La Salle—Our Family Name

(Welcome Address delivered at the Commencement Exercises of La Salle Academy on Thursday evening, 8 June 2017)

Family and friends of the class of 2017, welcome to La Salle Academy’s 146th graduation ceremony

Let me start of by thanking the amazing faculty and staff at La Salle Academy for giving me the opportunity and ability to stand before all of you today. It is very humbling to be here overlooking a crowd of people who have contributed so much to the last four years at La Salle and all of their loved ones.

For those of you whom I have never personally met, “Hi. I’m Abby Almonte.”

This is one of the first things I say when meeting someone new. You’ve got to start somewhere, and more often than not, it’s with a name.  And I’ve just added one more to the average list of 80,000. Yes that’s right. The average person will meet nearly 80,000 people in their lifetime—80,000 different names, 80,000 different stories.  Yet, how many of these names do people really hear? Do they really remember?

We’ve all got a name, heck some of us even have nicknames. However, every name comes with more than a few syllables. It comes with a reputation attached. Different emotions, associations, memories and reactions stem from each person’s individual nature. The name they’ve made for themselves these past few years through their everyday actions can prove a lot about someone.

It is important to remember people’s names. I will never forget an exercise assigned to my Religion class freshman year. Every student was to pick a word that alliterates with their first name. By the end of the week, we were to have everyone’s names memorized for a quiz. It was my teacher’s way of introducing us to one another. I was lucky enough to sit near Ballin’ Brenden and Jogging Joe–two guys I still talk to today.

There are common names like Jack and Jill.  Then there are the famous names like Beyonce or Madonna. There are names of masterpieces such as “The Quesarito” or “The Big Mac” and then there are names of places,  my personal favorite is the one and only… La Salle Academy.

The name of my school, my home away from home, and the place I am so saddened to be leaving today.

With this name comes emotion so deep, memories so fond and connections so strong, it will be impossible to forget. La Salle is more than just the name of our school, it’s a family name. Similar to any family name, the community here encourages us to wear it well, to wear it respectfully and most importantly to wear it with pride.

In the eighth grade, my parents gave me the choice of which high school I would like to attend. For me, listening and seeing people talk about La Salle with such a positive connotation and perception, it was a “no brainer.” These people were proud of the name they wore, and I have been too since I decided I wanted to be a Ram.

Over the years I have built up quite a large stack of La Salle gear. In fact I have a whole drawer of my Pottery Barn set dedicated to all of the items I’ve collected. I tested a theory that began my sophomore year, when I was convinced my La Salle crew neck was a magnet. No matter where I was, Stop and Shop, a Gwen Stefani concert, the Fort Lauderdale airport, people always seemed to recognize the name written across my chest,  and came to speak to me about their glory days.

They would introduce themselves, tell a story or two and say something along the lines of “Incredible school, that La Salle Academy.” It was then I realized that La Salle has certainly done an unbelievable job not only distinguishing but maintaining our name, our reputation, both being equally important because as mom always says, “It can take a lifetime to build a reputation, and only a few minutes to break one.”

That starts from within. It is the people inside this building tonight who have contributed to La Salle’s name. It is the 146 classes before us who have done their share, and will continue with the thousands of students, families, and faculty members years from now who will do theirs when the time comes.

Anyone who has ever looked in a baby book knows each name has both a meaning and an origin. In terms of origin, this school was founded in 1871. However, the Lasallian mission began with Saint John Baptist de La Salle hundreds of years prior. His main goal was to cultivate and educate the minds of young people with a purpose of service and compassion.

You could interpret La Salle Academy’s name several ways though. For you could argue La Salle represents many things and being Lasallian comes with countless qualities. However, I want to share with you my own personal meaning and interpretation of what it means to TRULY wear the  Lasallian name.

As high school comes to a close, often times you’ll hear people ask a student about their plans for after graduation. “What do you want to do? Where are you going? What are you majoring in?”

Although I have learned endless lessons here, the most powerful one I took out of this school comes from the quote I saw painted on the wall of the cafeteria the day I shadowed. It reads, “Enter to learn, leave to serve.” I studied that wall, and have referenced it daily, promising to be grateful for all that I was about to learn and apply when the time came.

So now that the time has come, and when people ask me what I’m doing next year, I tell them that I’ll be attending Loyola Maryland as a Marketing major. Because well that’s my plan. But you see, it doesn’t really matter what I do or where I go if I don’t take what I learned here AND if I don’t  take the La Salle name with me.

