LEAD Story 357

The Philippines is celebrating 500 years since Christianity was introduced. Since then, many people have given their lives for the propagation of the faith in our land. It is, but timely, to also give credit for the spread of the faith through the educational ministry of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.

Many Brothers have given their lives for this educational ministry, going to assignments, to new places, and letting the presence of God be felt through their actions. One such Brother is Br. Edgar S. Esparagoza FSC, who professed his perpetual vows as a De La Salle Brother on 04 April 2021 at 4:00 PM. Br. Edgar consistently described the life of the Brothers or #buhayBRO as a life worth living, but more than living it out, he has given it all to the ministries entrusted to him in his role as a teacher in De La Salle Lipa, the vocations promoter of the Brothers in the Philippines, and more recently, the formator at the House of Studies in De La Salle University.

The event was graced by the PARC General Councillor, Br. Ricardo Angel Laguda FSC, LEAD Visitor, Br. Armin Luistro FSC, and former LEAD Visitor, Br. Edmundo Fernandez FSC. Also present during the event were the Brothers Communities of Bagac, Lasallian Formation Center, and St. Benilde. The mass was at the Chapel of the Divine Child and was presided by Fr. Louie Punzalan SVD, chaplain of La Salle Green Hills.

Br. Edgar’s “call” began when he was a Lasallian volunteer in Bagac. His experience with the young and the teaching ministry made him closer to the call and to God. One such experience, as Br. Normandy Dujunco FSC recalls, was when a child asked, then volunteer Edgar, to assist him to the comfort room. By saying yes to this experience, Br. Edgar, like the Founder, gave his “yes” to any experience that would allow him to be of service to others.

We continue to pray for Br. Edgar, his parents, and his loved ones that God may continue to grace them more as Br. Edgar continues to respond to living a life worth living by giving it out to the last, the least, and the lost.

Congratulations, Br. Edgar! (Text: Br. Miggy Crisostomo FSC; Photos: Mr. Marc Gepaya)

Click on the link below to view the event on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-etV67Nh_EM&t=3007s

Excerpts from Br. Normandy Dujunco’s shared reflection:

“Today, we also celebrate such a daring commitment: Br Edgar will profess perpetual vows. He also finally shaved off his goatee. The process that led Br. Edgar to this day was one of joy, but also of hardship, endurance, and careful discernment. Just as our responsorial psalm extolled God’s unending mercy, Br. Edgar’s life is a living witness to the fidelity of God.

It was in Br. Edgar’s second year as a volunteer that we met each other. I was a young Brother assigned to Bagac, and he was the director of the volunteer’s community. Another Brother requested that I try to invite him to consider joining the aspirancy program. So I approached him one day to invite him to walk with me: “Halika, lakad tayo.” My premise was that we will exercise together, and hopefully, lose weight together. No volunteer has ever joined the Brothers and stayed, so my expectations were rather low. Br. Edgar, you and I have come a long way from those days. Here we are today, still fat.

Today, you make public your intention to be a Brother for the rest of your life. You commit to the Institute, as much as the Institute commits to you. “Halika, lakad tayo” has now taken on a wider meaning. From the moment you made first vows, you have chosen to join the journey that was started by John Baptist de La Salle and his followers more than three hundred years ago. You are one of us and we are very happy to have you among our company.

You have come a long way since your Balayan days. You have been assigned to many places and have fulfilled a variety of duties. Some of them were very dear to you, while others were a bit more challenging. Through all of these different roles you discovered God’s enduring love and consistent presence, even if reality turned out different from your expectations. In the years of your temporary vows, you have further confirmed that God provides beyond what you ask. God’s providence has never failed you and you have learned to cling to the promise of God’s goodness no matter what happens.

Br. Edgar, as the years unfold for you, please do your best to keep these virtues, no matter what assignment you are given, no matter what authority you may wield one day. When one day you find yourself entrusted with greater authority and power, always be kind, compassionate, and fair to those entrusted to your care.

As we celebrate this day, Br. Edgar, know that I am so proud of the Brother you have become. May you always be attentive to God’s tiny whispering voice saying “Feed my lambs, feed my sheep.” Like the disciple whom Jesus loved, may you be able to exclaim “It is the Lord!” in the many events that will unfold in your life.”

On Friday, the first week of Lent, 26 February 2021, the LEAD Mission Council (LMC) invited several members of the LEAD leadership team and District Council to a consultation meeting on the proposed LMC constitution or charter (only a working title) and the creation of Sector Mission Council (where no functioning body exist). Attending the LMC special meeting were (from top row, left to right): Br. Nicolas Seet, Jay Gervasio, Coreen Paul, Br. Antonio Cubillas, Br. Matthew Chumkhamta, Paul Tam, Br. Felipe Belleza and Christine Soe Hlaing. (Text & Photo: Mr. Jay Gervasio)

THAILAND - On the 5th of April 2021, La Salle Chotiravi Nakhonsawan School had an opportunity to welcome Br. Francisco Teerayut Chadang FSC to the school as the new director for this academic year. We, the Brothers, teachers, school staff, and students really feel honored indeed for having him here with us.

