What a Parent Will Do for a Child

(Prayer offered over the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 31 January 2017—2nd day of Catholic Schools Week)

Let us remember we are in the holy presence of God

There were two neighboring tribes in the Andes: one that lived in the valley while the other lived high on a nearby mountain.  It was rumored that the two tribes long ago were one united tribe.  But when the wise old chief died, his two sons could not rule harmoniously. So, the two brothers separated and each took a portion of the tribe with him.

They left their forest home.  One brother went up the nearby mountain, where his people hunted game and built shelters made of timber and wood.  The other brother brought his people to the valley at the river’s edge, where they fished and grew crops.

After many generations, contact was lost between the two tribes.  Sure, there were stories told by the elders of the angry brothers who splintered the original tribe.  But no one was alive who had ever seen their kin folk from the other portion of the tribe.

After a bad winter that caused many deaths on the mountain, the mountain tribe blamed their misfortune on the valley tribe and decided to find them and attack them.

After days of searching they finally found their lost tribesmen from the past and attacked.  The aim of the mountain tribe was only to plunder provisions and retreat back up the mountain.  During the attack, one of tribal raiders took a baby from one of the valley families and carried the infant into the jungle and up into the mountains.

The valley tribe was determined to retrieve their stolen baby but didn’t know how to climb the mountain.  There were no trails that the mountain people used; they didn’t know how to track them in the steep terrain, or where to find the mountain tribe’s village.

Determined, they sent out a group of their strongest fishermen to climb the mountain and bring their baby home.  The men tried first one method of climbing and then another.    After several days of effort, they had climbed only several hundred feet.  Feeling hopeless and helpless, the fishermen decided that the cause was lost, and they prepared to return to their village below.

As they were packing their gear to prepare for the descent, they saw the baby’s mother walking toward them.  They realized that she was coming down the mountain that they had not figured out how to climb up.  Then they saw that she had the baby… strapped to her back.  They were shocked.  How could that be?

The leader of the group greeted her and said, “We are so glad that your baby is safe.  But how?  We couldn’t climb this mountain, no matter how hard we tried.  How did you do this… when we…the strongest and most able men in the village, could not?”

She looked in his eyes, gave him a smile that thanked him for their valiant efforts and softly said, “It wasn’t your baby.”

Never underestimate what a mother will do for her child.

Don’t underestimate how much your parents care for you or how much you are loved.    You may not know and you may never know the sacrifices and burdens that your parents have taken, are taking, and will continue to take for your benefit.   And, never, ever forget that you are a child of God.  And God loves you so much that he sent his only son so that you may prosper and have eternal life.

As a parent, Catholic education for my sons is very important.  We want to provide the best opportunities for our children, to give them a strong faith, a firm moral compass, a solid education and credible role models standing in front of the class.    For me, Catholic education satisfies those requirements and their enrollment in La Salle Academy truly is a blessing.

Let us pray: Tender God, Open our lips to praise your holy name. Cleanse our hearts and our minds of any worthless or distracting thoughts.   Grant us the wisdom and knowledge   to be attentive and respectful as we learn new wonders and dream new dreams.  Bless these studies to our use and us to your service.  Amen.

St Michael:    Pray for us.

St Joseph of Cupertino:    Pray for us.

St. John Baptist de La Salle:   Pray for us

Live Jesus in our Hearts:   Forever.

Deacon Scott Brown–Parent of Matthew (Class of 2017) and Jacob (Class of 2018)

Hear Their Stories

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy community on Monday morning, 30 January 2017–the first day of Catholic Schools Week)

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

“There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you hear their story.”

This is a quote that I first heard at La Salle and one that has stuck with me ever since.

This past week, I listened to the story of a woman and her child when visiting their home in the impoverished, rural community of Nidirí in Masaya, Nicaragua. I met a woman named Selvia, who lives with her little son Isain in a house made of metal sheets. The house has neither running water, nor electricity. While I played catch with Isain, as chickens and pigs ran around our feet, Selvia spoke about her life.

Several years ago, she had to move back home to the countryside, because there were no job opportunities available for her in the city. Arriving home, she struggled to feed her family, had no source of income, and lived in fear that her unstable house would collapse on top of her. After years of struggling, she joined a local organization that promotes woman’s rights, which allowed her to join a woman’s cooperative that specializes in creating natural medicine and hygiene products. This work allows her to give back to the community, while providing her with an income to improve her living conditions. Selvia now has the means to grow her own fruits and vegetables, raise chickens, and strengthen the infrastructure of her house. She thanks God for blessing her and her son and thanks Him each day for giving her life.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet this upbeat, compassionate woman during my immersion trip to Nicaragua with my school, the College of the Holy Cross. After hearing her life story, I could not help but be inspired by her strong desire to better her community, her immense love for her son, and her deep gratitude towards others. Hugging me goodbye with tears in her eyes, she thanked me for taking the time to come to her country and learn about her people. I promised her I would always remember her, and aim to serve others in any aspect of my life that I am able to.

