LEAD Story 392

PHILIPPINES - For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, the De La Salle Brothers Philippines welcomed three new Postulants from a community of Young Professional Aspirants.

The Rites of Acceptance to the Postulancy for Zennel Sy, Jose Ruben Garcia, and Lemuel Asunción was held last August 27, 2022 at the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Chapel inside De La Salle University Dasmariñas (Cavite, Philippines). The Eucharistic Celebration, coinciding with the Feast of Saint Monica, was presided by University Chaplain Rev. Fr. Reinier Dumaop, together with concelebrating priests Rev. Fr. Reginald Malicdem and Rev. Fr. Kali Pietre Llamado from The Manila Cathedral. The Rite of Acceptance was officiated by LEAD Auxiliary Visitor Br. Antonio Cubillas FSC. Filipino Brothers, as well as the families and friends of the Postulants, attended the ceremony. A small reception followed, held at the Senior High School Building of the university.

The three new Postulants come from diverse educational and professional backgrounds. Zennel graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Accountancy from De La Salle University Manila and has been involved in mission work with the Apostolate for Family Consecration in Ohio for 25 years. Prior to that, he worked at the Bank of the Philippine Islands and was also an entrepreneur and certified public accountant. Zennel is currently enrolled in the Certificate in Teaching Program at the De La Salle University in Dasmariñas, Cavite. Ruben on the other hand holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Philosophy from the St. Thomas of Villanova Institute (College Seminary of the Order of St. Augustine) and the Ateneo De Manila University and has worked as a philosophy and theology teacher at Manresa School in Paranaque from 2019 to 2022. Lastly, Lemuel, who has a bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy and a master’s degree in Health Professions Education from the University of the Philippines Manila, has taught occupational therapy, neuroscience, and research at the same university and at the De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute in the past eight years.

The Postulancy Program for 2022-2023 has been adapted to match the unique contexts of the Postulants as well as the pandemic situation. The program, for example, will not be held at the Lasallian Formation Center in La Salle Greenhills, but rather in active Brothers’ communities such as in Dasmariñas City (Cavite, Luzon) and in Ozamiz City (Misamis Occidental, Mindanao). The Postulants look forward to the blended nature of their program which includes in-house and online sessions as well as local and international exposures.

Zennel, Ruben, and Lemuel would like to extend their appreciation to all the people involved in organizing the rites of acceptance, most especially to Br. Antonio Cubillas FSC, Br. Butch Alcudia FSC, and Br. Victor Franco FSC of the Lasallian Formation Center; Brother President Sockie de la Rosa FSC, Vice Chancellor Ritche Bongcaron, Rev. Fr. Reinier Dumaop, Mr. Ron Angeles, Mr. Leo Manansala, and Mr. Nathaniel Golla from De La Salle University Dasmariñas; Ms. Nancy Go Martin, Mr. Richard Alina, Mr. Randy Casayuran, Mr. Dexter Doria, and Mr. Gelo Pempengco from De La Salle Philippines, and Br. Aikee Esmeli FSC for being the commentator during the Holy Mass. (Text: Postulant Lee Asuncion; Photos: DLSP-CORE)

THAILAND - The young Brothers of Thailand joined together for an annual meeting and recollection at De La Salle Brothers House in Phutawan, Pakchong District, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, last July 28-29. The event aims to reflect on the current educational condition in the sector through the lens of the Christian and Lasallian charism and to focus on the importance of the Brotherhood in the ministry.

The event started with a prayer service on the journey with Jesus, followed by the inspirational speech of Br. Joseph Klong FSC. He highlighted that the young Brothers are the fourth generation (4th Gen.) of Brothers in Thailand and the future of the schools and the formation program in the sector.

After the short message and reflection, the 4th Gen Bros, headed by Br. Matthew Thawatchai FSC, plans the different programs for the young Brothers and the sector of Thailand and assigns tasks to committee coordinators. In the meeting, Br. Matthew appointed the following Brothers to the different committees. Br. John Pongpat FSC as the Lasallian Education Team Coordinator, Br. Philip Bancha FSC as the Lasallian Vocation and Formation Committee Coordinator, Br. Luke as Recollection and Recreation Team Coordinator and Br. Benedict Chaiwat FSC as Communications and Social Media Enforcement Team Coordinator.

