We Made It!

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 1 June 2018)

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

Well folks we made it.  You and I did it.  We got to the final day of classes.  I know at times it did not look like it would happen.  Did your year turn out the way you imagined?  Probably not.  If your year was anything like mine, it took twists and turns I could never have foreseen—mistakes that took me off guard, successes that I never saw coming.  But through God’s grace and some work on our part we got through.   I’d like to close this year of classes with one of my favorite prayers.  It’s a well known one and Brother Tom began this year with it.  So it seems fitting to close with it too.  As you listen to the words, I’d ask that you take a moment and offer to God all the challenges and joys of this past year.  Take a minute to thank God for the people and experiences of this academic year.

Let us pray:

I asked for strength that I might achieve;

I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for health that I might do greater things;

I was given infirmity that I might do better things.

I asked for riches that I might be happy;

I was given poverty that I might be wise.

I asked for power that I might have the praise of men;

I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;

I was given life that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I had asked for,

but everything that I had hoped for.

Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered;

I am, among all people, most richly blessed.

 

St. John Baptist de La Salle: Pray for us

Live Jesus in our Hearts: Forever!

Christine Estes–Director of Campus Ministry

 

Summer Sabbath

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 31 May 2018)

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

The end is near! No–this isn’t a warning about the Apocalypse or the 2nd Coming of Jesus. Rather, a reminder that tomorrow is the last day of classes–in case you weren’t aware!

How did this school year turn out for you? Take a moment to reflect back on the most important lessons you learned–both in the classroom and outside of class. On the playing field, or in the school clubs and organizations you participated in this year…

Now let me ask you this–what will do you do this summer? My favorite summer activities are biking and reading (but never at the same time). Whether you’re at the beach or traveling, take time to pay attention to God’s creation, all around us– PAY ATTENTION– to both nature and humanity. It’s one of the ways we can experience God’s revelation–God’s goodness. While you’re reading a good mystery this summer (check out the list Mr. Pare and Mr. White put together), appreciate the gifts of intelligence and imagination that the Spirit of God has given to you.

My prayer for you is that you will treat this time like a summer sabbath–a time for rest, reflection and re-creation–so that you might return next September refreshed and renewed. And even during the 12 weeks of summer, in our time away from La Salle Academy, may we continue to remember that- “we are always in God’s holy presence.”

Let us pray:

Dear Father in heaven, thank you for creating us. Continue to lead us on the right paths this summer, in your Divine Providence.

Jesus, Son of God–You gave up your life for us on the cross. May we make sacrifices for others whom we meet during these summer months, even if they are small sacrifices or acts of random kindness.

Holy Spirit–protect us during our travels this summer, so that we may return “safe and sound” in 3 months.

 

St. John Baptist de La Salle…PRAY FOR US.

Live Jesus in our hearts!  FOREVER!

David Martinez–Religion Teacher

Life Moves Pretty Fast

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 29 May 2018)

Let us remember that we are in the Holy presence of God. Good morning La Salle and De La Salle.

Ben: Our last days as middle school students are fast approaching. Our years at De La Salle have been fun, adventurous, and full of life-shaping experiences, from decorating someone’s locker for their birthday to last minute cramming for a quiz and morning meetings.  Middle school has taught us many lessons, whether it be preparing us for high school to helping us realize and appreciate how precious time is.

Andrew: As we move on into our high school years with enthusiasm we will always remember how our middle school experience has shaped us into the people that we are. Teachers at De La Salle have worked very hard before, during and after school to give us the tools that we need to advance into high school and to become good, responsible, educated  people in society. You probably have heard this quote by Ferris Bueller before but I feel that it is appropriate to say it in this prayer: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while… you could miss it” …

Let us pray, God give us the strength that we need to face fear head on and to stop and look around at life before we miss it all and ponder upon how fast time goes by.

Ben : St. John Baptist De La Salle…Pray for us.

