There Is a Time For Everything Under the Sun

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday, 17 October 2018)

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

As a big sports fan, I can appreciate all the success Boston sports teams have had over the past two decades.  If you are old enough, you realize that this wasn’t always the case.

Scripture reminds us that there is a time for everything under the sun. Yes, a time to achieve the success of victory and championships, but also a time of subpar teams, disappointments, and so-called curses of a certain Bambino.

There is a time for opening night of a new season, such as for the Celtics last night, and a time for those October games at the tail end of a long season, like the Red Sox have been playing over the last two weeks.

At this time last year, Gordon Hayward suffered a horrific injury and began his year long process of rehab and recovery. Last night he stepped back on the court and resumed his NBA career. A time to heal and a time to start again.

As we may have also seen last night, there is a time to brace ourselves and take one for the team, and a time to swing for the fences in hopes of hitting a grand slam.

Our seniors know there is a time to complete college applications, and request letters of recommendations, but there will soon be a time to come back to La Salle, see some familiar faces and tell them how your first semester at college is going.

No matter what season we may be in, God is present with us at all times. Coming to know and really own this reality has transformed my attitude and outlook on life; perhaps you can also allow this reality to shape yours.

Let us pray,

Dear Lord, as we approach the end of this first quarter of the school year, help us to use the remaining time efficiently and do our best to finish with our best foot forward. Help us to remember that you go before us always, walk every step alongside us, and always have our back. Jesus, we trust in you.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

 Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Anthony Russo–Campus Minister

 

To See Christ in Every Person We Encounter

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday, 15 October 2018)

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

Relatively recently, we learned about Plato’s Allegory of the Cave in my Civics courses. For those of you who may need a quick refresher, Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is the story about a prisoner of a dark cave who escapes and attains enlightenment after being able to see the sun.

This story begs quite a few questions, like how can I come to understand what is “the truth”? What “light” should I be looking for to find enlightenment?

Now, I acknowledge that I am far from “enlightenment” myself, but I do believe that we need to only look at the light in the eyes of those around us to get closer to “the truth.”

You see, you can look in someone’s eyes and see light of life in those eyes. To me, that light is Christ. You see, Christ lives in persons. He is not simply someone who lived thousands of years ago that we read about in books. Rather, He is alive now. As we Lasallians pray at the end of prayer, Jesus lives in our hearts. He is a part of every person, including you.

In fact, one of my patron Saints, St. Seraphim of Sarov, would greet every person he met by saying “Christ is Risen!” to remind himself and those around him that the Risen Lord lives in each of us. I keep a small icon of St. Seraphim on my desk in part as a reminder to try to see Christ in everyone I encounter. Even St. John Baptist de La Salle urged his teachers to see Christ in all of their students. Now, I am far from perfect in doing so, but I would say if we can work at remembering that our God is a living God, and we work at seeing the Light of Christ in all of those we encounter, and genuinely treat each other accordingly, maybe we get that much closer to understanding “the truth.”

Let us pray,

Dear Father, we thank you for blessing us with your Holy Spirit that dwells and lives within us all. Help us to see You in every person we encounter.  Amen.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts… Forever!

Nikolai Wojciechowski–Social Studies Teacher

“I Was Never Without an Identity As a ‘La Salle Boy'”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 12 October 2018)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen!

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

Yesterday the universal Catholic Church celebrated the feast day of Pope Saint John XXIII.  Referred to popularly as “Good” Pope John, he is best known for convening in the early 1960’s the 2nd Vatican Council, an event that continues to have a profound impact on the Catholic Church and the world.  However, less well-known about Pope John, Angelo Roncalli before his election as pope, is that for most of his life he was a Vatican diplomat whose warmth and charming personality led him to some of the most challenging assignments—Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey in the years leading up to and including World War II, a position that enabled him to save thousands of Jewish refugees, and France during the last years of the war and post-war years.  It was here in these countries that he met and befriended the Brothers of the Christian Schools who recognized his assistance to them in their mission of education by awarding him a letter of affiliation to their Institute.

A letter of affiliation is a very special and formal recognition extended by the Institute, through the Superior General and his Council, to those persons who have supported the Brothers in their work, not only through their service, but also through their professional, personal and fraternal relationship with them.  These individuals who identify with and show an appreciation of Lasallian spirituality over a long period of time and who have assisted the Institute in its Mission become honorary members of the Institute, Affiliated members, who may now use the initials AFSC (Affiliated Brother of the Christian Schools) after their name.

