(Presentation given to PEGASUS 8 Students in their Junior Lasallian Youth Induction Ceremony on Wednesday, 30 September 2015)

Nine days ago, on Monday, September 21st the world celebrated the International Day of Peace, and for us Lasallians this day marked the start of a month of peace-making in the Lasallian world. Ours is certainly a world that needs peace.


Brother Robert Schieler, our Superior General, has written to Young Lasallians like yourselves around the world: “One hundred years after the start of World War I, the War to End All Wars, peace still eludes our planet. That is why these International Lasallian Days for Peace are so important for our world-wide Lasallian Family. Some of you and your families live in the midst of great conflict and suffering. You have a special place in our prayers. You can speak so eloquently to all Lasallians about the desire for a universal peace.”

Brother was speaking near the end of those comments about our Young Lasallian brothers and sisters in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon surrounded by the threats of the radical Islamic group ISIS or in refugee holding areas across Europe; our Young Lasallian brothers and sisters in Palestine, Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel who constantly are threatened by violence; our Young Lasallian brothers and sisters in African nations like Kenya and Nigeria and the Ivory Coast, and now Burkina Faso with its recent coup overthrowing the government–all threatened by militant terrorists; our Young Lasallians in the Sudan who face the daily reality of war; our Young Lasallian brothers and sisters of Mexico and Colombia at risk in the battles between drug cartels.


However, we do not have to travel to foreign countries to find violence. We find violence here in the United States—the gang violence in Chicago where more young people were killed last Summer than US soldiers in Afghanistan over the past 5 years; the domestic violence we have heard about in the news where a man in California murdered his entire family and then killed himself; the racial violence we saw flare up again in Missouri and Baltimore this Summer; the number of policemen and military at home in the United States senselessly murdered in the line of duty; the shootings in churches and theaters. About a year ago a Young Lasallian just a bit older than you, a Freshman at our brother Lasallian school in San Francisco, was murdered on his way home after school for no apparent reason; a few years before that two Young Lasallians from our brother Lasallian school in El Paso, Texas, were gunned down on a Saturday afternoon on the way to visit relatives across the border in Juarez, Mexico. And unfortunately, we find violence here, close to home, in our own cities and towns, in Providence, where a week does not go by that there isn’t a drive-by shooting, usually gang related, or some act of domestic violence as happened a week or so ago in Portsmouth.


If you commit to Junior Lasallian Youth, you commit to peacemaking in your hearts, in your families, among your classmates here in school, in your city or town, in this state, in our country, and in our world. You commit to not judging a group on the basis of a few; you commit to forgiveness and reconciliation; you commit to striking revenge from your thoughts. You are not too young—you CAN make a DIFFERENCE!!

If you say “Yes,” you join the Lasallian Family of the world that is trying to do something to address the effects of violence—the opening of a new school for refugee children in Lebanon, the offer of a place for refugees to stay in Australia, the presence of a teacher training school and health clinic in the Sudan. You CAN make a DIFFERENCE as a Young Lasallian, through your Lasallian Family, even in distant lands!!


(De La Salle Brother with Syrian refugee)

I end with these words of Jean Debruyne:
May the day come when some words will be difficult for children to understand.
The children of India will ask: What is hunger?
The children of Alabama will ask: What is racial segregation?
The children of Hiroshima will ask: What is an atomic bomb?
And all kids in all the schools will ask: What is war?
And you will have to say to them: They are the names of things that have fallen into disuse such as stagecoaches, galleys or slavery. These words no longer mean anything and for that reason we have removed them from the dictionary.

Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC

“Blessed Are the Peacemakers…”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday, 21 September 2015)

Let us remember that we are in the Holy presence of a loving God…

Last Thursday morning, we came together as a school community to celebrate the Opening of School Mass. Each class walked down to our campus’ stadium together and sat in large sections of our well-constructed bleachers overlooking our beautifully manicured football field. Our high tech sound system was set up to allow the entire school to clearly hear Father Najim celebrate Mass accompanied by our talented chorus. Many volunteers gave of their time in order to ensure that the Mass would flow smoothly.


