Not Just Awareness BUT Action!

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 30 January 2018—Catholic Schools Week)

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

My name is Annie McGunagle and I graduated from La Salle in 2012. I loved my time here at LSA, but never expected my experiences here to have such an impact on my day to day life.

I remember coming to this school not knowing what to expect. I worked hard in my classes and auditioned for roles in plays and musicals; I did my best to engage in this incredible and overwhelming community around me. Never before had I been around religion in an academic setting. During my first two years here, I had to learn the Hail Mary in Spanish and pray before every class.  I didn’t think much about my faith.  But that was about to change.

Between my sophomore and junior year, my mom was diagnosed with a serious illness.  Going through that experience with my family that summer and into the following year really made me question my faith in God. I had a hard time believing that this all knowing being could exist if something this horrible could happen to me and my family.

During those first couple of months of my junior year I heard about a new retreat that campus ministry was starting, called Kairos. It was incredibly intriguing so I immediately wanted to apply and was accepted to attended the 3rd implementation of this retreat, also known as K3.

K3 changed my perspective of myself and those around me. I learned more about my strength as well as the strengths of others in ways I couldn’t imagine. I was overwhelmed with the love and compassion I received from my fellow students. This weekend allowed me to understand that God didn’t give my mom cancer—life did. It allowed me to reframe my negative thoughts and become aware of all of the positivity and support I was receiving in that retreat, but also from family, friends, and strangers who knew what my family was going through.

Fast forward another year, my mom was free of cancer and I was a leader on K8. This was the first time I was allowed to lead a group of peers in honest and real conversations. I was terrified, but I helped build a space of love and respect which allowed me to openly share my struggle with faith. It also allowed the students I led to be open and honest with the challenges in their own lives.

Fast forward to now. I am a licensed clinical social worker after graduating with my masters of social work. La Salle prepared me not only academically for my Bachelor’s and Master’s in social work and maintaining a 4.0 at an Ivy League institution, but spiritually.

My relationship with God was informed by Lasallian values, specifically concern for the poor, social justice, and respect for all persons. This relationship supports my ability to offer intensive therapy to youth ranging in ages from 3-18, many of whom have experienced repeated trauma and poverty. My faith based experiences and the academic rigor of LSA prepared me for what I experience daily–facing the realities of the world with care, compassion, and an open mind.

Let us pray—

God help us use our Lasallian values to become not only aware of the injustices around us, but to take action and help arrive at solutions for them.

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

Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever!

Anne McGunagle—Class of 2012

Hindsight Is An Amazing Thing

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday, 29 January 2018–Catholic Schools Week)

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

I’ve been asked to pray this morning to start off Catholic Schools Week.

I started at La Salle, not because I wanted to, but because my parents forced me to.  I was at public school and didn’t want to leave my friends and thought I would get an education in Woonsocket that would be fine.  I was determined to get one year under my belt at La Salle and head back where I thought I belonged.  Needless to say, by the end of my freshman year I knew my parents were right and where I needed to be was at La Salle.  I often tell people to this day, that the best decision my parents ever made for me was to  send me to La Salle.

At the Academy I was surrounded by people who had a desire to learn and set goals for themselves, as well as adults who fostered that within us.  Some of teachers that I had at La Salle were the reasons why I went into education myself.  I had teachers who believed in me, helped me to see my own potential and made my high school experience enjoyable.  I walked away knowing that I wanted to make other kids feel like they were special and important and had something to offer to the world, just as my teachers had done for me.

La Salle not only was about providing me with an education that prepared me for college and the real world, it was also about building my faith.  It is not uncommon for many teenagers to turn away from their faith, question it or live more selfishly.  Having a place where spirituality  is around you throughout these years helps to center you and remind you of what is important and especially to think of others.  I had the opportunity to give back to my community and help others in need whether it was my homeroom adopting families in need at the holidays or being a part of Lasallian Youth.  The Lasallian Youth summer assembly allowed me to meet other Lasallians from across the country, to come together with the same mission, to help and educate others in need.  This is something that I am able to carry out throughout my life: to stop and say a prayer and know that I am not alone when times are difficult, or to take time to help others on larger scales and just in small ways, such as holding a door open for someone.   I have tried to raise my children with  the Lasallian beliefs, to be thankful for all that we have, to think of others, and to be humble and kind, and proud of who you are.

