How Will We Prepare for Christmas?

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday, 4 December 2018)

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

I love Christmas! It’s not just the beautiful Christmas and Advent music, or the food and family times, or even the animated Christmas specials (although the Charlie Brown one is my favorite).  It’s the chance to celebrate that God fulfilled His promise to send His Son to save us—and not wrapped up in jewels, although He is our King, but as a precious, but poor helpless baby. What a gift and what a lesson!

And this year will be even more special because we are also celebrating the 300th year of our founder, St. La Salle, who still guides us today through his words.  As Mrs. Da Silva said last week, we see De La Salle’s spirit alive in our school especially in the outpouring of generosity toward the poor. Sure, there are a few who are more like the Grinch or Scrooge, but I’m sure as in the Christmas stories, they too, in time, will find compassion in their hearts. In the words of our Founder, “God inspires us to walk in the footsteps of his Son.” (Med. 3.3)

And maybe we see some who are like Charlie Brown’s sister, Sally, who is so caught up in the material part of the season that she wants Santa to bring her tens and twenties, but again from De La Salle, “Example makes a much greater impression than words.” (MTR 10.3 [Med. 202.3]) so how we live and act can help others to “Walk along God’s path.” (Med. 75.3)

When we think of the Nativity story of Mary and Joseph having to travel along rocky roads and Mary in discomfort with her pregnancy, only to find the door slammed in their faces because there’s no room, it is just like any of us when there are difficult times and our faith wanes. But our Founder said, “Throw yourself into God’s arms. He will carry you when the road is rough.” (Letter-Palm Sunday) We need only to have faith as Joseph and Mary had and accept Christ in our lives. I heard recently a quote by Neal Maxwell,  “Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus!” And again, from De La Salle, “How long has Jesus been knocking at the door of your heart, waiting to enter?” (Med. 85.1 – Vigil of the Nativity)

We need, then to decide how we will prepare for Christmas in our thoughts and actions, for “we are people whom God has called to live according to the perfection of the Gospel.” (Med. 5.3).

Let us pray. Lord God, may we find the true spirit of Christmas in all of our thoughts, words, and actions. May we be among the faithful who come “joyful and triumphant” and be “visible angels” among all we meet.

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

Live, Jesus, in our hearts, forever!

Leslie Martinelli–Science Teacher

The Miracles of Hanukkah

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

Good Morning, La Salle and De La Salle.

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of G-d.

For those of you who do not know, Advent started yesterday,,, and so did Hanukkah. Where I come from, in my home, one of those is much more exciting than the other.

Happy Hanukkah everybody, and let me just tell you,

I

am

thrilled.

Hanukkah is at the perfect time this year, not too close to Thanksgiving, and not overlapping with Christmas—a perfect break during the painful 4 weeks of school between the Fall break and the Winter one.

To me, Hanukkah means a couple of things. One, a time for food and family and presents and lighting the candles, and then more food and family and presents and candles the next night, and the next night, and the night after that, and the night after that.  Really just a great time! A Rabbi would tell you that it’s a celebration of Jewish victory over one of our countless oppressors throughout history, that it’s about celebrating the small stuff, the gifts from G-d, and the happy little and sometimes rather big miracles, wherever we can find them. See, the story of Hanukkah basically goes like this: roughly 2,000 years ago Israel was occupied by the Greek-Assyrian Empire. The King at this time was brutal and cruel to the Jewish people. Long story short, a very big family known as the Maccabees rose up against their oppressive leaders when they tried to burn down the temple as a means to convert the Jews in Israel.

When they finally overthrew the king and made it to the Temple, the menorah (a fancy 9  branch candelabra that can be found in every synagogue) had been stolen. The Maccabees quickly made a new one, though it was much less fancy and lit the first candle. They soon found they had almost no oil, only enough to keep the candle lit for one day. One of the several miracles in this tale is that the menorah stayed lit for 8 days, exactly how long it takes for new oil to be pressed. No matter how you hear the story of Hanukkah, if you listen close enough, you’ll find a miracle. And that is why Jews worldwide, tonight and for the next six nights will be eating, spending time with family, exchanging gifts, and lighting candles.

Let us pray:

Mr. DeMaria and I will now lead us in the Hanukkah prayers that light our way this holiday season:

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah.

Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d, Sovereign of all, who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to kindle the Hanukkah lights.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts: Forever.