Andrew : Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Ben Hjort and Andrew Medeiros—DLS (Class of 2018) and LSA (Class of 2022)

We Can Always Come Back Home

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday afternoon, 23 May 2018)
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of a loving God.
So, this is it. I don’t think there are any words sufficient to describe what this school has meant to me. It’s been the best three years of my life and I’ve met the most incredible people, so I’d like to start by thanking you all for that.
Nonetheless, I’ll see if I can give it a shot by starting this off with a short story.
When I first started driving, I had a terrible sense of direction. Ask me to get from my house to a nearby landmark, and I probably wouldn’t have a clue. My friends often got aggravated when I didn’t associate roads by names foreign to me like “95-north” and “route 1.” To me, those were just the roads to the beach and the highway you took to La Salle Academy, the place we’ve all called home for the past couple of years.
This past summer, my phone died on my way back from Westerly, and I was a fish out of water. I took any and every detour, exit, and back-road on the long haul back to my house, yet somehow, some way, I was able to find my way home. I think that’s a distinctly human quality. Regardless of where we are, who we’re with, and what we do, we will, inevitably, always find our way back home.
My mom used to tell me that life is kind of like a highway– some people are in the high speed lane, some are in the travel lane, some are in the breakdown lane, and there are those who choose to ride a bike. Regardless of what we rode in on, as we all cruised along, somehow, some way, we all took the right route to end up at 612 Academy Avenue. We were all a little lost. We didn’t know who we were yet. But we found our home away from home, and while doing it, we became the people we are today.
Today, of course, was our last day of classes. It’s the day on which most of us will bid farewell to 612 Academy Ave. and the day we all hop back on the highway en route to our next destination, our next adventure on this journey we call life. For some, that next adventure may be hundreds of miles away. For others, it may be just down the road.
Some of us will live life in the fast lane, cruising on along from destination to destination with ease. Others will cruise on in the travel lane steadily, going about their lives; others might find themselves in the breakdown lane at different points in their life, and who knows? We might even ride a bike from time to time.
But, regardless of where we go, what we do, and who we become, there will always be a piece of La Salle Academy with us. Somehow, someway, we’ll be able to take 23 detours in life before finally finding our way back to La Salle Academy, because regardless of how we choose to lead our lives, we can always find our way back home.
La Salle has given us the most incredible friends, knowledge, memories, and a family we can call our own. I will be forever grateful for my second home, a place filled with such joy and life.
From the bottom of my heart, I’m so lucky and grateful to have gone to school with each and every one of you. It is the people that make this place special. Thank you La Salle for being our second home.
To the underclassmen, The A is in Good hands..make us proud.
To my classmates..It’s a big world out there…Lets go explore.
Dear God, we thank you for giving us La Salle Academy and our teachers, friends, and family. May we continue to carry a piece of the Academy with us forever. We have been given the most incredible gift– we can always come back home.  Amen.
St. John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.
Kevin Daley—Class of 2018

 

All The Little Things

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 22 May 2018)

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

The humid September breeze drifts lazily, and the sun begins to hide behind the trees. Loud music greets my ears, the beat shaking the bleachers beneath my feet. My hand grasps my friend’s tightly, and we look at each other, a look of exhilaration and anticipation in our eyes. We hold on for dear life even with sweat gathering between our palms. As I join in with my classmates, and scream “I believe that we will win!”, I’m overcome with a feeling that’s virtually indescribable. It’s a feeling of overwhelming gratitude for the moment, it’s pure awe of this unique tradition, and it’s love for my school and my fellow Lasallians.

Have you ever experienced a moment when – halfway through – you realize how much you’re going to miss it? At La Salle, I’m lucky enough to have had many of these moments, occurring especially often as my time here comes to an end.

Because yes, the big, important moments at La Salle have meant the world to me. But, sometimes everyday, seemingly insignificant moments deserve to be recognized and remembered too.

I’m talking about the afternoons spent laying on a couch in campus ministry, surrounded by friends. My stomach aches as we laugh through a game of catchphrase or just good conversation.

Walking into school in the morning and sharing a greeting and a smile with those locker buddies I’ve gotten so used to seeing every day.

Making a play in practice with my teammates that gets me so excited because it’s exactly what we’ve been looking for.

Opening up the outside cafeteria door to warm sun and a gust of wind, my gaze finding its way to my friends gathered around a table.

Walking down to the theater with the rest of my class to see the final theater production we will get to see at La Salle. Knowing it’s going to be amazing and feeling the overwhelming melancholy of seeing something come together so beautifully for the last time.

Seeing Mr. O as I walk to my locker and getting a hug – extremely rare, and the best surprise.

And finally, back to that football game. That warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you know you’re part of something bigger – a community full of people who will support you unconditionally.

