(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 23 February 2015)
Let us pause and remember we are in God’s holy presence.
Let us keep in our prayers any special intentions we may have this morning. And let’s also pray that the eleven students serving in Apopka, Florida with Ms. Doyle and Mr. Ciccone have a safe journey back to Rhode Island.
This week we start our first full week of Lent, the forty day period of prayer and sacrifice that prepares us for our celebration of the Easter Triduum. For the second year in a row, in addition to our Lenten Rice Bowl collections to raise money for our twin school in Kenya, we will start our Lenten observation by celebrating Poverty Education Week. This week, modeled after a program at St. John’s College High School, a Lasallian school in Washington, DC, is meant to tie all classes and all disciplines together around a theme that is central to the mission of the De La Salle Christian Brothers and all their schools and agencies around the world – to understand poverty in all its forms; to grow in empathy and compassion for those living in poverty, whether financial, emotional, educational, or of values; to be inspired to use our gifts and talents to help in bringing about God’s kingdom here on earth; and to explore practical ways to fight poverty in our lives. In addition to morning reflections on poverty in all its forms, you will touch upon the topic of poverty in all of your classes during the week. And we will see that each subject, in its own way, can offer a chance for deeper reflection and understanding about poverty in our school, our community, our country, and our world.
The following is an excerpt from the first blog entry of Nicole Carloni, a La Salle graduate currently in month two of a six month stint in Sierra Leone where she is joining the fight against the Ebola virus.
“I recently heard someone speak about what it means to receive a calling in life. Often times when people find a job they love they refer to it as their calling. But in reality, no matter how much you may love it, a job is just something temporary. A calling is something much greater, something eternal and when you receive it, you’ll know. When this mantle is thrown to you, you have a choice to make about the kind of faith you will live from that moment on. You can sit at home and be safe or you can go out and live your faith. When Isaiah heard God’s call he willingly and freely said, “Here I am! Send me!” Isaiah was never forced into doing anything. Nobody is forcing me to go to Sierra Leone. In fact, people I love and respect have asked me NOT to go. But I can’t do that. I know that this isn’t going to be the easiest thing in the world, but I trust that I can overcome any anxiety I may have or any obstacles I may face if I trust fully in God.”
“I’m grateful to play a tiny role in a major effort to stop Ebola. I’m grateful to my family and friends for their support, encouragement and prayers. I’m grateful for the incredible educational opportunities I’ve had at La Salle (I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how much reading “The Hot Zone” in 9th grade has crossed my mind since this outbreak started). I’m grateful for the people of West Africa, many of whom have lost family members and friends to Ebola, who serve alongside their counterparts from all over the world in the fight to stop this outbreak. Most importantly, I’m grateful to God for giving me this opportunity to serve the people of Sierra Leone in the best way I know how.”
Let us pray, in the words of Pope Francis from a meeting with high school students in June 2013:
“The times talk to us of so much poverty in the world and this is a scandal. Poverty in the world is a scandal. In a world where there is so much wealth, so many resources to feed everyone, it is unfathomable that there are so many hungry children, that there are so many children without an education, so many poor persons. Poverty today is a cry.”
Heavenly Father, open our ears so we hear that cry. And open our hearts so we do all in our power to answer it. Amen.
St. John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.
Matt Daly–Director of Campus Ministry