How Is Your Heart Today?

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

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

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

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

Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC

We Belong to God AND to One Another

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 2 June 2017)

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

Recently, I heard a former professor of mine tell a story from his family that moved and inspired me.  I’d like to share that story with you this morning as our prayer this last official day of classes at the academy this year.

Michael—my professor—had been visiting his elderly mother faithfully and routinely in the nursing home every week for the last year of her life as she struggled with the ravaging effects of Alzheimer’s disease.    Two or  three times per week, he would visit with her, help feed her, tell her about his day, and read to her as she dozed off to sleep for the evening.  One night a couple of months before her death, Michael’s mom seemed particularly agitated, disoriented, and anxious.  She wouldn’t eat, she refused to sit with him, and kept asking him to go home.   Not sure how to proceed or what to say, Michael reached for his mom’s hand and asked her, “Do you remember who I am?”   Michael’s mom stood very still and stared at him for a long time.  In a soft voice, barely above a whisper, she told him, “I’m sorry, darling.  I don’t know that I could remember your name but I do know that you are someone I loved very much.”

In the Christian tradition, God’s love is referred to as agape—a complete, unconditional, “no holds barred” kind of love.  It does not depend on anything we do or do not do.  Agape is freely given.   And it is that love to which we are called, each day, every day.

As we wrap up the 2016-2017 academic year, I’d like us to consider the most fundamental of all questions—-How well have we loved this year? In a school the size and magnitude of La Salle, it is easy to get lost in the minutiae, in the details.  If you’re like me, the most honest way to answer that question is to say that sometimes I get it right—I act selflessly and give as Jesus would want me to.  But often, I fall short.  I miss the mark.  I rush to judge another, react out of fear or self interest, and count the cost of loving.

Day in and day out, in our classrooms, hallways, athletic fields, locker rooms, theater, cafeteria, and cars—we have opportunities to learn how to give of ourselves bravely and courageously to one another.   In doing so, we learn that we belong to God.  We learn that we belong to one another.

 

Let us pray

Good and gracious God,
We believe that you are present wherever love is.
Help us to remember that we are not called to success.
We are called to be instruments of love and mercy.
Alone and together, in this Lasallian community, may we discern that call daily
So that we may see where and when and how
We can give of ourselves freely, selflessly to one another.
And when everything else fades away, may it be said that we loved one another.

St. John Baptist de La Salle: Pray for Us

Live Jesus in our Hearts: Forever!

Christine Estes–Director of Campus Ministry

“Just Keep Swimming”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 8 June 2017)

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

“Fish are friends, not food.” This is a quote from one of the greatest movies of all time, which has taught us some great lessons. And yes, that movie is Finding Nemo.

There are some pretty powerful words in Finding Nemo that convey a greater message. A couple of these include, “When I look at you, I’m home,” and when Dory says, “Trust, it’s what friends do.”

Trust- it’s truly what friends do. It might seem cliche, but trust is the foundation on which friendship is built. Along with trust, mutual love form the pillars of true friendship.

Jesus says the following about friendship in the Gospel of John: “This is my commandment: that you love one another, even as I have loved you. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -John 13: 34-35.

Jesus commands that we love our neighbor- a task that seems rather easy. Being a good friend, student, son, and so on are parts of the way in which I can live out Christ’s command to love my neighbor. But then again, I did talk about my friend behind his back, and copied another friend’s homework because I was too tired to do it last night. Oh, and I also didn’t do the chores at home and neglected to tell my mom that I love her when I left the house this morning.

It happens, though. We are humans and we are prone to make mistakes and sin. But Jesus is calling us to make a conscious effort to avoid gossiping about our friends and to discourage gossip among those we are with. He also calls us to be honest with our friends and family- especially when it is really hard. We will need to do things that we don’t want to do: like chores, or going to work, or doing homework. But wouldn’t our good friend Dory tell us, “when life gets you down do you know what you’ve just gotta do? Just keep swimming.”

