Why Worry?

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 27 March 2014)


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

We worry. We worry about lots of things. We worry about something that happened yesterday. We worry about what will happen today. We worry about what’s going to happen tomorrow. Worry consumes so much of our time and energy. And most of our worry is just negative energy, and much of the time it’s wasted energy because the things we worry about end up not even happening. Worrying takes us out of the present moment.


Ultimately, worry is a lack of trust in God’s care for us. The antidote to worry is to trust. Trust that God loves us; trust that he will take care of us; trust that, even if bad things happen, God can make everything ultimately work for the good.

So often we get caught up in worrying that we miss all of the blessings that God is giving to us in the present moment.  Think about it: we only have the present moment. The past is gone, the future doesn’t exist. We only have this moment.

toady the present

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta said: “Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not here. We have only today. Let us begin.” Jesus himself told us not to worry about tomorrow, to let tomorrow take care of itself.

mother teresa

One of my favorite quotes is from St. Francis de Sales:

Be at peace by Saint Francis de Sales

“Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life;
rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise,
God, whose very own you are,
will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand it,
God will carry you in His arms.

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same understanding Father who cares for
you today will take care of you then and every day.

He will either shield you from suffering
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace,
and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.”

So today, let’s try to worry less. Let’s try to live in the present moment, trusting that God will take care of us. Let’s try to be attentive to all of the blessings he gives us.


Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.


Reverend Michael Najim–Academy Chaplain

Breaking Down the Barriers

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the La Salle Academy educational community on the morning of 18 March 2014)

Hi, my name is Savannah Stewart and I’m a senior on the Diversity Committee. I would like to take this time to invite all of you and your families to come to the Event: An International Celebration. Tonight we’ll be celebrating the diversity within the Lasallian community with student performances and a potluck dinner. It starts at 6 in the cafeteria, so be there.

In light of the celebration tonight the committee asked members of the Student Body to offer their own intentions concerning diversity throughout the Lasallian community.  I will read these intentions as a representative of this larger community of individuals to share their voices, their hopes and their prayers.

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

I pray that everyone sees me as a person with potential; someone with a kind heart and a good personality, despite any preconceptions or stereotypes about who I am or what I am good at.

I pray that teachers and students view me as a person that can achieve academic success.

I pray that I can make it through today without hearing the ‘N word’ or any other discriminatory term that creates disunity or disharmony within our larger community.

 n word

I pray that people ask me my ethnicity before suspecting that I and every other Hispanic in this school are of Mexican descent.

I pray that people embrace their classmates’ differences and respect them here at La Salle

I pray that students will not fear their classmates because of the color of their skin or the loudness of their voice

I pray that I can go through a day of school without being judged or being called “ghetto.”


I pray that every race and ethnicity in this school can be respected and that comments won’t be made based on stereotypes or prejudices of any kind.


Lord, let us remember all of those who are discriminated for their race, religion, or beliefs around the world and pray for an end to this injustice. Give us the strength to stand up against the injustices that occur within our own community. Finally, allow us to break down the barriers caused by our differences so we can include and celebrate the things that make us so unique and amazing.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts……  Forever

A New Standard for Greatness

(Prayer offered over the Public Address system for the La Salle Academy community on Monday morning, 17 March 2014)

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.  (Sung by a small chorus of students)

I am a husband, a father, and – praise be to God – a grandfather.  I think often , very often, about this family that embraces and delights me.  To tell you the truth, though, because I am also a teacher, I think just as often about my students.

Sometimes those thoughts are frustrations, when a class is not working hard enough.  The voices you have just heard might know something about that.  Sometimes I even worry about a student working too hard.  Often I am just in awe of my students’ brilliance, or resilience, or just plain goodness.

Because I have all these concerns, Mr. Kavanagh’s reflection, a week or two ago, struck a chord in me.  Teaching is an act of faith he said.  And learning is an act of faith.  Believe it when I tell you that I have faith that when my students learn about mathematics – say logarithms – the things that happen in their brains will help them grow, help them be healthier, more whole, yes holier.  And when they say faith is a leap, I get it!

leap of faith

But by my own very basic standards, and by the standards of Jesus, or John Baptist de la Salle, learning logarithms will not suffice to make anyone great.

I will paraphrase a talk by Martin Luther King, Jr.


If I want to be successful, that is good.  If I want to be famous, nothing wrong with that – though it might be dangerous.  But if I want to be great, Jesus has given us a remarkable new standard for greatness:  I and you must serve our neighbor.  We don’t have to use logarithms!  We don’t have to make the subject and verb agree!  We don’t have to master the ideal gas laws.  We have to serve.    A wonderful thing about this new standard is that we can ALL do it!  We do not have to be a pope or a priest.  We do not have to have a college degree.  We do not have to be in .1 classes.  We have to serve.  We do not have to go to an Ivy League school, or even make the honor roll.  We have to love God by serving the least of our brothers, by bringing love to this broken world.