In the future, big moments will inevitably be remembered. But, I know I will also remember the small moments, that happened on ordinary days, that made me feel overwhelmed with gratitude. I feel so thankful that I have these memories, big and small, in the back of my mind, as I move on to the next chapter of my life. I and the rest of the Class of 2018 are so lucky to have been blessed with such joyful moments that make us sad to leave. I hope as we hang out in campus min for the last afternoon, say our final greetings to locker buddies, play in our final minutes, or support our classmates in the stands for the final time, we feel gratitude more than sadness. Now that we have had the opportunity to enjoy all that La Salle has to offer, we get to move on to a new phase, hopefully with a newfound appreciation for the little things in life.

Let us pray. Lord, thank you for the people that unite the La Salle community, and thank you for providing us with the classmates that have become our closest friends. Help our seniors to take the golden memories from this chapter of life and chase more opportunities in the next chapter. Also, help the seniors to appreciate those who have led us to this point and recognize that they were sent from You. And lastly, guide the underclassmen to recognize the vital importance and impermanence of everyday moments here at La Salle, and be fully present in each of them. Amen.

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

Live Jesus in our Hearts. Forever.

Eliza Mahoney–Class of 2018

Passion

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 21 May 2018)

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

As some of you may know, I am a musician. I have been playing music since I was a little child, and it has always been a huge part of my life. When I was a freshman here at La Salle, I was told a quote by a teacher and it has always stuck with me. It was said by one of the greatest musical figures to ever have lived, Ludwig van Beethoven. He said, “To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.” Now this quote has obvious meaning in music, that when you play music, you are always going to mess up. There will be times when you will completely bomb a performance or do things wrong that will inevitably be noticed by the audience. But the passion, the emotion, the drive that the performer gives is what truly matters. However, beyond this context of music, I feel like, at La Salle, this passion is transferred into every aspect of our community. It comes from two things: on the one hand, the faculty, staff, coaches, directors, and teachers, and, on the other hand, our fellow students.

When sitting in class, there is a vibe that radiates off each and every teacher at La Salle. They could easily be a teacher at any public school in Rhode Island, but they chose La Salle (shout out to Mr. Finn), and every student knows that their teachers want to be there. But the fact is, the teachers’ passion for educating the whole person extends outside the classroom. The amount of teachers that are moderators for clubs and coach teams always astonished me. They spend their time before school, after school, at night, on service trips, just to enhance the lives of their students. This passion that they exude is felt by every single member of the La Salle community.

On the other hand, the passion that I have felt in these four years that will never leave me is the passion of our students. When the football team runs out onto the field with the cheerleaders surrounding them, you can feel the passion in the hearts of the athletes. Seeing the hockey players throw their gloves into the air after hearing the final buzzer, you could feel the passion of the players on the ice, and even the fans in the arena. Seeing one of our classmates giving a winning speech in Academic Decathlon, you could feel the passion in their voice. All throughout our musical performances, visual art pieces, theatrical production, passion is seen through our students. Whenever I think of La Salle, it is absolutely impossible to forget the emotion we put into everything we do, and in my opinion, this is what defines La Salle. Not once did I feel that someone gave half effort in what they love. And in all honestly, this tangible energy of effort in all of these different fields will be truly missed by each and every graduate here today. So what I want to say to all the seniors, as we start our final week, is to live our lives with the passion that we have been given from this amazing place.

Let us pray. Dear Lord, thank you for all of the teachers and staff of La Salle Academy. Thank you for the amazing class of 2018 and all the gifts you have given to each and every one of us. We hope that we never forget La Salle Academy and that La Salle Academy never forgets us.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Benjamin Boyarsky–Class of 2018

I Met Jesus Once

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 17 May 2018)

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

I met Jesus once in a small church in Browning, Montana.  I didn’t expect him to be dark skinned, round-faced, with long greasy black hair, a Blackfoot Indian.  He squeezed in near to me, though the church was far from filled. He smelled of dirt, and sweat, and booze.  His clothes were ripped and worn, caked with mud. I didn’t expect him to make me so uncomfortable, so nervous, so afraid.  He asked me to pray with him.  I did.

I spoke with Jesus in a kale field in Apopka, Florida.  The sun blazing, a 90-degree day with no shade.  We worked silently side-by-side, eyes fixated on the leafy greens we ripped from the ground.  Then, in broken English, he told me how he had come to this place—his father taken hostage, his family threatened, and violent gangs pushed him from his native home.  With no resource or support or rights or assistance, he worked here, barely making enough to feed his family, while picking food for the rest of the country.  His eyes welled up.  We were the same age.  Our focus returned to the earth.