Jennifer Isaacs (Class of 2020) and Gregg DeMaria (Architecture Teacher and Academic Resource Center)

To Be Lasallian

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 30 November 2018)

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

You may not notice this on a daily basis as you go about your busy schedule at the Academy, but, here at La Salle, every single day, we are in the holy presence of a loving God. Yes, I know that the tradition is to begin every prayer here with this statement, but we may not always see or feel this with our eyes and hearts wide open. So, please allow me to illuminate that God is truly present in this building every moment of every day.

When the Social Concerns Club shared the Adopt-a-Family lists with our Lasallian community, the response was amazing. Homerooms have been busily collecting donations and shopping for the items on the wish lists. There has been a tremendous response to the call for help on the part of our wonderful students. After distributing these wish lists to all the homerooms and groups of faculty and staff in the building, there were still two families left to adopt. I sent out an email to the Lasallian community to ask for more help from those willing to give of their own money, time, and effort. Within minutes, my G mail inbox was full of responses! I could not help but feel a deep sense of pride and gratitude that I belong to such an amazing community. This is what it means to be Lasallian.

When I walk into the building each morning, people offer to hold open doors for me, warmly greet meet me asking how I am and asking about my daughters. I receive high fives and hugs from colleagues whom I consider more like family than coworkers. I see the same happen with the students in the hallways as I walk up to my classroom. You engage in meaningful conversations, show each other respect and affection, and come together in times of both struggle and joy. A big win for a sports team is normally followed by a morning of congratulations and pats on the back. When I find a student in tears, it is common to find him or her surrounded by loving friends willing to help make the day brighter. This is what it means to be Lasallian.

When we pray together as a community, whether in class or at a school Mass, the silence is reverent and humble. We find so many ways to pray together, regardless of different religious backgrounds or beliefs. In class conversations, we share traditions and beliefs from our diverse backgrounds and I often find so many students listening intently and wanting to learn more about their peers. You ask questions to understand those around you in a deeper way. This is what it means to be Lasallian.

I could name hundreds of ways that God is present every day at La Salle. Service learning trips, Christian Service, the bond between students on sports teams, in Theater, and in our school clubs, the countless inviting spaces within the building where people come together to make true differences, a note of gratitude from a student or a positive and encouraging remark from a teacher, or simply reading the tremendous things our community is doing when I read from the Daily Bulletin in Homeroom. This is what it means to be Lasallian.

There is an indescribable and palpable feeling of love, togetherness, unity, and community in this building. Our traditions, from the start of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools by our founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle, continue to grow stronger and stronger every day.

Today, we begin our commemoration of the 300th anniversary of the passing of St. John Baptist de La Salle, a man who sacrificed his own wealth and status to educate poor boys in France who would have otherwise remained marginalized in society. We keep his legacy alive in this building by remembering that we are in the holy presence of a loving God and sharing God’s love with those around us.

Let us pray,

Heavenly Father, we ask you to bless our Lasallian community and keep our traditions strong. Today, we humbly implore you to help us see, with our minds and hearts, your loving presence as St. John Baptist de La Salle did at the start of the Lasallian Institute. Let his legacy stay alive in our building with the same fire that it has had in the last 300 + years.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.

Amanda da Silva–English Teacher

Lessons from French Toast

(Prayer offered for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 28 November 2018)

Good Morning, La Salle and De La Salle.

Happy International French Toast Day… that’s right, it is International French Toast Day today!

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

The smell of warm French toast cooking on the stove early in the morning, a true sign of the weekend or even better, break!  How we all long for the days where no alarm needs to be set and getting out of bed is a choice we don’t have to make right away.

To be honest, the smell of French Toast will not get me out of bed, simply because I am not a huge fan. However, I love to cook! And the recipe for French toast is not all that complicated.

Mixing the cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar is the first step to cooking French toast. This is the sweet stuff that without it, the French toast would simply be soaked bread. In life, these are our friends, our family, and all the awesome things we looked forward to spicing up our life with.

Next comes the eggs, milk and vanilla… to me these are the necessities that are not all that exciting. I guess vanilla smells good, but take my advice and never taste it! You’ll regret it every time. In life, this is school, work, and chores; we don’t have the option to change these up much but they are a necessity to a successful life.

And the bread of course! This is you… Are you the sweet bread, rye bread, wheat bread, baguette, or organic seven grain? No matter the difference, this is you and you should be proud.

