“Listen to Yourself….”

After a long and fruitful life Maya Angelou died on Wednesday, 28 May, at 86 years of age.  She was an educator and a poet, an activist and actress.  I saw her twice in person and both times she moved me by the lyricism of her voice and the power of her story.   I will never forget the stories of her childhood when, in a deep and resounding voice, she told us how she had been voiceless for so many years.  She is a heroine for every child who is told that he or she is not good enough, for every young person betrayed by a “family” member or persecuted by a repressive educational system.

May her voice never again be silenced even in death!

The New York Times offers a thorough review of her impact on all of life.  See the special section compiled by them.

Only Maya Angelou could leave us this final message:


Brother Frederick Mueller

“What God Had Done with Them”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday, morning, 28 May 2014)

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

We are now deep into the Easter season.  A hallmark of the liturgy, during this entire season, has been the readings from the Acts of the Apostles, a thoroughly interesting account of the early Christian community as it branched out of Jerusalem, embraced the Gentiles, such as me, and perhaps you, and established itself across Asia Minor, Greece, and even into Rome, the empire’s capital.  The characters of Acts are strong and the stories full of drama.  There is the death by stoning of Steven, with Paul looking on.  There is the encounter between Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch.  There is the generous hospitality of Lydia.  There is the earthquake, tearing out the gates of the jail.  And on and on.  Tomorrow, on the feast of the Ascension, we get to listen to the very first paragraphs of the Acts of the Apostles.


As I listen to these stories I become aware of remarkable parallels between the early Christian community that Luke writes about and the early history of the Brothers, under our Founder, John Baptist de la Salle.  The persecution. The deliberation.  The zeal for the mission.


Allow me to dwell with you on one small phrase from Acts.  When Barnabas and Paul (who had been abruptly brought to his senses) returned to Jerusalem after a brief expedition, Luke tells us that they reported to the community about, and I quote, “what God had done with them.”  Imagine, they reported what God had done with them!

What a remarkable phrase!  Clearly, Paul and Barnabas had simply turned themselves over to God, so that God’s will might be done.

Now, our Founder was a master at this very same thing, as you can see from the words, emblazoned on our cafeteria ceiling.  De la Salle’s very last words were, “I love, among all things, the will of God for me.”


He did not always see God’s will immediately, but it was always his singular intention to discover that will.  And he followed it with tenacity, like Paul and Peter and Barnabas and Philip.

So I ask, what is God’s will for me today, and for you?  Does God want me to mend a relationship?  Does God want me to stop thinking about myself all the time?  Does God want me to be more careful in recalling God’s presence in my classroom, in my soul?

Let us pray.
Dear Creator, Lover of the universe, we thank you for the wonderful stories by your servant, Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles.  And we thank your for the zeal and persistence of our Founder, and the rich inheritance left to us, right here in Providence.
Help each of us to know what you ask of us today.  May your will be done by us on earth as it is in heaven.

St. John Baptist de la Salle, pray for us.
St. Luke, pray for us,
Live, Jesus, in our hearts. Forever!


Have I been able to discern elements of God’s will for me?
I will continue to search for that will, which alone will make me thoroughly human and completely happy.

Michael McNamara (Member of Mathematics Department)

Suspenders Support Us From Above

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 23 May 2014)

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

Long before the hipsters and even Mr. Albanese there was one great man of suspenders, Brother Amian Paul Goodwin.  Who could forget those red suspenders running off his broad shoulders that seemed to glow against the black of his Brother’s attire?  So central to his appearance, I often wondered if these elastic bands were in fact holding him together.


Perhaps it will always be Brother Paul’s physicality that will remain my most vivid memory of him.  All the stories, prayers, and witticisms aside, it is the look of that bulldog face, the Brother’s white collar and that shining silver crucifix necklace framed in those crimson suspenders that is emblazoned in my mind’s eye.

The thing about suspenders is that unlike a belt, which provides support from all around, suspenders provide support from above.  Resting on your shoulders, the strength of the bands pull upward.  And maybe it is this exact distinction that makes suspenders so intimately connected to Brother Paul’s character and not just his appearance.