Before Mass began, however, many of us were complaining about things like the heat, the sun beating down on us, sitting in damp seats, and not being able to sit with our friends. I must admit, I, too, complained about the weather that morning. When Father Najim began his homily, he asked us to recall a photo that went viral a few weeks ago depicting a three year old toddler who had washed up on a Turkish beach after his family desperately tried to escape the Middle East. I remembered seeing this photo online and being overwhelmed with a deep sadness. This poor, innocent child suffered a horrible death because his family was trying to get him to safety. This was just one of many stories of Syrian refugees fleeing the Middle East due to the brutal violence they are forced to endure and witness daily.

Migrant boat accident in Turkey

I couldn’t help feeling a pang of guilt when I reflected on how blessed I was to be at Mass outside on a beautiful, sunny day surrounded by a loving community, a community that has the privilege to freely worship together without fear. This is certainly not a privilege that is enjoyed everywhere in the world. I reflected on Father Najim’s homily with each of my classes in prayer that day. Together, we prayed for peace and thanked God for the blessings that he has bestowed upon us.

Today begins the International Lasallian Days for Peace. The theme this year is “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God,” which comes from Matthew’s Gospel chapter 5 verse 9. We, together with our brothers and sisters in Lasallian schools across the world, are called to pray for peace, a peace that was unattainable for the three-year-old Syrian toddler. Today, let us pray together as a community for peace and spread that peace through our words and actions.


We ask God, our Father, for His Grace to help us be true peacemakers in the words of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.


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

Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever.

Amanda Broccoli–English Teacher

International Lasallian Days for Peace


Dear Young Lasallians:

As the International Council of Young Lasallians launches its annual initiative on September 21st for its International Lasallian Days for Peace enjoining the worldwide Lasallian community to pray for peace in our world and peace in our hearts, peace continues to elude our fragile planet.

The war in Syria, terrorism, and the strife of civil conflicts in various countries around the world has created today’s migration crisis causing untold suffering to millions of our brothers and sisters. These must be the focus of our prayer and the focus of our action this year.

A Gospel Adventure is the theme for our global Lasallian Family in 2015 – 2016. The Gospel passage inspiring our theme is the parable of the Good Samaritan. A man going from Jerusalem to Jericho is attacked by robbers who strip him and beat him. A priest and a Levite pass by without helping him. But a Samaritan, a foreigner, stops and cares for him, taking him to an Inn where the Samaritan pays for his care.


The General Council and I invite all Lasallians to re-read this parable in the light of our personal and collective responsibility to respond to the poor in our midst and the migrants on our borders. This is a journey that requires us to embrace their condition with mercy and compassion. This is a journey of understanding of what it means to be human amidst a world that is increasingly indifferent at best and hostile at worst to the poor, the widow, the orphan and the stranger in our midst.

Locally, Lasallians, including you young Lasallians, are responding with mercy and compassion. I encourage you to become familiar with and support any initiatives in your District. Create your own as well. Above all, align yourself with groups advocating for peace and for support of migrants. Challenge the political leaders of our nations to treat all people with dignity and build instruments of peace, not war.

As Pope Francis quotes in his encyclical Laudato Si, “Let our time be remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life.”


