Journal La Salle - July-December 2020

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4 - YOU ARE PART OF THE MIRACLE: Our Vision. Our Passion. Our Future.


5 - SAFEGUARDING ACROSS THE DISTRICT 6 - LASALLIAN MISSION SERVICES: Staff Appointments 7 - FAREWELLS & APPOINTMENTS - Peter Cartwright, Director of Finance Moves on 8 - NEW DIRECTOR: Safeguarding, COmpliance and HUman Resources


9 - TEAMWORK - From Cronulla, Lakemba, Ashfield (& More) to Port Moresby 10 - “TWINNING” PROGRAM with La Salle Boys’ Malkhanwala, Pakistan 11 - ST JAMES COLLEGE Organises Clothing Drive For Balgo Hills


13 - MUSIC IN OUR YOUTH MINISTRY “Animate, Inspire, Challenge!” 14 - SPREADING THE WORD - A Lasallian Style Retreat 15 - YOUNG LASALLIANS STUDENT TIPS: Assignments! Stress! Keeping Tuned In...Chilling 16 - YEAR 11 TWILIGHT WORKSHOP: De La Salle Ashfield 17 - ST MICHAEL’S ADELAIDE YEAR 11 RETREAT: Eye Opening and Inspiring


19 - LASALLIAN VOLUNTEER PROGRAM - A Real Sense of Fulfillment 20 - POWERING ON IN TOUGH TIMES - Fratelli Project, Lebanon 22 - VOLUNTEERING AFTER YEAR 12: Thriving by Serving Others




27 - LASALLIAN BROTHER’S VOCATION: Following the Star 28 - BECOMING A BROTHER: Walked with, Inspired, Invited by Brothers 28 - FIFTY YEARS AS A BROTHER: It’s Gold! Gold! Gold! - Br Bill Shaw 29 - FREEDOM TO CHOOSE! - Older Religious Living Today 30 - PNG BROTHERS renew their vows 31 - A TRUE LASALLIAN: Br Martin Blattman Retires 34 - BR MARK MCKEON Takes on New Ministry at a Seminary


35 - FR KEVIN WALSH - Granted Association to the Castle Hill Community 36 - TO FIND MY PURPOSE: Vietnamese Lasalle Sister Theresa 37 - BOUND TOGETHER IN THE TIME OF COVID: Brothers and the Khuspur Parish 38 - TRACY ADAMS: Championing the Rights of Kids, Australia-wide 40 - COVID-19 swells “Kids Helpline” contacts 41 - Yourtown Counsellor Effie Breaking Down Barriers 43 - DE LA SALLE MALVERN: “Mothers For Social Justice” 44 - LASALLIAN EDUCATION AT ST MICHAEL’S COLLEGE ADELAIDE 45 - YOURTOWN CELEBRATES 20 YEARS OF SOCIAL ENTERPRISES



46 - OPENING THE DOORS - Inclusive Community At “Oakhill” 47 - FRONT LINE FIRST RESPONDER - First Aid Officer, De La Salle Malvern 48 - EARLY CAREER HISTORY TEACHER OF THE YEAR @ St Michael’s Adelaide 49 - STUDENT ENTREPRENEURS: La Salle Bankstown Raising Money For The Mission 50 - “DE LA DAY” @ Caringbah De La Salle 51 - REMEMBRANCE DAY COMMEMORATED - De La Salle Cronulla 52 - RUOK? DAY @ Oakhill College 53 - O’CONNOR CATHOLIC COLLEGE: Funds Raised For “Kids Helpline” 54 - “WHERE DO WE SEE GOD?”: Year 7 De La Salle Caringbah Boys Share Faith 55 - THE BEIRUT DISASTER: La Salle Bankstown Raise Funds






68 - A TEACHER PILGRIMAGE - TO TIMBUNGE, Papua New Guinea 69 - CARIBOU CRASH – A YEARLY COMMEMORATION at DLS Bomana 70 - LASALLIANS IN RURAL AND REMOTE PAPUA NEW GUINEA • If I leave then who will teach these children? • CRICKET FOR GOOD GRADUATION • YOUTH ALIVE: FEW ARE CHOSEN • Check out Mambu Magazine • 2020 Issue 1 – “identifying & connecting” • 2020 Issues 2 – “20 years of Association”







You are Part of the Miracle:


Welcome to the July-December 2020 digest of news, views and activities from the ANZPPNG Lasallian District. It is a compilation, as usual, of “Outlook” articles, blog posts and website. Presented is a striking testament to the energy, hard work and creativity of so many of us, who are “associated”, in our Lasallian field of “human and Christian education of youth” - Partners across our four nations. You have probably experienced that “Great Things are Possible” the worldwide Lasallian theme for 2020 (See: Great Things Are Possibe - La Salle Worldwide - - Rome) , and yes, this linked reflection paper is in English! As we enter 2021, we are invited to focus on our part in “the Miracle” ahead – our collective vision, passion and horizon in our Lasallian involvement. The heading above is the Lasallian theme for 2021. (See: You are Part of the Miracle – La Salle Worldwide | lasalleorg | Rome) The miracle, of course, is God’s work of grace: “the work is Yours”, as John Baptist de La Salle said so memorably. Over the next year, may we Lasallians sense that we are partners with Someone, in some burning Cause, with many others, that create us as “part of the miracle”. The miracle may be seeing enlightenment in the eyes of a confused student, linking up a young unemployed person with other helping agencies or furthering provision of health education to disadvantaged girls and young women. Whatever the new year hopefully brings us refreshed energy in our work, and joy in giving. Enjoy this Issue of “Journal La Salle”! Br Gary Wilson FSC Contributions are always welcome! Email your story contributions or suggestions to:


LA SALLE CENTRE NEWS SAFEGUARDING ACROSS THE DISTRICT: So dear to you are the children entrusted to you Author: Br. David Hawke, Visitor Dear Lasallians, Australia marked National Child Protection Week, the 30th anniversary of this annual focus on the protection of children. This year’s theme “Putting Children First” caused me to reflect upon our role as Lasallians, as a District, as Lasallian Ministries, and of course as individuals, in protecting and nurturing children, young people and adults at risk. It’s a simple message which is underpinned by a simple truth. By putting children first, we are recognising that they are front and centre of everything that we do and that their care, protection, and well-being is paramount. From our foundation the many writings of St John Baptist de La Salle attest to this. Whilst National Child Protection Week comes about once a year, its message and our obligation is to ensure that safeguarding across the four countries of our District is part of our work each and every day. Throughout all Lasallian Ministries across our District no matter where we are wherever we have any engagement with children, young people and adults at risk, we must put them, their protection and well-being first. The District has recently provided a specific Safeguarding section on our website and placed a range of policies on it, which set out the baseline responsibilities each of us hold, with regard to safeguarding. They include: •

Communication Protocol

Child and Adults at Risk Safeguarding Commitment Statement

Lasallian Child Rights Poster

Safeguarding Children and Adults at Risk Policy

Code of Conduct

Disclosure of Abuse and Harm Policy

Digital Use Policy


The protection of children, and the care and well-being of all in our District, are at the heart of these polices. I encourage each and every Lasallian to read them, to understand them and to live them each and every day. In that way we can together meet the challenge of our Founder: “Your zeal must go so far in this that to achieve it, you are ready to give your very life, so dear to you are the children entrusted to you.” (MTR 198.2; Sixth Meditation for the Time of Retreat).


LA SALLE CENTRE NEWS LASALLIAN MISSION SERVICES: Staff Appointments Author: Mr. Merv McCormack, Executive Director, Lasallian Mission Services The previous few months of 2020 have been an unparalleled period of challenge for all of us, says Merv McCormack, the Executive Director of LMS. “Thank you for the many creative and inspired strategies you have courageously and imaginatively led. “The suite of Lasallian Mission Services (LMS) programs and events for 2021 have been carefully planned, details of which will be sent to you in early August. I write also to inform you that a creative restructuring of the Formation for Mission team has occurred for next year ,and it will enhance the delivery of our ministry work. After what will have been five years of committed and skilful leadership and engagement in various roles, Amanda Proulx will conclude her work with LMS at the end of this year. “The LMS Team charged with Formation responsibilities commencing in January 2021 comprises the following leaders:

Director of Formation for Mission: Br Peter Ryan

Associate Director of Formation for Mission: Philippe Dulawan

Young Lasallian Coordinator: Sebastian Duhau

Director Emeritus of Formation for Mission: Br John Cantwell

Young Lasallian Coordinator: Damian Khoury

Associate Director of Young Lasallians: Lydia Avia- Aumua

Young Lasallian Coordinator: Madeleine Forde

“I particularly thank Br Peter for stepping into his new role. Peter’s relatively recent completion of doctoral studies in ministry will comprehensively complement his extensive Lasallian experience. Lydia is well known to many of us through her highly valued work at yourtown. Lydia has previously worked with LMS in providing valuable Young Lasallian Formation programs, and she is a highly-regarded addition to the team. Maddy joins us from Adelaide where she has engaged in youth ministry work with the Marist Youth Ministry team. She is known to some members of our team and comes with a very fine reputation for commitment to her work.  “I am delighted with the shape of the newly-formatted Formation for Mission team, and I am confident with the dedication, skill and enthusiasm with which the new suite of programs have been developed. “In conclusion, thank you again, for all that you continue to do with, and on behalf of, the young people and colleagues entrusted to your care. We look forward to continuing to support you in this valuable ministry in 2021 and beyond”. 6 JOURNAL LA SALLE - DECEMBER 2020

