To See Jesus in Everyone

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 25 February 2016—Poverty Week)

Let us remember we are in the Holy Presence of a loving God,


Mady: In the spirit of Poverty Week here at La Salle, the “Chicago 12” would like to tell you a little bit about our service trip. On Sunday February 14th we set off to the Brother David Darst Center on the Southside of Chicago. After plenty of games of catchphrase, obsessing over deep dish pizza, and an unexpected pit-stop to the Milwaukee airport we had no idea of the great week of service and learning that we were about to experience. Each day in Chicago challenged us to free our minds from stereotypes and to experience life in the moment.

Andrew: On Monday night, after dinner, we went to a men’s homeless shelter called Cornerstone. After we had a chat with the person who runs it, Vince, we went inside and were immediately greeted by a man named Phil. Phil was, without a doubt, one person who left an impact on us all. He was an older man, around his late 50’s/early 60’s. Phil had something about him that was different from anyone else we met during our trip. We were told that, despite receiving many opportunities to escape homelessness, Phil did not want to leave the shelter because he loved “the boys” in the shelter so much; they were his family. He took a group of us over to his computer, and we went back and forth sharing information about the cities we lived in. He showed us different parts of Chicago on his computer, telling us which deep dish pizza place was his favorite and showing us the Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day. Phil’s optimism and drive to learn stuck with us all, since most of us were awed by how positive someone who is experiencing homelessness could be.


Tayla: On Thursday afternoon we packed up the minivans and headed to a San Miguel school on the Southside of Chicago. There, we met a girl named Jenny who was in the 8th grade. She had given us a tour of the school and we all agreed at the conclusion of the tour that she had forced us to have a different outlook on being here at La Salle. We all never thought we would be so impacted by a 13 year old girl. She has probably faced more struggles and hardships in her 13 years of life than we as a group ever will. She and all the other students that attend the San Miguel School could choose to make no efforts in school. Jenny and many of the other students most likely have a million other things to worry about—like the fact that their 45 minute walk to school forces them to travel through heavily gang populated areas or sometimes they have to skip breakfast to get to school on time. Instead, they were fully engrossed in learning; they weren’t “too cool for school” or afraid to try. They supported each other instead of making everything a competition. They genuinely wanted everyone to succeed. If they have the ability as middle schoolers to encourage and push one another, despite any other problems they may face on a day to day basis,  then why is it so hard for us to push each other? If they can build each other up, then so should we. At the San Miguel School on Thursday, Jesus was ever present in each child and faculty member in the community.


Allie: On our last day, just before leaving to return back to Rhode Island, we attended a gathering known as an “Immigration Vigil.” We meditated while praying the rosary in three languages: English, Spanish, and (thanks to Luke O’Neill) Italian. At first, it seemed like we were all just standing outside in the cold and windy weather praying the rosary, but there was something more. We were there, outside the entrance to the Chicago Immigration and Customs Enforcement, to pray for all of those who were being deported and those being separated from their families. We met a man who, for more than a year, was in a deportation jail and was close to being forced out of Chicago, away from his family, and back to his original country. This man was not deported. The prayers were answered and had given him and his family hope.


Let us pray…

Dear Lord, help us to see Jesus in everyone. Help us to remind each other that Jesus is in every single one of our brothers and sisters and to realize that we are called to help and love all of God’s creations. As is written in the Gospel of Matthew, “‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’”


Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.
Brother David Darst..Pray for us.
Mother McAuley… pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Students from the Mission Service Trip to the Brother David Darst Center, Chicago IL—February Vacation 2016

Enlarge Our Hearts

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 24 February 2016–Poverty Week)

Let us pause and remember that we are in the presence of a loving God.

This week, you’ve been learning about many different types of poverty in your classes. Our founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle, dedicated much of his life to fighting poverty by educating poor children. A major theme of Pope Francis’ speech to Congress during his visit to the United States this past September was poverty. He said “I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes.”


In the Gospel of Matthew it says “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Jesus tells us that whatever you do for the least of my people you do for me.


As I reflect on my own life, I am grateful for all of the blessings that I have – food, clothes, shelter, my education, my vocation, my family, and our Lasallian community. However, I know that it is not enough to simply give thanks and that I must do more to help those in need.