I’ve seen Jesus on a street corner, holding a sign that read “God Bless You.”  Sometimes I give him a dollar, sometimes…most times, I don’t.  Sometimes I am overcome with sympathy, and heartache, and compassion, sometimes confusion, disgust, and contempt.  Most times, I try not to make eye contact.  I don’t know why.

I pass Jesus in our hallways and he sits in our classrooms.   With our world here at La Salle moving at a drastic pace, it’s easy to miss him.  But if I slow down, I find him—waiting for me in Campus ministry, at a cafeteria table nearest the grotto, in the passion of my colleagues, in the company of a Christian Brother.

I am comforted by his warmth when I hold my nieces, nephews and Godchildren and I suffer his pain wherever my brothers and sisters are denied their human dignity because of the color of their skin, religious beliefs, or creed of their lives.  I feast with him in his grace at my dining room table and hunger with him when others go starving.  I recognize him easily in my friends and family, those whom I love.  I struggle to understand him in my enemies, those I judge and condemn, but should love.

I’ve searched for him on Kairos and in the celebration of the Eucharist and I’ve ran from him in times of weakness towards temptation and indulgence.  Jesus drove me home to Connecticut one cold and dark night in January.  Then he sent me cards, and plants, and well wishes, and food; he visited me in my office when I was most in need.  I’m not sure how I could ever thank him enough for that.

Yes, I met Jesus once!  He wasn’t what I expected, but it’s how I know he lives.  I spoke with him too; it’s how I heard his call and why I listen closely, trying to learn more.  I strive to be like him and because I often fail, my life is filled with challenge.  I experience Jesus all around me, so I trust I am always in his holy presence. I sense him in my life, so I believe.

Let us pray,

Dear Lord, Everything I am today is a gift from you; help me to discover you in that gift.  Everything I can be tomorrow is my gift to myself; help me seek you there.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Brian Ciccone–Social Studies Teacher and Assistant Director of Admissions

 

 

 

To Go To The Margins

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 15 May 2018–Feast of Saint John Baptist de La Salle)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.  Happy Feast Day!

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

May 15th is a very special day throughout the Lasallian world.  It is the day on which we Lasallians celebrate our Founder, Saint John Baptist de La Salle.

On this day in 1950, the Catholic Church declared him the Patron of all Teachers, having named him a saint fifty years earlier in 1900.

This saint is pretty special to this school as well—we are named after him; his statues stand at the top of the stairwell near Room 213 and in the Campus Ministry Center; a brief pictorial biography graces the walls of Heritage Hall near Room 111; his picture is in many classrooms and offices; his name is invoked and called upon to pray for us many times during the day.

From studying about him, most of you know how he was born into a wealthy family, became a priest, lost both parents while in his late teens and became responsible for his brothers and sisters; how he helped with a school for poor boys, got more and more involved in helping to instruct the teachers how to best teach; how he founded more and more schools throughout France; how he experienced some successes and many failures; and, how he left a legacy of schools and Lasallians throughout the world.

We know that during his life he made a series of choices that led him out of his comfort-zone, that moved him beyond what he thought were his personal limits, to go to the margins, so to speak.  And that is his charism, the gift left to those who follow him.

But, we might ask—so what?  Does his charism, his spirit still live on or is he just a dead saint whom we politely remember?

Well, his charism lives on in Brother Andres Porras, a young Brother from Mexico who left his teaching position and his homeland to go to Lebanon to help found a program for refugee children from war-torn Syria and Iraq—a program that, after only a few years, services close to 500 children and their families at 2 sites in Lebanon.  He left his comfort-zone and went to the margins!

And the charism lives on in Brother Bill Firman, an older Brother, who left his native Australia and his chief administrator’s position to answer the call to start a teacher training school in South Sudan—a war-torn area in one of the poorest countries of the world.  Despite the violence, poverty and hunger the college trains native teachers.  He left his comfort-zone and went to the margins!

Closer to home, Brother Lawrence Goyette  took a similar risk 25 years ago, leaving his position as a teacher, to found the first San Miguel School here in Providence, a school to serve middle school age boys who needed an educational chance.  Hundreds of young people are now Miguel Men and Women here and across the country because Brother Lawrence allowed De La Salle’s charism to inspire him.