Sincerely in Saint La Salle,

Brother Robert


These Children Never Complained

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 18 September 2015)

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


MATT: In June of this past Summer, twelve of us students under the brave leadership of Ms. Naughton and Mr. Daly were fortunate enough to travel to Rutledge, Tennessee and experience firsthand the poverty of immigrants in our home country. At points, it was difficult to picture that we were still in the United States. The culture and landscape of rural Rutledge is drastically different from the scenes familiar to us. The eastern Tennessee lifestyle was something that none of us had experienced before.

building 2

DYLAN: Simplicity, hospitality, and love were common traits possessed by almost everyone we encountered. Besides helping out with construction projects, our priority for the week was to mentor the young children of migrant farmers who spent all day picking tomatoes. The families had come from Mexico, Honduras, and El Salvador, and were mostly undocumented. The camp that we were in charge of was centered in the community trailer park that many families of the migrant workers called home.

building 3

MADDIE: The living conditions for these families and children were eye-opening; with trash scattering the premises and animal feces everywhere, it was just not an area where children should be raised. These kids were growing up in some of the most difficult and painful situations we had ever seen. Their families could barely afford food: one little girl asked us if she could bring home her lunch that we provided her for her mother who, she said, normally goes without eating just so her children can. The government-provided lunch consisted of expired or nearly expired pieces of bread with a slab of turkey.

kids 5

ALIY: But these children never complained; in fact, they did quite the opposite. Every single day, when we showed up to camp, we were met with numerous kids running from all different directions, greeting us with some of the most affectionate smiles we had ever witnessed. Waking up in an empty trailer, with little to no food for breakfast or parents around to help them make it, the children of Rutledge could still find a million things to grin about.

kids 4

TOM: Our first day on the mountain, we were warned about a rebellious camper that we would have to mentor, named Arturo. When we got to camp the following morning, we could immediately pick Arturo out of the crowd. He is a beast of a child, easily double the size of any other camper in our midst. He struggled with family complications, education, and support throughout his entire childhood.

kids 2

EVAN: And though Donna, our selfless and fearless camp director, was right to caution us about Arturo’s temperament, we were also able to witness another side of Arturo. At the young ages of five, six, and seven, the majority of the kids had not grown up enough to face the realities of their situation. For these kids, life was all about kicking a soccer ball around in the heat of the Tennessee sun. Arturo and some of the middle school girls loved all of this too, but they also bore a great responsibility of parenting their siblings with minimal resources. Arturo found it difficult to concentrate on an arithmetic workbook when, to him, there were a lot of things more important than arithmetic.

kids 3

BECCA: Lorena’s attention span for schoolwork was short when she had to rock her baby brother on her lap. We are so blessed to have met these amazing people at various ages and with their own story to tell. Each of them has the potential to accomplish their dreams and the dreams of their parents, and we all said our tearful goodbyes praying that they will have the opportunity to do so.


Let us pray.
Dear God, We ask forgiveness for the widening gulf between rich and poor,
For the use of money as a measure of all things,
For the culture of self-gratification,
For the continuing disparities between those that have so much and those who have so little.
And for the suffering of those people who are excluded from the table of abundance.

WILL: Saint John Baptist de La Salle–Pray for us.
Blessed Brother James Miller, Servant of God–Pray for us.

STEF: Live Jesus in our hearts—forever.

Students from the Tennessee Service Trip (See the blog of their Service Trip)

“So you say you love the poor—name them!”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 17 September 2015)

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


Jace: There is a quote that’s inscribed on the wall of the Romero Center, where we stayed in Camden, New Jersey that reads: “So you say you love the poor – name them.” That is why we decided to name the poor this morning and to challenge you to not only say you love the poor, but to name them, too.

Jace: Marvin from New Visions, a homeless drop-in center, is a man who would ask you to pray for others even though he didn’t sleep in a bed last night.

Emma: Carl from St. Bart’s Day Care is a young boy who was so willing to give us all he had, even though he had so little.

Eliza: Preston from St. Bart’s Day Care would cling to people because all he wanted was some attention and love.

Sean: Sister Julie from the Romero Center is a woman who dedicates her life to empowering others to make Camden better.

John: Miss D from St. Bart’s Day Care is a woman who dedicates her time and energy to the development of children in Camden.

Silvio: John at Hope Works provides the youth of Camden with the skills to begin a career and change their lives.

Taylor: Cathy at Generations Plus, an adult day care, is a woman who treated us not like volunteers but as friends.