Let us pray: O God, source of all goodness, you have blessed us with friends and have given us the commandment that we should love one another. Keep us faithful to your command and keep us mindful of the people with whom we need reconciliation. Help us to grow in friendship with you, who is the greatest example of friendship. We ask all of these things through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts, forever!

Nathan Ledoux–Alumnus, Class of 2016

Guided by the Holy Spirit

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 25 May 2017)

Good morning La Salle!

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

Today is Ascension Thursday, the day the Church gathers to commemorate Jesus’ return to His Father 40 days after His Resurrection on Easter. Of all mornings, it may seem particularly confounding that this morning we are being asked to remember that we are “in the holy presence of God.” After all, are we not commemorating Jesus’ return to Heaven? And so, in a way, aren’t we celebrating not God’s presence but his very absence from our lives?

In fact, this was the very fear that Jesus’ disciples faced on Good Friday: Their leader having died, so too, they must have thought, everything that they believed in.

And yet, in the scripture readings at Mass this morning, we will encounter a group of disciples transformed by the Resurrection…disciples not only filled with faith but who were soon willing to go to the ends of the Earth to preach and to die for that faith. And, importantly, we will also hear of Jesus’ promise to send His Holy Spirit upon his disciples…the very “holy presence of God” Whom you and I are asked to recall each morning and each afternoon at the start of prayer.

It was the Holy Spirit Who guided a young Fr. John Baptist de La Salle to shed his comfortable, upper-class life so that he might give himself over entirely to the education of the poor. And fifty years ago, it was the same Spirit Who guided two young men to follow in John Baptist’s footsteps. Their names were Thomas Gerrow and Frederick Mueller. We know them today as Brother Tom and Brother Fred. And for 50 years they have committed their lives to the mission and legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle.

This morning at Mass, we will have the privilege of witnessing Brother Tom’s and Brother Fred’s renewal of their vows to the Brothers of the Christian Schools. If you happen to see Brother Fred or Brother Tom in the halls today, perhaps you could pass along your congratulations and a ‘thank you’ for their lives of service. But I wonder if the best tribute you and I could pay to them would be to spend 5 minutes in the quiet of prayer asking Jesus how His Spirit is at work in our lives today. And no, He may not be calling us today to make the radical, life-altering commitment exemplified by Brother Tom and Brother Fred. But He may be calling us to say a kind word to a classmate or to a colleague who needs it. And that is a great place to start.

Let us pray.

Jesus, You once said to Your disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these.” May we, the community of La Salle, not be so timid as to think that perhaps, when you said this, You did not have us in mind.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Brian Bennett–Religion Teacher

Lasts and Firsts

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday afternoon, 23 May 2017)

Good afternoon.

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

Our Senior year, and especially these past few weeks at La Salle Academy, have been filled with lasts: Our last first day of school. Our last Beehive tailgate.  Our last home football game.  Our last theater production.  Our last touchdown, goal, race, or three pointer.  Our last day sitting at lunch with friends.  Our last time hearing, “Good Evening, this is Mr. Kavanagh calling from La Salle Academy.”  Our last run in with Mr. McGinn.  And this, class of 2017, family of 2017, our final school day, together, at the A.

It is overwhelming to dwell on these lasts, and to think that our time at La Salle is ending.  As soon-to-be graduates, it is important that we focus on the firsts we encountered throughout high school and all the memories these accounted for.

Dr. Seuss once said, “Don’t cry because it’s over.  Smile because it happened.”

Today we smile because of our firsts: Our first day of school, and experiencing the tradition that is La Salle.  Our first Clash of the Classes, and being introduced to the zeal and energy that exists in this community, the palpable school spirit that permeates our hallways.  Our first time being exposed to the mission of the Lasallian schools and recognizing our call to serve others.  Our first time experiencing the La Salle education, something that is far more extensive than the beautiful campus at 612 Academy Avenue (being part of La Salle means being part of a global community of over 1000 schools in more than 80 countries.  Our staff and administrators are among the 90,000 men and women who minister the La Salle education to the next generation of leaders, innovators, and difference-makers. An integral part of the Lasallian education is exercising a preferential option for the poor.) We smile at the memory of our first day going out on Christian service, anxious, nervous, unaware of the challenges and joys that lie ahead. We smile at the memory of our first day being on a mission trip, the formation of bonds with former strangers and engaging in the worlds of people whom most students only read about. We smile because it happened!

