Help Me to Do Something…No Matter How Small

(Morning Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on the final day of Catholic Schools Week, Friday, 30 January 2015)

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

Good Morning.

My name is Mike Montecalvo and I would like to thank Mrs. Naughton for inviting me to join you in prayer during Catholic Schools Week.  I am a La Salle grad and the father of Brianna, who graduated in 2013 and Isabella, currently a sophomore at La Salle.

I am the primary News Anchor at WPRI 12/FOX Providence TV and over the course of my career I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to meet and interview hundreds of people from Tom Brady to President George W. Bush.

But the most rewarding part of my job is working with so many wonderful charities and telling the stories of everyday people who have made this state and world a better place.

One person is Sister Ann Keefe, who was a tireless advocate for those who had no voice—the homeless, destitute, lonely and infirm.  Pope Francis has asked all of us to go forth and bring the light of Christ to the world.  Sister Ann followed those words to the very end.  Last week, she lost her brave fight to brain cancer but not before reminding all of us that we need to be there for one another—no matter the color of our skin or the weight of our wallet.


I learned that mission from my parents and it was reinforced here at La Salle.  The Christian Brothers and faculty inspired me to always remember those in need and make a difference in the world.  Whether I’m hosting an event for the Alzheimer’s Association, ALS Foundation or the RI Community Food Bank, I often talk about my experience here at La Salle and how a dedicated group of men and women influenced me to share my time and talent with others.


Today, that mission continues as students open their hearts to Jesus through Campus Ministry, Lasallian Youth, SADD, Pro-Life, Best Buddies and more.

My late mother would read her prayer book every day and this one passage comes to mind. “Let me realize that there are millions of persons, children of the same God and our brothers and sisters who are dying of hunger although they do not deserve to do so.  Do not allow me to remain indifferent to their crying need to soothe my conscience with the thought that I cannot do anything about it.  Help me to do something no matter how small.”

La Salle taught me and is teaching you every day that we can all do something about it.

My wish to you this Catholic Schools Week is to have your heart filled with Jesus’ spirit, his message of love to respect all life, help people who may be hungry, sick or lonely and to bring the light of Christ to the world.


Saint John Baptist de La Salle—pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts—forever.

Enjoy the remainder of your time here at La Salle.

Michael Montecalvo–Class of 1980

Touching Minds and Hearts

(Prayer offered over the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday of Catholic Schools Week, 29 January 2015)

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

During this Catholic Schools Week let’s take an opportunity to think about the teachers who have touched our minds and hearts:

My mom and dad who taught me the value of service.

My grandparents who taught me the value of family.

Mrs. Nash who held me accountable for my behavior.

Coach Salon who inspired me with his wisdom.

Mr. Savarese who showed that how a teacher treats his students matters just as much or more than what he teaches.

Mrs. Sullivan who taught me the value of patience.

Dr. King who taught me the importance of creativity.

Prof. Bramin who taught me to be prepared.


View Video

A Prayer for Teachers (

God of Love. Thank you for every teacher who notices a child’s special gift. Thank you for teachers who are listeners and gentle guides. Thank you for teachers who expect much and love enough to demand more. Thank you for the special teacher each one of us remembers.

God of Mercy. Sustain teachers who give everything they have and feel abandoned when society expects too much. Strengthen teachers who assume the blame for so many problems beyond their control. Help exhausted teachers rest.

God of Strength. Encourage teachers to care and inspire them to nourish. Motivate teachers to keep on learning for the fun of it and to make learning fun for children.

We wonder at teachers who know how to quiet a class of five-year-olds or help fourth grade girls be empathetic. We admire teachers who enjoy middle school writers, or teach physics or math or civics. Bless the people who are expected to accomplish these miracles and who know how to comfort children when miracles don’t happen.

God of Justice. Help our nation find a way to steward our vast wealth to support teachers in their special calling, wherever they teach and whatever the race or religion or gender or wealth of the children.

We pray these things in the name of our great teacher, Jesus Christ. Amen.


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

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever!

 Matt Daly–Director of Campus Ministry

January 29th is the Feast of Saint Brother Benilde Romancon.  It was said of him: his sanctification was attained by enduring “the terrible daily grind” and by “doing common things in an uncommon way.”


“Be Careful How You Live…”

(Morning Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community for the start of Catholic Schools Week, 26 January 2015)

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

let uls remember

Those words, that reminder, every day of your high school career is such an incredible gift.  I can say that to you now that I’ve been out of high school for 24 years.  I didn’t realize it at your age but that simple phrase: “Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God” helped me reframe my thinking.  God was no longer some distant figure I prayed to on Sundays at mass.  God was now a familiar presence in my everyday life.   And sometimes when we would start off the day or a class with that phrase it would put things in perspective.  Friend drama, family drama, sports drama, academic drama…we are in the holy presence of God.  It reminded me to turn to God with my worries because He is always there for me.  It also reminded me to treat others with kindness and respect.  We never know what might be troubling someone else.  Any time you choose to be kind, it is your best bet.


