Let us remember that we are in the Holy Presence of God.
Today is another important day in the world of La Salle Academy, Providence, in particular, in the ongoing celebration of our 150th anniversary.
Tonight, at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, hundreds of inhabitants of that world will gather to celebrate the 150th anniversary of its birth on La Salle Square in downtown Providence, with a Mass of Thanksgiving.
The story of that century and a half is full of colorful characters, difficult challenges, and remarkable successes.
Perhaps the people who invited me to offer a reflection this morning thought that probably I was there at the beginning. That is definitely not true.
I first arrived at the Academy in September of 1959, walking through the Smith Street entrance and a few more steps into my homeroom, room 103. My homeroom teacher was Brother Gabriel Moran, who would become a noted theologian and writer. Room 103 was not only my homeroom it was my Religion room, my English room, my Mathematics room. Yes, we were in there all day, as the teachers came to us to teach. We escaped each day to eat lunch in the cafeteria, standing at chest-high tables – not a seat to be seen in the place. The preferred table for me and my friends was one that stood about where Mr. Santiago’s office is.
My stories could last much longer than we have this morning. And there are tens of thousands of people across this country who have such stories about this place. There are alumni who have been bishops and senators, Brothers and governors, Pulitzer prize-winners and brilliant researchers. There are also innumerable ordinary women and men who look back on their time at La Salle with fondness and gratitude.
Yes, today is about gratitude.
Let us pray.
Creator God, we praise your name this morning and offer You our heartfelt thanks.
For the gift of our classmates, who learn with us in classrooms, laugh with us in corridors, compete with us on fields, we thank You, O Lord.
For the gift or our teachers, whose dedication to students and to mission is a beacon in a broken world, we thank You, O Lord.
For the gifts of our maintenance staff, our cleaning staff, our cafeteria staff, our office staff. For these, the staffs of life for sure, we thank You O Lord.
For the gift of Brother Dennis, Mr. Kavanagh, and all the administrators who have, with Herculean efforts, guided us through the depths of a pandemic, we do thank You, O Lord.
For the parents and alumni and alumnae who have supported this community for a century and a half, allowing Faith and Community and Culture to be fostered in many generations of young men and women, we certainly thank You, O Lord.
For the many gifted, generous teachers of these fifteen decades. For Brother Gabriel Moran, for Mr. Jack Cronin, for Mr. Carl Toti, for Brother Antony Harte, for Brother Timothy Rapa, for Brother Paul Goodwin, for Mr. Thomas Lowery, for TWO Mr. Vin McGinns, and many others, we are indeed thankful, O Lord.
For the Brothers of the Christian Schools who have enlivened us with the charism of St. John Baptist de la Salle, who have guided us on our way to You, we thank you mightily, O Lord.
And for the awesome gift of your Son, who came to us with redemption, taught us of You, of Mercy, we thank You from deep within our hearts where he, Jesus, lives.
Saint John Baptist de la Salle, pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts! Forever!
Michael McNamara, Math Teacher