LA SALLE CENTRE NEWS FAREWELLS & APPOINTMENTS Peter Cartwright, Director of Finance Moves On Author: Br. David, Visitor Peter Cartwright commenced working at the former Provincialate in Kensington one half-day a week in 2003, and later that next year was employed as Director of Finance on a fulltime basis. This commenced seventeen years of outstanding service based at Bankstown with the De La Salle Brothers and the Lasallian Mission, throughout the District of Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea. While Peter had worked with several women’s religious congregations prior to coming to the Brothers, he was on a steep learning curve when he commenced. He knew that Sisters lived in convents but when he heard for the first time that Brothers lived in communities, he was a bit worried that he was joining an outfit that leaned towards communism!! And it did not take him long to realise that professional standards had nothing to do with deportment! There are probably many records one can attribute to Peter, but commuting between Canberra and Sydney for 20 years clocked up thousands and thousands of kilometres and he was only late for work once due to a traffic accident in which he was not involved. Over time after staying overnight in hotels, Br Gerry and the community at Bankstown took Peter under their wing and he would regularly stay a few nights with the Brothers and Lasallian Volunteers who made up the community. Peter displayed a deep respect for the Brothers, and they enjoyed having him around. One Brother remarked; “Peter exhibited respect for the rhythms of our community life giving us space when it was required. While not a Brother he was a brother to us, a man exhibiting empathy and compassion. Peter showed a genuine interest in our lives.” In fact, he was such a valued member of the community that on one of the Visitor’s visits to Bankstown, the Brothers requested that Peter be named an associate of the community and his name added to the District Directory as one of the Bankstown community. As Director of Finance, Peter worked with Brothers Ambrose, Mark and David as Visitors and with Br Chris as District Bursar, Auxiliary Visitor and Acting Visitor. All would attest to him as being dedicated, committed, hard-working, extraordinarily generous, loyal, prudent, supportive, affirming, scrupulously honest and a fearless advocate of integrity. There were many innovations under Peter’s watch: The Community Fund, Community GST Refunds to support the Mission, incorporation of the Lasallian Mission Council, yourtown and the colleges, rentals based on the private income of institutions, and a robust investment strategy. He also served admirably as Company Secretary of the incorporated bodies. With the inclusion of Pakistan as a Sector of the District in 2012, Peter played a lead role in setting up robust financial accountability and reporting structures in the Sector. Likewise, he conducted financial analysis exercises in the Sector of Papua New Guinea and was a respected consultant elsewhere in the PARC Region, particularly in the Delegation of India.


LA SALLE CENTRE NEWS When asked; “What are you going to do in your retirement?” Peter’s response was not what one usually hears when a similar question is popped to people about to retire. He did not say spend more time with the grandchildren, nor get the chores done around the house that Thao keeps reminding him about. It was not play golf or bowls! Peter said that he plans to volunteer. He hopes to volunteer in an organisation that responds to people in need in our society. That intention speaks volumes about him. The District appreciates Peter’s extraordinary contribution over many years and wishes him and Thao well with God’s blessings in the years ahead. Bradley Johnson has been appointed as Peter’s successor. We welcome Bradley to the La Salle Centre team.

NEW DIRECTOR: Safeguarding, Compliance and Human Resources Author: Br. David, Visitor Following a thorough recruitment process, the Br. Visitor have much pleasure in announcing the appointment of Mr. Jamon Thomas to the position of Director of Safeguarding, Compliance and Human Resources for the District of Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea, effective from January 2021. Jamon brings years of engagement and expertise to these areas of increasing complexity experienced in a range of service areas. His specific skills include leadership roles in: Safeguarding, Stakeholder Relationship Management, Professional Standards, Risk Management, Project Management, HR Management, Governance, Accountability and Compliance, and Executive Management. Following a distinguished career with the NSW Police Service as investigator, Team Leader Coordinator and later Professional Standards’ Manager in the Counter Terrorism Command, Jamon worked very successfully over the last five years in Child Protection, Professional Standards, Employment Services and Human Resources with Sydney Catholic Schools and in the Senior Executive Service (SES) of the NSW Family & Community Services (FACS). Reporting to and working closely with the District’s Professional Standards’ Officer, including in the area of safeguarding training, we may be confident that Jamon’s appointment will further ensure that the policies and protocols operating within our District ministries will be of the highest order. Jamon is married to Nicole and is father to Charly and Luca. He is a practicing Catholic in the St Declan’s Parish, Penshurst. On behalf of all Lasallians within the District, Jamon is issued a warm welcome. He will be working from the La Salle Centre, Bankstown.


