LEAD Story 312

The Japanese are known for their deep appreciation of beauty in life and in all things. If in spring, the tradition among the Japanese is viewing the cherry blossoms (hanami, 花見) with family and special friends. In summer, its equivalent is the Hanabi taikai (花火大会) or the fireworks competition. The Brothers of the Sector of Japan were able to enjoy together the beauty of these ‘fire flowers’ atop a breezy viewpoint in Kagoshima, Japan during their Sector Assembly last 24-25 August. For two days, the communities from Hakodate and Kagoshima met in La Salle Gakuen to meet and discuss important directions for the future of the Sector of Japan. The assembly was facilitated by Br. Armin Luistro FSC, Brother Visitor, and graced as well with the presence of Br. Ricky Laguda FSC, PARC Councilor.

The assembly began with a meaningful retrospect of the Lasallian mission in Japan from 1932. Current ministries and efforts were also affirmed especially since the dawn of the Lasallian East Asia District. In light of various challenges, both in the country and in the local Church, hopes and dreams were renewed for the new generation of the Lasallian Family. Just like the awe-inspiring beauty of the fireworks festival, the assembly ended with hope and fortitude, and that seeing through the eyes of faith, we can faithfully follow the guiding stars in our mission. (Text & Photo: Br. Aikee Esmeli FSC)



On 25-27 August 2019, Br. Felipe Belleza FSC, Auxiliary Visitor of Lasallian East Asia District, visited La Salle Chotiravi Nakhon Sawan Brother’s Community and School to meet the Brothers, administrators, juniorates, faculty, and students. Br. Felipe was warmly received by the community and he shared inspiring testimonies to the school stakeholders and members. Br. Eugene Prapas Sricharoen FSC, School Director, introduced basic information about the school and invited Br. Felipe to grow a Plumeria tree, which is an institutional symbol. During the day Br. Felipe visited the students around the campus and in the evening had dinner with the Filipino teachers and the La Salle scholarship students. The visit of Br. Felipe has greatly cheered and inspired the community of La Salle Chotiravi Nakhon Sawan to continue doing its mission and service for the school and the Congregation. The school joins the LEAD Auxiliary Visitor in mutual prayer for the success of the various missions and future endeavors. (Text & Photos: Br. Raphael Tanet Lertwaja FSC)



The Japanese word, kizuna means the relational bond or connection between people. For some years now, a project has been successful in sustaining good relations between the Diocese of Sapporo and the Lasallian Family in the Philippines. I was working in Bagac, Bataan and then Brother Victor Gutierrez Sanchez FSC who was assigned in Hakodate La Salle put forward the idea of hosting volunteers from the Diocese of Sapporo. The said church had sustained volunteer program with an orphanage in Davao and during a certain time of difficulty, they had to look for an alternative venue. Since some of the volunteers involved teachers and students from Hakodate La Salle, he asked if Jaime Hilario Integrated School – La Salle could host the program.

In 2015, after an ocular trip by Mr. Deok Bosco Han of Hakodate La Salle, the program was finalized and the first visit was facilitated in 2016. The succeeding visits encouraged the students to raise funds in Japan and extend support not only to Jaime Hilario but to Kuya Center as well. For four straight years, the project has not only retold the story of the Lasallian Family in the Philippines but also brought deep learning to the Japanese participants, most of which come from various schools in Sapporo. It is very interesting how the project evolved from a simple charity project to a meaningful exchange and brought about rich experiences on culture, poverty and peace. The following are excerpts from the reflections of the volunteers in their recent visit in July this year. (Text & Photos: Br. Aikee Esmeli FSC)



“I was able to see a lot of meaningful connections among people during my 11-day learning visit to the Philippines. Whether in a rich or a poor place in Manila, the family is the most important in one’s life. Especially in St. Jaime Hilario School – De La Salle Bataan, even if the family has low income, they are always together and they have a warm relationship among themselves. It is easy to see that they are proud of this and I felt envious. During my homestay experience, it was nice not only to experience the warmth of the family where I was assigned to but also the neighbors took care of me as if they were part of the family as well. It is something I don’t usually see in Japan.” Sodai Fukuya, First Year, Senior High School, Hakodate La Salle