After the meeting, the organizers prepared community - building activities for the young Brothers.

The next day, Fr. Dominic Sarawin, a Lasallian partner and priest from Ratchaburi, prepared a talk about God’s Presence in the Education Ministry for the Young People in Today’s World, which concluded the two-day event. (Text by: Br. Eugene de Luna FSC; Photos from: Br. Matthew FSC & Br. Luke FSC)

The Philippine Lasallian family again is on a new road as it enters the year 2023 with the need to respond significantly to the new normal opportunities and the new government leadership. After more than 100 years, the Philippine Lasallian family is undaunted in charting new directions to ensure the vitality of educational ministries in the sector. In the document, Lasallian Mission Moving Forward Plan, the Superior General, together with his Council, states:

"As the Institute navigates its way through this difficult crisis in the hope of building a better future, we invite each one to be part of the solution since every Lasallian has a vital role to play in the vitality of the mission. We encourage all to work, together and by association, to bring this hope to fruition.”

After the Philippine Lasallian Family Convocation in 2015, the Lasallian community is now setting new paths for new directions and vision for the next seven years in May 2023. The Philippine Lasallian Family Convocation 2023 (PLFC23) will serve as a lamp post. It brings new light and direction to new goals and vision for the Lasallian family, focusing on the Lasallian mission’s identity, vitality, and transformation.

Find out more: https://lasallianpartnerscouncil.org/plfc2023

JAPAN - On Thursday, August 11, from 15:00 to 17:30, "Let's Think about Peace" organized by Hakodate La Salle High School Mission Club was held connecting Thailand, Philippines, and Japan via ZOOM.

The participants present were: Br. Benilde from Thailand, Br. Labelle and Br. Aikee from the Philippines, Br. Rodrigo from Japan, members of Hakodate La Salle Mission Club, mission schools teachers and students in Hokkaido, and Ms. Nundalay, a graduate of Bamboo School and working at La Salle, Sangkhlaburi School, and 20 other participants.

Br. Benilde from Thailand Bamboo School talked about how the school started and what their day was like. Ms. Nundalay talked about what happened before and after they encountered LaSalle Bamboo School. After the presentation, the Q&A session was followed by questions about the relationship between Myanmar and Thailand, what was it like before and after COVID-19, etc.

After a short break, the participants had an hour-long breakout room to share their thoughts on how they felt after listening to the presentation, what their thoughts are on peace and had they changed in any way, and what they could do to help.

Below are some of the feedback from those who participated in this event:

  • We can teach each others despite differences in religion, language, and country. I realized that "knowing" is the first step toward connecting with others.
  • I now have a guideline to know and act as my own action from now on.
  • It was encouraging to learn that high school students are thinking about civility and peace on their own and practicing their own activities.
  • Hearing the stories of the local people, I realized how important the Bamboo School is to the local children.


Live Jesus in our hearts, forever! (Text & Screenshots: Mr. Deok Bosco Han)

THAILAND - La Salle Chantaburi welcomed the four new Filipino teachers assigned to teach and improve the English program in the school. Br. Eugene Prapas FSC, the director of the Brothers’ Community in Chantaburi, personally fetched the Filipino teachers from the airport and welcomed them to Thailand. A simple ceremony was held at the school to receive the Filipino teachers in La Salle and Chantaburi.

The four new Filipino teachers and alumni of De La Salle University Dasmarinas are Miss Tricia Mei A. Sanchez, Mr. Hanz Dominic I. Tecson, Mr. Francis Julius Y. Nachor, and Miss Jelsha T. Buenaobra. They will teach in the kindergarten, primary, secondary, and high school departments.

La Salle Chantaburi collaborates with De La Salle University Dasmarinas to recruit more Filipino teachers to assist La Salle schools in Thailand with English language education. This collaboration between Thailand and the Philippines is another venture toward being Lasallian Family members without borders. (Text: Br. Eugene De Luna Jr. FSC; Photos: Br. Eugene Prapas FSC & La Salle Chantaburi Official Facebook Page)

Welcome to LEAD, Brs. Emile and Dieu-Merci!

Both Brothers are from the District of Congo-Kinshasa. Br Emile will take the MA in Psychology degree at the University of St. La Salle (USLS) in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines, while Br Dieu Merci will take the Master in Information Technology degree at De La Salle University - Dasmariñas (DLSU-D) in Cavite, Philippines.