So, on this day of firsts and lasts, ends and beginnings, bitter and sweet, we smile. We smile because it happened.  Because it happened at La Salle. It happened with remarkable teachers and coaches. It happened with the coolest, most compassionate dean of all time. It happened with supportive families who sacrificed for us. It happened with late nights, early mornings, blizzards, hurricanes, and heat-waves.  It happened with laughter.  It happened with stress. It happened with tears.  Nonetheless, it happened.  And for that, we smile.

Let us pray,

Lord, we have been blessed to attend La Salle Academy, a place that has taught us a great deal about how to live compassionately and with zeal.  Help us to use what we have learned in all of our life endeavors, and to look back on our time here with gratitude, with fondness, and with a smile.

God Bless the class of 2017.

God Bless The Academy.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle, Pray for us!

Live Jesus in our hearts, Forever!

Jack Hogan–Class of 2017

In This Last Minute

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 23 May 2017)

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

I’ve been putting off writing this prayer since the day I found out that I was doing it, in the hopes that this day would never actually come. I’ve always been a procrastinator and I’m sure that I will continue to be. I tend to think I have much more time than I actually do, and somewhere along the line I’ll miraculously find a solid amount of time and do whatever it is I have to do.  So naturally, when asked to do prayer on the last day of school, which was a day I wanted to be far far away,  I waited until the very last minute. But it is in this last minute, that I realize what the minute truly means.

Time is a very strange thing. Sometimes it seems like a school day is over in five minutes, other times, maybe more often for most, it seems like it lasts a century. If we get an assignment that’s not due for what seems like a while, we think we have enough time to wait until there’s basically no time left. And now, for Seniors, there really is no time left. The day that we sometimes said could not come fast enough or other times we wished would never catch us is finally here. Personally, I have never been one to truly understand the phrase “It goes by too fast.” Whenever I would hear someone say that, I just never thought that it would be applicable to me. An hour is 60 minutes and a minute is 60 seconds. Time doesn’t go by fast because it simply can’t.  Whenever my parents reminisce and say,  “My high school graduation feels like yesterday,” or “I can remember attending my senior prom,” I tend to look at them a little cock eyed and think to myself, your senior year was most certainly NOT yesterday. But now, after reaching this point and searching behind me to try and find where the time went, I finally understand that time does go by fast. Because here we are!

Juniors, your graduation is in 380 days. Sophomores, yours is in 744 days, and Freshmen, yours is 1,108 days away. For the Freshman, that may seem like eternities away. However, that number in seconds is only worth 18 minutes. If you do the same thing for the Sophomores, that number is only worth 13 minutes. For the Juniors that also feel like their graduation is eternities away, trust me it’s not. We all remember feeling the same way, but somehow we got here. The point is, it seems like you have forever. It seems like your time at La Salle is never going to end. It seems like there will always be another Friday night football game. Like there will always be another Clash. Like there will always be one more day to spend in this building. Until one day, there won’t be. And that’s where all of us Seniors are now. So make sure you appreciate the time you have. Because one day, 16 days from now or 1,108 days from now, you’re going to be wishing that you did.

We are all guilty of counting down until the last days. We are all guilty of wishing for the weekend or for the final bell of the school day. But now, for us Seniors, we’re even MORE guilty of wishing that THIS day never had to end. Sometimes we get so caught up in the moment, we forget that this moment is shortly going to become a memory. And soon enough, that it is what all of this will be—a memory. Walking with each other from class to class, cramming in last minute studying in the hallway, laying outside on a nice day during lunch. I finally understand the statement that has so long confused me. Time goes by fast, but it’s not the literal time, the hours or the minutes, that are speeding up. Rather it is that when you love a place so much, it makes it seem as though time stops. So we forget about time, because it is not pertinent to us when we are spending all of our time in a place that has so many opportunities, so much love, and so many of our memories. To the Freshman, Sophomores, and Juniors, pay attention to the little things, because now, as all of us are approaching the end of the end, we are realizing that these little things are the big things. And these big things are what make La Salle.

