LEAD Story 406

This familiar and iconic phrase of a well-known song from the band Paramore can be heard emanating from car radios as people drive the busy, bustling streets of the city. The beauty of this famous phrase lies in its versatility, as it can be interpreted in a myriad of ways depending on the context and the person. In a romantic sense, it could express a deep and enduring love for a special someone, despite facing challenges in their relationship over time. Alternatively, it could convey surprise or delight that their feelings have not diminished despite the passage of time. For Br. Irwin, the phrase takes on a different meaning altogether. Through his eyes of faith, he had found beauty in every moment and meaning in even the most challenging circumstances, strengthening his relationship and love for Him.

On his perpetual vows, Br. Edmundo shared about the unique qualities of the panganay or the firstborn, and the bunso or the youngest in the Filipino family. But his words were not just about the dynamics within a family setting. They were about one of the most beloved members of their community, Br. Irwin. As the older of two siblings, Br. Irwin - or Ian, his family nickname - embodied the qualities of both the panganay and the bunso but with a greater emphasis on the latter. He was always eager to help, consistently ready to serve, and had a kind word for everyone he met, making him a cherished member of the community.

Br. Irwin's kindness and easygoing nature was summed up in the classic words of Br. Gus, “he is a gem.” He has become a beloved one and a desired member of every community in the sector, just like the famous youngest son in the scripture, Benjamin.

As one of the youngest, it’s no surprise that Br. Irwin is tech-savvy. In his response, he shared a different take on the concept of 5G. In comparison, many may see it simply as a faster and more reliable way to access the internet. For Br. Irwin, he sees it as an opportunity to build deeper connections and relationships in his ministry. For him, the 5G stands for Gratitude, God's Love, Grace, Guidance, and Generosity.

As Br. Irwin looked back on his journey and experiences, he realized that nothing has been purely an accident, that everything he had gone through had a purpose and that God's hands had guided him along the way. He spoke of the "series of yeses" he had committed to, all of which were built on God's love, grace, generosity, guidance, and gratitude. He saw these qualities as concrete manifestations of God's divine providence in his life, that always and in all ways, echoing from the book of Psalms “You will show me the path of Life, the fullness of Joy in Your presence, at your right hand, happiness and peace forever.”

It is in the De La Salle Brothers where Br. Irwin witnessed the 5Gs come alive, and he found himself in this community. Through his big eyes… of faith, he recognized the divine purpose in the work entrusted to him. His love and devotion for Him had only grown stronger over time, and even now, after all this time, he is still into HIM. (Text: Lara Jomalesa, University of St. La Salle - Basic Education Alumna (Batch 2019); Photos: DLSP-CORE)

Click the image to view the Perpetual Vows ceremony on Facebook.

Click the image to view the Perpetual Vows ceremony on Facebook.

JAPAN - Hakodate La Salle held its first Sports Day in the snow in four years. It is the only La Salle school in LEAD that has Sports Day / Festival (Intramurals) in the snow!

Both junior and senior high school students participated in three-man four-legged relay, tug-ofwar, and sled relay. (La Salle Japan Official Facebook Page)

PHILIPPINES - The Vocations Ministry Office of the De La Salle Brothers of the Philippines held the second Discernment Retreat on February 24-26, 2023, at La Salle University, Ozamiz City. The retreat was held for our Aspirants who are discerning the next formation phase in the Brothers’ life - Enzo Ferraris from Bacolod City, Neil Suarez, and Jeff Tabita from Iligan City. The program was spearheaded by Br. Weegee Enriquez FSC, along with the main facilitator Br. Irwin Climaco FSC.

The discernment program accompanies young men eligible to enter the Postulancy in their journey of deeper reflection and discernment toward God’s calling. It is the time to allow oneself to be open to God’s will, and an opportunity to allow one’s heart to guide the mind into the path you want to take. As the Discerners dive deeper into reflection and silence, the second discernment retreat is grounded with the theme of “Let me Hear your Voice.” The program has a series of sessions that will open their heart and ears to hearing their call.