Today marks the first day of Catholic Schools Week. Having attended Catholic schools for the entirety of my educational career, I am called to reflect on its great value. My desire to serve others, as I did on this international immersion trip, stems from the values and ideals instilled in me throughout my years spent at La Salle. During my four years here, I participated in clubs and activities such as the New Orleans service learning trip, Lasallian Youth, the Homeless Sleep Out, the Kairos retreat, and Senior Christian service. These life experiences taught me how to listen and learn from the stories of others and live the mission of Saint John Baptist de La Salle. Learning in a Catholic environment at 612 Academy Avenue, I encountered and was impacted by many people of faith. I heard stories while hanging out in campus ministry, while listening to prayers by Mr. Sirois in World Religion class, while attending Mass with the entire school, while talking with Mrs. Estes – each day I heard stories. These stories taught me how to think critically and virtuously, while instilling in me the ideals of service, community and faith. These stories filled me with love, filled me with passion and have helped me find my own story.

I was inspired to attend a Catholic college and continue to deepen my faith. At Holy Cross, I am a member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization, and serve as a mentor to Malaysia, my 14-year-old little sister, who is always a bundle of energy and reminds me to always remain optimistic. Through my work with the chaplain’s office, I have promoted inter-campus peace and organized events to improve woman’s rights.  As the chair of our campus environmental group, I am able to raise awareness for environmental concerns that impact poor communities and harm the lives of others.

As a second semester senior, I am always being asked about my plans for the future. While I am not completely certain what I will be doing after graduation, I am confident I will be able to serve others, perhaps by working for a non-profit organization. Because of my Lasallian education, I feel called to have a career that allows me to better the lives of others.

I continue to learn from the stories I hear, and am forever grateful for the Lasallian community that taught me how to love others and serve in faith.

I call all of you to be inspired by others, love others and build your story each day.

Let us pray.

Dear God, may we deepen our faith in Jesus while appreciating His message and that of His church.

A quote from Father Pedro Arrupe titled “Falling in Love With God” says

“Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you will know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”

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

Live Jesus in our Hearts … Forever.

Victoria Stephens–La Salle Academy Alumna (Class of 2013) and Senior at the College of the Holy Cross

Happy New Year–Year of the Rooster

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday, 27 January 2017)

S: Let us remember, we are in the holy presence of God,

Spoken again in Chinese and Korean


A: It’s time to set new goals, weave new dreams and plan new ways to fulfill the promises of the past.


S: As we approach the end of the first month of 2017, it is actually the start of the New Year on the Lunar Calendar.  Many Asian cultures and communities around the world prepare to celebrate Spring Festival, or Chinese/Korean New Year.  In the Chinese zodiac, it is the year of the Rooster, a symbol of honesty, as well as physical and moral fortitude. It signifies fortune, luck, fidelity and protection.

E: In Korea, people believed roosters understood time well and considered them a symbol of hopeful beginnings and good omens. It was said that when a chicken made a sound, all evil spirits disappeared.  It has been recognized for intelligence, patience, and bravery.

A: In Christianity, the rooster is noted for crowing three times after Peter denied Christ. As such, it has become a symbol for Christ’s passion and resurrection. Later, the Rooster would signify repentance, as Peter who had denied Christ felt sorrow for his sins and sought the mercy of God.

The rooster crows to signal the start of a new day.  With the Chinese and Korean New Years upon us, now is a great opportunity to pick up New Year’s resolutions you may have already dropped, live life with the honesty, moral fortitude and hope symbolized in the rooster and to find some motivation to push through the second semester.


On behalf of the International Students Club we would like to wish the entire La Salle community a Happy Spring Festival and Chinese and Korean New Year!

Say in Chinese – Saint John Baptist de La Salle, Pray for us.

Say in Korean – Saint John Baptist de La Salle, Pray for us.

Say in English – Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.


Say in Chinese – Live Jesus in our hearts, Forever.

Say in Korean – Live Jesus in our hearts, Forever.