I loved my years here at La Salle examining my faith and realizing how to be the best version of myself.  I loved that Christian service was an integral part of our education.  I was sent out to tutor fifth grade students in Providence during my senior year.  I know the whole point of Christian service is to help others but I’m sure I got way more out of that experience than those fifth graders.  You’re probably experiencing that as well.  As much as we are doing for others, we seem to get so much more in return.

kids in school

I went on to become a fourth grade teacher. In fact, some of you listening now were in my fourth grade class.  Teaching is the most exhausting, rewarding job on this planet.  Students don’t realize this but your teachers worry about you way after the bell rings.  I work really hard to be kind and respectful in my daily interactions with children and adults.  I am now the library teacher for fourth and fifth graders.  It is a humbling and challenging role to meet the needs of every reader in my school.  I try to build relationships with every student and adult to foster a love of reading and learning that will serve them well in their future endeavors. As much as my career allows me to help students, they give me so much more in return.  I have learned from and cared for countless amazing young people. I burst with pride when I hear of the accomplishments they go on to achieve.


However, you don’t need to have a service-oriented profession in order to live out your faith.  No matter what you decide to do with your life, you will remember that you are in the holy presence of God.  When you have something nice to say to someone, don’t hesitate to say it.  When you can do something to help someone else, by all means do it.  You never know when something you do or say will make a big difference in someone else’s life.

Remembering you are in the holy presence of God reminds us to live in a respectful way. A long time from now people will not remember what you wore.  They will remember how you treated them.  A quote by William J. Toms has always stuck with me: “Be careful how you live.  You may be the only Bible some person ever reads.”

be careful

Let us pray that we choose to be kind and respectful to others in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever

Melanie Colangelo Roy–Class of 1991

Hands out for Haiti

During Advent Maryann Donohue-Lynch, Associate Executive Director of the Office of Mission and Ministry of the District of Eastern North America, on behalf of Brother Dennis Malloy FSC, Visitor, asked each ministry to raise funds for the Saint Jean Baptist de La Salle School in Port-au- Prince, Haiti.  Realizing our Advent commitment to Adopt-a-Family, the Lasallian Ministry Team and Campus Ministry asked to move our Haiti Solidarity Week to the week of January 26th with a special dress-down day for Haiti (Hands Out for Haiti) scheduled for Thursday, 29 January, near the conclusion of our celebration of Catholic Schools Week with our theme: “Enter to Learn—Leave to Serve.”

Enter To Learn Leave To Serve

Mrs. Donohue-Lynch wrote in her letter:  Greetings. On behalf of Brother Dennis Malloy, Visitor, I invite you to join us in our annual DENA Advent Haiti Appeal to raise funds for Saint Jean Baptist de La Salle School in Port-au- Prince, Haiti. We know that you already have fundraising commitments during these Advent days but ask that you consider doing something, no matter how modest, to help support this ministry that bears, in hope, the name of our Founder.

Haiti School sign

There is great hope in the Cazeau neighborhood of Port Au Prince. When Collegio Saint Jean Baptist de La Salle opened in October 2012, it began with one hundred students. Today, with your assistance, the school has tripled in size and serves over 300 youngsters from pre-K to 6th grade.    

haiti buiding  

I am pleased to report that the Women and Children’s Health and Nutrition Center, a joint initiative between the Brothers of the Christian Schools and the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception has opened its doors to serve the local community. Recently, while in Haiti, it was stated to me, “Everybody understands the function of schools, but people are less aware of the important role of women in the first stages of children’s development.”


Consistent with our District’s Vision and Action Plan for Ministry that encourages partnership with Lasallian ministries overseas, the Office for Mission and Ministry over the past few years has organized several delegations to the school. La Salle University and Manhattan College are engaged in faculty-student mission-immersion trips to the school and to the Mother and Child Center.

haiti boys

With your past generosity, the District has: established a fund for scholarships, assisted in procuring books and uniforms, provided the resources to hire a Haitian English teacher, funded school celebrations for special occasions, purchased a refrigerator for the recently constructed cantina, ordered a back-up electrical battery system for the school, and installed solar lights on the campus, creating a safe educational environment for the community. Finally, we are in the process of providing funds for a new vehicle for the school. Simply, thank you!

haiti girls

In conversation with the administration of Saint Jean Baptist de La Salle School, these needs have been identified for the Haiti Advent Appeal of 2015:

1. Continue funding the endowment for student financial aid.

2. Create a safe athletic field by literally “leveling the playing field”

3. Assist with sports equipment for the school.

4. Purchase lunch tables for the older students.

Haiti boy with crutch

The Lasallian Ministry Team and the Office of Campus Ministry ask that you please support these efforts:

  1. View the video below to give you an idea of the extraordinary work that has been done for these most needy of people;
  2. Promote the Hands Out for Haiti collection on Dress-Down Day, Thursday the 29th by encouraging more than the $5.00 minimum or sending in an additional gift by check to La Salle Academy for this cause.

