LEAD Story 390

MALAYSIA - In 1852, six De La Salle Brothers arrived in Asia through the Straits Settlements, specifically Singapore, with the hopes of establishing schools that would cater to the needs of the faithful. Upon their arrival in Singapore, three of the six Brothers then headed to Penang to establish the first Lasallian school in Asia, Saint Xavier’s Institution. It is noteworthy that while Penang was the site of the first school founded by the Brothers, the Brothers began their first ministry in Asia in Singapore at what was known as Saint John’s, eventually renaming it to Saint Joseph’s Institution in 1867.

Fast forward to 2022, 170 years later, Brother Antonio, Brother Carlo and Brother Miguel took the same steps as the first three Brothers in Penang from Singapore. Their visit to Malaysia was in response to an invitation from the La Salle Centre in Ipoh to have students and teachers interact with young Brothers and for the Brothers to share and promote the three Lasallian core values of Faith, Service, and Community. Moreover, the visit to Malaysia was an opportunity also for the young Brothers to experience the Lasallian mission and family in Malaysia as they, together with Singapore, celebrate 170 years since the first arrival of the Brothers in 1852.

In total throughout their 12-day stay in Malaysia, the Brothers visited to six (6) schools and two (2) branch schools, namely:

  1. Saint Xavier’s Institution in Penang
    1. SXI Branch school along Jalan Sekolah La Salle
    2. SXI Branch school along Pulau Tikus
  2. Saint George’s Institution in Taiping
  3. Saint Michael’s Institution in Ipoh
  4. La Salle School in Petaling Jaya
  5. Saint Francis Institution in Melaka
  6. Saint Andrew Primary and Secondary Schools in Muar, Johor Bahru

Throughout their visit to West Malaysia, the Brothers from the sector of Singapore were welcomed with pomp, joy, and enthusiasm by the different Lasallian communities. What was common throughout the visit was how warm the welcome was every time they visited a certain community. The uniqueness and the vibrancy of the local culture were showcased each time a school presented their performances, such as the flanking of the uniformed student personnel and the school military bands that played school rallies and hymns, as the Brothers entered the schools.

The highlight of the visit were the students. Each time the Brothers addressed the school or a group of Lasallians, the students were first and foremost acknowledged as they are the purpose of the Brothers’ visit. It was a meaningful engagement as the Brothers not only shared about the core Lasallian values, but their story on how they became De La Salle Brothers and what makes them want to live out the rest of their lives as Brothers. It was through this encounter that the Brothers hoped to ignite a spark of renewed interest in the life of the Brothers.

Moreover, the Brothers met and conversed with the different Lasallian partners from the different regions of Malaysia, who were responsible for the strengthening and the promotion of the Lasallian culture in the different institutions. In their dialogue and conversation with them, it was clear that they are desiring for a more visible presence of the Brothers in the different schools as they see them as the animators of the Lasallian values.

Another group that the visiting Brothers met throughout their stay in Malaysia were the Old Boys, who were also filled with enthusiasm and hope to meet the Brothers. In the Brothers’ conversations with the Old Boys, they, too, echo the call for more Brothers to come visit, and even work in Malaysia. In the stories of the Old Boys, they recall how the Brothers were excellent teachers and, indeed, bigger Brothers to them. It was the Brothers who inspired them to become the best persons they can be through how the Brothers taught them, and how they treated them when they were students. It was a walk down memory lane for the Old Boys who dearly missed their Brother-teachers. In addition to their stories of the Brothers, the Old Boys also shared with the visiting Brothers about the role they play in keeping the Lasallian ethos and tradition alive as they recall the words drilled into their minds: enter to live, leave to serve. They live up to this spirit as they continue to serve the mission as members of the Board of Governors in the schools, raising funds to help develop and maintain the schools they continue to call their home, and to ensure that the place they call home will be a home for students who walk in its hallways. Yes, the Lasallian mission is enduring, forging ahead after 170 years, inspiring Brothers and Lasallians throughout the sector. The mission is alive!

The Brothers came back to Singapore with grateful hearts to those who made their visits to the students and the schools successful and with a greater awareness and perspective of the Lasallian mission in LEAD. May the God who guided the first missionaries to the Straits Settlements bless the sector of Malaysia and the congregation with Brothers who will willingly bring the joy of the Gospel with fervent zeal and unyielding faith to create a community who will forever serve the last, the lost, and the least, making the kingdom of God ever-present and truly alive in the world today and in the future. (Text: Br. Miggy Crisostomo FSC; Photos: Br. Miggy Crisostomo FSC, Br. Carlo Rementilla FSC, Mr. James Sia)

Some local news articles of the Brothers’ visit: (click on the titles to visit the webpage)

  1. Two Students Win School Excellence Awards
  2. SAS Muar Owes Excellence To Dedicated Teacher
  3. Catholic Brothers Shore Up Lasallian Fellowship
  4. Catholic Teachers Remembered for their 120 Years of Service at St Francis Institution

PHILIPPINES - The House of Hope looked back on its journey of giving hope to the hopeless.

Last June 28, the Bahay Pag-asa Youth Center (BPYC) celebrated its 20th Anniversary with joy and gratefulness. They were joined by people who share the same heart of helping young men rejoin society with confidence.

