(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.”
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