Errors Are Simply Part of the Game

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 10 April 2019)

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

For those of you who may not be aware, yesterday was Opening Day for the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Spring is a great time of year in New England as the temperatures begin to rise, the birds begin to chirp, flowers begin to bloom, and the spring sports season gets underway. This time of year often takes me back to my childhood years and reminisce about my days playing baseball.

While my passion for baseball is not quite what it used to be, I certainly learned a lot from the game. I learned how to be a teammate, how to be coachable, how to persevere through inevitable droughts at the plate, and how to bounce back from a costly error in the field. One of my favorite books, The Spirituality of Imperfection, begins with the following passage quoting former Major League Baseball Commissioner, Francis T. (Fay) Vincent:

“Baseball teaches us, or has taught many of us, how to deal with failure. We learn at a very young age that failure is the norm in baseball and, precisely because we have failed, we hold in high regard those who fail less often—those who hit safely in one out of three chances become star players (.333 average). I also find it fascinating that baseball, alone in sport, considers errors to be part of the game, part of its rigorous truth.”

Errors are simply part of the game. What a profound truth! No one is perfect, and Sacred Scripture attests to this reality. We can see this in the Lord’s response to St. Paul’s repeated pleas to remove his weaknesses:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

St. Paul eventually acquiesces: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me…for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Perhaps we can come to see our weaknesses and our shortcomings in this same light, as opportunities to grow closer to and glorify God. In other words, when we accept our humanness and brokenness as simply part of the game of life, the Lord can do amazing things through us: sometimes granting us the strength to overcome our own particular struggles, other times helping us grow in compassion for others because of those very struggles. Perhaps we can make it our mission to grow in holiness and strive to become saints. After all, the saints are simply those we hold in high regard because they sought God’s grace to help them fail less often.

Let us pray,

Heavenly Father, thank You for loving each and every one of us just the way we are. Grant us the ability today to love ourselves and to extend compassion to our fellow imperfect brothers and sisters, accepting our imperfections as part of the game. And with Your Divine assistance, help us to grow into the masterpieces you created us to be.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Anthony Russo–Campus Minister


Together We Are Writing The Story

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system and the school-wide intranet for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 8 April 2019)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

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

The date is April 7th—the year 1719.  It is Good Friday.  Surrounded by his Brothers from the community of Saint Yon, near Rouen, France, and other Brothers from nearby communities who had come together to pray for their beloved Founder on his deathbed, John Baptist de La Salle uttered his final words.  Those last words—words that we see every day in large script in the center of our cafeteria—were: “I adore in all things the will of God in my regard”.  In other words: “I accept all that God has given to me, the good and the not so good, and I thank God for what he has done for me in my life”.  Having quietly spoken these words of great faith, John Baptist de La Salle passed from this earthly life into eternal life.

Today we here at De La Salle Middle School and La Salle Academy, bearers of his name, celebrate the 300th anniversary of that passing.

Throughout this year we are remembering this event, not with sadness, but with much celebration.  We rejoice that, after 300 years, the story of Saint La Salle lives on—in the Lasallian world in more than 80 countries, in the committed Lasallians, partners and Brothers, who across the globe try to do each day what De La Salle did in his time, and in the more than one million students, of all races and religions, who receive a Lasallian education.  And, we celebrate today that the story of St. La Salle is alive and well here—each of us shares “one heart” burning with zeal to act with love and justice, “one commitment” to be women and men of faith, service and community, “one life” answering God’s call to be the best persons we can be.

The Lasallian story is woven into our individual stories.  The short video that we will soon view gives us a quick glimpse of these stories.  It is our 300th Anniversary Card—a card we send first to ourselves and then to our brother and sister Lasallians in the United States and around the world through the gift of social media and the internet.  In the weeks and months ahead we will hear and see more of our own Lasallian stories, stories that illustrate that Saint John Baptist de La Salle lives on in and through those who answer the call to be Lasallian.  “His story is our story.  Together we are writing the story!”

At the end of the video, Mrs. Estes will conclude this morning’s prayer.  Homeroom teachers are now asked to play the video!

Link to Video

Together,  Let us pray

Dear God,  we thank you for your servant St. John Baptist de La Salle and for his willingness to leave behind the world he knew for one that you drew him to.  We thank you for that first community of brothers—born of hope and struggle, faith and zeal.  We pause in gratitude for we are part of that story—a story that has spanned centuries and continents—and has animated the minds, hearts, and souls of so many.  Spirit of God, we trust that you will lead us today and in the days to come, so that we may faithfully continue to add chapters to this Lasallian story in new and creative ways.

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

Live Jesus in our Hearts: Forever!