In the words of Dorothy Day who tirelessly advocated for the poor and homeless:


“What we would like to do is change the world – make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended them to do. And, by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, the poor, the destitute – the rights of the worthy and the unworthy poor, in other words – we can, to a certain extent, change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever-widening circle will reach around the world. We repeat, there is nothing we can do but love, and, dear God, please enlarge our hearts to love each other, to love our neighbor, to love our enemy as our friend.”


Let us pray,

Lord, help us to never forget those suffering from poverty and give us the courage to act to bring about positive change in this world. Amen.

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

Chris Hall–Chairperson of the Mathematics Department

We Might Not Be Able to Do Everything BUT We Can Do Something

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 23 February 2016–Poverty Week)

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

 It was a November morning when I saw the flashing lights in my rear view mirror. I knew I shouldn’t have been speeding but I was more concerned with the immediate inconvenience that a ticket would cause.


I am now ashamed of my first thoughts when the judge gave me 15 community service hours. I thought to myself “How am I ever going to find time for this?”


My first service hours were at Mary House right down the road on Smith Street. I quickly realized that community service was no joke. Hunger, shelter, and lack of essential things is a real problem in the world and not just something we hear about. People at Mary House would wait outside in the cold winter air for an hour just to be the first ones to eat at 4 o’clock when the food was served.

Despite their circumstances, almost all of the people I was serving showed the utmost kindness and respect. They would thank all of the servers upwards of 10 times, they would smile and talk about the Christmas season, and at the end of the meal they would wish each other a warm night. I learned a lot from these people.  I learned how many blessings I have in my life even if sometimes I fail to recognize them. I learned the importance of happiness. The positive attitude of the people we served, despite their situation, amazed me.  If they could remain so positive and faithful, there is hardly any situation where I should be frowning.


One night I served food right outside of the Cathedral in Providence. This specific night it was well below 10 degrees outside. It amazed me to see a line the size of a football field of people waiting to get food. What really surprised me was that some of the people waiting to be served had nothing but a t-shirt on and very few of them had hats or gloves on. I remember wondering why anyone would stand in such frigid weather without warm clothing just for some meatballs and hot chocolate. Then I realized that they had no choice.  If they missed this meal, they did not know when their next meal would be.

 Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul

No matter how crazy our life seems, it is very important not to get to caught up in what we are doing. It is important to always keep in mind the less fortunate and remember that they are struggling every single day for things that we aren’t always grateful for, like winter coats, shoes, or a warm bed. Now I’m not saying that everyone has to go out today and do 100 community service hours, but that we should be grateful for ALL of the blessings in our lives and remember that poverty is real and there are little things that we can do to make a tangible difference. Maybe we cannot end world hunger but we can help John or Angela who live on Smith Street right here in Providence as they struggle every day for food.


Let us pray

Lord help us to not get to caught up in our own lives and to always remember those who need us most.

We pray for those who are in need of warm shelter during this cold weather.

And we ask that you help us always stay grateful for all of the great lives that we have


Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

 Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Nicholas Maiorisi–Class of 2016

We Are Called To Do More

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 22 February 2016–Poverty Week)

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

In yesterday’s gospel we heard it proclaimed:


Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.
As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here;
let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”  But he did not know what he was saying. While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud.Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”  After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.
They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen.

Today we kick off our 3rd annual Poverty Week. This week all of our departments including our cafeteria will come together to shine a light on poverty through unique and varied instructional practices based on each subject and teacher.

Why do we do we devote a whole week to being intentional about poverty education? We have to look no further than our own Mission Statement which states in part, “The Academy endeavors to provide an academic environment which helps to instill in its students a respect for life-long learning. Students at La Salle Academy are prepared to become responsible citizens of the twenty-first century through the development of the ability to think rationally, logically, and ethically; to communicate effectively, orally and in writing; to process information; and to utilize technology as a tool of learning and decision-making.”


In Sunday’s gospel passage, Jesus takes his friends up to the mountain top and they are so excited by what they see that they want to move into tents and live there forever, because they have seen God. The end of the passage [which is omitted] is that the next day they came down the mountain. There was work to be done, teaching, healing, and the building of the Church. Likewise, when we look at our Mission Statement, we can’t be satisfied with being Lasallian here at La Salle. It’s not enough for us to pray, go to Mass when asked, do mandatory Christian Service hours, and take religion classes. We know we are called to do more.