We really acknowledge having him in our school. His ability, natural aptitude, impressive knowledge and his experiences can be useful for the improvement of the school. We all greet you, new director.

Lastly, we hope that Br. Francisco will be happy and joyful with his assignment as the director of the school. Even though it’s so hard, his skills, talents and experiences will lead the school to move forward and drive the Lasallian Spirit into reaching the goal.

May the Holy Lord always watch over and bless you with love and grace for this challenging mission.

Live Jesus in our hearts! Forever! (Text & Photos: Br. Johnny Perapong Kaewkanha FSC)

Excerpts from the Article:

The Young Brothers of De La Salle in the Philippines launched a tripartite monthly online discussion project to explore and engage the Lasallian community across the country to the recently issued documents through Lasallian Visions 2021 (LSV 2021). Its last installment of the Declaration Trilogy was held via Zoom on Friday, March 26.

The two recent institute documents, where the project was centered on, are “Declaration on the Lasallian Educational Mission” and “Identity Criteria for the Vitality of Lasallian Educational Ministries.”Other than the circulation of the contents of the Declaration, the project aims to aid the Philippine Lasallian Family to further understand what it means to be part of the said family. Practices and applications of the core values of the founder St. John Baptist de La Salle can be shared through fraternal dialogue.Each Lasallian school has a team to represent their institution as envoys of their individually unique Lasallian institutional identity. Despite the differences in culture, environment, and methods, all of them were rooted from the universal calling in living the Lasallian Mission.

Former Brother President of De La Salle Green Hills and De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde, and “well-loved Filipino Brother”, Br. Victor “Vic” Franco FSC shared his Lasallian input as the resource speaker where he talked about the challenges of the Lasallian education presented in the fourth chapter of the Declaration.

After the talk, a breakout session was done wherein each school discussed the challenges present in their respective learning communities and how they plan to address these concretely. The Young Brothers were distributed in the 19 rooms to facilitate and oversee the discussion.

Though the trilogy has come to a halt, the commissioning rites is not just the be-all-and-end-all of the project. Rather, it is the beginning of the newly blessed and appointed disciples to expand, share, and partake the Lasallian mission and its core values of faith, zeal for service, and communion in mission towards a road for a better future - together and by association.

Seeing the success of the event, LSV 2021 Online Gathering Head Organizer Br. Edmon Viroomal FSC is eyeing to amplify more LSV meetings, hinting at an incoming engagement that will most likely fall by the upcoming birthday of St. La Salle. (Text: Ms. Zophia Emmanuelle Tendido; Photos: Lasallian Visions 2021 Facebook Page)

PHILIPPINES - The Walk With Bro Series (2020) was positioned as a free live webinar. This is a joint effort between the De La Salle Alumni Association (DLSAA) and De La Salle University (DLSU) Office of the Vice President for Lasallian Mission, headed by Ms. Fritzie de Vera.

5 Christian Brothers were initially lined-up to be part of the series. And, each Brother was given a topic to share. Their stories/sharing was based on the actual places in France where St. John Baptist de La Salle lived and worked. Walk With Bro is a journey-telling the story of the great educational movement that De La Salle and his first Brothers began in 1680 to renew the alumni’s Lasallian identity and spirit. The 5 Brothers that were lined up for the event were the following:

  1. Br. Michael Broughton FSC
  2. Br. Ricky Laguda FSC
  3. Br. Michael Valenzuela FSC
  4. Br. Armin Luistro FSC
  5. Br. Vic Franco FSC

Eventually, Mr. Ramon del Rosario AFSC was added to the list.

The series ended last March 20, 2021 with Br. Robert Schieler FSC, Superior General of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. His topic was Moving Forward with the Lasallian Mission: Insights from the Superior General. We can proudly say that we had close to 200 attendees.

The series was conceptualized sometime July 2020. Having just taken office as President of the De La Salle Alumni Association (Manila), our goal was to have a refresher under the supervision of a La Salle Brother. Br Michael Broughton FSC was tapped to refresh the Board of Trustees of the DLSAA, specifically on values learned and taught by St. John Baptist De La Salle. Focus was on the fundamentals of the Lasallian Educational Heritage using as a model the Lasallian star. It was right after this where we asked ourselves what else can we do for the alumni community. It was going to be quite a challenge considering the presence of Covid-19 in our country. The key question was, how are we as an Association going to engage the alumni community? And so we looked at our most valuable resource, the Christian Brothers. Fortunately for us we were honored also with the presence of Mr. Ramon del Rosario AFSC, a distinguished Lasallian in his own right, and has proudly said that the values he gained from his Lasallian education, he has passed on to his many companies in the private sector that he leads. Again, without a doubt, this series was possible due to the tireless efforts put in by the Office of the Vice President for Lasallian Mission. (Text & Photos: Mr. Karl Velhagen)

Visit the DLSAA website to view the Walk With Bro webinar with Br. Robert Schieler FSC: http://www.dlsaa.com/content/walk-br-robert-schieler-fsc

Br. Alex

Br Benedict

Br Richie

Br Vince