Michele: Melissa at Generations Plus wrapped me in the tightest hug I had ever received before I could even say hello.

Sienna: Belinda from New Visions is a woman who was so quick to give us her address because she just wanted a friend to keep in touch with.

Sienna: Learning someone’s name is the first step in starting a relationship with them. Today we challenge you to start a relationship with the poor and name them. For example, everyone knows Joe by Dunkin donuts, yet no one reaches out to him or says hello.
Let us pray: Dear Lord, bless all of the people who touched our lives in Camden. Allow us to be as open and loving as they were and to remember to always keep them in our thoughts. Help us to remember to always name the poor. Amen.
St. John Baptist de La Salle: Pray for us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts: Forever.

Students from the Camden Service Trip during Summer 2015  (Blog of Trip)

“God has called you to this ministry.”

(Prayer offered over the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on the morning of 16 September 2015)

Let us remember we are in the holy presence of God.
The Founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, John Baptist de La Salle, said in his Meditations for the Time of Retreat, “God has called you to your ministry.”

De La Salle and Poor

In the spring of 2009, God and Mr. Sirois called me to the office of Campus Ministry after 6 years of teaching morality and social justice to juniors. Being unsure of what being a campus minister would entail, I was quickly initiated into the job. Over the last 7 years there are many parts of the job I enjoy: the fast pace, the creative projects, the curriculum we teach, my colleagues, our service trips, spiritual companioning with students, Fr. Najim’s humor, but most especially nurturing and guiding students as they embark on their Christian Service quarter during their time here at La Salle Academy.


Every Wednesday, our entire community comes together to make this program happen. When I first came here in the fall of 2005, I was so impressed that a place would hold that high a value on giving its students an experience of service. I had no idea what I was really thinking because it didn’t affect me directly. Let me explain. Teachers of seniors have to adjust their lessons on Wednesdays, working with those seniors who miss their classes to get them back on track and caught up; students who are in those classes must be flexible and patient with their classmates; the students who are going on service must practice time management skills to make up missed work and get back on the same page. In addition, 95 faculty and staff from all parts of our school, teachers, administrators and staff find time out of their busy schedules, often at the end of the quarter, to sit down with our seniors and find out how their service went, if they grew in their faith, and how they might continue with service as they leave La Salle and head out into the “real world.”
These interviews are small glimpses into the visits that we in Campus Ministry get to make weekly, spying on our students doing small things like pushing kids on swings, feeding hungry people, playing basketball at Tides, teaching kids sight words, letting a 96 year old lady named Athena cheat at cards, and playing Bingo over at a senior center we are partnering with. In my 7 years in Campus Ministry, I have agonized over the placement of seniors based on their preference sheet and been delighted when they come back and report that they decided to leave their coat in the car so that they could have indoor recess with the kids in first grade over at a nearby elementary school who didn’t have coats either, despaired when they reported that they fed a family with young children at a soup kitchen, or that their favorite old person didn’t get out of bed that day. I have secretly wept (not so secretly if you ask Mr. Daly and Ms. Proulx) when I watched a young man who always got in trouble here at school who was holding the hands of a blind child at one of our special needs placements and quietly singing to her which made her look so happy.


As I walk around the halls here at La Salle and see other seniors who aren’t going on service yet, or better still our youngest members, the De La Salle Middle School students, I am reminded of another wise quote that our Founder gave us, when he said “You are called like the apostles to make God known to others.” What does that mean for you and me today?
Let us pray, most especially for our seniors who go out to service for the first time today.
Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do your will.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, Pray for Us.
Blessed Brother James Miller, Servant of God, Pray for Us.
Live Jesus in Our Hearts, Forever.

Maggie Naughton–Campus Minister

Which Wolf Will You Feed?