“Keeping the warmth of the Filipinos in mind, we went to the World War II museum (in Mt. Samat, Bataan) and my heart overflowed with emotions with what I saw. Until now, we’ve always learned the story about the atomic bomb and the war with a perspective of a victim and I never knew about how others saw Japan during the war and the acts that Japan was accused of. But when I saw the photos in the museum, while I was a bit suspicious, I was a little scared to meet the Filipinos after that. While learning what the Japanese have done in the Philippines, I wondered why they still welcomed us warmly. I am sure that the people of the Philippines will never forget the tragedy. I believe that to avoid it from happening again, we should accept this and keep this in our hearts. I hope to keep this attitude in a strong way.” Momoka Ishida, First Year Senior High School, Sapporo Fuji Girls’ High School

“This Philippine Volunteer visit was an opportunity to rethink my way of life. I thought about the importance of thinking about what you can do for those who suffer and doing something about it. Compared to Japan, the gap between rich and poor could be clearly seen in the Philippines. You could see that in one town, there is a high-class residential area and an area where street children lived. It was the La Salle volunteer network who skillfully helped me see these painful images. I also felt the generosity and the potential of my fellow volunteers to help the poor and it gave me hope like a light shining in the darkness. Even in Japan, there are many people who suffer and have difficulty. Looking at the Philippines, we would like to continue to expand our eyes and think about what we can do and carry out with the student volunteers.” Shinichi Nakazawa, Faculty, Sapporo Fuji Girls’ High School.


The House of Studies (HOST) Community in the Philippines had its soft opening on 27 May 2019, when the second-year scholastic Brothers – Br. Mico de Leon FSC, Br. Kino Escolano FSC, Br. Jeano Endaya FSC, and Br. Ivan Umali FSC – arrived in the house located in the Brothers’ residence in De La Salle University. The formation staff, headed by Br. Edgar Esparagoza FSC, the formator, with the staff members, Br. Moris Tang FSC and Br. Aikee Esmeli FSC, welcomed the second-year scholastics with a feast to celebrate their coming. The succeeding months became an orientation and onboarding for the second-year scholastics of the new community environment and their school exposure, which began in June, in De La Salle Santiago Zobel School.

After more than two months, HOST Community finally was completed and had its full opening on 17 August 2019, when the first-year scholastic Brothers – Br. Miggy Crisostomo FSC, Br. Carlo Rementilla FSC, and Br. Zafar Dogra FSC – arrived after their Novitiate program. On this day, Br. Miggy and Br. Carlo also had their first profession of vows. These events together truly made the day extra special and worthy of celebration for a wonderful year ahead of the community. Changes also continue to happen in its structure as Br. Aikee left the HOST for his new assignment in Kagoshima, Japan towards the end of August. With his departure comes the arrival of Br. Dan Sanding FSC to the community for his Parmenie program in preparation for his profession of perpetual vows. Despite the changes in the structure of the community, and in the spirit of openness to the graces of the God of surprises, HOST community remained hopeful and committed to achieve its goal of nurturing the young Brothers with temporary vows who just got out of the Novitiate of their apostolic identity by preparing them for the exercise of their ministry. (Text: Br. Ivan Umali FSC; Photos: Br. Edgar Esparagoza FSC)


On 22 August 2019, Br. Randrianasolo Z a fi m a m o n j y J e a n d e D i e u F S C successfully defended his PhD dissertation entitled “Lasallian Leadership Practices of School Leaders in Madagasikara: A Convergent Parallel Mixed Method Study,” as partial fulfilment of requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Education Major in Educational Leadership and Management. Congratulations, Br Jean!

Below is his thanksgiving letter:

Dear Brothers. My work would never have been possible without the active participation and support that you gave me. So, I would like to address my lively thanks to the Brothers of the LEAD District, in general, and the former Brother Visitor, Edmundo Fernandez, FSC, and the new Brother Visitor, Armin Luistro, FSC, in particular, for their love, care, and financial support. My special thanks also go to the Brothers in the 1911 Community and their staff who provided me the needed time and space to write my dissertation without interruption and interference. Finally, the last but not the least, I thank God for the opportunity He has provided me to go through the Educational Leadership and Management Program. My life is fully dedicated to bring glory to His Holy Name. Now, may the Lasallian Leadership Practices of School Leaders in Madagasikara: A Convergent Parallel Mixed Method Study provide additional contribution to the well being of humanity and extend His Kingdom on the face of Mother Earth. Brothers, I am happy to be with you. Once again, thank you, as always, and Live Jesus in our Hearts ! Forever. Your humble Brother Jean de Dieu, FSC, in Saint La Salle.