Now time to melt the butter on medium heat, take your slice of bread, dip it in your mixture, and place it upon the pan. I know it can be tough to wait… we can all be impatient at times. But whatever you do, do not turn the stove to high; this is where the heat takes over and it never usually ends well.

The infamous flip… this can be a major challenge.  Is the timing right? Is it sticking to the pan? Do I put the spatula all the way under the slice of bread and pick it up or just grab the corner and flip? Life is full of questions and challenges. There are some answers that may be better than others but not many wrong ones.

Now pick up the French toast from the pan, place it on your plate and time to drizzle maple syrup and even sprinkle some powdered sugar for aesthetics. This is the good stuff—no matter how burnt or under cooked the French toast is, it is always there. This is Christ in our lives. He is there when we nail it perfectly or completely fail.

Let us pray,
Lord, thank you for our foundation, our necessities of life and all that spice it up. Despite the questions and challenges, may we all recall that you are there from the beginning, in the middle and at the end.

 

Saint John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for Us

Love Jesus in Our Hearts – Forever

Katie Haidemenos–Campus Minister

You Can Do More With the Grace of God Than You Think

(A Prayer offered on November 18, 2014 for the entire La Salle Academy educational community)

“Do not have any anxiety about the future,

But leave everything in God’s hands,
For God will take care of you.
Be satisfied with what you can do,
Since God is satisfied with it,
But do not spare yourself in what you can do with grace;
And believe that, provided you want it,
You can do more with the grace of God than you think.”

– St. John Baptist de La Salle

Founder--4 views

In November of 1691, John Baptist de La Salle found himself and his group of teachers in a dire situation. At that time, he and the Brothers had established several schools that provided a Christian education to all children without regard to social class or income, but their ministry was now at risk as opposition to De La Salle’s work grew and this fragile congregation experienced harassment and lawsuits. It was a bleak moment for the struggling movement that would become the Brothers of the Christian Schools.

We might expect that this overwhelming adversity would be enough for our Founder and the Brothers to quit or give up the schools. However, it was in this new crossroads that in 1691 a strong sense of association emerged among three friends—De La Salle, Brother Vuyart, and Brother Drolin. They vowed to keep together for the sake of the mission even if all others left and they were obliged to beg for alms and live on bread alone.  Together, they would discern what was best for the “Society of the Christian Schools” and what God required of them.

It came to be known as “the heroic vow,” a statement that radically committed these founding teachers to the work they were called to do. This “vow of association and union” pronounced on November 21, 1691, was an act of hope at a time when the work of De La Salle and the early Brothers was in serious jeopardy.

Surely these three men were fearful that all might be lost.  As those around them gave up, they must have questioned themselves and their ministry. Yet, in their dismay, they didn’t avoid their difficulties…they didn’t try to go around them. De La Salle, Brother Vuyart and Brother Drolin were steadfast. They had the courage and faith to step through their fear and into the light as they committed to each other and their shared mission.

heroic vow signatures

We all find ourselves in similar situations on that difficult road where fear and uncertainty blind our way. We face many adversities in our lives. Some of them we seem to bring upon ourselves and others seem to come out of nowhere. Some last only for a short time while others we carry for a lifetime. Either way we find ourselves asking, “Why does this have to be so hard?” “Why is this happening to me?” I am sure that these are the same questions that De La Salle and his Brothers were asking in 1691.

Is it possible that we experience these challenges and adversity because God wants more from us? Just as God knew the fruit that the Brothers of the Christian Schools would bear, He knows the gifts and talents that he has given to us even though we may not even recognize them yet. So God will push us, stretch us, prod us, and sometimes bring us to our knees in order to bring about our gifts that those around us so desperately need. So, when we find ourselves with what seems too much to bear, and we struggle to find our way, let us remember the words of our Founder, “Do not have any anxiety about the future, but leave everything in God’s hands for God will take care of you.” Trust and know that “you can do more with the grace of God than you think.”

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Let us pray…

Dear Lord,

We pray for strength as we face our own adversity in our lives. Grant us the courage and faith to step through our own fears and into your light so that we might do your will.

Let us trust in your Providence. Just like La Salle called his Brothers to see themselves as older brothers to their students, so too we are called to be mentors to those around us so we can build a community of faith and love. We are called to touch hearts and change lives like La Salle and so many Christian Brothers have done before us.  We give thanks for all the Christian Brothers and all those who teach around the world in the spirit of De La Salle.

