Guests from the Lasalle Educational Center in Homestead joined in small group discussion with Saint John Paul II Academy faculty and staff. (COURTESY)

High school reflects on ‘Year of Lasallian Vocations’

Boca Raton  |  “As I reflect on my own experiences with Lasallian education, I see just how deeply I’ve been impacted by the mission to serve Catholic youth and the poor in our community,” said Michael Scaramuzzo, theology teacher and campus minister at St. John Paul II Academy in Boca Raton. 

This vocation message of education, especially to the poor and disadvantaged, is at the heart of the Lasallian mission, which St. John Paul II Academy celebrated Nov. 8 through a special livestream address from the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools at La Salle University in Philadelphia. 

Brother Robert Schieler, superior general of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, spoke on behalf of the institute’s District of Eastern North America (DENA), which has provided a Lasallian education to more than 14,000 students and their families under one geographic network for the past ten years. 

“Today we mark 10 years of our institute’s founding on the concept of association,” Brother Schieler said. “Being united throughout the world by one mission is fundamental to the birth of the Christian Schools. We belong to something larger than our educational community. We are partners in mission to bring hope to young people in over 80 countries.”

The livestreamed event at St. John Paul II Academy connected local educators with those in New York, including in Albany, Buffalo, Lincroft, New York City, and Syracuse, along with those in Toronto, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh and Providence, Rhode Island. Brother Schieler called on all of DENA’s Lasallians to reflect on their vocation as educators as part of 2019’s Year of Lasallian vocations, as designated by Pope Francis. 

“As educators, we are called to create an entrusted space for students to express anxieties and fears, hopes and dreams. We must generously provide places where the reign of God may generate inclusion and peace,” Brother Schieler said. 

Named the patron saint of teachers, St. John Baptist de La Salle went beyond figurative and literal borders to educate poor boys in France. He handed on the mission to his first Christian Brothers 300 years ago upon his death. The Year of Lasallian Vocations marks the 300th anniversary of St. John Baptist de La Salle’s entry into eternal life and celebrates the impact of the mission he started.

Scaramuzzo was delighted for the school to host representatives from the La Salle Educational Center in Homestead, which officially became the 31st ministry to join the ranks of Lasallian ministries last year. “The La Salle Educational Center representatives being her today is a testament to the fact that the Lasallian mission is growing and reaching far beyond our diocesan borders,” he said. 

Scaramuzzo also encouraged students at St. John Paull II Academy to watch Brother Schieler’s livestream address. Charlie Newstreet, a junior and a member of the school’s Lasallian Youth, said, “I see myself living out the Lasallian mission by always treating others with respect and dignity, especially those most in need. All of the service I do, both inside and outside of school, is oriented towards living Lasallian.”

Grace Rodriguez, a fellow junior and also a member of Lasallian Youth, highlighted the inspiring message Brother Schieler gave on the special role women play in the Lasallian mission. “I live out the mission through service. Service projects like going to the La Salle Education Center in Homestead and the Dorian Relief Drive really make me passionate about the human and Christian education of young people which the Brothers proclaim,” she said.