I have come to the realization that the best way to achieve success is to dedicate my life to things that don’t come with a price tag or a degree. It is more important to be open to God’s gifts of faith, hope, and love, and always major in, or practice the concept of service with compassion.

These are the things that will truly make us wiser, make us happier and allow us to impact the world.

There is so much potential in all of us, just waiting to be unleashed.. So much exploring to do. From our potential, we have an opportunity, and we need to establish our names.

So think about yourself and your own journey. How have you carried our  Lasallian name from 2013 to today? Our name, La Salle Academy Class of 2017. We did that. We contributed to that name, and today we wear it well.

But when today is over, and the graduation celebrations end, how do you plan to honor the family name, the Lasallian name and most importantly, when all is said and done, how do you want people to remember your own name? Maybe it will be in lights on Broadway, or on the door of an elementary school classroom. Wherever it may be, never forget that your name is yours alone and you have the power to make it anything you would like.

I know many of you are thinking that years from now there will only be a handful of people from high school whose names you will remember. But quite honestly, if you can look back twenty, thirty, even fifty years from now and remember just one friend or one teacher whose name remains influential to you, then  consider that a success. And always remember there’s a man no student here will forget. Saint John Baptist de La Salle—the saint who continually prays for us, the name that we will remember from the place that we will never forget.

Congratulations to everyone here tonight.

The class of 2017, that’s our name.

God bless and welcome to graduation.

Abigail C. Almonte—Alumna, Class of 2017

Do You Have Room in Your Heart?

Our Founder, Saint John Baptist de La Salle, challenges us in his Meditation for Christmas Eve:

For how long has Jesus been presenting himself to you and knocking at the door of your heart to make his dwelling within you, and you have not wanted to receive him? Why? Because he only presents himself under the form of a poor man, a slave, a man of sorrows.

Let us open the door of our hearts to all those who present themselves to us during these days–the unpleasant family member, the student in danger of failing, the panhandler on the corner, the refugee seeking a home for their family.

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Brother Frederick Mueller

Ordinary People–Ordinary Things–Extraordinary Way

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 7 September 2016)

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

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Let me invite you to take a trip back in time with me (224 years ago).  The date is September 2nd 1792 in Paris at the time of the French Revolution.  A middle-aged Brother, Brother Solomon Leclerq, an ordinary man, who assisted the head of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (the group to which we Brothers at La Salle belong), was murdered in the garden of a former Carmelite convent that had been transformed into a prison.  Brother Solomon had been taken from his workplace by a gang of citizen soldiers.  He was imprisoned because he refused to renounce his beliefs—he refused to take an oath that would have made him deny his Catholic faith.  So he was guillotined—his head was chopped off.  An ordinary man doing an ordinary job but called to make an extraordinary decision.  Brother Solomon was the first Christian Brother martyr and, in a little more than a month on October 16th in Rome, will be canonized by the Catholic Church as Saint Brother Solomon.

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Five more Brothers ranging in age from 50 to 75 years old were also arrested and imprisoned over the two year period of 1792 -1794.  Three of them were jailed in an old prison ship, the Rochefort, and after spending months of captivity, enduring suffering and oppression, they died of mistreatment and starvation.  Another was guillotined before a cheering crowd that shouted insults and blasphemies, his guillotined head raised by its hair like a trophy for the jubilant crowd.  The fifth Brother, an older man sick in his bedroom cell, was beaten in bed and his body thrown out the window.  Ordinary men—doing ordinary things—most of them teaching poor kids in elementary schools—called to make an extraordinary decision.

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Fast forward in time to us.  Ordinary people—doing ordinary things.  We go to school to learn or to teach; we play sports and we coach; we spend time with friends; we work.  Ordinary things.  However, each of us, in the course of his or her day, is called upon to make decisions: Do I cheat on homework by copying my friends’ work or on a test by having cheat notes or information on my phone or Ipad?  Do I join the group of my friends who are spreading rumors about another or speaking ill of another or bullying another—Twitter or Snapchat or whatever at its worst?  Or maybe I just stand quietly there and do nothing, a silent accomplice?  Do I reach out to a classmate that seems down and out, maybe lost, maybe a new student or a transfer student, or do I rush by?  Do I prejudge a classmate or a teacher on how he or she looks or talks or dresses?  Do I manipulate my friends, use my girlfriend or boyfriend for my own purposes and pleasures?  Do I ignore others because of their color, or racial or ethnic background, or economic status, or sexual orientation (I just don’t mix with that kind of kid)?  Each of us, in the course of his or her day, is called upon to make decisions—decisions that are extraordinary.