Today, to mark the 300 years since St. John Baptist de La Salle passed from this world into eternal life, a relic from his body will be on display in the small chapel in campus ministry.  A relic is the physical remains of a saint in the Catholic Church.  Catholics do not worship relics.  Instead, this relic serves as a concrete, tangible memorial to our founder.  If you have time today, stop into the chapel in campus ministry, sit for a minute in that chapel, and give thanks for this family story of ours, and for all the ways that your life has been blessed because you are a Lasallian.

In a moment, members of Lasallian youth will visit all the homerooms in our high school and middle school to distribute gifts to mark this special day.  I encourage you to wear and display this memento of our founder proudly, today and every day.

Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC and Christine Estes (Prayer);  Elissa Cerros and Drew Lagace (Video)



Let Go of Perfection—Choose Love

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 5 April 2019–Students Against Violence Everywhere [SAVE] Week)

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

Perfection. People crave perfection. Some work tirelessly to be perfect. Perfect grades, perfect appearance, and perfect life are the goals people may spend their entire lives working towards. However, in reality, life is not perfect. People are not perfect. We are not perfect. People can work hard to improve the aspects of life that are in their control, but they must also accept the givens in life. The events which change people’s lives do not define who they are; how they respond to difficulty defines them. Perfection is desirable because people view it as the key to happiness.

However, in order to achieve lasting happiness, people must see the beauty surrounding them and be proud of who they are and grateful for the people who love them. Conflict exists because people attempt to pursue their own perceptions of perfection, and along the way, they lose sight of the aspects of life that make it worth living. A person’s life is not the result of the obstacles they encounter, but a result of the choices they make. In order to overcome conflict and idealized versions of perfection, people must understand that everyone makes mistakes, and each day is an opportunity, a new chance, to learn from past mistakes.

Free will allows us to make decisions, whether they originate from love or hate. Sometimes, the only thing people can see in the world is the hate and violence in society, a world deformed by the scars of history. When people become so focused on the world’s mistakes made from free will, they no longer recognize the goodness people have brought into the world because of free will. Love exists in the smiles on our faces, the laughs we share with friends, and in the support we give to one another during difficult times. If the world was created devoid of free will, conflict may no longer exist, but with no capacity for hate, there would be no capacity for love. People would be alive, but they would not be truly living.

Today at lunch, I invite you to sign the pledge and make the decision to be an upstander. Stand up for people who don’t have the voice to stand up for themselves. Be the change you wish to see in the world. It starts with you.

In the words of Mother Teresa, “People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies. Succeed anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight. Build anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today, people may often forget tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough. Give them your best anyway. In the end, it is between you and God. It never was between you and them anyway.”

Every day, every hour, every minute, every second, we have the choice to be selfish or selfless, greedy or gracious, jealous or happy, hateful or kind. We have the choice to choose love. Only love emanates everlasting joy, and the ability to discern love from selfish happiness at the expense of others is the first step towards letting go of self-centered idealized perfection. It is the key to resolving all conflict.

Let us pray. Dear God, thank you for the opportunity to make choices. Help us to recognize the beauty of life around us and to appreciate all people in our lives. Guide us to resolve conflict by setting aside selfishness for love and remembering that our lives are not measured by the mistakes we make, nor by the number of breaths we breathe, but by the lives we touch around us and the moments that take our breath away.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle. Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever.

Sarah Wong–Class of 2021


A Chapter of Our Story

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday, 3 April 2019)

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

How often do you think about being a member of the Lasallian community?

What did you think of when I asked that question? Did you think of your teachers? Your favorite or least favorite classes? Your friends? Do you have teammates? Is there a club or activity you enjoy doing?

Now I’d like you to take a moment to look around the room. Go on. Is there someone that you saw that you don’t know very well? Do you know what La Salle means to them? Do you know their stories?

There are so many different people in this school. Every person has a different hobby, different interests, different aspirations. Some people are in a bunch of clubs while others aren’t in any at all. Some love being here and never want to leave, while there are other people that can’t wait to finally be free to explore what the world has to offer. The way one person might see the world could easily differ from the way somebody else does. Each human being has a completely different story, but we all are lucky enough to have a chapter on La Salle Academy. As we are fortunate enough to be able to have these experiences with each other, though our time together is limited, making the most of it is important. As you interact with your classmates and teachers today, remember that your actions help determine your role in that chapter of someone else’s story.

Let us pray.

Lord, let us recall the importance of being a member of the La Salle community in 2019. Remind us of the power of our words and actions and the example we can set for others. Even though we don’t know every detail of the lives of the people we see and speak to on a daily basis, help us strive to create a positive impact on them and in our community. Give us the strength to do our part to make the world a better place.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for Us.

Live Jesus in Our Hearts…Forever.

