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

“I Am Not Free While Any Woman Is Unfree”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 14 March 2019—Poverty Awareness Week)

Good morning La Salle and De La Salle.

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

As I hope you know, this week is Poverty Education Week at La Salle.  March is also Women’s History Month.

So this morning, I’d like you to consider these realities:

According to statistics released last year by the National Women’s Law Center, 42 million women in the US live in poverty (that is 1 out of every 3 American women)  More than half of all poor children lived in female-headed families in 2015.  And one out of every six women in the world is a victim of attempted rape in her lifetime.  These women and girls are someone’s daughter, mother, sister, friend.

There are so many places in the world where it is just not safe to be a girl.

By now you’ve all heard the story of Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan—the young woman awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.   A prophetic and persistent voice for girls’ education, Malala survived a gunshot wound and attack as she traveled home from school one afternoon in 2012.

Perhaps you’ve also heard of Dr. Mona Attisha–a relentless and outspoken doctor who stood up to powerful politicians and spoke up on behalf of children being poisoned by their water in Flint, Michigan.  I encourage you to read her book What the Eyes Don’t See and to come to a discussion of this social justice crisis on Thursday, March 28, after school in the library.

And there are so many other stories, too numerous to mention here—of girls near and far sold into slavery and human trafficking, of female children arranged into marriages as young as 12 years old because their families cannot afford to feed them.

Until the day when ALL men and women live in the fullness that God intends for his children, there is much work to be done.  Imagine the world we could all have if women everywhere were not held in the shackles of poverty, sexual violence, and discrimination.  As the writer Audre Lorde reminded us, “I am not free while any woman is unfree.”

So what can you do?  How can you treat the women and girls in your life with dignity and more respect? How do we speak of women? in our society? in our school? in our communities? in our locker rooms? Do we listen to songs or watch movies that degrade and diminish women?   How do these lead us to treat the real women in our lives?  The women and girls in my life—my mom, my aunts, and my own daughter Madeleine inspire me to speak out.  I hope the girls in your life do the same.

Let us pray:

Jesus, our brother, friend, companion—You treated the women in your company as people in their own right and there were so many women–Mary Magdalen, Joanna, Peter’s mother-in-law, Jairus’ daughter, the woman at Bethany, Martha, the Samaritan woman, the widow of Nain, the woman bent in paralysis, the Syrophoenician woman, and so many of the unnamed ones.

We look to you as we ask forgiveness for the times we have hurt the women in our lives.  And we look to you to make us strong, so that we can create a world safe for all of us.

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

Live Jesus in our Hearts: Forever!

Christine Estes–Director of Campus Ministry

Poverty Awareness EVERY Week

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 12 March 2019—Poverty Awareness Week)

Good morning…

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

As you know, this week is Poverty Week at La Salle Academy. If I am being  honest with you this morning, I have always been conflicted regarding this one  week being referred to as Poverty Week. Why one week?  There are 365 days in  the year. What about the rest of the year? Don’t these topics deserve much  more?

The fact is that in our society today there are millions of people who experience poverty. Twenty per cent of children in RI live in poverty. Fighting poverty can  seem like an unwinnable task, but there are many steps that we at La Salle  Academy can take. Organizations that dedicate their time to fight poverty suggest that the best steps we can take in order to help are by educating ourselves regarding poverty in our area, by donating to local causes that directly benefit those who need help, by volunteering, and by helping out an individual. All of these  opportunities are available through La Salle Academy. As a Senior, you will have an  opportunity through Christian Service, but don’t wait until Senior year.  As you engage in lessons this week that focus on poverty, reflect on the information that you receive and conversations that follow.

What can you, what can we all do, to make a difference?

Let us pray…Lord, we pray for those who live in poverty, especially children. We  ask that you empower us here at La Salle Academy to share our gifts and  resources with those in our community who are the greatest of need. Although we  put particular focus on the poor this week, help us to keep all who suffer from  injustice in our hearts and minds each day in hopes that we will continue to stand beside them.   Amen.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts,  forever.

Stephen Emerson–Mathematics Teacher

The Power of Words

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 13 February 2019—Black History Month)

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

Words, with their power and potential, have always fascinated me. This is not surprising coming from an English teacher. Throughout my life I have been inspired by countless authors whose words and works have shaped me, comforted me, and challenged me. And while this list includes the expected names like Shakespeare and Dickinson, the author with the most profound impact on me is the current Poet Laureate of the United States, Tracy K. Smith.

Her impressive list of awards includes the Cave Canemen prize for best first book by an African-American Poet, and the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her book Life on Mars.

I had the privilege of taking her Poetry class in 2011 while she was still a professor in my Master’s Program. What astounded me most about her was not her accolades but the deep humanity of her presence and her spoken and written words.