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O, we are not standing before a judge or an angry crowd; we are not facing imprisonment or beheading.  However, we are facing the judgments of others; we are facing the pressure of the crowd of our friends or the pressure of our culture to conform—to deny what we really believe is right—and to go along with the mob.  To do what is right and good and honorable and just and caring—in the face of adversity—is truly extraordinary.

So, as we begin this school year—ordinary people doing ordinary things, let’s think about soon-to-be Saint Brother Solomon and those other Brothers 224 years ago who themselves were ordinary people doing ordinary things.  Let us be reminded that each day offers challenges for us—and the choice is ours.  To follow the crowd or to follow our consciences—to do the extraordinary.  Ordinary people doing ordinary things in a truly extraordinary way.

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Let us pray:  Good and gracious God, be with us today as we face whatever challenges may come our way, be they large or small.  Give us the courage to respond in an extraordinary way.  AMEN.

 

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live, Jesus, in our hearts…forever.

Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC

 

A Modern Day Prophet and Martyr

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday, 12 February 2016)

Let us pause and remember we are in God’s holy presence.

Pope Francis recently said: “Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience.”

Clergy-Breakfast

One such prophet was James Miller. Born in September 1944 in Wisconsin, he attended Picelli High School, where he first met the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Inspired by the men and their mission, he became a Brother himself. After a brief tenure teaching Spanish, English, Religion, and coaching football at Cretin High School in Minnesota, Br. James volunteered for the missions and was sent to a school in Nicaragua, where he spent nearly ten years.

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In January 1981, after a brief return stay to Minnesota, Br. James returned to the missions, this time in Guatemala. He taught at the secondary school in Huehuetenango and he also worked at the Indian Center, where young indigenous Mayans from rural areas studied and trained in agriculture. 1981 was a tense time in Guatemala and much of Central America. A long history of colonialism had given way to independence, but many of the economic and social inequalities remained. Wealth and power were concentrated in the hands of a minority of landowners while the majority of the people lived as peasants. The 1970s and 1980s brought a newfound consciousness in the minds and hearts of the peasantry – that they too were made in God’s image and that the existing structures did not have to be as they were. They wanted change, and some chose the path of violence. Civil war erupted – and much of the peasantry was stuck in the middle. During this time, throughout Central America, many priests and nuns could be found standing alongside the poor, even though this was a dangerous place to stand. The Christian Brothers were no different.

Writing home in January 1982, Br. James said: “I am personally weary of violence, but I continue to feel a strong commitment to the suffering poor of Central America. … the Church is being persecuted because of its option for the poor. Aware of numerous dangers and difficulties, we continue working with faith and hope and trusting in God’s Providence…I have been a Brother of the Christian Schools for nearly 20 years now, and commitment to my vocation grows steadily stronger in my work in Central America. I pray to God for the grace and strength to serve Him faithfully among the poor and oppressed in Guatemala. I place my life in His Providence. I place my trust in Him.”

One month later, desperate to turn the tide of the fight against the rebels, Guatemala’s military started forcing young Indian students to serve in the military – including young men from the Brother’s School in Huehuetenango. In early February 1982 a Christian Brother went to the authorities to obtain a student’s release. The military refused. The Brother insisted. It is believed that this incident made the Christian Brother’s marked men, and in that environment, the Guatemalan military would surely try to send a message.

On February 13, 1982, Br. James Miller was shot and killed by masked gunmen while on a ladder repairing a wall at the De La Salle Indian School. He was 37 years old.

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For the past two years the great sin that Pope Francis has urged us to prune from our lives during Lent is the sin of indifference – being so concerned with ourselves that we don’t hear the cry of the poor. Br. James Miller heard that cry. Let us find inspiration in his story as we fight against indifference this Lenten season.