Session 1- “Becoming Aware.” Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you're unsure about something, but your gut tells you the right choice? That's your discernment speaking to you, and it's a powerful tool that can guide you through life's toughest decisions. But the main question remains, how do you become aware of it? Accompanied by prayer and contemplation, the Discerners were asked to recall their experiences of Faith, Service, and Communion from their past and look deeper into those significant encounters. It invites us to be aware of God, ourselves, and our surroundings and hear His calling beneath the noise. One quote during the session that says “Without the voices of others, I know I would not be where I am today in my spiritual process" made an impact during the session wherein it directed the hearts of the Discerners always to have the eyes to see and the ears to hear. Sometimes the answers come quickly, and other times you need to give it some thought. But no matter what, trust that your discernment will reveal itself in due time.

Session 2 - “Gathering Information.” God has made several paths for us to walk, doors to open, and opportunities to take, but as we grow, we slowly have a clearer vision of what we truly want. To truly understand what you need to know in relation to discernment, it's important to take the time to reflect on your values, beliefs, and goals. What are the things that matter most to you? What kind of life do you want to lead? What are your strengths and weaknesses? In discovering one’s true vocation, we undergo several trials and errors. Along with that, we meet people who will teach us lessons that we may bear throughout our journey. As the Discerners take a step in unfolding their vocation, significant people such as their Brother mentors will accompany them in sorting, sifting, and discovering where God may be leading them. Being in dialogue and staying with the Community will likewise give them a glimpse of the reality of the life of the Brothers. It gradually prepares the Discerners for what is truly ahead of them.

Session 3 - “Choosing God’s Will.” The 3rd session mainly revolves around the question, “Where is God leading you?”. As human beings, we all have a deep desire for purpose and meaning in our lives. For those of us who believe in a higher power, this desire can be amplified as we seek to understand God's plan for us. But how do we discern where God is leading us? We want to know how and where to start, the conclusion of each attempt, and every step in between. Discernment calls for patience on all our parts, as it is a lifelong process. While the Discerners try to progress in this path, it takes time to make decisions. But discernment is more than just a one-time decision. It's an ongoing process of seeking God's will and staying open to His direction. This requires a willingness to let go of our desires and trust in God's plan for us, even if it doesn't align with our expectations. Trust that He has a plan for you, and that discernment is the key to understanding it. And always remember that discernment is not just about making the right decision – it's about growing closer to God and becoming the person He created you to be.

Session 4 - During the second day of the Discernment Retreat, we are invited to be in deep silence as we seek to hear God’s voice. The 4th session took place in La Ferme De La Salle, which resides in Barangay Gala of Misamis Occidental. It is a farm place up in the mountains and away from the noise of the city where the Discerners will be able to discern seriously, be in silence as they openly pray, and be in dialogue with God and nature as they look into their hearts to see what they truly desire.

In a world filled with endless choices and distractions, discernment has become crucial for navigating life's complexities. But discernment is more than just a mental exercise; it is a holistic approach to decisionmaking that considers our mind, body, and spirit. As the Discerners learned through their journey, discernment requires a commitment to self-awareness, introspection, and trust in intuition. It involves tuning out the noise of the world around us and listening to the still, small voice within us that speaks the truth. At its core, discernment is about aligning our choices with our deepest values and desires. It's about trusting ourselves to make choices in our best interest, even when the path forward needs to be clear. So, remember that discernment is your guide, whether you are facing a difficult decision, navigating a challenging season of life, or simply seeking to grow and transform. Trust in your intuition, cultivate self- awareness, and stay open to the signs and messages that come your way. With discernment as your compass, you'll be able to navigate life's twists and turns with greater clarity and purpose. Your calling may vary from each other, but you are called to one purpose, which is to love. (Text: Neil Michael Suarez - Aspirant; Photos: Br. Weegee Enriquez FSC)

THAILAND - At La Salle Sangklaburi in Thailand, a new chapel honoring Saint John Baptist de La Salle has just been consecrated. Participants in the said blessing included students, teachers, and employees from La Salle Sangklaburi, as well as De La Salle Brothers and Sisters from various communities in Thailand. The event was also graced by the presence of the sector leader, Br. Joseph Klong FSC, and the superior of the La Salle Sisters, Sister Mary Anne Sunantha.