It is the responsibility of all of us, but especially the adults here, to create a desire in you young people to go from the great La Salle, and spread the message of Jesus, John Baptist de La Salle, the Brothers of the Christian Schools, and the Lay teachers you see every day. We want you to live intentionally, so that your decisions as an adult are mindful of others, especially the poor. So often we can avoid poor areas and poor people just as our Founder did in 17th century France. Just like John Baptist de La Salle, our salvation is tied to the care for the salvation of those who are less fortunate than we. As the Brothers’ revised Rule states, “They are convinced that an education which promotes the internal development of individuals makes them open to the grace of God and the light of faith.”


What awesome power is contained in this building. When I start to imagine what all of you are capable of down the road, I am overcome with what you all might be. Your achievements would be too numerous to name, but at the end of the day you will be called Lasallian, sons and daughters of John Baptist de La Salle–Men and women who are builders of God’s kingdom. This week I encourage all of us to open our hearts and minds with faith and zeal to the creative lessons our faculty has planned for us so that we might bear witness to lives lived on the margins of society and grow closer to God’s chosen ones, the poor among us.


Let us pray.

Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me 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 reward,
save that of knowing that I do your will.

St. John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts, Forever.

Margaret Naughton–Campus Minister

A Modern Day Prophet and Martyr

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday, 12 February 2016)

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

Pope Francis recently said: “Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience.”


One such prophet was James Miller. Born in September 1944 in Wisconsin, he attended Picelli High School, where he first met the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Inspired by the men and their mission, he became a Brother himself. After a brief tenure teaching Spanish, English, Religion, and coaching football at Cretin High School in Minnesota, Br. James volunteered for the missions and was sent to a school in Nicaragua, where he spent nearly ten years.


In January 1981, after a brief return stay to Minnesota, Br. James returned to the missions, this time in Guatemala. He taught at the secondary school in Huehuetenango and he also worked at the Indian Center, where young indigenous Mayans from rural areas studied and trained in agriculture. 1981 was a tense time in Guatemala and much of Central America. A long history of colonialism had given way to independence, but many of the economic and social inequalities remained. Wealth and power were concentrated in the hands of a minority of landowners while the majority of the people lived as peasants. The 1970s and 1980s brought a newfound consciousness in the minds and hearts of the peasantry – that they too were made in God’s image and that the existing structures did not have to be as they were. They wanted change, and some chose the path of violence. Civil war erupted – and much of the peasantry was stuck in the middle. During this time, throughout Central America, many priests and nuns could be found standing alongside the poor, even though this was a dangerous place to stand. The Christian Brothers were no different.

Writing home in January 1982, Br. James said: “I am personally weary of violence, but I continue to feel a strong commitment to the suffering poor of Central America. … the Church is being persecuted because of its option for the poor. Aware of numerous dangers and difficulties, we continue working with faith and hope and trusting in God’s Providence…I have been a Brother of the Christian Schools for nearly 20 years now, and commitment to my vocation grows steadily stronger in my work in Central America. I pray to God for the grace and strength to serve Him faithfully among the poor and oppressed in Guatemala. I place my life in His Providence. I place my trust in Him.”

One month later, desperate to turn the tide of the fight against the rebels, Guatemala’s military started forcing young Indian students to serve in the military – including young men from the Brother’s School in Huehuetenango. In early February 1982 a Christian Brother went to the authorities to obtain a student’s release. The military refused. The Brother insisted. It is believed that this incident made the Christian Brother’s marked men, and in that environment, the Guatemalan military would surely try to send a message.

On February 13, 1982, Br. James Miller was shot and killed by masked gunmen while on a ladder repairing a wall at the De La Salle Indian School. He was 37 years old.


For the past two years the great sin that Pope Francis has urged us to prune from our lives during Lent is the sin of indifference – being so concerned with ourselves that we don’t hear the cry of the poor. Br. James Miller heard that cry. Let us find inspiration in his story as we fight against indifference this Lenten season.


