In a few short days the halls of La Salle Academy will be filled with 1,475 or so young people entering school or returning to school. Already hundreds are on the playing fields and in the athletic center getting ready for Fall sports. The building is readied–walls repainted, floors shining, new construction, even a brand new entrance to the school! Staff and administrators have toiled all Summer to be prepared for another year of grace with young people from ages of 12-18.
In the midst of all the turmoil engulfing our nation and our world La Salle Academy is ready to provide safe haven to the young people entrusted to its care. As a Lasallian Catholic school we are aware that our Mission extends beyond providing an excellent, 1st rate education. We are Gospel-centered and we are charged to present to these young people an alternative vision to a world of violence, racism, religious intolerance and persecution. Through what we say and what we do we proclaim that God’s love and mercy are the foundations of our vision of the world. Prayer and service and community and a values-driven curriculum are the tools of our educational practice.
The recent cruel and senseless killing of the American journalist, James Foley, by ISIS (a jihadist group indiscriminately killing Christians and Yazidis in Syria and Iraq) reminds us all too clearly of the world in which our young people live.
However, James Foley has reminded us in a reflection written for the Alumni Magazine of Marquette University, a Jesuit Catholic university, that there are some things more powerful than the evils he had encountered in his life. His words challenge Catholic schools and universities to offer their students the experiences that he was able to draw on in his life as a journalist. When everything else didn’t make sense, faith did. Read his powerful reflection here.
So, as we begin the school year, our challenge is all the clearer in the words and in the life of James Foley. Our prayer and hope at La Salle Academy is that our young people will receive the type of Catholic education that James Foley did and that, in times of trouble, they too would have recourse to their faith and would pray, as did James Foley over and over again, in the words of the “Hail Mary”–“pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.”
May the crucified Lord embrace James Foley in his outstretched arms and may the risen Lord look upon His world with love and mercy.
Brother Frederick C. Mueller, FSC