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Let us pray. (prayer adapted from Midwest Province prayer service)
Brother James Miller’s main concern was to empower the laity especially the poor and the oppressed. Lord, send us men and women who will work for the poor.
Brother James Miller had great love for the poor to whom he ministered, May our love and concern for others heal and empower them and lead them to You, O Lord.
We pray for our Brother James Miller and all who have died in working for the dignity of the poor, that they will not have died in vain. May the gift of their lives continue to enrich and inspire the church throughout the world.
O loving God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, hear our prayers as we honor our Brother James Miller. Continue to give us courageous hearts filled with faith and zeal as we work for Your kingdom here on earth. O God, You are the Source of All Being and the Creator of unfailing light and wisdom, give that same light and wisdom to those who call to You. As Catholic educators and Lasallian ambassadors of Christ, may our lips praise You; our lives proclaim Your goodness; our works give You honor, and our voices celebrate You forever. May the Spirit of the Risen Lord Jesus, our Teacher and Brother, be forever in our hearts and may this same Spirit shine in and through us as we enlighten, educate and guide the youth entrusted to our care. Amen.

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

Matt Daly–Director of Campus Ministry

Small Decisions—Large Consequences

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system and intranet  for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 11 January 2016)

This week the La Salle community joins in a district-wide effort to raise awareness of the continued effort to re-build and strengthen the island nation of Haiti following the devastating earthquake of six years ago and to raise funds for the Lasallian World’s contribution to those efforts: The Saint Jean Baptist de La Salle School in Port-au-Prince.
As the week goes on we will hear more about this school and the Women and Children’s Health and Nutrition Center, both operated by our very own Christian Brothers. The week will culminate this Friday with a Dress Down Day. We ask for $5 to dress down, but we really do encourage you to give more – sacrifice a morning coffee or a piece of candy at lunch and donate it – your money will have a very real and very meaningful impact on our friends at De la Salle School in Port-au-Prince.

Let us pause and remember we are in God’s holy and loving presence.

Haiti is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and its people have wrestled with poverty since its conception in a successful Slave Revolt in 1791 that resulted in a new and independent country. The world stopped and took notice when the natural disaster struck six years ago, but all too often before and after the earthquake, the world has ignored the many man-made disasters that continue to contribute to the peoples’ suffering.

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On the board in front of you is a painting “Rice Field Haiti 1980” by Haitian-American artist Nicole Jean-Louis. It depicts farmers in the Artibonite Valley growing the West African variety of rice grown in Haiti for over 200 years. For most of those years Haitian farmers grew rice to feed their families and sold the excess at market for a profit. An old proverb tells us: “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” Haiti was self-sufficient in rice and some other produce until the early 1990s. The country was poor – healthcare and education and infrastructure and industry were lacking, but the country could feed itself and enjoyed the sense of dignity that came with that reality. Unfortunately, this “ability to fish” changed 25 years ago by a man-made disaster that could have been prevented.

As President in the 1990s, Bill Clinton called for Haiti to eliminate tariffs on imported, subsidized U.S. rice, as part of a larger plan to free up trade in the hemisphere. This allowed cheap rice produced in the U.S. to be sold in Haiti, effectively putting rice farmers out of business. It not only undermined the existing food chain, but it also undermined a lot of the culture, the fabric of life, and the sense of self-determination that had existed. In an interview this summer, President Clinton said it was one of his biggest regrets. “It was a mistake. It was a mistake that I was a party to. I am not pointing the finger at anybody. I did that,” he said. “I have to live every day with the consequences of the lost capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people, because of what I did. Nobody else.” Yes, President Clinton has to live with the decision, but so do the farmers who lost their jobs. And their families. And the people of Haiti, who after the earthquake had to rely on donations instead of home-grown food.

Why do I bring this up? Because our decisions have impacts that can ripple through history. Decisions that touch people’s lives in both good and bad ways, with both intended and unintended consequences. Because it reminds us that the best and the brightest of a generation are fallible and often make mistakes. Because some of the biggest problems we face in the world today can be traced back to small decisions made people like you and me. Let’s join together for a week of prayer and action in just a small attempt to make things right.

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Let us pray.
Heavenly Father, bless the people of Haiti and especially the students and faculty of the St. Jean Baptist de La Salle school in Port-au-Prince. May that school and its students be granted a spirit of wisdom to clearly see a path towards a brighter tomorrow and the zeal to work tirelessly towards a new day.  AMEN.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Matt Daly–Director of Campus Ministry

Our Journey to Find Jesus

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 6 January 2016)

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

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany. John Baptist de La Salle wrote a special meditation about the adoration of the kings.