Say in English – Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Students: Arianna Good (A)–Chinese; Susanna Feng (S)–Chinese; Eui Jeon (E)–Korean

To Defend All Life

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday, 23 January 2017–Respect for Life/Pro-Life Day)

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

Twenty-six seconds. Every twenty-six seconds, an abortion takes place in the United States. As we commemorate yesterday’s anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the law allowing abortions at any stage, it is important to raise awareness about the injustices of abortion, a procedure that the Pro-Life movement has worked so hard to put a stop to.  Forty-two million abortions take place worldwide every year, each one taking away the life of someone with the utmost of innocence— one-third of our generation.

Recently, Pope Francis genuinely stated, “The right to life is the first among human rights.” The Catholic Church acknowledges that life begins at the moment of conception. Through abortion, we are deliberately ending the life of an innocent being, a child of God.  Each and every one of us is a thought of God, a heartbeat of God, and we all have a purpose in life. Some of us may not have discovered it yet, or some of us may know exactly what our purpose is, whether it be making others happy or succeeding in our talents. As we are so thankful to be able to live our lives, we need to recognize the importance of the lives of the unborn.

Let us pray:

Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the leaders of this nation, especially those who have the power and responsibility of making, interpreting and executing laws. Fill them with the desire to do God’s will, to restore justice and to establish laws in conformity with Divine Law.  Guide the women who are troubled during their pregnancies so that they choose life for their child. Holy Spirit, we ask you to preserve, protect and defend the lives of all children God, from their earliest beginnings until death. Amen.

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

Live Jesus in our Hearts … Forever.

Brooke C. Riccitelli–Class of 2019

You Did It For Me

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 13 January 2017—the 5th and final day of Haiti Solidarity Week)

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


As we prepare to give our offering to the Hands Out For Haiti Campaign, let us listen to the words of Matthew’s Gospel:

Jesus says to his disciples: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.


Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’

And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’


Let us pray,
Jesus, our Lord and our brother, open our hearts today so that we might generously respond to the young people of Haiti who really are the least members of your family. Remind us that whatever we do for them, we do for you. Amen.


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

Logan Liljeberg–Class of 2017 & Captain of Boys’ Hockey Team

What is YOUR Ice Cream Sundae?

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 12 January 2017–4th day of Haiti Solidarity Week)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

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

A story is told from the days when things cost much less (even before I was a little kid, though not much before!).  A young boy asked the price of an ice cream sundae.  The waitress replied fifty cents.  Studying his coins, he inquired about a dish of plain ice cream.  “Thirty-five cents” was the reply.  After again counting his coins, he ordered plain ice cream.  Finishing the ice cream, the boy paid the cashier and left.  When the waitress came back to clear the table, she swallowed hard at what she saw: placed neatly beside the empty dish were two nickels and five pennies.

A much earlier story from the New Testament offers a similar lesson.  The poor widow in the synagogue stood in the rear while her wealthy counterparts stood up front for all to see as they gave their offerings.  She, on the other hand, dropped two small copper coins into the synagogue treasury.  Jesus says to his listeners: “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Each of us has many gifts, not the least of which is disposable income.  We live in a prosperous nation where food and water are plentiful and available.  We do not have to worry about electric power and wi-fi connections.  Our homes give us shelter and keep us warm.  If we do not drive our own cars or a family car, we have accessibility to buses to get us where we need to get.  We study or work in a well-kept school with books and computers and LCD projectors and Smart Boards.  Our holidays brought us new clothes and shoes and electronic toys, probably more than we needed.  And we begin 2017 not fearing for our livelihood and happiness.  For all of this we are grateful that, in God’s great design, we were born into this plenitude.

However, this is not true for all people in our world.  Our brothers and sisters in Haiti have far less in material goods.  Their nation sits on a fault line for earthquakes and is in the power-alley of strong Atlantic hurricanes.   In early October of this past year Category 5 Hurricane Matthew smashed into the island nation and did further damage to a country already compromised by the powerful earthquake that had devastated its capital Port-au-Prince seven years ago today.

We might be tempted to say that God is unfair.  Why do bad things happen to good people?  Why do people suffer?  Why do people die?  These are the great questions that people have asked for ages.  I, for one, have not come across an answer that satisfies me, but that does not keep me from living while I still ponder that great mystery!

So what do I and what do we do in the face of human-made and natural disasters, when confronted with the many faces of poverty?  Our common humanity and our Christian faith don’t allow us to close our eyes and pretend these things do not exist, our heads buried in the sand.  We could give our spare change in response—-pat ourselves on the back like the wealthy worshipers in the Gospel who give with a great display, and then continue on our merry-old-way, our consciences satisfied until the next time we are asked to give.  Or we could, like the young boy in that ice cream parlor, sacrifice a hot fudge sundae for a dish of plain ice cream.