While she was still quite young, Tracy began to understand the role language plays in the world. In her memoir entitled Ordinary Light, Tracy recalls a TV show from her childhood that made her feel connected and inspired her. She writes,

“Gettin’ to Know Me,” [was] the only show I’d ever seen that focused on a black girl – not only on her but on her parents and little brother and grandparents as well. It took her entire world into consideration instead of making her a satellite to more prominent white characters. In every episode, the girl, who would have been just a little older than me with neat braids or bushy loose ponytail, learned about Black History from her grandmother…The girl on “Gettin’ to Know Me” never clammed up when she felt herself getting close to the pain of Home. She knew which questions to ask. She was brave, strong in her sense of what that heavy history added up to…

It is this history that is part of Tracy’s focus in her current mission as Poet Laureate.

In a recent cross country tour called “American Conversations” Tracy’s goal was to help others see the “humanizing power of poetry.” She believes that, “poems put us in touch with our most powerful memories, feelings, questions and wishes,” and that, “talking about poems might be a way of leaping past small-talk and collapsing the distance between strangers.”

During Black History Month it is important not only to remember the towering figures of the past but also the very real and very powerful individuals present in our lives today who continue to inspire the conversations that bring us all closer together..

Let us pray,

Heavenly father,

Tracy’s poetry and prose reminds us that we all possess the power to transform the world in which with live. Let us pray that words can indeed have the power Tracy, and so many others believe they can to transform, challenge, and unite.

Help us to live with a strong connection to our own humanity and in doing so become closer to each other and to you.

And, like the little girl in Gettin’ to Know Me, please help us know which questions to ask and, when we get the answers, to be strong in our sense of what history adds up to.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us

Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever

Emily McLean–English Teacher



A Prayer for Healing

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 12 February 2019—Black History Month)

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

On January 28, 2000, Cornel Young Jr. was shot and killed on the corner of Atwells Avenue and Valley Street in the city of Providence, Rhode Island.

At the age of 29, the life of a young black police officer of three years came to a tragic end. Cornel Young Jr, a graduate of Classical High School was the son of the Providence Police Department’s highest ranking African-American officer, Major Cornel Young Sr.

At the time of the incident, Cornel Young Jr. was off duty eating at a late night diner called Fidas when a dispute between two customers escalated to an extent that resulted in police being called to the restaurant. When two uniformed police officers arrived, one of the patrons involved in the dispute pulled out a firearm. Officer Young, dressed in plain clothes, saw the fire arm pulled and, as a result, he pulled his service weapon, which all off duty officers were required to carry at the time.

The uniformed police officers began to shout, “Drop your weapon, drop your weapon.” Officer Young assumed they were shouting at the customer who was part of the disturbance, as he approached the officers. Instead the officers fired on their fellow officer Cornel Young, who they claim they did not recognize as the incident unfolded.

Cornel Young was shot six times and was pronounced dead hours after arriving at a local hospital.

Today the Young & Woods Providence Public elementary school bears the name of Sergeant Cornel Young Jr. and serves as a daily reminder of the complicated history of black males falling victim to lethal force, perhaps none more complicated than a black male police officer falling victim to a police shooting.

Let us pray for peaceful communities.

Let us pray for our law enforcement who risk their lives to protect us all and are daily forced to deal with the consequences of a long legacy of globalized racism.

Let us pray for reconciliation and healing for the institutional racial discrimination that continues to influence and shape our society.

Let us pray for all victims of gun violence, especially young black males who are disproportionately victims of the gun violence found in the United States.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle… Pray for Us

Live Jesus in Our Hearts… Forever

Mark Carty–Social Studies Teacher

To Be the Best We Can Be

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday, 11 February 2019—Black History Month)

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

I will be reading a poem by cwoods.

Beautiful woman this poem is for you

Full of beauty and grace

Rare black Queen sitting high on your throne

No one can take your place

Your heart is full of pure gold

Never to be played with

Bought or sold

Your Love is Patient Your Love is kind

Always trying to bring joy to others even when you can’t do it for yourself

And keeping them close in mind

A good woman is what you are

A woman to whom is proud of who she is and what she stands for

Never seeking definition from whom she is with

A strong woman is what I see when I look at you

One who can pick up the small pieces of her broken heart

And carry on as if she was never hurt in the first place.

When talking about this woman I can’t help but smile

Knowing the woman that I can speak so highly of is ME.