DLS and young man

St. John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for Us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever.

Wynter Kelly–Dean of LSA Class of 2015

What Could I Have Done Differently?

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

Good morning.

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

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about car rides home with my dad after sports practices or competitions.

Having four younger brothers meant there wasn’t much one-on-one time between parents and children in my family, so having these brief car rides gave me the rare opportunity for time with my dad.

If it were after basketball practice, we’d have to drop off my friend, Jen, first. If it were after swim, I would be ravenous and barely able to focus on anything other than food. Sometimes we’d listen to the evening radio show with Delilah on Coast 93.3 and my dad would make fun of sappy stories callers would share and Delilah’s cliche advice. There were nights he would relay a comical incident I had missed at home. Often, he’d ask about school. But no matter the particulars, he would always ask about the practice or game and come back to the same question:

What do you think you could you have done differently?

It wasn’t nitpicking, critical, or demeaning. He didn’t ask what I could have done better, just differently.  It didn’t matter that a teammate overthrew a pass, or set a bad pick. All he wanted to know was about my choices and my actions. He didn’t just ask this question when my team lost, or practice hadn’t gone well – he asked no matter the circumstance. And in doing so, my father taught me an important life lesson.  He was training me to think about alternative approaches, to find better ways to communicate with others, and to assess my own actions and worry less about things I couldn’t control in others. Over time I came to realize that the only actions I could control in life were my own. Asking what I could have done differently challenged me to constantly evaluate my choices and my affect on the world around me.

I realize now it was a question he must have asked himself every day.

After he died three years ago, there was much grieving and the immediacy of the loss brought larger memories to the surface more often. But now, after some time has passed, I find my mind returning to simple moments with him which in many ways contributed more significantly to my development and approach to life than anything else.

Now, as a parent, I think about how much I want to emulate him. And maybe asking myself, at the end of each day, “What could I have done differently,” is start.

Let us pray:

Heavenly Father,

When we become frustrated and anxious about events and circumstances around us, give us the grace to recognize and relinquish what is beyond our control.

Guide us, as my father did, to honestly assess our roles in our families and communities and to determine the ways we may best serve others.  Amen.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us

Live Jesus in our Heart…forever.

Emily McLean–English Teacher

With Strong Faith We Can Do Amazing Things

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 13 November 2018)

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

Immigrants faced many hardships in the United States.  They worked at the most menial labor and experienced discrimination both as foreigners and as Catholics.  Uprooted, without pastoral care, they were strangers even in their own Church.  The Catholic Church in America was English speaking and not equipped to deal with the non-English speaking immigrants.  There was even a political party that wanted the borders closed to keep Catholics out of the country. Despite this, the great majority of these immigrants desired to return again to their Catholic faith and devotions.  Seeking the help of religious women, a Bishop asked a nun to go to New York to work with the immigrants.  She hesitated because her dream was to go the the Orient.

Wanting to do the will of God, this nun went to the Pope.  She would not get the answer she hoped for.  The Pope knew of the nun’s desire to go to China, but he told her, “Not to the East, but to the West.”  Weighing heavily on the Pope’s heart was the terrible conditions of the immigrants in America.

The story you just heard didn’t happen 5 years ago or 10 years ago or even 50 years ago. It happened over 100 years ago towards the end of the 19th century and the immigrants were from Italy.

The plight of the immigrant has always been with us and in 1889, this nun being obedient to God’s will, would not go to China but to Chinatown in New York City and the fast growing lower East Side where she and six of her sisters would minister to the over 50,000 Italian immigrants were trying to survive bodily and spiritually.

The nun was St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, whose feast we celebrate today.

She found disappointment and difficulties with every step. When she arrived in New York, the house intended to be her first orphanage in the United States was not available. The archbishop advised her to return to Italy. But Frances, truly a valiant woman, departed from the archbishop’s residence all the more determined to establish that orphanage. And she did.

In 35 years, Frances Xavier Cabrini founded 67 institutions dedicated to caring for the poor, the abandoned, the uneducated and the sick. Seeing great need among Italian immigrants who were losing their faith, she organized schools and adult education classes.

As a child, she was always frightened of water, unable to overcome her fear of drowning. Yet, despite this fear, she traveled across the Atlantic Ocean more than 30 times. She died on December 22, 1917 of malaria in her own Columbus Hospital in Chicago.