Think about what you are going to do tomorrow when the manila envelope is passed around your homeroom to assist our Lasallian brothers and sisters at the Saint John Baptist de La Salle School in Haiti.  Will you give out of your excess and out of your wealth (dropping in $5.00 to wear your favoirte comfy clothes) OR will you give in such a way that it hurts?  Whatever your ice cream sundae is that you really want, will you give it up for less in order to help those have incredibly less than we have?  No one will be peeking over your shoulder to check what you will give, whether the $5.00 minimum or more than $5.00—it is all up to you!

Let us pray:

Lord, help us each day to give freely—to give thanks, to share love, to offer care.  For it is indeed in giving that we receive.  Amen.


Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC

Haiti: Rich in Happiness and Joy

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 10 January 2017–2nd day of Haiti Solidarity Week)

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

What is the first thing you think about when you hear the word Haiti? The Caribbean? The major earthquake in 2010? Hurricane Matthew? How it is a poor third world country? Yes, these facts are all true, but what most people don’t know is the fact that it is the first black independent nation in the world and has a strong culture, beautiful beaches, amazing food, and bright and beautiful people. I traveled to Haiti this past summer and I experienced so much. I got to experience the fine beaches with the crystal clear water that allows you to see the ocean floor and aquatic life, the soft white sand and tall coconut trees The horizon can be seen at a very distance as well as the fleet of sailboats taxiing merchants from one end to the other.  It is common to have troubadour players drumming Haitian ballads at the beach.  It will not be a complete picture if I don’t put emphasis on the various delicious seafood dishes whose fresh smell is very enticing.   The popular grilled conch served with fried plantains,  with a side of onions, tomatoes, lettuce and slices of juicy avocado are to die for.   

What truly amazes me to this day is the joy the children had making kites out of broken pieces of wood, string, and black plastic bags. I got to witness what truly makes Haiti a beautiful country: its people. The friendly people who greet you with a smile, the people willing to help who ever in need, the people who know they have less and make the best out of each day.  This is what truly makes Haiti beautiful. Though Haiti itself is a poor country, the people are rich in happiness and joy.

Let us pray:

God of all people,

This morning we pray for the people of Haiti.

Although they lack material wealth, there is much we can learn from their joy and their simplicity.

And help us all to work together so that all your children can enjoy the abundance this world has to offer.  Amen.


St. John Baptist de La Salle: Pray for Us.

Live Jesus in our Hearts: Forever!

Sara Gedeon–Class of 2018

The Will of God Will Never Lead You Where the Grace of God Will Not Protect You

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 5 January 2017)

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

A couple weeks ago, I attended my fourth baby shower. Though I was well prepared for the pastel decorations and the endless unwrapping of gifts, I found myself unprepared for the emotional grudge I was about to develop against the mother to be.

For a teenager, I considered myself an advanced baby shower attendee and figured I would spend it sitting around eating duck shaped cookies, admiring the gifts and wishing the best of luck to the expectant family. However, expectations of a positive day proved to be incredibly inaccurate. This wasn’t just another baby shower. It was my sister’s and the first in which I was expected to decorate the tables, lift baby carriages, transport gifts in my car and somehow get rid of the mountains of tissue paper that would inevitably occur. My confidence in the day dropped when I saw the abundance of gigantic boxes piled in the center of the party. After only a half hour of unwrapping, I became exhausted and resentful towards my sister. Why did she expect me to do all of this? How am I going to carry a crib by myself? Where were the cookies? Why does she need three humidifiers? I had decided to focus on my problems and lost sight of what we were supposed to be celebrating.

However, after piling the last gift in my trunk I was greeted by my sister with words of appreciation and a hug. I felt myself let go of the resentments I had because I realized something evident. I was complaining about humidifiers when I was about to be rewarded with a niece.

Rewards don’t mean much if we don’t do anything to deserve them. When focusing on our obstacles, we often lose sight of the future.

Throughout my time as an adolescent, I have learned it is best to be positive even in the darkest of times. It is enlightening to know that a new day will always come and another opportunity is always going to be there. In the words of the prophet Jeremiah: “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Trust in hope and do not lean on your own understanding of the world. Hope can contribute greatly to a person’s faith in God and attitude towards others. Though I am confident that the future will hold positive outcomes, I know that there is inevitable doubt in every aspect of faith. Whether you’re an aunt to be, mother, teacher, brother, father or student I encourage you to shed light on those doubts with hope and know that the will of God will never lead you where the grace of God will not protect you.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Karen Demarest–Class of 2017