Glad Tidings to the Poor

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 18 December 2017)

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

As we began the third week of Advent, we read in the book of Isaiah:

God has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners.

This passage is quite powerful especially if you think of it in relation to how our founder reflects on Saint Nicholas.  Saint John Baptist de La Salle wrote of Saint Nicholas long before the legend of Santa Claus spread across the United States.  He describes Saint Nicholas’s love of the poor and he specifically writes of four young people that Saint Nicholas encountered who were enslaved, treated as captives and prisoners.  Through great personal sacrifice Saint Nicholas freed each prisoner from their captivity, he helped to heal their broken hearts, and through his devotion to God brought glad tidings to the poor.

In my God is the joy of my soul; for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation and wrapped me in a mantle of justice.

In today’s Gospel of Matthew we are reminded that Joseph is visited by an Angel of the Lord in his dreams and commanded to name Mary’s Son Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.

The Gospel of Matthew reminds us that the birth of Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy :

They shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.”

Glad tidings in deed, that God is traveling this journey with us.

Today and tomorrow as we celebrate Christmas within our Lasallian community be mindful that God is with us, present in every person we encounter.

Let Us Pray,

God, we beg of you, to lead us on the way to heaven by the path you have traced out for us. Help us to embrace the perfection of your state that you have brought us into. Help us remember you have always and will always desire that we find in it the way and the means to be sanctified.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for Us.

Live Jesus in Our Hearts…Forever.

Mark Carty–Social Studies Teacher

Bless Our Waiting

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 14 December 2017)

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

Have you ever been consumed by waiting? You know the kind of waiting that persists, where time stands still and silent no matter what you do?   Maybe you feel this way as you wait for the start of Christmas break?

To date, my most profound experience with waiting was when my husband was deployed to the Middle East as a major in the Army Reserves in 2006.  He was stationed there for fourteen months.  We had two young children at the time and each day during these fourteen months seemed an eternity.  Normal tasks like grocery shopping or doing laundry were drudgery.  Even more difficult were the “big days,”  our wedding anniversary, my daughter’s first birthday, Christmas.  Thank goodness we had plenty of family support and eventually one day became one month.  And soon, we strung months together to arrive at fourteen months.

I’ll never forget the day of my husband’s homecoming—seeing him arrive in the gate at the airport, the sight of my two toddlers clinging to their dad’s legs.  The months that followed were marked by wonder, awe, appreciation.  Just being able to sit, have a conversation or share a meal with my husband felt like such a blessing,  It was as if we were given a brand new beginning.

This Advent and every Advent, we are called to this kind of holy waiting.  In return for this, we are promised God’s unconditional love in the most surprising, most irrational of all places…..a poor crib.  After the wait, comes the promise of grace.  After the longing, comes the beauty of seeing the world anew.

In the Advent words of the prophet Isaiah, “the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all the people will see it together.” (40: 5)  In that day, “the wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat,” “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord,” and “a little child shall lead them.”

Let us pray:

Dear God, source of all goodness, bless our waiting.  Give us pause amid the frantic pace so that we may really see in unexpected people and places.  Give us new eyes.

This Christmas, as we fix our eyes on the baby Jesus and the holy family, help us to see all the holy families in our midst.

We pray all of this in the name of your son, and our brother, Jesus.  Amen.

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

Christine Estes–Director of Campus Ministry

Lasallian Virtues—Habits of the Heart

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday, 13 December 2017)

Let us remember that we are in the Holy Presence of God.

Each semester in our Christian vocation classes, we ask our seniors to write an essay that describes an individual teacher, coach, or fellow classmate that really demonstrates one or more of the 12 Lasallian virtues.  Virtues are simply good habits that build one’s own character while also serving the needs of others.  This semester, one of our senior students interpreted the assignment in a unique way and I would like to share some of that essay with you now.

She begins…

“In my mind, being Lasallian is not embodied by one person, but by the entire community of La Salle.  There are individuals who make La Salle great, but I think that as a whole, the true identity of La Salle is reflected really clearly.  A couple of times a year, the entire school gathers for Mass.  Even though the student body can be rowdy and loud at times, during Mass the whole student body gathers and feels a sense of togetherness.  Each person feels a sense of dignity and belonging as they stand in the crowd with hundreds of other Lasallians who share similar ideals. The environment of a Mass is never compromised and even though it is often held in a field house or on a football field, I still feel like I am at a Mass where people are respectful.