I know well that you know what I mean.  So let us find ways to serve.  Let us speak to a lonely classmate today.  Let us dig deeper to make a donation to the Rice Bowl collection.  Let us all find the needs of those least among us, and then find ways to serve those needs.  Let us take advantage of the varied and rich opportunities that this school offers to serve, to become great in the only way that matters, in the eyes of our God.


Let us pray,

We thank you, brother Jesus, for your new standard of greatness.  But we are sometimes intimidated by the courage it takes to serve others, to place others’ needs before our own.  May each of us be aware of your accompaniment, your very real grace, as we try to serve the least of your sisters and brothers.

St. John Baptist de la Salle, pray for us.  St. Patrick, pray for us.

Live, Jesus, in our hearts,  Forever!

Afternoon reflection.

How did I do at serving others today?  Or was today just all about me?

As I leave school for home or for other activities, how will I serve?  How will I help my family, my neighbors, my friends?  How will I try to make others the center of my world?


Michael McNamara (Teacher of Mathematics)

Celebrating our Uniqueness

During this week and next the school community of La Salle Academy is holding a series of events to celebrate our uniqueness in our diversity.  The Academy’s Mission states in part: “The school strives to create a vital community where its students, coming from varied socioeconomic, ethnic, and family backgrounds, educate one another by mutual understanding and respect, openness of mind in dialogue, and acceptance of the uniqueness and limitations of all. “

Earlier this week students participated in events surrounding “End the R…Word–Spread the Word to End the Word.”  Students from the PEGASUS 10-12 program (a program for gifted students) who are working on projects involving Special Olympics and students who are part of the school’s “Best Buddies” group who link with young people from the Meeting Street School led the events.

School opened on Tuesday morning with a short prayer followed by a video created by Senior Molly Anthony.


On Wednesday morning school prayer also centered on the personal sensitivity needed to recognize the gifts of people different from us, particularly those with physical and intellectual disabilities.  Joseph Spirito,  a Junior, created a video that was shown throughout the school.


During the lunch period students signed a giant petition vowing to stop use of the “R…word” and to discourage others from use of the word which has become so hurtful.  Some students also received tee shirts to mark the event.


tee shirts

On Tuesday evening, March 18, La Salle students will celebrate “The Event–An International Celebration.”  A group of parents, teachers and students have been planning the event for a few months  (members of the School-wide Diversity Committee) as a way to call attention to the rich diversity of ethic and cultural heritages present at La Salle Academy.  The event will feature ethnic food, dress, and entertainment.

La Salle Academy has much to celebrate and, during this Lenten season, has reason to remember the Gospel injunction (Gospel of today, Thursday of 1st Week of Lent): “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”


Brother Frederick Mueller


Education–Transforming Lives

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the La Salle Academy community on Friday, 7 March 2014, at the end of Poverty Week)

 Good Morning

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

This morning I’d like to start the prayer with a quote from a President’s inaugural address:

“Let this session of Congress be known as the session which did more for civil rights than the last hundred sessions combined; as the session which enacted the most far-reaching tax cut of our time; as the session which declared all-out war on human poverty and unemployment in these United States; as the session which finally recognized the health needs of all our older citizens; as the session which achieved the most effective, efficient foreign aid program ever; and as the session which helped to build more homes, more schools, more libraries, and more hospitals than any single session of Congress in the history of our Republic.


All this and more can and must be done. It can be done by this summer, and it can be done without any increase in spending. In fact, under the budget that I shall shortly submit, it can be done with an actual reduction in Federal expenditures and Federal employment.

We have a unique opportunity and obligation — to prove the success of our system; to disprove those cynics and critics at home and abroad who question our purpose and our competence.

If we fail, if we fritter and fumble away our opportunity in needless, senseless quarrels between Democrats and Republicans, or between the House and the Senate, or between the South and North, or between the Congress and the administration, then history will rightfully judge us harshly. But if we succeed, if we can achieve these goals by forging in this country a greater sense of union, then, and only then, can we take full satisfaction in the State of the Union.”

state-of-union LBJ

This quote is from the 1964 inaugural address by President Lyndon Baines Johnson.  I watched and listened to this address on a black and white television with my family.  We didn’t have a color TV until nine years later which was my first year teaching here at La Salle Academy.

I still believe that the whole idea that education can improve and transform lives is true and the goals stated by LBJ are attainable – the time frame obviously must be adjusted.