Let us pray. (prayer adapted from Midwest Province prayer service)
Brother James Miller’s main concern was to empower the laity especially the poor and the oppressed. Lord, send us men and women who will work for the poor.
Brother James Miller had great love for the poor to whom he ministered, May our love and concern for others heal and empower them and lead them to You, O Lord.
We pray for our Brother James Miller and all who have died in working for the dignity of the poor, that they will not have died in vain. May the gift of their lives continue to enrich and inspire the church throughout the world.
O loving God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, hear our prayers as we honor our Brother James Miller. Continue to give us courageous hearts filled with faith and zeal as we work for Your kingdom here on earth. O God, You are the Source of All Being and the Creator of unfailing light and wisdom, give that same light and wisdom to those who call to You. As Catholic educators and Lasallian ambassadors of Christ, may our lips praise You; our lives proclaim Your goodness; our works give You honor, and our voices celebrate You forever. May the Spirit of the Risen Lord Jesus, our Teacher and Brother, be forever in our hearts and may this same Spirit shine in and through us as we enlighten, educate and guide the youth entrusted to our care. Amen.


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

Matt Daly–Director of Campus Ministry

Exploding Our Lives For the Lord

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Ash Wednesday, 10 February 2016)

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


Have you ever seen a tree explode? Yeah, that’s right. Have you ever seen a tree explode? I’m told by a reliable source that eucalyptus trees – you know, the kind that koalas love to munch on – explode during forest fires. Apparently, it’s a survival method. A way to continue their species after the fire has wiped out every living thing in sight. While the fire’s raging through the dense Australian forests, dormant sprouts in the root system of the eucalyptus tree are woken up by the fire’s heat. Once the fire’s over, the dormant sprouts use the ash left by the fire, which is rich in nutrients, to grow into a beautiful, life-giving tree.


For Christians around the world, today marks the beginning of the annual, seven-week-long “forest fire” we call Lent. Between now and Holy Thursday, we’re being called to “set on fire,” so to speak, those things that we do, think, and say that are harmful to our relationships with ourselves, others, and God. Just like with the eucalyptus tree, it’s in the nutrient-rich ash created by “burning”, or getting rid of, those negative behaviors and bad habits that we can flourish, that we can become our best self.

Now, wait a second, Mr. da Silva, are you saying that I should go home and set things on fire? No. Please do not set anything or anyone on fire. That’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m saying is that none of us is perfect and that we all have areas of our lives that need improvement.

So, I’m challenging you, before you go to sleep tonight, to do two things: (1) think of one negative behavior or bad habit that you need to “burn” or get rid of and (2) think of one positive behavior or good habit that you can develop over the next several weeks so that you can really flourish as the compassionate human being that we all know you are. Make sure to come up with a concrete plan to implement those changes.


For example, this Lent …
• Every time you feel the urge to talk about someone behind their back, seek the person out and give them a compliment or do something nice for them– especially if you don’t like them.
• If you feel that you are more plugged into Twitter or Instagram or Snapchat or Facebook than into the people around you, make a resolution to only spend thirty or twenty or ten or zero minutes on social media each day.
• Instead of buying that espresso and red velvet cupcake from La Salle Bakery, donate the money to the Rice Bowl or to any other of the thousands of worthy causes out there.
• If, like me, you find yourself running around from one commitment to another and don’t make time to speak to and listen to God in prayer, make a commitment, like I did, that every day you’ll spend 15 minutes praying however, whenever, or wherever you pray best – silent meditation or singing or listening to inspiring music or even the Rosary or the Liturgy of the Hours.


Do what works best for you. My only advice is instead of just “giving something up” for the sake of giving something up this Lent, really think about how the thing that you give up and the thing that you take on will help you to grow into your best self and draw you closer to others and to God. After all, that’s the whole point.


Now, let us pray using words from the prophet Joel:
Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Tear your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God. (Joel 2:12-13)

St. John Baptist de La Salle … pray for us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts … Forever.

Charles da Silva–Religion Teacher

Enter to Learn….Leave to Serve

(Prayer prepared for the entire La Salle Academy educational community for Friday, 5 February 2016—Catholic Schools Week)

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

Good morning, I am happy to have this opportunity during Catholic Schools Week to pray with you and to share my experiences as a graduate of a Catholic High School – this school – La Salle Academy.

When I attended La Salle – I entered to learn and left to serve.