You see: Brother Paul’s suspenders mean more to me than just a fashion statement; they are a reminder about a way to live a life of faith and trust in God.  Brother Paul, in his life of service to the Church, always was mindful that his support came from above.  No matter the challenge, Brother trusted that God would be there, looking over his shoulder, lifting him up in times of need, and supporting him from above.

Brother Paul’s life is a testament to how to truly live a Christian life and how blessed we are to have shared so much of it with him. And now what a noble obligation it is for us to imitate his life of faith, service, and community, constantly deepening our own connection to God.

Brother Paul was blessed in his life to have “belted support,” support from all around him.  His life was one of love shared with his students and colleagues, friends and family, and of course his community of Brothers. And when all this support could no longer sustain him, Paul was unshaken in his devotion to God and God’s plan for him.  As strong as his faith was in his youth and health, Paul’s belief in God’s purpose for him was only strengthened as he continued to seek support from on high in his final days.  What a lesson in courage and trust in God.

And now whenever I remember Brother or when anyone thinks of him, you can always imagine him sitting on your shoulders, like a trusty pair of suspenders: a guardian, a model, a teacher, ever guiding and inspiring us to seek support from above, keeping Christ at the center of our lives.  So, at the sage wisdom of an English mastermind, the last thing this prayer needs is another sentence.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Brother Amian Paul Goodwin and Brother Gerard Duncanson…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Brian Ciccone (Social Studies Department)

“Don’t Cry Because It’s Over….Smile Because It Happened”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 22 May 2014)

Let us remember we are in God’s presence…

You don’t fully understand the term unity, until you have spent four years at La Salle. The memories of cheering for our school at sports events, and sharing the emotions that those events offered, define unity. From the most timid to the most confident, every student’s voice was gone the next day because of how loud we chanted. The memories we have shared over the last four years will remain with us for a lifetime, continuing to shape us into the triumphant individuals we are meant to be.


A well-known quote comes to mind when I think about graduation and ending my time here at La Salle: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” That quote by Dr. Seuss should encourage us to take our feelings of sadness and convert those feelings into the motivation that will enable us to begin college, doing the things that are known as “impossible” or not frequently done. It has been said that the great change the course of history. Although we will all travel different paths and start new beginnings, wherever we end up, we will still carry with us the ability to make a change and shock the world.


May the mirrors we appear in…cast the reflection of who we have become, not of who we were.


Our chapter of high-school has ended, but our college years have yet to begin. And we owe it to ourselves to continue on the path to success. Lord… allow the class of 2014 to exit La Salle, remembering the morals and ethics we have practiced. AMEN.

(Video by Edward Sirois–Chairperson of the Religion Department)

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Derek Belliard (Class of 2014)

Lasting Memories

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system to the La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday, 20 May 2014)

Good morning and let us remember we are in the holy presence of a loving God. 

Over the last four years I’ve built a lot of lasting memories.  Football games under the lights, sports championships, and school dances are all events I will never forget.  However, it’s not the big events that I’m going to remember the most; it’s the little memories. 


It’s Brother Fred shaking hands outside room 213 whenever you see him, it’s my friends coming to the game and chanting ‘collo legend,’ it’s the support from the staff —from Mr Ciccone yelling at the fans to be more rowdy in a Lasallian manner to Brother Paul sitting in his chair right by the entrance of the gymnasium; it’s walking into Mrs. Cottle’s Freshman Religion class on a Friday for the first time hearing “Testify to Love”; it’s the bonds we have formed with each classmate and all the faculty that we won’t, ever, forget.  LaSalle has molded us into the people we are today.  The class of 2014 owes a big thank you to each member of the faculty for leading us into the next chapter of our lives. 


Let us pray. 

We have all built these little memories throughout our years here at the academy. 



For me, I will never forget Brother Ralph telling us to turn down the music in the boy’s locker room, Coach Pereira’s speech on the bus home from Rhode Island College Junior year, and Miss Dillon’s smile in homeroom each day.  Let us offer a prayer of thanks for these personal memories we have collected.  I know how sentimental the last couple days of Senior year can be; but, I challenge each of us to go up to a teacher or friend who has touched us in a special  way and helped us build one of these little memories.  Sincerely, thank this person for what they have done.  Let us also pray for strength and success as we embark on the next chapters of our lives, whatever that may be.  


Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in out Hearts…forever.

Scott Deffley and Ryan St. Pierre (Class of 2014)

Jesus is Our Anchor

(Speech delivered at the end of Mass celebrated by Bishop Thomas Tobin for the Class of 2014 of La Salle Academy on Monday, 19 May 2914)

Your Excellency, Bishop Tobin, my name is Samuel James, and on behalf of Brother Thomas Gerrow, our President, Mr. Kavanaugh, our Principal, Mrs. Richard, our class dean, Fr. Najim, our chaplain, and the entire La Salle Academy Graduating Class of 2014, I would like to offer a warm and sincere welcome to you.  

We are truly honored that you have come to celebrate Mass for us today as we prepare to graduate from La Salle Academy, and we are grateful for the example that you have set for us to live our lives always with faith in Jesus Christ who is our anchor.
The time for us to leave La Salle Academy is quickly approaching, so it is important for us to look back and reflect upon how our Catholic and Lasallian Education has changed us.   Throughout our years at La Salle, we started and ended each day by saying , “St. John Baptiste de La Salle pray for us.  Live Jesus in our hearts forever”.  As freshmen, we recited the words, but today, as seniors, we live them because they are the essence of our time together.  At the core of our existence is our belief that Jesus has been with us, every hour of every day of every week of every year.  In our classrooms, on the fields and always in our hearts.
As we, the Graduating Class of 2014, anchored ourselves to the truth that Jesus Christ does live in our hearts, we shared our talents, our gifts, our intellects and our hearts with each other and the world around us.  There is no denying that our time together as faithful Lasallians was time well spent because it has changed us forever.
Bishop Tobin, thank you for your support and prayers throughout our years at La Salle. We ask that you continue to pray that we will have the courage and willingness to forever change our world for the good, and we pledge our continued prayers for you as you lead the Church in the Diocese of Providence.
As a token of our gratitude for your presence with us today, Alicia DeCastro, our class president, will now present a gift to you from our class.
Samuel James (Class of 2014)

Re-Write the Script–Never!

 (Prayer offered over the Public Address system for the La Salle Academy educational community on Monday, 19 May 2014)

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

Here at La Salle I’ve experienced many things, but most of all over these four years I’ve learned to keep good relationships with people and to work hard at what ever I do. It might sound a bit cliche, but it is true. I’ve made great friendships and have had teachers that helped shape me into the person I am today.


I remember Freshman year when I was enrolled into the transition program. I can honestly say that being in that program helped me transition into high school. That’s also where I met the friends that I am still friends with till this day. The way Mrs. Madden, Mrs. N and Mr. Megna worked with us was incredible. Sophomore year and Junior year presented challenges that I had to overcome and seek help for, and with me seeking help I found some great teachers and tutors. That is when I got in touch with Academic Support and was able to fine tune myself. I thank Mr. Kav and Mr. D a great deal for everything they allowed me to do with music, life lessons and allowing me to go on a mission trip with them to New Mexico, where I was also able to fine tune the friendships I had with the people that went.


I can also say that another aspect of being here that has made the time unforgettable were the sports I took part in. I loved football and all the guys I played with every year; I enjoyed playing basketball with those guys as well, and I enjoyed running track Sophomore year and those 2 weeks Junior year. I can say though, out of all those sports, football is what helped to shape me most. The lessons that Coach Marcone gave us were bigger than winning and losing. He showed all of us that hard work goes a long way on and off the field and that relationships are important. For everything he gave us, I thank him.


It’s a weird feeling seeing our time shortening here at La Salle. It’s sort of bitter sweet, because like every Senior in the Class of 2014, I’m ready to graduate and go on to college, but I know that there were will be a great deal of things I will miss. I will miss the debates we would have in Academic Support, asking Mr. Aldrich if he is working hard or hardly working, and I’ll even miss running around in the hall ways getting yelled at for an ear ring or to tuck in. I’m grateful I was able to go to La Salle and I wouldn’t re-write my script for anything.


Let us pray,

Lord, help us to stay focused and do right these next couple of weeks from the end of classes to graduation. Let us finish strong and enjoy ourselves as we look back on our High School careers and look forward to our bright futures.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts….forever.