When you entered La Salle you were probably told that you are now part of the Lasallian community and family.  It wasn’t until after I graduated La Salle that I truly understood what this really means.  When meeting other alumni, there is always a connection, a quiet understanding that we are part of something special because of La Salle.  There is a feeling of pride in saying that you are a Lasallian.

I can proudly say that I am not only an alumna, but also a parent of a La Salle student.  Knowing all of what La Salle has to offer, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for my child to attend.  There are boundless opportunities that are presented here and I know that being at the Academy allows him to become more than he even knows he is capable of.   Please know that each and every one of you will graduate from La Salle a better version of yourselves.  I didn’t realize this until I was older, but hindsight is an amazing thing.

Let us pray:

Lord, please help all of the students at La Salle along their journey.  May they appreciate the opportunities that are given to them and provide thanks to those who allow them to attend La Salle.  May they know that they are never alone and that there is community of Lasallians who will always look out for them.  Assist them to carry over what they have learned as Lasallians beyond the school walls and into the rest of their lives to better than own lives and those around them.  Thank you for having teachers and administrators who take the time to care about the future of their students and are there for them educationally and spiritually.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts……forever.

Emily Dursin Turgeon–Alumna (1997) and Parent (2020)

How Much Is Enough?

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 26 January 2018)

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

Like Mr. Pare in his prayer yesterday, I too have been contemplating the simple things in life. When I was dating my husband, one of our favorite things to do was to take a picnic to Balboa Park in San Diego and watch the airplanes fly over, so close you felt you could touch them, so close the ground vibrated, so noisy I’m sure I damaged my hearing.  Something so simple created such memorable moments that I remember them 40 years later. Too bad I couldn’t hold onto simple.

I just threw 8 VCRs into a giant dumpster parked in my driveway. We filled a 20 yard dumpster in three hours. How does one family of five accrue three tons of garbage? The items in that dumpster used to be our possessions and at some point had meaning to us. But no longer. The question I keep asking myself is how much is enough?  I don’t actually have the answer to that question, owning all the latest electronics and a closet full of clothes most of which I don’t wear. But I’m trying. I’m downsizing my life, my home, but sadly not my waistline although there is still time for that.

The great African American poet, Maya Angelou wrote that home is where your feet are. So my life’s memories are with me, not with my possessions and not in the dumpster. Who I am is not what I own.

Dishes I once thought so necessary, that tied me to fun family dinners and parties will now be part of someone’s else’s life.

Hundreds of books will be donated and recycled. their stories in my heart and readily available in a library when I want to read them again.

Old sheets, towels, and blankets went to Savers’  “Give a Shirt about the Earth” program.

Nice, but unwanted, furniture went to good homes where families will love them as I once did.

And I still filled a dumpster.

I am not alone. In 1984 there were 6,600 self storage facilities across the US. By 2010 there were 46,000. Clearly we need places to store our stuff. But if it’s locked away in a storage unit, attic, basement, garage, or shed, do we need to keep it? Honestly, did we need it in the first place?

I challenge everyone to ponder the stuff in your life. It’s ok to have things we want, but if we allow our wants to control us we miss out on the real pleasures in life like the wonder and power of a landing airplane.

Dear God

May I be reminded frequently that whatever form my attempts at simplicity may take that it is a simple heart which You first and foremost desire. Help me to remember what it is I truly need. May I approach You and all human beings with a free and unencumbered heart.
Amen

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

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Kristine Chapman—Social Studies Teacher

A “Half-Time” Prayer

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

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

Except for the 51 Super Bowls, the AFC and NFC Conference Championship games historically have featured the most memorable football games in NFL history, matching up the best teams, players and coaches.

As we finish the first semester today, I thought it would be appropriate as students, faculty and staff, to have our own academic Half-Time prayer. Not being an athlete myself, I asked some coaches, team managers and former La Salle Academy athletes about the purpose of the coach’s half-time pep talk. After listening to their stories, it became clear to me that many of the strategies and points addressed during time-outs and game-breaks by coaches might carry over to our own academic performance. Maybe we can benefit from some of these same motivational messages as we reflect on our academic performance today, when we receive our 2nd quarter, mid-term, and Semester I grades. We should use the feedback from teachers today (I think of them as your academic coaches) to scheme-up a better game plan for the second half, so that with “Divine Assistants” we can come out on top with a personal victory in every class, when the final buzzer sounds in June.