All the best in your studies, Brothers!

PHILIPPINES - The De La Salle Brothers of the Lasallian East Asia District, through the Vocations Ministry Office of the Philippines, organized a vocation discernment seminar on August 26, 2022.

The gathering was an opportunity for young men to discover more about the Brothers' life and ministry, particularly the basics of the Lasallian story and the phases in the life of the De La Salle Brothers.

The event aims to be a starting point for the participants' vocation journey, which hopefully leads to more personal engagements with the Brothers in our communities.

We entrust all our efforts to St. Benilde, our Lasallian Apostle for Vocations, as we continue to labor for God's dream in our lives today.

MORE: https://vmoconnect.carrd.co/

#YesBro #DeLaSalleBrothersPH #FSCvocations (De La Salle Brothers of the Philippines OfficialFacebook Page)

MALAYSIA - The August Happenings video in SXI is now live on YouTube! Click on the image to view the video.

Watch, comment, like and subscribe to our channel for updates and happenings at SXI.

(St. Xavier’s Board of Governors Official Facebook Page)

PHILIPPINES - After years of placing as the first runner-up, the College dominated the competition and took its place as the “School of the Year” in IABC Philippines’ renowned #9thPHStudentQuills.

View the full article.

Adrien Nyel Late In My Life.pdf

Time flies. It has already been 10 months since I have moved here to Ethiopia and a lot has happened since.

It was still before the Pandemic when I chanced across Armin having his haircut in the 1911 community in Taft, Manila. I pushed my head into the small crack of the door and said hello. In the normal and usual Armin fashion when he needs something he said, “Hans! Can I speak with you for a short while?”

Like the Founder, I should have said no from the very start. What is it about chance encounters in our Lasallian tradition – they tend to take on a Nyel-type of life? Instead of finding an excuse I said sure and that is when he popped the question. “How would you like to go to Africa?” I laughed and said that I would be back and went to my room.

I thought about the question as I returned to my room to put down my stuff. My thoughts wandered to my mom who had recently passed away and how I was “freed” from the worry and burden of caring for an aging parent. Then I thought of Br. Ceci, who like me was in a cushion job in DLSU-Manila with all the many little benefits in the community and how he gave it up to go to what was then the Mission School in Ozamiz city. Ceci’s selflessness during that time inspired me then and inspired me once more. Lastly, I thought of my age, I was 52 then. I knew if not now, age would say not ever.

So, I turned around and walked back to the community barber shop and said “yes” and somehow that changed everything. Armin seemed to be as shocked with the answer as he was with asking the question. Up to today, we both look back at that particular time, unsure of how things really transpired, yet assured that God moves in mysterious and wonderful ways.

With COVID it was difficult getting a working visa and leaving for Ethiopia but eventually I landed in November 2021, a new adventure lay ahead. Adjusting was amazingly simpler than I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong, the culture, place, climate and food are REALLY different from Southeast Asia but I found myself adjusting quite well to the food and the place. Often when we think of Africa, we think of the hot and dry place like on the savanna or in the Sahara. But Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, is actually 2,355 meters above sea level. The average temperature is 24°C during the day and 9°C during the night.

The Brothers Community is international in composition. When I first arrived, I made up the 4th member of the community. The community members are: Br. Ghebrehiwet Eyasu from Eritrea who is the director of the community, Br. Carlos Gomez, from Colombia was our president, and Br. Getachew Nadew the Vice President of Academics and Provost. The Brothers have been very helpful to me adjusting to life here in Ethiopia. It is also interesting to note that the community is directly under the Superior General and the Institute in Rome and not under the Charles Lwanga District of East Africa.

The school originally started when the Cardinal Berhaneyesus Demerew of Addis Ababa visited the Pope in the early 2000’s and asked him for a Catholic University in Ethiopia. Thus, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Ethiopia with the Papal Nuncio in Ethiopia, entered into an agreement with the Ethiopian Government for the establishment of an Ethiopian Catholic University. A group of Dominican Friars from the Philippines established the school around 2008 calling it the Ethiopian Catholic University of St. Thomas Aquinas (ECUSTA). The Dominicans eventually returned to the Philippines. Under the pressure of other European Episcopal Conferences who were funding the school, the Cardinal visited our Superior General, Br. Robert Schieler, FSC. The Cardinal asked the Institute to manage and administer the school. After some years of study, the Superior General and the Institute in 2017, sent Br. Augustine Nicoletti, FSC to be the first Lasallian President of the ECUSTA Higher Learning Institute.