Isaiah Weeden (Class of 2014)

The Sands of Our Lasallian Hourglass

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 16 May 2014)

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

While my mom was growing up, she used to watch a television show with her mother called The Days of Our Lives. The premise of this show, at its most basic level, is to follow the ups and downs, or tragedies and triumphs of many families in the town of Salem.  At the beginning of every episode, an hourglass would flip and the voice of Macdonald Carey, the star of the program, would say:  “Like the sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.”


            My time at La Salle Academy has been like those sands. From the first time I stepped on this campus at the 2009 Open House, all the way to these final days as a student here, I have experienced so much, the usual ups and downs of the high school experience. But one thing that I did not expect to get from these four years was a new family, a community, as strong as the one at La Salle.

            When the senior class entered La Salle for the first time four years ago, we were told of all of the great times we were about to share together. At the time, I bet not one of us really expected our experience to have been this great. All of the times that we have shared have been those sands through the hourglass. 


            We were told on our first day together, when we were given our navy blue class of ’14 t-shirts, that we had to earn our maroon and white. It was not something that was just given because it was that special. All of the grains of sand, the times shared by our class, are what have earned us the maroon and white that we now all wear with pride.


            Through those grains of sand, we have learned what it means to be Lasallian. All of the Christian Service visits, the walkathons, and the dress down days for good causes have contributed to an experience that is much more than just four years of high school. The teachers we’ve interacted with during our time here have been so influential on all of us. Even though we were only privileged enough to have Brother Paul with us for one semester as seniors, he had a huge, ever lasting, impact on so many of our lives. The teachers and administrators at La Salle have given their all to make the sands of our high school experience as rich and meaningful as they can possibly be.


            As much as we have shared so much together during our time at La Salle, our experiences have also been very individual. Each of us will leave La Salle with our own version of what La Salle means to us. Whether we played in band or orchestra, participated in theater, or were members of athletic teams, the people we met through our activities are a huge part of the sands of our Lasallian experience. Our coaches, teachers, moderators and leaders dedicated their time and energy to make our time at La Salle the best it could possibly be.

              But no matter what La Salle means to you, we are all one family, and as the seniors move forward after these final few days as students at La Salle, we will always hold on to the sands that make us Lasallian. Next year, we will move forward to something different, something unique, and flip over our new hourglasses on a new chapter of our lives, but the sands of our La Salle experience will remain a part of us forever.


            Let Us Pray… Dear God, thank you for all of the ups and downs that we have all experienced as members of the La Salle community, and as we go forward, help us to never forget the sands of our time here.  

Saint John Baptist de La Salle… Pray for us

Live Jesus in our hearts… Forever

 Caroline Falvey (Class of 2014)

It is the Journey that Matters…in the End

(Morning Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 15 May)

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

While I’ve always loved the month of May, each year it comes with mixed feelings and emotions. On one hand summer is approaching. The warm weather starts to taunt us in the classroom, leading to incessant day-dreaming of afternoons at the beach and refreshing Del’s lemonade. On the other hand, the school year is ending. We don’t get to wake up every week day to spend over six hours with our friends and the adults who nurture our minds. For the seniors, this May is even tougher. Our entire high school career is ending, and we’re moving on to new places and new experiences.


We constantly do this; categorize events and periods of time into beginnings, middles and ends. Most of us compartmentalize our lives into eras, recalling them fondly, but then moving on to where we are, and where we plan to go.  While beginnings are usually happier and more optimistic than endings, I prefer to see this time as neither. Not an ending to this year or high school, nor a beginning to a season or new adult life.  I believe that if we have learned nothing else here at the Academy, we should know that our lives, and who we are, are not defined by solitary events with beginnings and endings, but rather the continuous journey we’re travelling, finding ourselves and who we’re meant to be

St. John Baptist de La Salle had a beginning and end to his life. However, our being here, surrounded by the teachers and administrators who continuously nurture and form us are proof that there are no beginnings or endings, just a constant calling to do what it is God calls us to do.  Though De La Salle began this wonderful ministry, it did not all happen overnight. His life consisted of many twists and turns leading him to find his calling, the calling that allows us all to be here today. Going to school and the seminary, facing obstacles within his own family, travelling, meeting new people; all of these experiences led to the opening of his schools. His journey came to him piece by piece, much like the education we’ve received at La Salle.