It was a day of thanksgiving for the donors' and benefactors' support and God's blessing to the BPYC and its residents. As a sign of gratitude, the BPYC displayed donor walls to remind them of the help received, which sparked hope in the residents. Also, mosaic artworks created by the residents in a workshop of Ms. Ihvonie Sevilleno, USLS-IS Batch '96, on June 26 at BPYC were displayed and given as tokens to the donors and benefactors. With the assistance of the College of Education, the residents showcased their talent for singing and dancing as they rendered a special presentation to show that they were ever grateful for the support they had received.

A Mass presided by Fr. Chris Gonzales officially started the foundation day celebration. Some BPYC residents, along with the help of the USLS Center for Lasallian Ministries Team, sang praises to the Lord through a choir presentation.

Afterwards, the main program opened with an invocation led by a BPYC resident, followed by welcome remarks of Br. Joaquin Severino Martinez, FSC, USLS President and Chancellor. Furthermore, Br. Dan Fenton, FSC, BPYC Animator, told the story of BPYC--its beginnings and how it became as is it today. Moreover, the Founding Brother of BPYC, Br. Gus Boquer FSC, spoke of how the BPYC ignited the dimmed hope of the young men and opened a brighter future for them. A former resident had proven the goodness of BPYC as he shared how he was once a boy with no hope and future into a man of a promising future. He expressed his gratitude and will give back and share the hope he once received with the BPYC and its residents

A group of artists had also become part of sharing hope with the BPYC. During the foundation day, artworks from different artists across Bacolod were displayed and marketed. A portion of the proceeds from selling their artworks will be given to the BPYC.

It was the people behind it who made the celebration successful. The BPYC residents and staff worked hard to make the event memorable to the donors, benefactors, and friends. They were assisted by the College of Education faculty and volunteers, who gave their time and effort to teach the presentation's choreography to the residents, help with the decoration and exhibit, and usher in the event.

The celebration ended with smiles on the residents' faces and hopefulness in their eyes. It will be kept close in their hearts as it was a day of expressing thanks, giving back, reliving hope, and sharing hope. (Text: Jerah Elijan (USLS student) & Jaycee Seran (USLS teacher); Photos: The Spectrum - USLS & University of St. La Salle Official Facebook Pages)

THAILAND - Thai students honor their teachers by commemorating Wai Kru Day, also known as Teachers’ Appreciation Day. This traditional Thai ceremony is held at the start of the new academic year to demonstrate respect and thanks for teachers' tireless work. During the celebration, the kids create and present a phan, a traditional Thai tray filled with flowers, candles, popped rice, and other presents.

Our pupils use different gimmicks in our Lasallian schools to show thanks to their teachers. Students from La Salle Bangna, La Salle Chanthaburi, and La Salle Nakhon Sawan rewarded their teachers and administrators with different presents. Students from La Salle Sangklaburi dress in traditional Thai attire and deliver gifts and traditional phan to the Brothers and professors. The pre-postulant candidates also honor their in-house instructors, Br. Joseph Klong FSC and Br. Eugene de Luna FSC, with a special prayer ceremony and flower presentation. (Text: Br. Eugene de Luna FSC; Photos: La Salle Chanthaburi's Official Facebook Page, Br. Raphael from La Salle Sangklaburi, Ms. Rattikarn Sritarapiphat of La Salle Nakhon Sawan, Martin Puri of La Salle Sampran, Br. Matthew of La Salle Bangna)

MYANMAR - We would like to express our thanks and appreciation to Mr. Marco Rey Macatangay for his labor and love with Lasallian Mission in La Salle Centre, Yangon.

His willingness to use his gifts and abilities has strengthened the Lasallian mission and educational services for the youth in Myanmar.

His service has been greatly appreciated by the students, staff and leaders from La Salle Centre.

Mr. Marco Rey Macatangay has volunteered to teach in our Online English Program (Advanced Level) from Jan 2022 to July 2022.

We hope that he will be able to make such a great contribution to our mission again in the future. God bless Mr. Marco Rey Macatangay! (La Salle Centre Official Facebook Page)

HONG KONG - The Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) examination results have already been released and one student from La Salle College came out as a top scorer. Jason Cheung Yan Shek got 5** in seven subjects. What’s also interesting is that, at his young age, he has already written a textbook about organic chemistry that encompasses everything within the HKDSE syllabus as well as interesting facts and knowledge beyond the syllabus.

Congratulations, Jason! (Text & Photos: Mr. Joe Au Yeung, LSC Math & ICT Teacher)

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THAILAND - La Salle Bangna's Teachers Football Team, headed by Mr. Thaweesak Mekruab, and the Brothers community organizes a friendly football game to show the importance of sports, health, and camaraderie amongst the Brothers, teachers, staff, pre-postulants, alumni, and some guests. The football game took place on June 25, 2022, at La Salle Bangna’s football ground in Bangkok.

The LA SALLE Team, which comprised the Brothers, teachers, and pre-postulants, played against THE GUESTS Team, which included the alumni and some guests. Mr. Sarayut Shaikumdee, a former football player from Thailand National Team, and Mr. Naphat Shurijiytree, a famous Thai local comedian, were also present to grace the event. The one-hour and 30 minutes game ended with a 6-3 score in favor of the LA SALLE Team. (Text: Br. Eugene de Luna FSC; Photos: La Salle Bangna)