Katie Rico–Class of 2019

Someone Who Understands

(Prayer offered on the Pubic Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 2 April 2019)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

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

A while ago I heard a story about a young boy who wanted to buy a puppy.  As the story goes, a store owner was tacking a sign above his door that read “Puppies for Sale.”  Signs like that have a way of attracting small children, and sure enough a little boy about 9 years old appeared under the store owner’s sign.  “Mister, how much are you going to sell the puppies for?” the little boy asked.  The store owner replied, “Anywhere from $30 to $50.”  The little boy reached into his pocket and pulled out a couple of rolled up bills and some change.  “I have $2.37,” he said.  “May I please look at them, Mister?”  The store owner smiled and whistled and out of the kennel came Lady, who ran down the aisle of his store followed by five teeny, tiny balls of fur.

One puppy was lagging considerably behind.  Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, “What’s wrong with that little dog?”  The store owner explained that the vetererinarian had examined the little puppy and had discovered that it didn’t have a hip socket.  It would always limp.  It would always be lame.  The little boy became excited.  “That is the puppy I want to buy.”  The store owner said, “No, you don’t really want to buy that little dog.  If you really want him, I’ll just give him to you.”

The little boy got quite upset.  He looked straight into the store owner’s eyes, pointing his finger, and said, “I don’t want you to give him to me, Mister.  That little dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I’ll pay full price.  In fact, I’ll give you $2.37 now and 50 cents a month until I have paid for him.”

The store owner countered, “You really don’t want to buy this little dog.  He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies.”  To the store owner’s surprise, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace.  He looked at the store owner and softly replied, “Well, I don’t run so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands.”

Tomorrow morning, Wednesday, someone will be passing an envelope around your classroom asking you once again this week to give money to support our brother school in Rongai, Kenya.  Some of you may roll your eyes, not wanting to be bothered, and simply pass it on to the next person, self-satisfied that you gave your $5.00 a few weeks ago at Dress-Down Day; some of you might take out some spare change or maybe even a dollar bill; some of you may be tempted to give a little more.  Like the little boy in the story, we give to those things we really believe in; we support those things that relate to us; we are generous when we identify with a cause, a person, or even a crippled puppy.

I ask you today and tomorrow morning especially to consider with what you can identify when we talk about the young men of Rongai Agricultural and Technical High School in Kenya.  They are your age; like you, they take school subjects like chemistry and algebra and English literature; like you, they love sports—the challenge of competing; like you, they want to get into college.  However, like the little puppy, they are at a disadvantage: they have been born into a country and a society that has far less than we; opportunities for making a better life for themselves and their families are much scarcer than for us; poverty and illness and natural disasters like famine and drought are much more commonplace.  Nevertheless, like the little boy in the story we do have something in common with them—we are Lasallians!   We all, young Lasallians at De La Salle Middle School and La Salle Academy and young Lasallians at Rongai Agricultural and Technical High School, have hopes and dreams—for ourselves and for our world.  We all strive for a world in which all young people can have a meal on their table, can lead a healthy life, and can have an education that will enable them to support their families.

Our society, like the store owner,  tells us that we really do not want to support these young people in Rongai—they are never going to be able to measure up to our standards, to become famous, to give us anything back.  However, the little boy had an answer to that; he said to the store owner that the puppy will need someone who understands.  Will we be the ones who will understand our fellow Lasallians, the young men in Rongai?  If we do, then like the little boy we will give not only our $2.37 but also our 50 cents a month—we will give not simply from our excess, what we have left over, the spare change, but we will give from our need—we will feel the pinch, we will sacrifice.  When we really believe in another we don’t hesitate to share whatever we can with that person.

So the question this morning is: How will we respond tomorrow?  Will we respond like the little boy and give our all OR will we just turn away, pass the envelope along, and pretend our brothers in Rongai do not exist or, worse yet, aren’t really worth it?


Let us pray:  Generous God, you have given us so much.  Help us to use our gifts to gift another.  Amen.


Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC


We Will Be The Change

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 1 April 2019–Students Against Violence Everywhere [SAVE] Week)

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

It is an unfortunate reality that violence exists in our world. I’m sure many of us feel overwhelmed when we switch on the news and find that there is another shooting, rape, or assault that took place. However, when something bad happens on the news we have the option of shutting it off and brushing it off. As a result, a lot of us remain ignorant of the acts of violence that occur around us.  It’s normal to us, so why bother watching it or discussing it?

We have become so used to hearing about violence that it is almost normal to hear about a mass shooting in a nightclub or a school. It becomes normal when we hear another person on the news accused of sexual assault. It becomes normal that we see someone post a mean comment about another person on social media. It is only when the situation drastically escalates that people are motivated to speak up and do something about it. When a tragedy happens, there is always a day or two spent discussing how it happened and all the things that could have been done to prevent it.  However, within a week, discussion either ceases or turns into an argument based on political views.  Either way, no real permanent solution is ever found.