And even closer to home Ms. Maggie Naughton and Ms. Amanda Proulx, former Religion teachers and Campus Ministers here at La Salle, left the comforts of home—Ms. Naughton to travel across the country recruiting Lasallian Volunteers to serve in Lasallian schools that work with large numbers of poor kids and Ms. Proulx to go to Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Pakistan to work with young Lasallians.  The Charism is alive in them!

So too the charism lives in our teachers, coaches, counselors, Campus Ministers, Deans, Administrators, activity moderators, nurse, cafeteria workers—people who go to the margins, beyond the “simply required”—to advise an athlete who is struggling or to encourage a fledgling actress to try out, to provide help before or after school to a student afraid of failing or to help a Senior choose a college, to guide a student through a tough time at home or to work with a group of students to plan Spring Fest, to comfort a student grieving a loss or to cook breakfast for a Kairos Retreat!

Or maybe we look to you our students—those who leave their comfort-zones, give up a vacation, and take a chance to go on a Mission Service Trip to the Mexican border or to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, or those who work at Breadlines or Mary House or Amos House or at Kennedy School or at Fruit Hill, or those who give up an evening to run a Christmas or Easter Party at McAuley Village, or our De La Salle Middle School students who visit Scalabrini Villa for the elderly.  How about our Seniors who leave their comfort-zone to go on Christian Service and deal with Alzheimer’s patients (among other service sites) or our Best Buddies members dealing which physically and mentally challenged young people!  How about the student who comforts an ill classmate cradling his head in his lap, or gives a hug to a classmate hurting from a broken relationship, or willingly shows a visitor where to go, or takes a chance to try out for a team or a play or to raise a hand in class—or the student who shares something about him or herself on the PA in morning prayer or risks planning an event like Intercultural Night!  Yes, there is much evidence that the charism of Saint John Baptist de La Salle lives on, that his faith and zeal continue to inspire us to take risks, to leave our comfort-zones, to go to the margins, to go beyond what we might think are our own personal borders or limitations.

And so we pray, paraphrasing the words of Father Greg Boyle, the Founder of Homeboy Industries:  Lord, help us to go to the margins—not to make a difference, because then that’s about us; but rather to go to the margins so that the folks at the margins will make us different.  Amen.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC

Moms In Prayer

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 11 May 2018)

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

I would like to tell you about some people of whom you probably have never heard.

More than 20 years ago, when my sons were students here at La Salle Academy, two mothers came to a PALS meeting to talk about a prayer group, called “Moms in Touch,” now “Moms in Prayer,” which they hoped to start at La Salle.  “Moms in Prayer” is an international, non-denominational group.  Although comprised mostly of mothers, it can include others.

The purpose of the group is to pray for the school, its administration and faculty, staff, and, most importantly, its students.  They pray that God be with us, blessing all the school’s endeavors, whether academic, extra or co-curricular, sports, or social events.  They pray that each of us is here because we want to and should be here, and that we become an integral part of this wonderful community. They pray that each of us recognize the path God wants us to follow, and that He send His Holy Spirit to guide us into and keep us in that path.  They pray that we are granted the courage to endure the hardships we face, and be grateful for the gifts we are granted. They pray that Jesus is with each and every one of us, students, and adults as well, on this campus.

That is its sole function, and I can attest to the truth of this from personal experience.  Given the ever-changing nature of a school population, of course, many different mothers have come and gone over the last decade. But, for 23 years, there has ALWAYS been a group of moms who is willing to devote a bit of time each week on our behalf.

My past days as a part of “Moms In Touch” have left me with a very strong and vibrant image of Jesus, dressed in brilliant white flowing robes, a beaming smile on His face, arms thrown wide, as He strides through the school’s halls, peeking into classrooms, stopping to rest His hand on the shoulder of each person here who needs His loving touch at any given moment.

When you are having a particularly difficult time, or day, or just bad moment, as we all do, remember that there is always someone “extra” here, praying for your constant well-being.

Let us pray.   Lord, Jesus, help us to remember that we are loved and cared for, not only by You, not only by our families and friends, but also by loving and generous people who don’t even know us as individuals.  We pray for them in turn, and ask that they may always be a force of love, of strength, of compassion, though their identities may remain unknown to us.

JOHN BAPTIST DE LA SALLE… Pray for us.

LIVE, JESUS, IN OUR HEARTS… forever.

Connie Ciampanelli–Secretary (Office of Guidance and College Counseling)