Thanks in advance for your assistance in this important effort for our brother school in Haiti.  We know of your generosity so frequently shown in our requests to aid the needy and we ask you to be generous once again!  $11,300 would allow us to provide tuition for 40 De La Salle students (@ $200 per student), $500 for the sports equipment needed, $1,000 for creating the athletic field, and $1,800 to purchase the 15 lunch tables requested (@ $120. each)!!!

Haiti school



Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC

(on behalf of the Lasallian Ministry Team and the Office of Campus Ministry)

The Sword That Heals

(Morning Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday, 16 January 2015)

Let us remember that we are in the presence of God. (sung by a student choir from Mr. McNamara’s homeroom)

Earlier this week Mrs. Hansen reminded us of the meaning of the holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  She spoke of the importance of love and faith and nonviolence in addressing the tensions and injustices in our society.

I, too, am an ardent admirer of Dr. King.    I was present for one of his great speeches in Washington, in the days when I took buses, with thousands of other students, to march for civil rights and to protest the War in Vietnam.  At that time, I took him for a prophet, and I still do.  But I knew in my gut that his message of nonviolence would not be accepted by the American masses, in the same way that the message of Jesus was much too radical for the men and women of Galilee, Judea, Rome and beyond.


And now I am much dismayed by the way American citizens, young people in particular, often fail to respond to the ongoing wars, and the continued problems of racism and civil rights.

When I was in high school and college, during the Vietnam War, the draft loomed over all of us.  And I was, indeed, ultimately drafted.  And partly as a result of that draft, we were deeply involved with what our country was doing militarily and in the area of civil rights.  Our first act each morning was to check the newspaper for information about what was happening, and why.  And we challenged our government on many fronts, and were often criticized by our elders.


Today, it seems, we go to the mall or the movies and let the military things do what they need to do.  I read yesterday in the paper that in Rhode Island less than 20% of people aged 18 – 30 even bothered to vote in the last election.  I could hardly believe it.

While I know that a draft would make an enormous and healthy difference in our collective response to wars, I cannot imagine sending my students or my grandchildren to this fate.  But I think that a draft might be a just and restraining solution to some of our country’s rash military decisions.  And I am open to debate on this.

Dr. King today would be prodding us relentlessly about our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us what has this violence gained for us or for any of humanity, what has it cost us?  And can we please get involved with these issues again?


Dr. King today would be prodding us relentlessly about the culture divide between minorities and law enforcement, between black and white, between rich and poor.  He would be seeking bridges for these divides, healing for this hate, balm for this wound.


War and peace, race and justice, are crucial issues for a Christian.  Let us resolve to investigate, to question, to search.  And also to act, nonviolently, in a spirit of love and hope.  Dr. King preached: “Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it.  It is a sword that heals.”


And again, he proclaimed,  “I have decided to stick with love.  Hate is too great a burden to bear.”


And finally: “in the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Can you and I accept and live the nonviolent message of Dr. King and of Jesus?   What do you think?  Really, what do you think?

Let us pray.

Brother Jesus, you taught us to love the enemy, to turn the other cheek, to see every man as a brother, every woman as a sister.  You taught us to try a way that seems to us men and women so crazy and illogical.  Of course, you did not ever claim that your way is easy.  But you did teach us that love and mercy are the fundamental powers of the universe.  Help us to establish your reign of love, within our hearts, in our dear school, and across our world.


Saint John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts.  Forever!

Michael McNamara–Mathematics Teacher


Standing on the Margins

(Morning Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday, 9 January 2015)

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

In today’s Gospel, Luke tells us about Jesus healing the leper.  The Gospel reads:

“Once, when he was in one of the cities, there was a man covered with leprosy.  When he saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground and begged him, ‘Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.’  Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, ‘I do choose. Be made clean.’ Immediately the leprosy left him.”


In this Gospel the leper who met Jesus did something quite remarkable. He approached Jesus confidently and humbly, expecting that Jesus could and would heal him. Normally a leper would be stoned or at least warded off if he tried to come near a rabbi. Jesus not only grants the man his request, but he demonstrates the personal love, compassion, and tenderness of God in his touch. The medical knowledge of his day would have regarded such contact as a grave risk for incurring infection.  At that time, since leprosy was incurable by human means, lepers were isolated from the rest of the community.  They were confined outside the city limits – many times to the city dump – probably because they could find food and other things there.  In addition, according to law, if you touched a leper, it would cause you to become unclean ceremonially even if you didn’t catch the disease.