Fr. Peter Parmote Ninphet, a priest from the Ratchaburi Diocese, was in charge of leading the mass and blessing. The priest reminded the congregation in his homily that the chapel needs to be a house of holiness, a place and haven where people can connect and meet God.

The Blue Sky Home students' heavenly voices add a unique touch to the entire mass.

Following the Mass and blessing, Br. Benilde Preecha Traikaew FSC, the school's director, expressed his gratitude to everyone who contributed to the new Sangklaburi project that will help those who use the chapel to deepen their faith. He expressed his gratitude to the Thai sector for making this project feasible. (Text: Br. Eugene de Luna FSC & Br. Raphael Tanet Lertwaja FSC; Photos: De La Salle Brothers - Thailand Official Facebook Page)

PHILIPPINES - St. Joseph School – La Salle’s first weeklong founding anniversary with the theme Transforming Lives through Accessibility and Excellence opened with a Masskara dance symbolic of Bacolod’s grand festivity at Oscar J. Hilado Civic Center, March 14.

School Principal Mrs. Shally Claver said that this year’s commemoration of SJSLS’s 62nd year was to make key offices take part in the preparation for a more festive celebration. “We involved the different core committees, the Parent Association officers, and stakeholders in running the program with the desire to offer a vibrant celebration,” Mrs. Claver said.

Various performances were presented by different groups. The Glee Club rendered two upbeat songs by Katy Perry and Dance Arts members danced to the beat of September.

Part of the production number was Br. Mark Basan II FSC and Br. Abram Michael de Leon FSC crooning One Direction’s Night Changes.

Another attraction was the cosplay walk by selected student participants and a staff member donned in colorful costumes inspired by their chosen fictional character.

Also “Through the Years” video prepared by the Coordinating Council for Students Activities (COCOSA) was shown to relive how SJSLS has continued to transform lives through accessibility and excellence.

Moreover, School President Br. Joaquin Severino Martinez FSC said in his speech, “It’s very good to have a sense of history of why St. Joseph School – La Salle exists.” The President also said that so many things have changed over the years and that the students are now reaping the benefits of the continued commitment of many people to the Lasallian mission.

Meanwhile, St. Joseph and St. La Salle Look Alike participated by students across grade levels kicked off the Academic Breakthrough competition.

Br. Emmanuel Hilado FSC, the school’s former president, Br. Normandy Dujunco FSC and Br. Emille Kiusi Masevilla FSC also graced the opening day. In the afternoon, the four Brother Houses, Benilde, Jaime, Miguel, and Mutien competed in basketball and volleyball games which were participated by the adult members and the students. The championship games were played the day after, March 15.

The first-ever weeklong celebration of the school’s anniversary is a collaborative effort of the Academic Council, Principal Council, and Discipline Council. The launching of St. Joseph Week is the brainchild of Br. Abram Michael de Leon FSC, the Lasallian Ministries and Vocation Office (LAMIVO) head. “What better way to celebrate these achievements than to gather our vibrant community as one? We have so much to offer and be proud of!” Br. de Leon said.

Br. de Leon envisioned St. Joseph’s Week as a celebration of the school’s rich history and significant milestones. “We must remember where we started, so we can continue to uphold the legacy and live out the mission of our founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle,” he added.

Moreover, the Parents Association officers have also facilitated the special participation of selected Masskara dancers as one of their initiated activities. The Ruby and the Golden Jubilarians as well as other alumni will also be in attendance during the solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19.

The School Director Mrs. Analie L. Lomocso said that the collaboration of different offices and stakeholders has created a unifying effect. “The celebration highlights our achievements and triumphs despite the hardship and with that we remain committed to continue our thrust to offer excellent and accessible education,” Mrs. Lomocso added.