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Most people focus on the following: “Recognize Jesus beneath the poor rags of the children whom you have to instruct; adore him in them. Love poverty, and honor the poor, following the example of the Magi for poverty ought to be dear to you, responsible as you are for the instruction of the poor. May faith lead you to do this with affection and zeal because these children are members of Jesus Christ. In this way this divine Savior will be pleased with you and you will find him because he always loved the poor and poverty.” (Med 96.3)

The Founder, ever the teacher, is urging the early Brothers to look past any defects in the kids they were teaching in the early gratuitous schools and love them anyway despite the number of times they may have had to make corrections to their behavior. During that time in France, the kids were probably dressed in literal rags, and as we know, the baby Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes, which certainly isn’t the beautiful baby stuff we see new moms get today. The lives of the early students were filled with chaos, lots of noise, little food, and harsh conditions. St. La Salle was reminding the teachers to look past bad behaviors to see the innocence underneath the Earthly.

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This is one of my favorite things that the Founder has ever written and I use it quite often in prayer with both adults and students. When we think about the earlier parts of the meditation, the Magi don’t just find the baby Jesus in the manger easily. They have to go on a difficult journey. They followed a star and ended up slightly off the path at Herod’s palace, which actually made sense because he was a king. They rejected Herod’s son in a silver cradle. They knew that the star was still guiding them on and kept following them to the correct place, which was ultimately the Savior of the world.

John Baptist de La Salle was a holy man before he began his work as the founder of the Christian Schools. As a young man, even though he is wealthy, he is met with tragedy at a young age when his parents die within a year of each other. Instead of doubting God, he continues with his studies to become a priest and get his doctorate in theology, never turning away from God.

This meditation is so powerful because this is the story of his true conversion to loving God through the poor. The Founder, like the rich young man, had always loved God. But it is only when he realizes that he could not possibly separate his love for God from his love for the poor, especially poor children, God’s most chosen ones, does he find his life’s most precious and fulfilling work. He makes his life not about his station in life, but becomes an agent for the salvation of souls through education.

We are all poor in some way, and there are wise men or women who journey with us today and every day to find Jesus in us. I think of the day I was hired as a teacher and someone recognized my worth, or the countless times I was given second chances by the girls who have called me coach over the years. As we travel today, let us see Jesus in each other and journey together toward conversion of hearts for salvation of everyone in our community here at La Salle.

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Let us pray.
Lord, teach me to be generous:
to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost;
to fight and not to heed the wounds;
to toil and not to seek to rest;
to labor and to ask for no reward
save that of knowing I do your will. Amen.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, Pray for Us
Our Lady, Queen of Peace, Pray for Us
Live Jesus in our Hearts, forever!

Margaret Naughton–Campus Minister

A La Salle Night Before Christmas

(Prayer offered for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 17 December 2015)

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

“Twas the Night Before Christmas”
or
“A Visit from St. Nicholas”
Rewritten by Voices Ink, LSA’s creative writing club

T’was two days before Christmas break, when all through the Academy,
Ugly Christmas sweaters were worn for all to see.
Students were anticipating vacation, though still in good cheer,
Hoping Friday’s dismissal bell they would soon hear.

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The children were all sitting stiff in their chairs,
While their eyes glossed over into blank white stares.
Students and teachers alike wished that time would hasten.
As we prepared our brains for a much needed vacation.

When in the classrooms arose such a clatter.
Each teacher, confused, asked what was the matter.
“We can’t wait for Christmas!” the students did shout.
“We want to spend time with our family and friends!” they cried out.

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The face of each student gave off a glow
Awaiting the end of these two days they had to undergo
When, what to their waiting ears should they hear,
But a long and loud beep, following cheers from their peers.
Christmas spirit filled the halls, so lively and quick,
They knew that they’d be home faster than the sleigh of St. Nick.
They burst through the doors and into the parking lot, they came,
And with whistles and shouts, they left, all the same

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“Now dash and now dance. Now, prance and now quicken!
On, students! On, teachers! Your warm houses beckon.
To the top of the stairs and right out the door
Now dash away! Dash away! And take no detour.”

Students soon forgot that last period quiz or test,
Only thinking that soon they’d enjoy a good Winter’s rest,
Keys in hand to their cars, it seemed as if they flew,
With hearts full of joy, and anticipation too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard outside
The sweet, joyous voices of each little child.
Quickly, I realized I was alone, so I turned around,
Out the school I ran, as vacation came with a bound.