The quiet dignity of Mass is replaced at football games with the prudence of the Beehive.  Even though there are hundreds of students cheering on the football team and tailgating, the Beehive is a respected cheering section at games.  I have been at countless football games over my four years at La Salle.  Never once have I seen an official of the game come up to the fan section and kick someone out or yell at them for unsportsmanlike conduct.  Prudence can be defined as the ability to control one’s actions.  As an avid fan, it is not always easy to control one’s emotions during a game.  Sometimes during a difficult play or quarter, it is easier to just lash out against the other team instead of cheering for our own team.  I have witnessed the Beehive handle these situations with prudence.  Students are able to control and present themselves in a manner that can be respected not only by other fans, but by the players on the football teams and parents.  It is clear to me that those who come to the games are trying to help the team do better while having a good time.  

Finally, the La Salle community shows vigilance at lunches.  One definition of this virtue is “the action or state of keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties.”  High school lunches are often stereotyped as the worst part of the day for those who are not lucky enough to have a large group of friends.  The only time I ever saw someone sitting alone at a La Salle lunch was this year.  One sophomore was unlucky enough to have senior lunch and had no one to sit with.  Within five seconds of her sitting alone, a group of seniors asked her to sit at their table, and they became friends.  Lasallians look out for one another, and have the best interests of everyone at heart.  This vigilance is shown especially in the lunchroom, but also around the school when someone drops their books and someone helps pick them up or when someone holds the door open for another.

Overall, being a Lasallian means having a faith that guides you to help and respect others.  La Salle is able to foster these virtues because of the leaders and teachers who set positive examples and live these virtues in their own lives.  It would be easy for someone to crack a joke in the middle of Mass, start booing the opposing team, or allow someone to sit alone in the lunchroom, but at La Salle it is not about taking the easy way.  It is about taking the way that will lift the community up instead of just one person.”


Let us pray…

As we continue to prepare for the birth of our Savior, let us also strive to develop these habits of the heart, i.e. virtues, that build our own character while building up our community as well.

And in the Christmas spirit of humility and generosity, let us continue to be gifts to one another all year round.


Saint John Baptist de la Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Anthony Russo–Campus Minister

The Meaning of Giving and Receiving

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 12 December 2017)

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

Growing up going to a Catholic school, with a Protestant mother, and a Jewish father, religion was always questionable.  As Hanukkah approaches, beginning this evening, I began to think about what I know Hanukkah to be. Before I really understood what religion was, I just thought I was lucky because I got more presents than my friends did during the holidays because I celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah.  Thinking back, I remember the days when my brothers and I would gather around our menorah, arguing over who got to light the candles, playing dreidel, eating latkes, listening to our dad recite the prayers, and waiting until we were old enough to say them ourselves.

I now know that Hanukkah, which means dedication, and is also called the Festival of Lights, is not just “extra presents,” but a commemoration of the rededication of the Holy Temple.  After being forced out of the Holy Land by Syrian-Greeks,  Judah the Maccabee led a band of Jews to drive the Greeks from Israel and reclaim their Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Upon defeating one of the world’s mightiest armies, the Jews went on to light the Menorah in the temple.  When they arrived however, they found only one cruse of oil that would last one day.  Miraculously, this oil burned for 8 days, long enough until new oil could be purified.  Because of this miracle, Hanukkah is celebrated for 8 nights by lighting the candles of a menorah and reciting prayers.  Each night, an additional candle is lit using the shamash, or the candle used to light the other candles. Three prayers are recited while the candles are being lighted, the first being: Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah.  This translates to “Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us, to light the lights of Hanukkah.”

Understanding the story of why we celebrate Hanukkah, among other stories, helped me to clarify some of my confusion about religion.  Because of the understanding which I now have, I am able to see presents not as presents, but spiritual gifts that I have received from God as a result of the actions of my ancestors before me.

Let us pray . . .

Lord, please help us to see past materialistic objects and understand the true meaning of giving and receiving this holiday season.  During this holiday season, may we grow in our awareness of other faiths, remembering that You are the Father of all and that we are your children.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Jacob Eberson–Class of 2021

What Are You Doing With Your Talents?

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 6 December 2017)

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

One of my favorite parables come from Matthew 25. In this parable a master gives 3 servants talents (a type of currency or money). To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. After a while, the master went to settle his accounts with his 3 servants. The servant who received 5 talents doubled his money and finished with 10. The servant who started with 2 doubled his as well. Both were given the same reward.

But, the man who was only given one talent buried his talent in the ground. Unlike the other servants, this third servant was unable to turn a profit with his one talent.

One of the most overlooked lessons of this story teaches us that we are not all created equally. We know this from reading the second half of verse fifteen: the master gives to each servant talents, “…each according to his ability.” The master understood that the one-talent servant was not capable of producing as much as the five-talent servant.

We want to protest this as unfair. Yet we know this is true from our own experience. Diversity is woven into the fabric of creation.

Think about it; some of us are better athletes than others. Some of us are better artists than others. Even school comes more naturally to some than it does to others.

Think about these important aspects of your life whether it’s school, sports, etc. Did God give you five talents, one talent, or maybe something in between?