LASALLIAN MISSION AID: SCHOOLS OFFER THEIR SERVICE TEAMWORK - From Cronulla, Lakemba, Ashfield (& More) to Port Moresby Author: Br. Denis Loft, Director Donor Projects When De La Salle Cronulla decided to rejig their classrooms to allow for better group work, 200 desks were made redundant. Rather than throw them out, or store them, they decided to gift them to De La Salle Bomana. For many years containers of used educational items have left Melbourne and Sydney for Port Moresby. Recently the donations from Sydney Lasallian schools, included these desks, chairs and whiteboards from Cronulla, library shelving from Caringbah, computers, books and assorted useful items for re-purposing from Marrickville, Lakemba, Bankstown and Oakhill. Students from Lakemba, and staff from Ashfield helped with the packing and sorting. In Port Moresby, after unpacking and distributing to seven institutions, one interesting task at De La Salle Bomana was reducing the size of the single desks. The reason - class sizes in Australia are under 30; in Port Moresby, even senior classes have more than 60 students, and the classrooms are often not as big. Papua New Guinean students were delighted with the end result, where now each student had his own desk.


LASALLIAN MISSION AID: SCHOOLS OFFER THEIR SERVICE “TWINNING” PROGRAM with La Salle Boys’ Malkhanwala, Pakistan The 21st. Century has some great advantages: the worldwide web allows us to know and connect with people and their lives so instantly. The District Lasallian school in Malkhanwala, Pakistan is known well by our students in De La Salle Ashfield and Francis Douglas College New Plymouth, both being “twinned” to it. La Salle Boys High School in this suburb of Faisalabad begun in 2008, and its history is summarized in a forthcoming book about the Lasallian Mission in Pakistan. A request came from local parents to the Faisalabad bishop, who asked the Brothers to supervise a new school. The needs of the suburb were great: parents were, and are, semi or unskilled labourers working for a day’s wage. Mothers are domestic workers employed in wealthy houses. There were seven students in April 2008, increasing to 30 within four months, and teachers, paid by Br. Christie, Principal of La Salle Faisalabad, went door-to-door to raise awareness. By 2009 there were 120 students. At present, there are 338 students enrolled in the school. The enrolment has decreased due to COVID-19 and the abrupt closure of all schools for almost six consecutive months. Even after the current reopening, daily attendance of the students is badly affected. There are 75 girls enrolled in the primary school. This year 100% of the students and 19 personnel belong to the Christian community. Ms. Pauline, a Co-ordinator, has seen that “our Christian faith is spreading day by day”. The disadvantage that a minority Christian community faces in Pakistan has meant continual subsidy by the Lasallian District for staff salaries. The Lasallian Foundation till 2018 funded student fees, and many maintenance and development projects. Today, as Br. Zohaib, the Supervisor, says: “95% to 99% of the students can’t afford to pay the full monthly fee which is only about $AUD 9.50 for classes 9 and 10, and even less for the lower classes. The monthly collection of fees is barely enough to pay the utility bills of the school, the day-to-day running and minor maintenance of the school. Salaries of the personnel are subsidized by Lasallian Mission Council. Very often, the new students are given uniform, books and shoes to be able to come to school. This is a very visible expression and embodiment of our Mission and Service to the Poor”.


LASALLIAN MISSION AID: SCHOOLS OFFER THEIR SERVICE This critical Lasallian gift of “Service to the Poor” has been obvious from 2016 with the “twinning” offered by Francis Douglas College New Plymouth and De La Salle Ashfield. Since 2016, a number of projects listed below have been completed due to the help of these schools. In 2020, a school logo and motto (“In God We Trust”) have been created. Br. Lewis Harwood has been very generous in helping write an anthem for the school. Soon it will be finalized and composed into a melodious tune. • • • • • • • • • • • •

Pavement of the school road Installation of a water treatment and filtration plant Installation of swings for the primary section students Repair of classroom furniture New classroom and staffroom furniture Washrooms and classrooms doors and windows repair Major sanitary repair in the washrooms Roof repair of the school building Whitewashing of the school building Installation of cupboards, noticeboard and whiteboard in the classrooms New water dispenser for the staffroom Major electric repair and maintenance work