One of the coaches I talked to likes to use Half-Time as a chance to reflect briefly on the first half performance, noting how the players were successful, and where they will need to improve if they want to achieve victory at the end of the game. In hindsight, sometimes we don’t show up to play, lacking energy in our play during the 1st half. Sometimes we take the game for granted thinking we can coast to a victory, or we don’t realize our enemy’s strengths. What are your enemies when it comes to school? What kind of obstacles do you face, when you’re trying to study for a test or finish your homework every night?

Perhaps students will need to address their own weaknesses in all three phases of the game: reading, writing and arithmetic. Maybe we had the perfect game plan in place in September at the start of the season, but we will need to make some Half-Time adjustments, starting today.  The best coaches can identify the team’s and players’ weaknesses and offer a 2nd half adjustment to tilt the game in our favor. Maybe God is speaking through your teachers today, as they try to coach you to a better performance in the second half.

If Coach Belichik were here, he would probably admonish us to block out any distractions in our game preparations. Are you distracted by TV, video games or social media, when you could be putting more focus on your academic game plan? Can we see ourselves at the end of the game on the graduation podium, holding our prized diploma in hand, with the crowd cheering our academic success?

One La Salle Academy coach reminds his athletes to believe in themselves–because they’ve already put in the hard work in practice, in every drill, play or technique they’ve worked on during the week.  It was all drawn up to make the players successful in their biggest test of the season, and God desires the same for us. If we can dedicate ourselves to performing our individual jobs well, the whole class wins out! Just “Do your Job!”

Another coach wondered, “What motivates us to perform our best?” Forty years ago, one Notre Dame football coach had his players put on special Kelly-green jerseys for good luck before a big game against USC. Instead of luck, maybe we can put on the mantle of Jesus Christ and John Baptist de La Salle, that they might be with us in spirit and truth, as we play out the second half. By making some Half-Time adjustments–in the mental, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of the game–and with attentiveness to the encouragement and knowledge that our academic coaches bring to the game, we can achieve many academic victories in 2018 and the seasons ahead.

Let us pray… Loving God, we pray that we not be judged simply by the numbers and scores next to our names. Help us remember that we are made in your Divine image, and help us through your grace to become the best students we can be. May Christ the Teacher guide us always through the Holy Spirit, as we journey through the game of life.

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

Our Lady of Victory, PRAY FOR US.

Live Jesus in our hearts, FOREVER.

David Martinez–Religion Teacher

“You Did It For Me”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 12 January 2018—the 5th and final day of Haiti Solidarity Week)

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

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As we prepare to give our offering to the Hands Out For Haiti Campaign on the 8th anniversary of the earthquake, let us listen to the words of Matthew’s Gospel:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ryan Schwender–Class of 2018; Co-Captain of Boys’ Hockey Team

Making a Sacrifice—Who? Me?

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 11 January 2018—Day 4 of Haiti Solidarity Week)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

De La Salle and Poor
It is the winter of 1683-1684 and the high price of food and the harshness of Winter turned the city of Reims, France into a huge poor house of starving people. To the three newly-started schools of the Brothers and to the Brothers’ House on Rue Neuve the poor came in droves, adults and children alike, many of them close to starvation. None of them went away unprovided for. John Baptist de La Salle, the wealthy priest and reluctant founder of schools for poor boys, now lived with the handful of new Brothers. He had decided after much prayer and spiritual direction, to hand over his wealth so that he too would be poor like his Brothers. So the daily distribution of food went on until there was nothing left; and then, De La Salle himself had to beg for the bread he could no longer afford to buy.

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Flash forward to the winter of 2010, January 12th, and the devastating earthquake that flattened much of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, killing an estimated 316,000 people, leaving 2.0 million people homeless, and making orphans of hundreds of thousands of children. Like its Founder, Saint John Baptist de La Salle, the Lasallian World could not just stand-by and watch the suffering of people that they had so long served in Haiti. Through world-wide donations, including a substantial gift from the faculty, staff and students of this school, the educational and health needs of hundreds of young people and their families is being met by our brother school, the St. Jean Baptiste de La Salle School in Cazeau, a small town on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. Each January, since that initial gift, our community has donated about $10,000.00 annually through our Hands Out to Haiti Campaign—to help build the Health Center, to build additional classroom space, to build athletic fields and provide athletic equipment, to purchase uniforms and books, to hire native Haitian teachers of English, and to provide tuition help to the now 645 youngsters being educated in Grades pre-K to 9.

