taught me how to listen and learn from the stories of others and live the mission of Saint John Baptist de La Salle. Learning in a Catholic environment at 612 Academy Avenue, I encountered and was impacted by many people of faith. I heard stories while hanging out in campus ministry, while listening to prayers by Mr. Sirois in World Religion class, while attending Mass with the entire school, while talking with Mrs. Estes – each day I heard stories. These stories taught me how to think critically and virtuously, while instilling in me the ideals of service, community and faith. These stories filled me with love, filled me with passion and have helped me find my own story.

I was inspired to attend a Catholic college and continue to deepen my faith. At Holy Cross, I am a member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization, and serve as a mentor to Malaysia, my 14-year-old little sister, who is always a bundle of energy and reminds me to always remain optimistic. Through my work with the chaplain’s office, I have promoted inter-campus peace and organized events to improve woman’s rights.  As the chair of our campus environmental group, I am able to raise awareness for environmental concerns that impact poor communities and harm the lives of others.

As a second semester senior, I am always being asked about my plans for the future. While I am not completely certain what I will be doing after graduation, I am confident I will be able to serve others, perhaps by working for a non-profit organization. Because of my Lasallian education, I feel called to have a career that allows me to better the lives of others.

I continue to learn from the stories I hear, and am forever grateful for the Lasallian community that taught me how to love others and serve in faith.

I call all of you to be inspired by others, love others and build your story each day.

Let us pray.

Dear God, may we deepen our faith in Jesus while appreciating His message and that of His church.

A quote from Father Pedro Arrupe titled “Falling in Love With God” says

“Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you will know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”

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

Live Jesus in our Hearts … Forever.

Victoria Stephens–La Salle Academy Alumna (Class of 2013) and Senior at the College of the Holy Cross

You Did It For Me

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 13 January 2017—the 5th and final day of Haiti Solidarity Week)

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

Haiti-school-1ldz9wx

As we prepare to give our offering to the Hands Out For Haiti Campaign, let us listen to the words of Matthew’s Gospel:

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

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

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

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

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Let us pray,
Jesus, our Lord and our brother, open our hearts today so that we might generously respond to the young people of Haiti who really are the least members of your family. Remind us that whatever we do for them, we do for you. Amen.

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

Logan Liljeberg–Class of 2017 & Captain of Boys’ Hockey Team