Tomorrow at a Mass and ceremony here at La Salle, our principal, Mr. Donald Kavanagh, will join this select group of Affiliated Brothers, like Pope Saint John XXIII and like our own Math teacher Mr. Michael McNamara.

Mr. Kavanagh once wrote that, from his days as a student here at La Salle, “I was never without an identity as a ‘La Salle boy’.”  In his years since that time he has served the Lasallian Mission for some 40 years, all but 10 of those years here as a teacher, coach, Senior Dean, Assistant Principal for Student Life, and Principal since the year 2000.  As a Lasallian he has championed those values that we associate with a Lasallian identity: faith, service, community.

His service is self-evident, not only because of the amount of time he has given to the Lasallian Mission, but more especially because of the quality of that service, be it reaching out to the marginalized through his championing of programs for those who need special help or being present to students and faculty in times of need.  Mr. Kavanagh is a man who recognizes the importance of creating a community of learners and teachers—with an open door policy and with his presence at almost all student and faculty events.  He is also a man who has incorporated Lasallian spirituality into his own personal spirituality.  In his own words: “Our spirituality of recalling that we are in the presence of God not only illuminates the reality which exists but also gives us hope in the reality that is coming.  Mindful that we live in God’s presence gives us the ability to be teachers who plant the seed of God, to be sowers without demanding the benefit of reaping.  It gives us the ability to be women and men of hope who keep telling the story of God….Our Lasallian spirituality means tuning-in to the nearness of God, the same nearness of God in which Jesus lived and worked….To live in God’s presence means to grasp the never-returning moment, to be wholly one with ourselves, and to be ready to bear the cross of the present.”

We Brothers are honored to call Mr. Kavanagh a “Brother” and we at La Salle are graced to be the recipient of his long-term commitment to the Lasallian Mission and to each of us.  When you see Mr. Kavanagh today, be sure to congratulate him on this honor, but more especially thank him for the life of faith, service and community he has shared and continues to share with us.

Let us pray:

We use the words of our Brother Superior General and his Council in Rome that can be found on the decree to be given tomorrow to Mr. Kavanagh: “May the Lord, in his goodness, confirm this Affiliation and, through the intercession of St. John Baptist de La Salle, shower you with his blessings.”  Amen.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC

“Consult Not Your Fears…”

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

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

Yesterday, most of us here at La Salle spent our day focused on standards as we took the PSAT’s. Today I want to talk about a totally different kind of standard – not one that can be measured by filled in bubbles on an answer sheet, but one that is measured by our lives and what we do with it.

Today, we, Catholics, celebrate the feast day of Pope St. John XXIII of Vatican II fame. He was the mischievous son of a poor farmer who unexpectedly changed the world as we know it. I’m not going to tell you his life story – you can look him up on Wikipedia in a few minutes to find out who this Pope St. John XXIII was.

I do want to share with you though some words of his that inspire me:

“Consult not your fears, but your hopes and dreams.

Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential.

Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in but with what it is still possible for you to do.” (Pope St. John XXIIII).

Powerful words from a humble man.

Let me ask you – how often do your fears guide your thoughts and actions? (Pause) How often do you focus on your failings instead of focusing on the infinite potential that you possess? (Pause)

My challenge for you – really for all of us – today is to take one concrete step towards pursuing one of your dreams, no matter how much fear you experience in the process.

Let us pray:

Lord God, we are creatures who are often led by fear.

Dispel the fear from our hearts today so that – like Pope St. John XXIII – we may flourish as human beings and achieve our dreams. Amen.

 

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

Pope St. John XXIII … pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts … forever.

Charles da Silva–Religion Teacher

The Most “High-Stakes” Standard of All

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday, 10 October 2018)

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

Standards are everywhere.  The PSAT that you will take today, along with the SAT and ACT that many of you will take as part of your college application process, attempts to describe your academic ability with a number.  The scores you see every time you log on to PlusPortals describe the outcome of your hard work in classes and at home with another number. If you play a sport, your personal statistics can be used to compare you to other athletes.  If you use a fitness tracker, yet another number flashing at you from your wrist or phone tells you whether you’re on track to hit the recommended 10,000 steps per day. The number of people who react to your social media posts even gives you a way to rate your social standing with a number.   You don’t need me to tell you that the world gives you so many ways to ask yourself, “Am I measuring up?”

The most haunting standards of all, though, might be the ones that are not numerical, because no matter how the world tries, we here at La Salle know that a person is so much more than just a number.  Our true worth is found in the way we live our lives, in our words, and in our actions toward others. In the account of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, Christ urges us, “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you […] For if you love those who love you […] what more are you doing than others?  You, therefore, must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” You might be taking a so-called “high stakes test” today, but the way we live our lives is the most “high stakes” standard of all.