If any of you have spoken to me, you very well know that I can’t go longer than five minutes without making a Disney reference, so in the wise words of Russell Fredricksen from Up, “It might sound boring, but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember most.” Yes, I’ll remember the big stuff and yes, the big stuff was great, but it’s the little stuff that I’m going to want back. I’ll always remember how much everyone was amused by the kiwi spoons I used every day at lunch. I’ll always remember attempting to spend my mornings studying, when in reality I just jammed to Treasure by Bruno Mars. I’ll always remember the outrageous capitalization of all of Mr. McGinn’s emails. I’ll remember a lot of things, and I hope that you all use your time wisely enough to do the same, because time and your life does go by fast. And if you don’t stop and look around once and awhile, you could miss it!

Let us pray.

Lord, help us to not take time for granted. Help us to appreciate the little things, to appreciate the time we have here at La Salle, and to make the most of it. Please watch over the Seniors and continue to guide them as they embark on the next step in their journey. Thank you for this time, these memories, and this adventure.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Allyson Desrosiers–Class of 2017

The Lasallian Labyrinth

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 22 May 2017)

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

Every Freshman Spirit Orientation Day, Mr. McGinn teaches incoming freshmen  about the legends of La Salle, saying that if the walls of 612 Academy Ave. could talk, they would tell tales of those who made the most of their experience here at La Salle. Of more practical importance, however, Mr. McGinn guided me on our first official tour of La Salle, teaching me to navigate the Lasallian Labyrinth.  I can imagine that many of us were intimidated by the sheer size of La Salle and wondered how we could possibly find our way each morning.  That day I vowed to take a walk through La Salle each morning until I knew the layout of the school like the back of my hand. To this very day, I continue this tradition and I would like to take you on my daily tour of La Salle this morning.

Each morning, my walk begins just outside of Campus Ministry. It is when I stand outside of Campus Ministry that I am reminded of La Salle’s purpose.  La Salle Academy is surely an excellent institution that prepares students with the skills necessary to succeed in life.  More importantly, however, La Salle teaches us to live lives of service to each other.  It is in Campus Ministry that we recall  “we are in the presence of a loving God” 5,040 times over the course of four years. Photos of students doing good in our local community or on service trips remind us of the incredible acts of charity many of our student body have already participated in, as well as the future philanthropic works in the years to come. Campus Ministry serves as a reminder of our mission at La Salle, and how we have not only nourished our minds with knowledge but have cultivated the seeds of charity.

If one takes a left at the top of the second floor of the Science Building, he or she will  face a magnificently large window overlooking Cimini Stadium, Cronin Fields and the Mac. When one overlooks these facilities it reminds us of the determination La Salle has instilled in us, both on and off the field. High school can be a challenging time, and every one of us has experienced one of the unglamorous nights of cramming for a test or finishing a paper late in the evening.  La Salle precipitates the determination that is necessary for success in the world beyond. The fields remind us of those wonderful memories shared as a community, whether in the Beehive or field.  Those fields remind us of our times together, with “heads held high with one desire” and the collective determination it takes to succeed.

It is almost impossible to walk into La Salle in the morning and not be greeted by a teacher. It is those greetings that remind us of the dedication the faculty and staff have for us, the students of La Salle. The teachers of La Salle have made us into the people we are today. Although there may have been  times during which the coursework seemed overwhelming, they forced us to grow as individuals. Many teachers have been available before or after school to ensure their students’ success, and it is that sacrifice of time and energy that reminds us of the great gratitude that we should have for our teachers. As we walk through the halls each morning we recognize how grateful we are for your service, because through your efforts we have been educated in both mind and spirit.