Reflecting back on my athletic career, I probably came into high school as a two talent athlete. At 6’2 I was woefully undersized to play middle blocker on the volleyball team. I wasn’t naturally quick, agile, and my vertical was pedestrian at best. So what did I have to do? I worked out literally everyday after school pushing myself to be faster and jump higher. Eventually I would find myself on a college roster. I was at a small college in the middle  of nowhere, but I was on a team nonetheless. My youngest brother on the other hand was always the best athlete on every team he played on: football, baseball, volleyball, it didn’t matter. Eventually, he settled on playing  volleyball and of course made the top flight club teams, and got to compete at the Junior Olympic National Championships for volleyball. At 6’5 was plenty tall enough to have college coaches sending letters and emails every day. I was so jealous because he NEVER really had to work that hard to be good. It just came naturally to him. He was naturally blessed as a 5 talent athlete.

Even though I didn’t have all the natural abilities of my younger brother, or even some of my teammates who also went on  to play D1 volleyball, I would say that I doubled my talents, and I was rewarded.

You see, even though we’re not created equal in regard to the talents we’re given, there is equality found in the Parable of the Talents. It comes from the fact that it takes just as much work for the five-talent servant to produce five more talents as it does the two-talent servant to produce two more talents.

This is why the reward given by the master is the same. The master measures success by degrees of effort, as should we.

So, my question to you is how many talents did God bless you with? Maybe it’s one, maybe it’s 5. But most importantly, what are you doing with your time here at La Salle to double that number?

Let us pray,

Dear Lord ,help us to recognize our talents including our areas of strengths and weaknesses. Allow us to use our time wisely at La Salle to invest in ourselves to multiply the blessings you have given us.

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

Nik Wojciechowski–Social Studies Teacher

Am I Bringing Joy?

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

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

A couple of months ago I was sitting on my couch and instead of doing homework I decided to watch a movie on Netflix. I happened to choose one movie on that particular day, titled The Bucket List. The movie is about two terminally ill patients, Edward played by Jack Nicholson and Carter played by Morgan Freeman. The two of them, upon learning of their diagnosis, develop a bucket list. They travel around the world and at one point they are sitting on top of the pyramids of Giza. Carter turns to Edward and says “You know, the ancient Egyptians had a beautiful belief about death. When their souls got to the entrance to heaven, the guards asked two questions.  Their answers determined whether they were able to enter or not.  ‘Have you found joy in your life?’  ‘Has your life brought joy to others?’”

When I wake up in the morning that is one of the first thoughts that goes through my head, has my life brought joy? Will the text I am about to send help anyone? Will ignoring people make anyone happy? Finding joy and bringing joy go hand in hand. So I ask you to ask yourself “am I bringing joy?” before you send that text, post on your finsta, make a comment in the hallway, or tell everyone about your grade on a test.

Let us pray


Help us to bring joy to those around us especially when we do not feel particularly joyful ourselves.  Help us to remember that our words, texts, actions can all have a positive or negative affect on others.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for Us.

Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever.

Anne Rogers–Class of 2019

At My Door?

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday, 4 December 2017)

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

It is hard to believe that we are already in Advent. Time certainly flies. I know…. Sometimes weeks seem to last forever, but when we stop and think about it, when we take a moment to look back, we realize how fast time goes by. We are always busy and on the run, and we don’t have time to stop for anything. And now, Advent is here. It is time to prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus. He is almost knocking at our door. At our door? At my door? But I am so busy buying gifts and getting ready for Christmas! I am outside running around or so wrapped in my worries! What if Jesus comes to my door and I am not home? Are all those other things so important?  Or are they sometimes distractions from what really matters?  I have to confess that I do have a lot of those distractions and I am not as attentive to the door as I should be.  Jesus may be knocking but it is quite possible that I am too preoccupied to hear him.

Lucky for us, La Salle is the perfect place to be able to hear Jesus’s call.  We can hear Jesus knocking— asking for coats, or asking for 5 dollars for charity in exchange for a dress down day, and right now he is calling us to help many families that need our help for Christmas.  He is knocking at our door loud and clear.  He is knocking at your door when you see that student sitting by himself or herself, when you notice one of your classmates struggling with some material in class, when there is a new student at school who doesn’t know where to go.

During this Advent season, I would like to invite you all to pay more attention to Jesus’ call. Let’s make sure we are at home and ready, so we can open our doors and invite Him in when He calls.

Let us pray

Lord Jesus Christ, today we open wide to you the door of our hearts.  Please come in.

Fill us with your love and the power of your Holy Spirit.  Let your way, your truth and your life fill us so completely that we can say that it is no longer we who live, but it is You living in us.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.

Mercedes DiMascio–World Languages (Spanish) Teacher