We don’t have to wait for a tragedy to occur before discussing possible issues or attempting to find a solution.  Instead of arguing and fighting, we can choose to come together despite our political, religious, or socioeconomic views and find a way to make our schools and our communities better and safer.  Students Against Violence Everywhere is a club dedicated to not only discussing acts of violence in our world but coming up with solutions to these major issues.  By at least talking about violence and recognizing the fact that it is not normal and that something should be done about it, we are making a change. Today we invite both students and teachers to honor the victims of violence by wearing the orange or purple ribbons which will be handed out in homeroom throughout the week. The orange ribbons honor the victims of school shootings and mass shootings. The purple ribbons represent peace and nonviolence. By wearing these ribbons, we recognize that…

(Group part of the prayer)

In society today there are problems.  We are divided by countries, political parties, and fear of causing a ripple in society.

We will be the change.

The problems we face will not be solved unless someone is willing to step up and look past the boundaries.

We will be the change.

No matter who you are or where you come from, we all know we live in a violent world.

We will be the change.

That is why we must all look at the bigger picture, at what we want to see in the world.

We will be the change.

Imagine a world filled with peace and love, a world that is not divided but united and standing together as one.

We will be the change.

It is up to each and every one of us.

It is up to each and every one of us to be the change.

Let us pray.

Dear God, give each and every one of us the strength and courage to stand up against violence and be the change that is needed in our world.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Victoria Hennemann (Class of 2019) and Abigail Hjort (Class of 2019)–Members of SAVE

On the Shoulders of Giants

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 27 March 2019–Grandparents’ Day)

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

“We are standing on the shoulders of giants.”

I like to present this quote to my Senior students each semester as we begin our vocation class. As my Noni, my mother’s mom, would often say, in order to know where you’re going it’s important to know where you’re coming from. What I take from this quote is that no matter who we are, whether a Senior getting ready to graduate, a Freshman finding their place in high school, a teacher, a parent, a coach, or administrator, we all have at least one thing in common, not one of us has gotten to where we are without the love and support of those who came before us. We all have “giants” in our lives who have paved the way for us by sacrificing their time and resources, encouraging us when we need a lift, and inspiring us by their humble faith and work ethic in order that we may realize our God-given potential.

Today is Grandparents’ Day at La Salle. A hearty welcome to all our visitors in the building. In anticipation of this day I have been reflecting on my own grandparents, in particular my Noni. Just last week my Noni celebrated her 91st birthday. Praise God, she still has her mental faculties, which includes her witty sense of humor and a storehouse of practical godly wisdom she has acquired throughout her lifetime. My Noni stands shy of 5 feet tall but believe me, she is a giant. Born in Germany she experienced some dark times to say the least, including living through World War II. In fact, my grandfather was an American soldier and met my Noni during the Allied occupation of Germany following the war. My Noni came to America not knowing much English but she learned through the help and friendship of her mother-in-law, my great-grandmother, who ironically, spoke primarily Italian.

My Noni is a master storyteller. Some of my favorite memories are my conversations with her over the years. She loves to ask me about my children and my students, of whom I’m never hesitant to boast, and she quite often reminds me how she was a bit mischievous in her hayday. She always had a soft spot for the mischievous ones so perhaps that explains her affinity for me. When she tells me stories of her childhood days in Germany when times were much simpler in many ways, to the stories of her raising five children on her own and how much she loved all the neighborhood kids and tight-knit community, she can really paint a picture with words. It’s amazing how much we can learn through story.  After all it’s how we truly get to know and love someone—listening to their story and sharing our own, all the while becoming a part of one another’s story. Sacred Scripture is comprised primarily of stories, stories of faith and hope and God’s love for us, His people. My Noni was always a faithful follower of Jesus as far back as I remember, though I have come to learn that wasn’t always the case in her younger years. Her faith in Jesus is a huge part of the man I am today. She always appreciated me going to Church with her on Sundays when I was young, and I always appreciated the fruit flavor mentos she would always offer me as they helped me through what I often saw then as a long, boring sermon. Despite my lack of understanding of God and Church at the time, I did feel the spirit of a faith community through the people at her humble Baptist Church. And I always felt the love of God through the love I received from my Noni. She always made me feel like I was special, reminded me that God had a plan for me, and her humor, wisdom, encouragement, and example helped me to seek that plan for my life.  My hope and prayer for you all is that you have someone in your life who inspires you to do the same.

Let us pray…

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of the giants You put in our lives. Thank You for the parents, grandparents, and loved ones who support us in every way to make it possible for us to achieve our God-given potential. Today let us thank those in our lives who have played an integral role in shaping who we are, and who we are becoming. Grant us the strength to put the values of faith, love, and self-sacrifice that they have modeled for us into action today and everyday. And grant us the time to spend with them and listen to their stories, in order that we may understand more fully where we come from, and in so doing, perhaps gain a better understanding of where we are going.

Saint John Baptist de la Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever.

Anthony Russo–Campus Minister