ECUSTA is in the south-western most edge of Addis Ababa. This large 60-hectare campus is somewhat separated from the city proper by a 10-minute rough road but once inside the campus gates, it has a very beautiful view of the Oromia countryside. This serene novitiate-like setting has 7 main buildings that were constructed with the help of the Solidarity Foundation: three classroom buildings, an administration building, a lecture hall, a women’s dorm and a cafeteria. In the middle of the campus stands the Kibur Hiwot Medical clinic. Sadly, the clinic closed due to a lack of funding and some mismanagement. Yet, the campus is so vast that a big chunk of the property is still being used for growing different crops of wheat, teff and maize. Oh yes, there is an Episcopal Residence House on campus but sadly, there is no Brothers Community on campus. The Brothers, at this time, have a portion of the women’s dorm for their residence.

Currently, this start-up institution has 250 students in 3 programs, Medicine, Medical Laboratory Technology and Social Work. The government has announced that the National Exams for the Grade 12 students will be in late September, so we hope to accept a new group of Freshmen in the month of January. Fingers-crossed, we hope to get at least 60 new students distributed in the three programs.

There are 91 fulltime personnel working in the institution. Currently, we are also negotiating with the Ursuline Sisters to manage and operate the school cafeteria and girls’ dorm. Though we are hoping they will also accept to manage and operate the medical clinic, this may still be a distant dream.

On the side, we are also creating a State-of-the-Art Medical Laboratory set up by an international NGO called World Connex funded by USAID. The physical infrastructure is in place. However, due to COVID and the local political conflict, the delivery of the laboratory equipment and machines has been delayed by 2 years but hopefully will be sent before the end of the year. When this is up and running, it will be capable of analyzing around 1.5 million clinical pathology tests per year generating an income to make the laboratory self-sustainable, to fund a number of projects of the school institution, and to sponsor at least 25 scholarships for Medical Laboratory Technology.

Life here in the past 10 months has been quite interesting to say the least. My only prayer was that I be of service to the school for I did not know how I would fit into a Medical school since I was from the Br. Andrew Gonzalez, FSC College of Education of De La Salle University. So far, I have been the Freshmen coordinator and the Campus Minister of the school. I am also helping out with special projects like trying to find funding and making project proposals for the reopening of the Kibur Hiwot Medical Clinic.

ON the first 2 months of my arrival, the war in Ethiopia was at its height. The rebel forces were a mere 100 kilometers from Addis Ababa and once again I made a choice – to leave the country as I was ordered by the Philippine Government or to hide and stay. As things seemed to calm down a bit, another armed tribe threatened to enter the campus and take it over, but they did not, and we are all safe. But now tensions seem to be rising once again in the north and we shall see where things will go.

Amidst these interesting experiences, on May 23, just a few days after Armin was elected Superior General and Carlos was elected Vicar General, my phone ran – it was Armin … I knew I should not have answered that call. For once again, it was that Adrian Nyel feeling where I should have said No at the very beginning. But like a fool once again, I answered the call. A new role once again has been asked of me amidst these difficult times.

This is my Ethiopian Experience where one yes has led to other yesses. And that has made all the difference. Be careful for what you pray for. I prayed that I might be of service in my new assignment and God in his wisdom has seen to. I have learned one great insight these past few weeks. Amidst the intense worry and anxiety of what lies ahead and of what has been thrust upon my shoulders, a simple prayer rings in my ear – “Jesus, I trust in you.” And here in Africa, I feel an intense embrace of love and support from a God who is walking alongside me. My eyes tear up at the love that surrounds me intensely in this my Ethiopian experience.

Brothers and fellow Lasallians, I know it is a far reality from our Southeast Asian experience but please pray for Ethiopia. There are over 22 million people who are starving in the sub-Sahara region north of where I am because of climate change. Adding to this problem is the on-going war between the Tigray forces and the government causing the inflation rate to soar to over 30%. Include in your prayers our Brothers and Lasallian family in Eritrea as well; the government has taken everything away and the Brothers and Lasallian partners struggle to survive. Namaste and God bless.