Open Our Hearts (and Our Pocketbooks)

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 16 March 2017)

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


Take a second to think about your day yesterday. What did you do? (pause) Where did you go? (pause)

Yesterday after a few after-school errands with Mrs. da Silva, we drove home in our car and walked into our house. I sat down on our couch to relax for a few minutes after what seemed like a long and tiring day. Around 8 o’clock I ate my leftovers from a local restaurant – delicious short rib pie with potatoes and carrots. We watched a few episodes of a TV drama set in medieval England. After more episodes than I am proud to admit, I got ready for bed and drifted off to sleep with the sounds of our central heating system making noise as it heated the house. Does this routine sound familiar to you? I’ll bet that most of us had a similar afternoon and evening yesterday (hopefully with less Netflix binge-watching).

For the students, faculty, and staff of the Rongai Agricultural and Technical Secondary School, our twin school in Rongai, Kenya, however, that routine went a little differently. After an eight-hour day full of academics, including agricultural and manual skills-based classes, they set out for an hour or two in the fields to plow, seed, weed, and harvest as well as to care for their chickens, pigs, and cows. They then had two hours of free time to play sports and eat dinner before attending remedial classes for an hour and personal study time for an hour and a half. At 9:30 p.m. they gathered for prayer and then hit their net-covered bunk beds in their dorms at 10 p.m. As we speak, they are following the same routine right now. I’ll bet that very few, if any of us, could say that our day yesterday went anything like the day our brothers and sisters in Rongai experienced.

Although the “live off the land” nature of their lives may sound attractive, there are many aspects of their lives that do not. Most of the students of Rongai Agri and Tech School come from very poor and single-parent families. It is almost impossible for them to afford an education. Donations provide for scholarships, supplies, salaries, and much more. Currently, the school is in need of funds to repair the floor of the school, to buy new computers and classroom furniture, and to pay for a school bus to bring students to outside activities. For most of the students at our twin school in Rongai, Kenya, an education is their only way out of extreme poverty. And their only way to get an education is through generous donations of money and resources. This is where you come in …

All of the proceeds from tomorrow’s dress down day go to the Rongai Agricultural and Technical Secondary School. You are asked to make a minimum donation of $5, but please consider donating more to help our fellow Lasallians in Rongai, Kenya to thrive and not just survive. My challenge to you today and tomorrow is two-fold: Number one: donate what you can financially in homeroom tomorrow and Number two: really read the signs posted around the building today to give yourself some idea of what life in Kenya is like.

Let us pray …

Lord God, you have given us all that we have and call our own so that we can use it all for the good of those around us. We thank you for the great gift of our twin school in Rongai, Kenya. Inspire us to open our hearts to our fellow Lasallians in need and to contribute generously to tomorrow’s dress down day collection. Shower down your blessings upon the students, staff, and faculty of the Rongai Agricultural and Technical Secondary School and upon our community here at La Salle Academy. We ask these things through Christ the Lord.  Amen.

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

Live Jesus in our Hearts … forever.

Charles da Silva–Religion Teacher