By now, my tour of La Salle has reached the ground floor. As many of us walk by each and every day we hear music emerging from the band room and we gaze at the magnificent works of art constructed in our studios. Regardless of whether one is able to draw an accurate self portrait or not, I believe that we can all agree that La Salle has made us into more expressive human beings. Perhaps it is because we are just freshman on our first day of school, but through our time here we have matured and become the people we aspired to be. We have been educated at La Salle, not indoctrinated, and it is here that we have become capable of conveying our thoughts and values in our works of art or for many of us, simply  in the discussions we have each day.

By now, there is a crescendo of chatter that has emerged from the building and the silence of early morning develops into excited conversation. As each student enters the building, our building comes alive. Although our teachers are superb and our facilities stately, La Salle would be nothing without its students.  All of us, from the sixth grader at De La Salle to my fellow seniors, have become a central part of the Lasallian community. Seniors in particular have seen themselves develop from timid freshman into empowered seniors ready to face the world beyond.  To every underclassmen, no matter how many years until your graduation you will find this change in yourself as well.  We should be proud of our accomplishments because we have embodied what St. John Baptist de La Salle sought in his students, young men and women who seek to live lives of service to each other.

My daily tour of La Salle ends where my first tour began: at the Hall of Fame. When I was a freshmen it seemed almost impossible to visualize graduation; the finish line seemed simply too distant. Now only 17 days until graduation, I along with the class of 2017 have found ourselves become part of that very legacy.  To the class of 2017—when the last school bell rings tomorrow..Don’t be late.  Our future lies ahead.

Let us pray. We can trace a common heritage here and no matter what walk of life we pursue years from now, we will always remember the lessons we learned both in and out of the classroom.  Today we pray especially for the guides in our lives (in my own life, my first tour guide at La Salle, Mr. McGinn) and all of the faculty and administration here at La Salle. Most especially let us pray for every student at La Salle, no matter where we may be on our journey.  Let us make every morning, even the seemingly most mundane and ordinary, a distinctive memory that will be etched into our minds. When we leave these hallowed halls, let us be sure that, if the walls of 612  Academy Ave. could talk, our legacy will be  remembered by our kindness, our dedication, and our love for this absolutely tremendous community.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle. Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever.

John Larsen–Class of 2017

 

Serendipity AND Choices

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

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

Serendipity – The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way… I’ve always been fascinated with coincidences, with chance… how one single moment can literally change the rest of your life. Let me give you an example. On March 17th, 1990, Anne Nunes was on a plane ride home. She sat next to a guy with goofy oversized glasses, wearing a Celtics jersey and basketball shorts. His name was James Fleet. And from there, we, meaning my brothers and I, became just a possibility. So, what if my mom was late and missed her flight or what if my dad sat just one row back?  Then I wouldn’t be here. My entire family would cease to exist, all based on the seat number on an airplane ticket. So… what are the odds?

I’m sorry Mr. Pereira, I can’t say that I did any statistical math calculations for this one; some probabilities simply can’t be calculated. But I want everyone to ask themselves this question: What if you had never been in the same home room freshman year as one of your best friends now, would you still be friends with them? Or what if you decided to try out for soccer instead of basketball, would you have sat at a different lunch table, with completely different people? Every choice, every coincidence has brought you to where you are today. Some choices are bigger than others like choosing La Salle or choosing where you want to go to college.  We seniors know how tough that choice is a little too well; but, even the tiniest choices impact our lives, even as small as which way you decide to walk to class. I switched up my route to Spanish this week and it completely changed the faces I saw in the hallway. I saw some juniors that I hadn’t seen in awhile, had different conversations with different people, all because I chose to walk on the second floor rather than the 3rd, one seemingly insignificant choice.

I could tell you that choices and coincidences are all we need in life, but it’d be a lie. In order to truly embrace life it matters how we react. We must be open to experience something or someone new.  Throughout the years at La Salle, as I’ve taken pictures at anything from football games and school dances to Christmas at La Salle, I’ve come to know people I never would have talked to before. Had it not been for photography, there are freshman and sophomores, friends of friends, spike-ball ambassadors, artists, other photographers, that I probably never would have met. Choosing to take pictures at football games was certainly exhausting, especially when I’d have 10 texts before I even got home asking when the pics would be up, but through my lens I came to know so many different people… One single choice brought me to hundreds of people. I never once regretted it because I knew every time I brought my camera somewhere, I would meet someone new as long as I was open to the idea.