However, Jesus met this man’s misery with compassion and tender kindness. He communicated the love and mercy of God in a sign that spoke more eloquently than words.  Without hesitation, He touched the man and made him clean.


The Holy Spirit inflames our hearts with the love of Christ that we may reach out to others with compassionate care, especially to those who have been rejected and mistreated. The love of God impels us to do as Jesus did – to love the unlovable, to touch the untouchable, and to forgive the unforgivable. Do you allow the Holy Spirit to fill your heart with the love and compassion of Christ for others? If not, what is holding you back?

Are there people in your life that you might treat as a leper?  They may not have leprosy, but the way you shun them, the way you look upon them, the way you treat them, the way you avoid them, perhaps they might as well have leprosy.  When someone who is in need is present to you, do you pretend not to see them?  People created in the same image and likeness of God just like you? Think about it…then do something about it the next time someone needs a helping hand, a kind word, and, most importantly, to know that the love of Christ – the love in your heart – is pouring forth to help them.

lonely and unwanted

Jesus stood with those on society’s margins–the least , the lost and the last. This is not news. But it bears daily consideration because of what that means for us. Jesus stood with those on the margins—and he calls us to do the same.


Let us pray,

Dear Heavenly Father,

Send your Holy Spirit to set our hearts aflame and fill us with zeal.  Move us to compassion to stand with the least, the lost and the last.  May we see your Son, Jesus, in the faces of the broken and extend without hesitation his healing hands of grace and mercy, his heart of value and respect. Amen.



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

Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever.

Wynter Kelly–Dean of the Class of 2015


The Missing Ingredient…Opportunity

(Morning Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 8 January 2015)

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

It has been five years since the massive earthquake that devastated the island country of Haiti. Five years. Can you believe it? I still remember the round-the-clock news coverage. Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta reporting from the scene. I remember how for one brief moment the world stopped and rallied around a righteous cause – people being generous in time, talent, and treasure. And over the course of weeks, and then months, and now years, life has returned to normal for Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta and me. And it is easy to forget that life in Haiti, while improved in some ways from the aftermath, still faces many challenges.

Haiti CNN

I spent time in Haiti from November 2000 through May 2001, long before the earthquake. I loved my time there – the culture, the food, the people. The people, in general, had two defining characteristics. One was an unshakeable faith in Bondye, Kreyol for God. The second was a work ethic that was second to none – the type of work ethic that develops when you work for survival, not the work ethic that develops when survival is taken for granted. But even with such hard workers the country, back then, was still the poorest country in the hemisphere – by far. The missing ingredient was opportunity. No public education system, so many young kids wouldn’t or couldn’t afford to go to school. No opportunity. But what happened when opportunity is given?….

Reggie Fils-Aime — President of Nintendo America

Ralph Gilles – Automotive designer of the Chrysler 300

Zoe Saldana and Garcelle Beauvais– Actresses

Nikki Michelle James — Tony Award-winning actress

Henri Ronald Ford — Chief of surgery at Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles

Jerry Duplessis — Grammy Award-winning composer

Lee Holdridge — Emmy Award-winning composer

Mia Love — US Representative from Utah

Jozy Altidore — US Men’s National soccer team

Jason Pierre-Paul in the NFL, Nerlens Noel in the NBA, Touki Toussaint in MLB, and Francis Bouillon in NHL


That is why the St. Jean Baptiste de La Salle School, which the Christian Brothers opened in Port-au-Prince back in 2012 is so important. It gives young children who would never get the opportunity to go to school a golden ticket. And that golden ticket is funded almost completely by Lasallian schools here in the States and elsewhere. In December, Lasallian schools across the country celebrated Haiti Solidarity week – a celebration we have this month. Over the next few weeks, as we are distracted by cold weather and midterm exams, there will be occasional reminders of the plight of our brothers and sisters in Haiti and the great work of the Christian Brothers to make a difference. This will all culminate on Thursday, January 29th with a dress down day, the proceeds of which we will send to our sister school in Haiti.

Haiti School sign

Let us pray (Lord’s Prayer in Haitian Creole)


Papa Nou

Papa nou ki nan sièl la,

Nou mandé pou yo toujou réspékté non ou.

Vi-n tabli gouvènman ou,

pou yo fè volonté ou so latè,

tankou yo fè-l nan sièl la.

Manjé nou bézouin an, ban nou-l jòdi-a.

Padonnin tout mal nou fè,

minm jan nou padonnin moun ki fè nou mal.

Pa kité nou nan pozision pou-n tonbé nan tantasion,

min, délivré nou anba Satan.

[Paské, sé pou ou tout otorité, tout pouvoua

ak tout louanj, dépi tout tan ak pou tout tan.] Amèn.


Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Matt Daly–Director of Campus Ministry