Several other activities to be participated by faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, and stakeholders are lined up in the remaining days of this one-week celebration. (Layout: Kyle Martin Gonzaludo; Photos: Katrina Gwen Cobias, Julieane Norine Cuenca, Dannah Marie Faramiran, Liahona Haley Javelona, Anthony Eul Reyes, and Christan Tizon)

HONG KONG - The light of CSK! Lin Ming Fu, a student of Chan Sui Ki (La Salle) College, set a score of 7.89M in the long jump in the Hong Kong inter-school track and field competition, which not only broke the school record, but also broke through his personal best result, surpassing the record of 7.8M won by the champion of the Hong Kong men's long jump open group last Saturday. Congratulations, Ming Fu! Congratulations to the coach and Vong Sir! (CSK50 Official Facebook Page)

Find out more here: sportsroad.hk

PHILIPPINES - Bonjour à tous! Take a glimpse of the free Basic French class that was held at the University’s Language Learning Center

This 5-week course catered to complete beginners of the language from the DLSU-D community. It aimed to teach participants the greetings for everyday conversation, the French Alphabet and word pronunciation, sentences construction, and the tenses of the verb. The classes were taught by Br. Maxence Some FSC and Br. Dieu-Merci Sambiaku Mampuya FSC, De La Salle Brothers from Burkina Faso and Congo respectively, who are both French native speakers.

The course ran from February 13 to March 17, 2023. (De La Salle University - Dasmariñas Official Facebook Page)

Singapore Annual Lasallian Formation Day 2023
by Errol Chang, staff member, St Patrick’s School.

The day started with a simple breakfast when the 700 plus staff from 6 schools gathered at St. Joseph’s Institution on 10th March 2023.

After the opening prayer lead by Bro Paul Ho, Bro Jose Mari Jimenez welcomed all participants by sharing about how he was inspired to be a teacher and encouraging the audience to care for our students.

The participants then broke out for their respective sessions based on their years of service in a Lasallian institution. The various breakout sessions saw the participants taking part in various learning activities.

• Year 1: Coffee shop talk on Founder’s life
• Year 2: Botanic Gardens based activities on the Virtues of Gravity, Silence and Humility from the 12 Virtues of Lasallian Educator.
• Year 3 to 5: Sports based activities on the Prudence, Zeal and Patience from the 12 Virtues of Lasallian Educator.
• Year 6: Arts based exposure with reflections on Conduct of Schools.
• Year 7: Discovering the evolution of Lasallian education in Singapore around Bras Basah area
• Year 8: Exploring the Lasallian DNA through discussion and use of ChatGBT

Here are some reflections by the participants:

In choosing a plant to represent the Virtue of Humility: “To represent humility, our group chose the Chinese Chives. Usually seen as a humble and common garnish, but we learnt that the flowers are actually very pretty… (this) shows that the humble daily work that we (educators) do which will eventually flourish and bloom to be something pretty (our students).” (A Year 2 reflection)

On the Virtue of Patience: “We have years of experience to develop our emotional regulation and restraint. During the games, we all went through various feelings of embarrassment, anxiety, excitement, frustration but did not let it affect our behaviour or actions or interactions with our peers much. I would like to work on being more understanding with my students and their understanding of their emotions rather than reacting to their actions.” (A Year 3 reflection)

On the Conduct of Schools: “The idea that even boys whose behaviour are not at the role-model level are given duties and responsibilities to discharge or prove themselves. It suggests that we need to provide more equitable opportunities for student empowerment/leadership.” (A Year 6 reflection)

The Lasallian Formation Day ended with a large group consolidation and sharing of a meal.

On Friday 17th March, we celebrated International Awesomeness Day in true SJI International style, by raising funds for HopeHouse, a local Lasallian charity.

The response was overwhelming, with the Elementary School community donating generously and expressing themselves through music and fashion.

The result of this effort was an incredible $1,483 raised for underprivileged youth and children in Singapore. This is a clear testament to the power of community and the good that can be achieved when we come together for a common cause.

HopeHouse is a charity which provides residential programmes for youths at risk. Their vision is to be an ‘Oasis of Hope’, with the goal of giving youths hope for a new beginning.

We would like to extend our gratitude to all those who contributed to this effort, and for making International Awesomeness Day a meaningful celebration.