In 1946 she was the first U.S. citizen to be canonized a saint.

St. Frances Cabrini shows us that when we have strong faith and turn our hardships over to God we can do amazing things.

So as we begin Spirit Week we can contemplate this prayer that was written by St. Frances Xavier Cabrini and ask the Holy Spirit to help us to always turn to God in all of our needs and to be aware and help the less fortunate in our world.

Let us pray……

Fortify me with the grace of Your Holy Spirit and give Your peace to my soul that I may be free from all needless anxiety, solicitude and worry. Help me to desire always that which is pleasing and acceptable to You so that Your will may be my will. Amen.

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini – Pray for us

St. John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for us

Live Jesus in our hearts – Forever!

Reverend Thomas Woodhouse–School Chaplain

This Amazing Place!

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday, 9 November 2018)

Good morning La Salle and De La Salle.

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

Today, as we get set to commence with Spirit Week on Tuesday, let us also remember what an amazing place this school really is. Two weeks ago, students, faculty, staff, coaches, administration, and parents came together to put on our annual Open House in an effort to express just why La Salle Academy is an amazing place. Our values of faith, service, and community were on full display. Last weekend, we witnessed students share their gifts and talents both on stage and behind the scenes for the production of Anything Goes. Yesterday morning La Salle students were recognized for their academic excellence or displaying Lasallian virtues in some fashion at the Student Recognition assembly. Today, thanks to the Social Concerns Club, we had the option to dress down to raise money for local soup kitchens and homeless shelters in RI. This afternoon, a group of students will board a bus to head off to La Salette Retreat Center for a Kairos Retreat.  And this coming weekend, there are three State Championship games on the docket. There are countless other reasons why we are all blessed to be part of this community. God is truly present each and every day here, so today let us remember that and allow this astounding reality to form our minds and our hearts.

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, we thank You. We thank You for the amazing people we get to spend each day with here at 612 Academy Ave.  We thank You for providing us with a mission to learn from one another and to serve one another. We pray in a special way today for all our students going on retreat or competing this weekend. And we pray for all the individuals and all the families in need at this time. May our hearts be generous as we do our small part to alleviate just a small portion of their suffering.  Amen.

Saint John Baptist de la Salle…Pray for us

Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever.

Anthony Russo–Campus Minister (delivered by Katie Haidemenos–Campus Minister)

On Election Day–A Voice

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday, morning, 6 November 2018)

Good Morning, La Salle Academy and future Lasallians shadowing here today.

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

What is today for Americans?  Well for many school age students, it is a day off of school. (sorry La Salle!)

For adults 18 and over, it’s a day to vote.  But you won’t hear me delving into the heated world of politics here this morning.  (Honestly, my rule of thumb is to not engage in any political conversation unless it’s in real good company!)

So instead, I would like to take this opportunity to look at “a vote” on a smaller scale:

Small disclaimer first; I am not one with words —- the students in my classes can attest to that, I’m sure.

Usually, lacking a better vocabulary word to use, I might stretch a definition a little too far or take an analogy in a crazy direction, to try and get my point across.  So English teachers, please forgive me!

I found a definition for the noun, vote.   Vote:  the formal expression of a choice between two or more issuespeople, etc…… and then I thought…….okay Erica, take it where you will…..

So, what is a “vote”?  To me, it is a voice.

A voice that can be heard, felt and witnessed in all that we do.   Each and every day of our lives when there is a choice to be made our voice is present.

Our voice can be used to break others down.   It can be the cause of pain and the creation of enemies.    Our voice can be loud and intolerant so that we do not truly hear others.

But our voices can build each other up.   They can cause happiness and create friendships.  Our voices can be quiet and patient so that we can truly hear others.

Let us pray.

Lord, you have given each one of us a voice—a beautiful voice created in Your image.

In this complex and chaotic world we live in, grant us the wisdom to use our voices for good:  to speak the truth, to speak with kindness, to have courage to use our voice to stand up to injustice, to help the less fortunate and lift the oppressed.  We pray that you grant us the knowledge to know when to keep our voices low, so that those around us may speak their truth, and we can hear them.

With our voices together, walking united in your Spirit we pray:

St John Baptist de La Salle ……pray for us

Live Jesus in our hearts ……forever.

Erica Napolitano—Math Teacher