I learned a lot in the classes I had – some of my teachers were legends: Mr. Carl Toti and Mr. Thomas Lowery; Brother Alphonsus and Brother Thomas. They were here to make sure we learned — and we did. But I also learned that this was a school that cared about me. After I broke my leg early in my Freshman year they made sure I was ok – a Brother was assigned to watch out for me when everyone else was at lunch. When the Principal felt my class was having trouble learning one of our subjects he came down himself to teach us extra lessons. When I needed to go to my job as a Page at the State House the school helped me figure out how we could do it.

I learned about serving others from the teachers and administrators who were working here and showing us how it was done.

When I graduated I left home to become a De La Salle Christian Brother and I am still one 60 years later. First I entered to learn – a year in the Novitiate and then 4 years of college.


When I graduated from Catholic University I was assigned to a parish Elementary School in Brooklyn, N.Y. to serve. Quite a change for a kid from R.I. It was a terrific experience – it was a place where I could serve as a teacher. Preparing lessons, teaching, correcting papers were all ways I served the students in my classes. After school I had the Track team – another way to serve those kids who were eager to run and hopefully win medals.

My next assignment was in Connecticut – we were starting a new school – it was an exciting time. Always needing to learn more, I got a grant one summer and studied about Africa at Northwestern Univ. Then I started a new course called “Non-Western Studies.” I also started the new Yearbook for the new school.

In 1973 I returned here to La Salle Academy. First I was Vice Principal and then Principal. As Vice Principal I started a Human Relations Committee to serve the needs of the students. One of the things I did as Principal was to help start the Freshman Foundations Program. The years as Principal were challenging but I had numerous opportunities to serve the needs of the students and all associated with the school. It was during those years that we were beginning the Christian Service program that continues to this day.

After my years at La Salle I spent 3 years at Ocean Tides in Narragansett serving the needs of troubled Youth. From there I went to our Boarding School on Long Island and started a Christian Service Program to help the students learn the value and the joy of serving others.


In 1987 I began 4 years of service in Guatemala. When I entered that country the first thing I had to do was to learn Spanish. I signed up for an intensive language program in Antigua, Guatemala. When I had learned enough Spanish to get by I began to serve as a teacher in one of our schools there. In my second year, interestingly, I started a Christian Service program.

Let us Pray:
Lord, we give thanks for the opportunity to attend a Catholic school. We pray that you will give us the wisdom each day to recognize opportunities to serve others. Show us how best to use the time and talents you have given us. Help us to use all opportunities wisely that we may give in service to others the good gifts we have received from you. Amen.

St. John Baptist de La Salle – pray for us.
Live Jesus in Our Hearts – Forever!


Brother Robert Hazard, FSC–Class of 1956 and Principal (1976-1982)

The Simple Things

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 4 February 2016—Catholic Schools Week)

Let us remember we are in the holy presence of a loving God


This past semester I was sent out on service every Wednesday to a Senior Center. I was
dreading going. My grandfather had just passed away and the last thing I wanted to do was be
surrounded by people that were near the end of their life. The day I met Lorraine was the day
my entire perception had changed. If there was anything I had learned from my grandfather’s
passing it was that all he wanted was someone to talk to. He just wanted to ask me about my
day or how school was going. All the women at the senior center wanted the exact same thing.
This time, I was willing to listen. Lorraine was the first one to approach me at the center. For the
first 3 weeks every story was the same that concluded with “oh and by the way I have had 3
strokes so it is hard for me to remember things.” After the third week she finally started to
remember me. She greeted me with a smile and a warm hug. I looked forward to hearing about
her stories every Wednesday. She always made me feel welcome. The one thing that stuck with
me and hasn’t left me since was the conversation we had almost everyday. Lorraine would ask
“How are you” I would respond and reciprocate with the same question back to her. Her
response was always the same. “Well, I woke up this morning, so it must be a pretty good day.”
If there was one thing I took from my experience at service it would be that sometimes I need to
take a step back and be grateful for the little things in life. Lorraine helped me realize this. This
Catholic Schools Week I think all of us as a community should reflect on the simple things in life.
Recall your blessings and be thankful.


Let Us Pray,
Dear God, help us all to be thankful for the little things in life that you have blessed us with.
Watch over us and guide us towards a path of spending more time with the people who need us
Allow us to make the most of the time we have with our loved ones and anyone whom we meet
each day.


Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for Us
Live Jesus in Our Hearts… Forever

Tayla Pingitore–Class of 2016