The world was covered in snow as far as the eye could see
And pine trees that glistened with ice surrounded me.
My eyes, still wide, were starting to roam,
For I was very excited during my drive home.

The flakes, how they twinkled! And the people- how merry!
Rushing about with their boxes, and pies full of berries.
My car rolled forward on the fresh, white snow,
While the street-lights lit up with a bright golden glow.

The winter cold made me shiver and chatter my teeth,
As I drove past houses adorned with nice wreaths.
At the corner stood Santa with a big, round belly,
Which shook as he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He rang his bell as I dropped in some change
And my thoughts were stopped by this simple exchange.
I realized we may have forgotten the true Christmas meaning
It’s not about wanting and getting, but giving and healing.
So, I dropped to my knees and decided to pray,
“Lord, send us peace,” I started to say.
“Let us give to the needy and always show love,
And let us live like you. Like you, God, above.”

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Then I sprang to my feet, and made a split-second decision,
I grabbed my Christmas list and made some revisions.
No iPhone, no Xbox, and certainly no sled.
I’ll give to those in our world who are most needy instead.

Adopt

Reflection:

Let us pray…

Heavenly Father, please help us not to rush through this Advent season. Give us the patience to wait in joyful anticipation for the birth of your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us to remember the true meaning of Christmas and open our eyes and our hearts to the wonder and joy that surrounds us.

St. John Baptist de La Salle… Pray for us.
Live Jesus in Our Hearts… Forever.

Writers & Readers (2 stanzas each):

Amanda Foley- Writer, reader, and editor
Driany Galvao- Writer, reader, and editor
Ryan McWeeney- Writer
Annie Sheil- Writer
Jonathan Izzard- Writer and reader
Katie Friedemann- Reader
Annie Rogers- Reader
Chae McConaghy- Reader

Ms. Broccoli (1 stanza and reflection)- Writer, reader, and final editor
Ms. Frega- Reader

What Lies Between Now and Then

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 18 May 2015)

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

This weekend I went to Martha’s Vineyard, so I had to take the ferry. I sat in the back of the boat on the top deck. As I traveled back to Woods Hole after the weekend was over, I watched the island slip away, only able to see what was behind me. I began to think. You see thinking is a product of ends. As things come to a close you begin to reflect on the experience that you had. And so I thought about my six years of classes at La Salle which would be coming to a close in a short three days. As I sat on that ferry, I saw only what was behind me, as we all do. We can only see our past. Although we might know where we are going, we don’t know how we are going to get there. I know, as all Seniors do, where I am going, at least next year, but that doesn’t remotely mean I know what lies between now and then.

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With this uncertainty in my mind I thought about my six years. I thought about the prayers we have heard this past week and what each individual prayed about. I realized that everyone talked about how La Salle had changed them. Be it six, or four or however many years you have been here, La Salle probably has had an impact on you. It is inevitable. For me La Salle changed my priorities. Freshman year and before I was only concerned with the right answer, to everything, and I mean everything. It was annoying. But La Salle showed me something more important.

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La Salle values faith, service, and the development of meaningful relationships, higher than anything else. Of these it is the relationships that have shaped me to be the person I am today. And as I look back, I see my friends, teachers, and the experiences I have had as a result of these relationships. These have built the foundation which has allowed me to excel. Be it soccer, track, SADD, Pro-life, sitting in Campus Ministry during frees, various classes, or even homework in homeroom, I remember the people I was with more than what we were doing. That is it. That is what defined my years at La Salle. People and faces: Bella, Jon, Jon, Evan, Tara, Laura, Mia, Abby, Chris, Brendan, Nick, Aaron, Mel, Caroline, Mary, Molly, and so many more. You all have friends just like mine, the people you see every day who have shaped your time at La Salle. They are essential and deserve to be thanked.

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Let us pray:
As you travel to your new destination, your past may become smaller.
We may not know what lies ahead but take comfort in the people you have met.
They are your past, and you can make them part of your future.
God, help us to move on to our future while always keeping in view our past.
Help us to bring along the people whom we want to stay in our lives,
For it is through their help that we have made it this far.
We pray that we use our talents to succeed just as we have done here ,
And that we, the class of 2015 finish these last three days strong. AMEN.

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

 

Olivia Sao Bento–Class of 2015