Trying to meet all of these standards is, to put it simply, a lot.   Trying to meet all of the standards swirling around you can be overwhelming, and the failure to meet these standards, whether a perceived failure or a real failure, can be devastating.  Of course, it is important to have goals, to put your best effort into meeting them, and to strive each day to be the best version of yourself. But it’s also important to give yourself permission to be satisfied with what you have done, to resolve to do a better job next time without dwelling on how you did this time, and to allow yourself to be happy with yourself exactly the way you are – right now.

Let us pray:

Heavenly Father,

Sustain us in our efforts to both work toward our own goals and to do your will for us today and every day.  Amen.

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

Live Jesus in our Hearts, Forever.

Lia Wahl–Math Teacher

In the Footsteps of Christ

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 3 October 2018)

We pause and remember that we are always in the Holy presence of God.

I once heard a story of a man who fell down a cliff, but before falling to his certain death, he was able to grab hold of a limb protruding from the side of the cliff. As he gripped the limb with all his might, he looked up to the heavens and said, “Is anybody up there?” The man heard a calm voice from the top of the cliff, “Do not worry my child. It is God.” The man said, “Help me!” God replied, “All you have to do is let go.” There was a long pause. The man looked down at the steep precipice he was on, and yelled back, “Is there anyone else up there?”

Sometimes we’re sure we’re living lives of faith by going to Mass on the weekend and being, in general, a nice person, but when it comes time to actually do the work of the Church, we pick and choose from the path of Christ because, after all, it’s a difficult road and we’re too busy, or we need to do this one thing, and pretty soon we’re sliding down the cliff.

So what path will we follow? Will we be the one who takes every opportunity to make a real sacrifice for the poor or for those whose lives someone is threatening to destroy? Or to take time to listen to another’s troubles and to pray for them? Do we really believe when we pray, like the woman who knew she only had to touch the hem of Christ’s cloak? What is it that we value?

In Harry Potter’s, “The Sorcerer’s Stone”, Dumbledore points out in this quote:

“You know, Harry, the Stone was really not such a wonderful thing. As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all– the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.”

C.S. Lewis once said, “To have Faith in Christ means, of course, trying to do all that He says. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a just reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.”

Let us be proud of the actions we’ve made because we have followed in the footsteps of Christ.

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, help guide our compass to follow the path Your Son laid out for us in His life. Despite the rockiness of the journey, help us to let go of control and trust in Jesus, follow what we know He would want, –and always trust in God when we’re on a cliff.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts -forever!

Leslie Martinelli—Science Teacher

“Let the Way You Live Be That of the Gospel”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 27 September 2018)

Good Morning La Salle and De La Salle!

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

 

100 degrees F, 80% humidity, long pants, complete exhaustion, baby in my arms, in Kingston, Jamaica… I turn to my left and they they were. Three LSA students. Shocked at their presence, I quickly go over and learn they are on a mission trip with a RI parish. My heart was beating with joy I could not explain. A piece of home was standing next to me 1,700 miles away.

Mustard Seed Communities, Kingston, Jamaica is where I live each summer. This is my home away from home. Never would I imagine to unexpectedly run in to Lasallians… LSA Providence students nonetheless!

I question myself… How small is this world really? I guess the saying “Lasallians are everywhere” proved to be true.

Here I was, standing with 3 young people who have given up a week of their summer to be fully present with children/adults with disabilities, kids with HIV/AIDS and teenage mothers. Leaving the comfort of their homes to serve in a new culture, with new people, in a developing world. God was truly present in each of these young Lasallians.

Let Us Pray…

In the words of De La Salle, “Let the way you live be that of the Gospel.” Lord, remind us that wherever we go, we will find you. Instill in us the mission of De La Salle, that as we live out our lives as Lasallians, we may serve the least among us.

 

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

Live Jesus in our Hearts… FOREVER.

Katie Haidemenos–Campus Minister

Life Changes

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday, 25 September 2018)

Good morning La Salle and De La Salle!

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

Life changes.

Perhaps you are familiar with the song of that same title by country singer Thomas Rhett.

Our freshmen and sixth graders know this well as they are navigating their first semester in high school and middle school. Life changes. Our seniors also know this as they can look back to the person they were when they entered high school and reflect on how much they have grown in four years of high school while preparing for their next chapter.  Life changes. From the little changes to the big ones, life is constantly changing. I can attest to this statement myself as my family welcomed a beautiful little boy to our family just over a month ago.  Life changes.