“There is the strange reality in teaching. For a few months, we are front and center in our students’ lives… And then it all comes to an end. Students leave, move on, transfer, graduate, and, quite often, we never see or hear from them again… Teaching, in this regard, is the great open-ended narrative, the romantic fragment, the perpetually unfinished symphony. And, like all great fragments, a good portion of it works on and through our imaginations… Did Patrick, who talked about becoming a therapist, go on to graduate school in psychology? Did Jessica, who argued so passionately in class against the death penalty, make it as a lawyer?”

There is the possibility, “that some students – maybe most of them – will leave our classrooms, walk out into the world, and never give us, our lessons, maybe even our subjects another thought. Years later, the point of our entire course, or the concept that we drilled so repeatedly and emphatically, could be a multiple-choice question that they will get wrong.”

teacher and students

But maybe some students will get the message and will put it to some use down the road, whether or not they remember our names… Months or even years after they’ve graduated, students may develop an interest in a topic that they first learned about in our classrooms. Without even realizing or crediting us for it, a student may understand some allusion, get more out of some film, contribute to some conversation, figure out some mathematical equation, or make sense of some scientific data all because of something we said or did –

Let me conclude with an analogy. A child probably won’t remember most of what his or her parents did with them in the early years – the birthday party, the kiss goodnight, a family vacation. And yet all those things have played a part in sculpting him or her as a person.

parent and child

“The same goes for you, our students. I want to believe that what we do here in school and in the classroom matters on some level, –  that it will help to shape your sense of the world and will be responsible, in some small way, for your sense of self and belonging. If teaching is an act of faith, then we need to believe this in order to do our jobs.”  This is why the entire school this week sponsored the theme of “poverty week” during prayer each morning and in every subject area… so that at some point each of us will make a conscious decision to help those who are in need and those whom God has entrusted to our care.


Let us Pray:  Today we pray in unison, as La Salle Academy, for all those who suffer in the state of poverty; not just economic poverty, but for those in educational poverty – those with significant differences in cognitive style or development; those in affective poverty who lack personal, psychological, social and emotional resources and competencies to be able to meet normal developmental expectations; and those who have a poverty of values lacking in an appreciation of local social norms, or of the responsibility to the larger world community that all persons have.


Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.


Donald Kavanagh (Principal)

Brothers and Sisters to Each Other

During Lent La Salle Academy is twinned with its Lasallian “brother” school in Kenya (Rongai Agricultural and Technical Secondary School).  On Ash Wednesday morning (5 March 2014) students at La Salle Academy and at Rongai Secondary School prayed this prayer that joined them as members of the Lasallian Family.


They were joined in this prayer by students from schools across the Lwanga District  (Africa) and the Lasallian Region of North America.  La Salle students collected money for their “brother” school and will continue to do so until the end of Lent.



Loving God, Creator of all that is good and holy,
through Your grace You inspired
Saint John Baptist de La Salle,
to open schools for the young so we may learn
of Your love for us and receive a Christian education
thereby becoming the sons or daughters you created us to be.

Today, guided by Your Divine Providence,
the Lasallian Mission enriches the lives of
thousands of young people all over our world.

During this time of Lent,
we offer our prayers in a special way
for our fellow Lasallian sisters and brothers
in twin schools in the Lwanga District and the Lasallian Region of North America.
As a global Lasallian faith community,
we live in association through our Twinning Program,
for we pray for one another,
learn from one another,
and support one another.

Our hearts are filled with gratitude as we engage in this blessed opportunity
to deepen the connection twin schools share.
Loving God, we pray that you will touch our hearts,
filled with zeal for the Mission,
as we, Lasallians on two continents, come together in solidarity.
May we gain a greater understanding that,
although distance separates us,
we have more in common than we may realize.

We pray this in the name of Jesus, Your Son and our brother, Amen.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle… Pray for us

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Brother Frederick Mueller

Poverty Education Week 2014

(During the Week of March 3-7 La Salle Academy will be holding its first annual Poverty Education Week)

In addition to class lessons and the following activities, the week will offer a variety of other experiences for the students to engage in.

 Weeklong Appeal

***We will hold a Boxed Cereal Drive. All items will be donated to St. Edward’s Soup Kitchen on Branch Ave.



***Daily school-wide prayer will include statistics that speak to the poverty of the world.



***There will be at least one lesson in each class that connects class material to the problem of poverty.

***Rosanne Trissler has created a “Poverty Resources” Libguide, using the “4 Poverties” developed by the Mission Executive Council of the historic LINE District as an outline.




***Please contact Matt Daly or the Campus Ministry team with any questions or concerns.

 Hunger Banquet

***On Ash Wednesday evening there will be a Hunger Banquet to kick off the Lenten Rice Bowl drive for our sister school in Rongai, Kenya. The event will go from 4:30 until 6.