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Unlike John Baptist de La Salle, we are not being asked tomorrow to give away all our wealth and to go out to beg for food. We put in our $5.00, get a chance to dress-down for the day, and go home tomorrow night to a good meal and a warm house—with all our toys (cars, I-pads, X-boxes, etc.) to keep us occupied.

However, I ask you to find a few minutes during the rest of this day and tonight to be quiet and to reflect. What if the earthquake or another natural or man-made disaster happened here in Rhode Island? How would we feel if we were deprived of everything we take so much for granted? Well, that is how De La Salle and the starving of Reims felt during that bitterly cold Winter and that is how the students of the St. Jean Baptiste de La Salle School felt following the earthquake! I would never wish that feeling or those disasters on anyone, but it is good from time to time to ask ourselves: what really counts, what is really important, when it comes down to it, what do I truly need?

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Maybe, after some moments of reflection (if you dare), you might decide tomorrow to forego that Dunkin Donuts flavored coffee and bagel or those extra fries; maybe you might decide to skip the movie you are planning to go to over the weekend or to not buy the CD or DVD or Apple i-tunes you saved for with your Christmas money. Are those things REALLY necessary? Making a sacrifice is not something we hear about often. However, today I ask you to consider making a sacrifice, making a sacrifice like John Baptist de La Salle, making a sacrifice that hurts a little bit—making a sacrifice tomorrow when the envelope is passed in your classroom, as you sit comfortably in your dress-down clothes in a warm building. And as you consider this request, think about the young people of Cazeau, Haiti who are being clothed in school uniforms, and given medicine, and being taught because of the extra dollars that you contribute.

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They will not be able to thank you in person; but, believe me, your reward will be great when our loving and merciful Father welcomes you into his Kingdom, there to share eternal blessings with so many other generous Lasallians, like Saint John Baptist de La Salle. Jesus will say to you and me, as he did to his disciples on the Mount: “Come to me, you blessed of my Father—for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was without clothes and you gave me school uniforms, I was sick and you provided medication, I had no opportunity for education and you provided a school and you taught me.”

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

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

Brother Frederick Mueller

HAITI–Rich in Happiness and Joy

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 10 January 2018–3rd day of Haiti Solidarity Week)

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

What is the first thing you think about when you hear the word Haiti? The Caribbean? The major earthquake in 2010? Hurricane Matthew? How it is a poor third world country? Yes, these facts are all true, but what most people don’t know is the fact that it is the first black independent nation in the world and has a strong culture, beautiful beaches, amazing food, and bright and beautiful people. I traveled to Haiti this past summer and I experienced so much. I got to experience the fine beaches with the crystal clear water that allows you to see the ocean floor and aquatic life, the soft white sand and tall coconut trees The horizon can be seen at a very distance as well as the fleet of sailboats taxiing merchants from one end to the other.  It is common to have troubadour players drumming Haitian ballads at the beach.  It will not be a complete picture if I don’t put emphasis on the various delicious seafood dishes whose fresh smell is very enticing.   The popular grilled conch served with fried plantains,  with a side of onions, tomatoes, lettuce and slices of juicy avocado are to die for.   

What truly amazes me to this day is the joy the children had making kites out of broken pieces of wood, string, and black plastic bags. I got to witness what truly makes Haiti a beautiful country: its people. The friendly people who greet you with a smile, the people willing to help who ever in need, the people who know they have less and make the best out of each day.  This is what truly makes Haiti beautiful. Though Haiti itself is a poor country, the people are rich in happiness and joy.

Let us pray:

God of all people,

This morning we pray for the people of Haiti.

Although they lack material wealth, there is much we can learn from their joy and their simplicity.

And help us all to work together so that all your children can enjoy the abundance this world has to offer.  Amen.

 

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

Live Jesus in our Hearts: Forever!