We could not learn all the information our teachers have to offer us in a day, a month, or even a year, because each bit of knowledge also comes with a feeling and experience. A different perspective of what it means, and how we can use it.

Lessons like service, acceptance, and solidarity are instilled in us here at La Salle, but at different points in our high school careers, they mean very different things. As an underclassman service might mean donating five dollars to dress down, but as you get more involved in La Salle  and its groups and opportunities service could mean going out with Lasallian Youth to a soup kitchen, day care center, or nursing home. You might think acceptance is simply welcoming a transfer student sophomore or junior year, until you attend “the event,” run by the diversity committee, and realize what beautiful and varying cultures make up our school. And solidarity is something La Salle constantly challenges us with. From standing together at Mass, supporting each other in athletics through the “Beehive,” or uniting ourselves with victims of tragedy such as the Boston marathon bombings, or earthquakes in Haiti, La Salle teaches us what it means to be human and Christian, through events from our past, present, and our goals for the future.


Whether you’re a senior, freshman, or PEGASUS student, you’ve already studied numerous subjects, and had unforgettable experiences inside and outside of the classroom. However, no one of those events could tell you who you are or what you’re meant to do. Any one moment, conversation, or experience could change the course of our lives forever. But does this mean that we throw away everything we’ve come to learn up until that point? Of course not. Finding our vocation doesn’t mark the beginning of our lives or the end of anything that came before it. It is simply another experience that is collectively forming us into who and what we are meant to be. As Ernest Hemingway said, “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” We will always have goals and aspirations to work towards and achieve, but no one of them completely validates or defines us as a human being. We will be more than the sum of our experiences. Like De La Salle, we will be individuals who have left our mark on the world by accepting the challenges we faced, and doing the work God called us to do.


I recently received a wonderful tidbit of wisdom from a classmate of mine. He said,“This is only one chapter. One chapter, and there are so many more to come”

Let us pray. Dear God, on this Founder’s Day, thank you for your servant, St. John Baptist de La Salle, for giving us the opportunity to experience this chapter of our lives here at La Salle Academy. Help us accept the challenge to find our callings, but never forget where we came from or what we’ve learned along the way. Guide us throughout our continuous journey to find who it is you want us to be.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.

Samantha King (Class of 2014)

I Never Imagined…

(This Morning Prayer was offered on the Public Address system for the La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday, 14 May 2014)

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

I never imagined that I’d be starting college 4,000 miles away in another country. But four years ago, I never would’ve imagined myself at La Salle.

I live in a small town an hour away from Providence. I wanted to go to high school there, with all the kids that I grew up with. However, my parents thought differently and wanted me to go to private high school, so I ended up at La Salle.


Before I came to La Salle, I didn’t even know that Rhode Islanders had awful accents. On my first day I didn’t know a soul, and I like to joke that it took me three months to talk to anyone. It’s only half a joke, because I am bad with meeting new people; but, Ben Smith also forced a conversation out of me on the first day. I thought the standard hair compliment would be the end of our interactions, but he became my first friend at La Salle, and four years later I still haven’t found a way to get rid of him.

Although the beginning was rough, I wouldn’t trade my four years at La Salle for anything. I made some great friends and had teachers who inspired me and became my role models. Most importantly, I learned what I’m capable of. I developed leadership and communication skills as I transitioned from a shy freshman to a captain on the basketball team.


My AP classes forced me to push through my chronic procrastination. My senior trip to Rome and Paris helped me get over my fear of starting a conversation, and gave me the confidence I need for next year.


If I hadn’t come to La Salle, I would be way too scared to go to Italy for my freshmen year of college, and I’d be missing out on the experience of a lifetime. La Salle is a place where people can constantly challenge themselves and find their strengths. I’ll carry my experiences at La Salle with me for the rest of my life, and I hope the underclassmen continue to take advantage of these opportunities.

Let us pray

Dear God,

Thank you for giving us opportunities to push ourselves out of our comfort zones and grow as people. Thank you for the people I’ve met at La Salle, and please continue to grant us the courage to fully experience the beautiful world You have created.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Carmen Russo (Class of 2014)