We have all experienced many changes in our lives, from losing a loved one to welcoming a new one to the world.  Even when change is a beautiful thing, it can also bring along new stresses and new challenges.

One thing that doesn’t change, however, is the love of God in Christ Jesus. Sacred Scripture reminds us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. How comforting to know that no matter what is changing around us, or no matter what changes we ourselves may be going through, Jesus and His abundant love for us are always the same. Jesus is constantly working through our family, our friends, our coaches and teachers and deans, to demonstrate that love and support. And that love will carry us through.

Let us pray,

Jesus, thank you for being our Constant Love and Our Faithful Friend. As life changes take place around us and even within us, help us to turn to You and trust in you through it all.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Anthony Russo–Campus Minister

Ignite Our Hearts of Peace

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 21 September 2018–United Nations International Day of Peace and the first day of the International Lasallian Days of Prayer for Peace)

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

Today on September 21st we celebrate Saint Matthew the Apostle and evangelist and we begin our month long journey of International Lasallian Days for Peace. It seems only appropriate that we should “ignite our hearts of peace” on the same day that we celebrate Saint Matthew each year. Our community is particularly blessed this morning to be able to gather together and share in the Eucharist after hearing today’s gospel. Saint Matthew followed Jesus Christ as soon as he was called. Today we are called by Jesus Christ to wage peace in this same way—with a sense of urgency and immediacy. Not simply to be peaceful but to ignite our hearts of peace in order to combat seemingly endless war and violence that surrounds our earth. This work will not be easy and Saint John Baptist de La Salle writes in his reflection on Saint Matthew that you should not expect any other rewards when you wage peace well than to suffer persecution, injuries, insults, and curses.  In addition, people will accuse you falsely of all sorts of evil. Rejoice when this happens, and leap for joy, because a great reward will be reserved for you in heaven, for it was in this way that they persecuted the Prophets before you. Be convinced that such persecutions will draw on you the grace of God in abundance and his blessings on your works of Peace.

Let Us Pray,

Lord, God, we pray for all Lasallians near and far, that we may experience peace in our own lives, and that we may be beacons of peace for those around us and around the world.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle… Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts… Forever.

Mark Carty–Social Studies Teacher

What Does The Cross Mean For Me?

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 14 September 2018)

Good morning La Salle! Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

Today, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, a day when we commemorate God’s saving act through His Son’s death and resurrection. Take a look at the crucifix on the wall of your classroom. Pretty innocuous, right? The mere fact that I can direct you to simply turn around to spot the nearest Crucifix tells us something of the ubiquity of this symbol of the Catholic faith. But this was not always the case. In fact, it took centuries for the Cross to take hold as the symbol of the Christian faith. No doubt this was due, at least in part, to the fact that crucifixions of Christians and others were still taking place – a form of capital punishment so horrific, so inhumane that the Romans themselves would rarely use it on their own citizens.

But if the cross itself has become somewhat less shocking through the centuries, what it represents is as scandalous as ever: That is, simply put, the willingness to suffer for others. The willingness to suffer discomfort, hurt, embarrassment, even pain, in order to relieve the suffering of our neighbor. Scandalous because, in a culture where we are often taught to put ourselves first, the Cross reminds us of Jesus’ admonition to love our neighbors as ourselves. Scandalous because, in a culture where conquering one’s enemies is what’s celebrated, the Cross reminds us that we must love even our enemies and forgive those who persecute us.

But lest we get caught up in society at large, perhaps we should take a look closer to home. What does the Cross mean for me, for you? It might mean taking the time to listen to a friend or colleague having a difficult day, even though we may feel we have burdens enough of our own. It may mean going to visit an elderly parent or grandparent on a Friday afternoon after a long, first full week of school. It may mean not going along with a group of friends when they put someone down, even though this might make me look bad. Or worse yet, offering a smile or a hello to a classmate whose friendship gains me nothing in the eyes of others. It might just mean holding the door as I pass through the auditorium, even though I am already running late to my next class. Whatever it means for us today, there is a Crucifix on the wall to remind us that a sacrifice still greater has already been made. And when we fail to love as we ought, the Cross is again there to remind us that forgiveness is as simple as turning back to a Father who awaits us with open arms.

Let us pray, from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians (Phil. 2:6-8):

Brothers and sisters:

Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,

did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.

Rather, he emptied himself,

taking the form of a slave,

coming in human likeness;

and found human in appearance,

he humbled himself,

becoming obedient to death,

even death on a cross.

 

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

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever!

Brian Bennett–Religion Teacher