Sara Gedeon–Class of 2018

One Lasallian Can Change the World

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 9 January 2018—the 2nd day of Haiti Solidarity Week)

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

Every weekday morning, in the Cazeau neighbor of Port au Prince, Haiti the roosters crow to welcome the rising sun over the mountains that surround the city while students and their families arrive to the gates of College de Saint Jean Baptist de La Salle. By the time the school bell rings to begin the day, over 650 students line up according to grade in their neatly pressed white and blue uniforms and they too begin their day with prayer, “Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.”

Over 300 years ago, our Founder, Saint John Baptist de La Salle realized the transformative power of education. Being well educated himself, he was fully aware that to give a child, a young person, an adult the gift of an education was to unleash human potential—the potential to transform a person, a family, a neighborhood, a community, a society and yes, a nation.

That is why, after the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010 the Brothers of the Christian Schools along with an Order of Sisters from Argentina, fondly referred to as the “Blue Nuns” because of their blue colored habits, began the project of building a school and a health and nutrition educational clinic in this section of Port au Prince, Haiti. What were once barren fields welcomed a small endeavor and what began with one building is now a thriving educational compound with 5 buildings that include a wing for pre-kindergarten classrooms, a main building for Kindergarten-8 grade classrooms, a new building for the developing secondary school, the Health and Nutrition educational center and the Brothers’ residence. It is a source of great hope in this neighborhood and a source of great hope for the future of the students who attend, indeed for the future of Haiti.

Permit me to share with you a story or two. Within walking distance to the school is an orphanage, New Life orphanage. It is supported by a Protestant denomination and the Director, a woman named Miriam, hails from Newtown, CT. One day, when I was visiting the orphanage she told me the story of how after the earthquake the number of children in the orphanage doubled within 72 hours. One of the concerns that was keeping her up at night with worry was the thought of how were all the children, especially those newly orphaned by the earthquake, going to receive an education? These children had arrived at her orphanage from all over the Port au Prince area with little or no information about themselves. It was clear to Miriam that many of them had not attended school before the earthquake and the ones who had received a minimal education at best.

Then one day Brother Nicholas, a Brother from the school community who was in charge of overseeing the construction of the first school building and the Health and Nutrition center visited the orphanage to tell Miriam about a new school that was being built within walking distance. When Miriam explained that she had children who should be in third or fourth grade but they had never learned to read or write, she shared “what Brother said next were miracle words, his words answered my constant prayer.” She continued, “Brother replied in response to my concern, don’t worry, we will take the students where they are at, regardless of age and steadily bring them up to grade level so they can successfully continue their studies with us.” Miriam’s eyes were filled with tears as she expressed her gratitude to all who made this possible.

You helped to make this possible…by your support and generosity throughout these past years- you have given the miracle of education to hundreds of young boys and girls and by extension their families. You have given them hope and the possibility of a brighter future.

Last spring when I was visiting the school, I attended the seventh grade English language class. Remember: for most of the students their first language is Creole and then French. Therefore, learning English would be their third language! The students were very interested in hearing about the Lasallian schools in the United States. They had many questions about your school day and what you are studying and the various sports and co-curricular activities you have here at La Salle. One young man raised his hand and said “whenever you can please let the Lasallian students know how grateful we are for all they are doing to help us receive an education. We are so proud to be part of the Lasallian family and we work very hard in our studies, please tell them thank you.”  So let me now say “thank you.”

Right now, this morning at the school, there are 15 Lasallians from La Salle University on a service immersion trip. They are engaged in tutoring students, organizing art classes and coordinating athletic activities. There is also a delegation of nurses from La Salle University who are working with the Sisters at the clinic to provide basic health care to the students, their families and those in need from the neighborhood. Let us keep them in our prayers.

By your generosity over the years you and other Lasallians have assisted in providing classroom resources, computers, an English teacher, the construction of new classrooms, sports equipment, a van for school transportation and an incredible transformation of the school’s aquifer into clean drinking water for the school and the neighborhood-just to mention a few items.

There is a famous quote from the young Nobel peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai “one child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”

Permit me to add, one Lasallian caring for one Lasallian can change the world as well.

So on behalf of Brother Dennis Lee, Visitor of the District of Eastern North America, Brother Lanes, Principal of College de Saint Jean Baptist de La Salle School and especially the students and their families: Thank you, to each of you for being that one Lasallian changing the world…together.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us

Live Jesus in our hearts forever.