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 11 September 2015)

Good Morning, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

Fourteen years ago today, almost at this very time of day, four airplanes were hijacked on the East Coast, in mere minutes crashing into the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and a field in Pennsylvania. Most of you students have no direct memory of this—maybe you saw pictures or have learned about this day at home or in school; some of you were not even born. For those of us who lived through that day, images and deep emotions are seared into our very persons.

twin towers

Not long after that day when fears and anxiety were still running high, I heard a story—a Native American story about a grandfather who was listening to his grandson’s fears.

“How do we respond to this violence?” the boy asked his grandfather.
“Grandson,” the wise elder said, “I have two wolves living in my heart. One is anger, vengeance, and violence. The other is love, compassion, and patience. Whichever of these wolves lives in me will determine how I respond to any given situation.”
“How do you choose which one lives?” the grandson asked.
“The one I feed,” the grandfather replied.

Which wolf do we feed? Which wolf will we feed?

2-wolves1 .

Each of us the potential to bring life to another and each of us has the potential to drain life from another. We might not be international terrorists who hijack airliners to fly into buildings or who indiscriminately bomb in order to inflict the most carnage; we might not be domestic terrorists who murder members of a Bible Study group at the Mother AME Church or who go into a movie theater and let loose a fusillade of bullets; however, we can and do create terror if we so choose. Some of us may terrorize by bullying—not in the schoolyard but over the Internet as we spread rumors about another, making the other fearful of living life among friends. Some of us may terrorize by emotional blackmail—not allowing the other to have a life of his or her own. Which wolf do we feed?

We are acquainted with the expression that “anger eats away at us.” Once we feed the wolf of anger, vengeance, and violence it is difficult to break out of the cycle. I seek revenge from you; you counter to seek revenge; and on and on. Not long ago I felt very discouraged as I saw in the newspaper the picture of people mourning the death of a young man who had been murdered, standing outside the funeral parlor and embracing each other in sorrow, but wearing the colors of the gang of which he had been a member—clearly the murder itself had been gang-related. And clearly the cycle will continue; revenge and getting even for that death will inevitably lead to the death of another—vengeance and violence eat away at our neighborhoods. We see this in our very own city! Which wolf do we feed?

I believe that the night before Jesus died he faced the two wolves within himself—the one that was tempted by anger and vengeance and violence and the one that had lived in love, compassion, and patience. Jesus’ experience in the Garden caused him so much anguish that he sweats blood. However, in his last hours it was clear the wolf he chose to feed: he admonished his disciple to put away his sword; he faced the degradation of whipping and being crowned with thorns with dignity; he forgave the sinner next to him on the cross. Which wolf do we feed?


Each of us makes choices each day—to strike out in anger or to reach out in love; to speak a word of curse, to speak badly of another, to ignite a rumor or to speak a word of blessing, to affirm another, to encourage another; to denigrate another because of color of skin or family or town of origin or sexual orientation, or to accept difference, to show compassion, and not be controlled by our fears. Which wolf do we feed? Which wolf will we feed today?

Let us pray: On the night before you died, brother Jesus, you asked us to follow your example of service and you gave us the great commandment of love. You reminded us that life is stronger than death, love stronger than hate, forgiveness stronger than revenge. Help us today and always to feed the wolf within us that is love, peace, forgiveness and compassion. AMEN.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC

World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

On Tuesday, 1 September, Pope Francis has called for a Day of Prayer, joining with a long-standing tradition in the Orthodox Church.  The day of prayer, the Pope said, will give individuals and communities an opportunity to implore God’s help in protecting creation and an opportunity to ask God’s forgiveness “for sins committed against the world in which we live.”

Both the World Day of Prayer and the recent encyclical of Pope Francis offer as a leit motif “The Canticle of Creation” of Saint Francis of Assisi.

On this opening day of September and first day of school for Freshmen arriving at La Salle Academy, we might do well to pause and join the world community in prayer for this precious earth.

With Pope Francis we pray in the words of one of the final parts of his encyclical:

A prayer for our earth

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.


Brother Frederick Mueller