Let us pray:

God, give us all the confidence we need to be the best that we can be:  to remember where we came from and our royal blood;  to know our own worth and to not let anyone change who we are;  to be strong when others try to bring us down because they do not understand us.; to spread out love to others and show how unique each one of us is.  To the “Rare black Queens” sitting on your thrones, do not let the hate stop you from taking your place.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Monique DaFonseca–Class of 2019

They Are Our Children—-They Are Our Students

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 27 March 2018)

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

This past weekend I was riveted to the news, watching young people from all over the US march for a cause they are passionate about, searching for a way to express their beliefs, and demanding to be heard. The signs they held were barbed, ironic, and just plain funny. Their speeches were thoughtful and delivered from the heart. Yes I realize that not everyone believes in their cause, although no one on either side wants to see children die.  But if we could, for a moment, push political rhetoric aside, what we would see are amazing children and young adults participating in the wider community. What I saw made me proud to be a parent and an educator.

And what I saw was another movement, in the summer of 1963, where Americans from all over the US marched for a cause they were passionate about. In fact, much like our children today, their very lives depended on it. Unfortunately, the passage of time has condensed that march to a single speech, Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech. And no disrespect to Dr. King, but history has forgotten the hundreds of thousands of young black Americans who demanded their civil rights and freedom on that day, on the days to follow, and still today. Although the causes are very different, the marchers on Saturday are much like those who stood in solidarity 55 years ago. Like their historical brethren they are enduring discrimination and hatred not just for their cause and but for who they are.  And who they are, are beautiful, talented, articulate, flawed, mature and immature, complex, nuanced, and incredibly important members of our society. They are our children, our students, our friends, our loved ones, and our future. Our community is strengthened by their activism as opposed to the people who sit back and hate.

Let us pray:

Dear God,

Help us to come together to stop the gun violence in our communities that kills so many of our young people.

Help us to see how our perceived cultural norms alienate so many.

Help us to understand the pain of mental disease.

Help us to celebrate those who actively participate in their communities and show passion for social justice.

Help us to put aside our differences and come together to solve real problems.

We ask this in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ.  Amen


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

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Kristine Chapman—Social Studies Teacher

“I Am Equal—I Am Equal—I Am Equal”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address and intranet systems for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday, 27 February 2018—Black History Month)

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

I’ll be reading a poem written by M, called “equality”,

do not talk down on me like I am less of a soul

less of a point of the whole universe observing itself

less of an intelligence than you are; I am

equal, I am equal, I am equal, I am equal

and how long have we been trying to prove it?


Let us pray,

Oh Lord you created us in your image and likeness.

Help us create a world where people are not afraid of being who they truly are, no matter where they come from, what they believe in, who they love or the color of their skin; where people are not racially profiled, killed, or mistreated because of their race. But instead let us live in a society of acceptance, peace, and knowledge, where people understand each other and fight for equity to make the world a better place.

Saint John the Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Alejandro Jimenez—Class of 2018

Uplift Our Narratives

(Prayer offered on the Public Address and intranet systems for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 26 February 2018—Black History Month)

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

Given the introduction of these poems throughout the span of this month, I’ve decided to read a piece named “These Poems” by June Jordan.

“These poems

they are things that I do

in the dark

reaching for you

whoever you are


are you ready?


These words

they are stones in the water

running away


These skeletal lines

they are desperate arms for my longing and love.


I am a stranger

learning to worship the strangers

around me


whoever you are

whoever I may become.”


When I first read this poem it struck me as very subtle but also very powerful. Poems are meant to reach out to you and connect you to the poet as if you were next to them while he or she was writing it. A sense of freedom and liberation should come to mind as you hear these prayers or poems because that was their intended purpose. Poems represent the free nature of putting a pencil down to paper without having anyone else to tell you what to write or how to write it.

As Black History Month comes to an end, let us remember that these poems and prayers are calls to freedom from a population that has been historically marginalized for generations. We must uplift their narratives, we must derive lessons from the words they have bestowed onto us. As a society, the only way we can move forward is by looking back and analyzing our own history.

Let us pray,

God, we say thank you for those who shared throughout the course of Black History Month. Let the impact of these poems and prayers remain within the hearts of those at La Salle Academy and let us ensure that the efforts of those who fought for the cultivation of Black History Month have not been done so in vain.


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

Live Jesus in our hearts, forever

Kenny Demola–Class of 2018

A Chance To Chase Our Dreams

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system and via the school-wide intranet for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday, 16 February 2018—Black History Month)

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

Today I will be reading a poem called,


BY Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up

like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore—

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over—

like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags

like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Let us pray,

For a promising future where we unite as human beings and strive for a community that provides equal opportunity to all regardless of race or socioeconomic status—a community where everyone is entitled to the chance to chase their dreams. Allow those who wish to make a positive impact in our world the opportunity to make their dreams become a reality.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Beah Cyrus–Class of 2018