Maryann Donohue-Lynch–Associate Executive Director, Office for Mission and Ministry (District of Eastern North America)

A Fresh Start in 2018

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

Good Morning

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

At this time of year we often reflect on the past year and plan for the coming year.  We make resolutions to improve – lose weight, improve relationships, work harder to earn better grades, and more.  Yet our resolutions are often forgotten in the hectic pace of maintaining our existing lives.  Our intentions are pure but good intentions not acted upon have no long-term effect in our lives.

2018 can be our best year ever OR it can be a year of mediocrity and regret.  The world is not a beacon of caring and kindness today.  Praise and encouragement are in short supply not only in our daily lives at school but in our homes and our communities.  People do a lot of things right.  Validating others’ efforts and accomplishments costs us a few words and a few minutes and makes a tremendous positive impact on others.  Demeaning, discounting, or dismissing others does not build a strong community nor does it build trust and respect among our fellow Lasallians.

Each of us has the opportunity for a fresh start right now.  How are you going to take advantage of this opportunity?  I’ve got some ideas, some suggestions.  First, ground yourself in well-being and service.   You can’t be of service to anyone without feeling vibrant and strong.  Fuel your best self with healthy food.  Lean proteins, fruits and vegetables at every meal can help build your physical, emotional and spiritual health.  Make service to others your priority.  Clarify your servant purpose writing down how your actions and decisions improve others’ quality of life.  Write down your values, the principles you hold dear and add behaviors that insure that when you demonstrate those behaviors you’re living your service values.

Second, surround yourself with those who support your purpose and values and challenge you to align to them every day.  We need a community of values with aligned people who share our values, who struggle along with us to live our purpose, and who call us on our mistakes when we miss the mark.

Third, invest time and energy every day in service and grace.  Defining your purpose and values is one thing, but acting on them daily is a bit harder.  Don’t just look for opportunities to serve, act on them.  Engage with others.  Praise their aligned behaviors.  Give credit. Validate efforts.  Thank people every day.

The amazing thing about demonstrating service to others is that our own needs become secondary but are often fulfilled because our actions to serve others brings us peace and significance.

Our opportunities for a fresh start come around not just once a year but every single morning.  How will you serve others with grace today?

Adapted from:  S. Chris Edmonds – Speaker, Author, Executive Consultant

Let us Pray:

You are Christian only so long as you look forward to a new world, so long as you constantly pose critical questions to the community you live in, so long as you emphasize the need of conversion both for yourself and for the world, so long as you in no way let yourself become established in a situation of seeming calm, so long as you stay unsatisfied with the status quo and keep saying that a new world is yet to come.  You are Christian only when you believe that you have a role to play in the realization of this new reality, and when you urge everyone you meet with a holy unrest to make haste so that the promise might soon be fulfilled.  So long as you live as a Christian you keep looking for a new order, a new structure, a new life.  Happy New Year!

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Donald Kavanagh—Principal

Glad Tidings to the Poor

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 18 December 2017)

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

As we began the third week of Advent, we read in the book of Isaiah:

God has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners.

This passage is quite powerful especially if you think of it in relation to how our founder reflects on Saint Nicholas.  Saint John Baptist de La Salle wrote of Saint Nicholas long before the legend of Santa Claus spread across the United States.  He describes Saint Nicholas’s love of the poor and he specifically writes of four young people that Saint Nicholas encountered who were enslaved, treated as captives and prisoners.  Through great personal sacrifice Saint Nicholas freed each prisoner from their captivity, he helped to heal their broken hearts, and through his devotion to God brought glad tidings to the poor.

In my God is the joy of my soul; for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation and wrapped me in a mantle of justice.

In today’s Gospel of Matthew we are reminded that Joseph is visited by an Angel of the Lord in his dreams and commanded to name Mary’s Son Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.

The Gospel of Matthew reminds us that the birth of Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy :

They shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.”

Glad tidings in deed, that God is traveling this journey with us.

Today and tomorrow as we celebrate Christmas within our Lasallian community be mindful that God is with us, present in every person we encounter.

Let Us Pray,

God, we beg of you, to lead us on the way to heaven by the path you have traced out for us. Help us to embrace the perfection of your state that you have brought us into. Help us remember you have always and will always desire that we find in it the way and the means to be sanctified.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for Us.

Live Jesus in Our Hearts…Forever.

Mark Carty–Social Studies Teacher