Unfortunately, we are creatures of habit, in the people we talk to, the routes we take to class, the lunch tables we sit at. If there is anything I have learned through my experience at La Salle, it is that each and every single person has something to offer, but you will never know what it is until you give them a chance. So open yourself up to new opportunities and people. La Salle has given me more friends than I could have ever imagined, but most importantly it taught me to be open to any opportunity that comes your way. There is always going to be someone new to meet, to have a conversation with; make them feel special too. Try to mix things up a little every once in awhile, even if it’s just going left instead of right, up instead of down or not planning where you sit at the assembly, because let’s be honest we all wait to meet up with friends before we sit down. You never know when one single moment could lead to a lifelong friend or simply a new perspective. I mean, just ask my mom, I’m sure she’ll tell you she didn’t think that 30 years later she’d still be with the goofy guy in seat 27C.

Now, let us pray, dear Lord, thank you for the gift of La Salle – for every new opportunity and experience it has brought us… For every friendship that it has given us. Let us always be open to life’s coincidences, its chance encounters. As we move forward in our lives, whether it is next year here at La Salle or the many places we will spread across the country, let us always remember the value of both a lifelong friendship and a brand new one. Let us always appreciate the people you put into our lives. And let us embrace the serendipity of life.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts… forever

Izzy Fleet–Class of 2017

La Salle Chose You—-Now You Must Choose La Salle

(Morning Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 18 May 2017)

Good Morning, La Salle!

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

I had always been set on coming to La Salle since the time I was in the 6th grade.  It was around then when my father and grandfather started telling me about their own high school days when they came here as well.  It seemed like a cool idea that if I went to La Salle, I would be a third generation student.  So I used the last two years of middle school to work on my social, academic, and athletic abilities in hopes that, when I came to La Salle, I could offer it something in return for what I knew it would give to me.  After all, my dean Mr. McGinn said, “La Salle chose you, and now you must choose La Salle”.  You see, La Salle is not just merely the best college preparatory school in Rhode Island, rather, it has been the place where for the last four years, I developed my personality as a young adult and focused myself on the things I wish to achieve in the distant future.  And I can thank my family, teachers, coaches, and all of the new friends I have made for supporting me through it all and encouraging me to be my best every day.

I loved La Salle from day one.  Each and every day presented me with an opportunity to discover who I am as a person.  I learned that through hard work and discipline, it is possible to refine one’s self in a positive light.  The idea of constantly rising up to new challenges and giving a 200% effort each time says a whole lot about someone’s character.  My high school career has been marked by a record of successes and impressive milestones, both academic and athletic.  And as my senior year draws to a close, I look back on my experience and am happy because I can officially say that, “I chose La Salle” by involving myself within multiple aspects of our Lasallian community for the past four years.

At the end of the day, I learned that in order to succeed at anything, you must be supported by those around you.  It is the interactions between individuals that shape one’s character.  And whether you encounter someone who is nice or mean doesn’t really matter.  What is important is that we learn to see that God reflects His image through some aspect in every single human being.  So seniors, can you hold your heads up too and say that you chose La Salle?  The positive experience we have witnessed as the class of 2017 can only do us good for the rest of our lives.

Let us Pray…

Dear Lord, we thank you so much for our time here together.  For all the friends we have made, for all the days of laughter and fun, and for all the times of great discovery and learning. We thank you for all who have given of their energy and skill so that we can graduate:  our teachers and mentors, our family and loved ones.  As this chapter of our lives closes, so a new one begins.  We present ourselves like an open book before You.  Come and write your words of life into ours that we might eternally love and serve You this day and every day.  In your name we pray, Amen

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

Live Jesus in our Hearts…. Forever

David Acciardo–Class of 2017