What does the future hold? Br. Zohaib details some designed directions for this special school: “There is a tentative strategic plan in progress from September 2019 to work on improving the physical and administrative structure of the school. [Other goals are to] lift up the teaching and learning standards, academic excellence of the students,  introducing fruitful co-curricular activities,  increasing  (enrolments)and enhancing the professional development of teaching and administrative staff. Rejuvenating the school library and its regular and systematic use, and updating the science and computer labs are some current needs”. Just as our twinning schools of Francis Douglas and De La Salle Ashfield have been motivated to donate so generously, so too Malkhanwala students and parents. They have regularly attended parent-teacher meetings, student counselling and class regularly and punctually. As the administration team says, “We hope that with God’s grace and the generosity of our kind donors we’ll be able to continue to make a positive difference in the lives of our students and their families, by enlightening them with education imbedded in Gospel values”. Obviously there are great benefits from both sides of the twinning partnership!



ST JAMES COLLEGE Organises Clothing Drive For Balgo Hills Over the last few weeks, St James College East Bentleigh has been collecting warm clothing to send to the indigenous community of Balgo Hills in Western Australia. St James has a strong connection with Balgo, having completed immersion trips there in the last few years. Unfortunately, this year the trip was cancelled given the risks associated with COVID-19. Community members of Balgo, given the restrictions on travel, have been unable to travel to shops for warm clothes. Additionally, income through the Arts Centre has been hindered given the restrictions on visitors to the community. Due to the restrictions, the community called for support in the way of warm clothing. In response to this, the St James community have amassed just over twenty kilograms of clothing to send to Balgo. Thanks to all of the staff and students who have donated clothing. Congratulations to Joel Harriss, Lasallian Youth Minister, who facilitated this initiative.


YOUN G L AS AL L IANS -- MINISTRIES MINISTRIES AND AND ACTIVITIES ACTIVITIES MUSIC IN OUR YOUTH MINISTRY “Animate, Inspire, Challenge!” Music, as a core part of culture and a powerful impact in peoples’ lives, is being used in a professional way in Lasallian youth ministry. Using it as an opt-in to Christian activities comes naturally when the Lasallian team get going. Over the years, the Youth Ministry Team has been using modern media videos, songs, projection techniques. Music-making has been developing, and the Team are very open to share their developed experience. According to Damian Khoury, Youth Ministry Co-ordinator (ANZPPNG), through music, students are given an opportunity to engage in community in a new way with those around them. In that community, they are given an opportunity to “experience their unique individual and collective faith”. Damian, educated at a Lasallian South African college, and as an audio engineer and composer, got his grounding at Southern Cross College Scarborough. He, within the Team, has developed further the tool of music in Lasallian retreats, biennial gatherings and online. Sharing the Team’s learning, not only engages youth in Lasallian schools but empowers them more in their faith. There is a context for youth prayer together and privately: misconceptions of prayer are broken down. Mashing up songs with Lasallian themes also shows the Team’s adaptability and creativity. “We want firstly to create uplifting ministry moments, using music, with the vision to be able to train and empower students and teachers in effective youth ministry”. Some schools are using the Lasallian team to resource their local encounters, where students sometimes find singing and mixing in Christian faith a strange experience at first. As one song says: Let me walk upon the waters / Your grace abounds in deepest waters. Teachers, past Volunteers and school Lasallian Youth Ministers can also learn and be trained, where they have musical talents. In twice-a-year training seminars, the Lasallian Youth Ministers and Volunteers pick up the style of using all types of music when leading programs. “Go let your life shine, with those among us”, as one of Damian’s songs says. In addition, the Youth Ministry Team has been casually consulting with other youth ministry teams and organisations. One cluster of Catholic schools are working with the Lasallian Team to provide a training program in its region. The Youth Ministry Team sees significant scope for its music-making - to be used intentionally and practically to foster community in many contexts around the District, and beyond, with the hope that many will be empowered to create in their own way the music spaces we are modelling. As some of the Team songs proclaim: Greater things have yet to come, Greater things are still to be done, In this city whether it be Orange, Parramatta, Port Moresby or Melbourne!


YOUN G L AS AL L IANS -- MINISTRIES MINISTRIES AND AND ACTIVITIES ACTIVITIES SPREADING THE WORD - A LASALLIAN STYLE RETREAT “Spread the word” is hardly necessary for youth today, with social media. The Young Lasallians team plugs in to young people’s world with their tailored retreat experiences. Five members of Sebastian, Damian, Lydia, Maddy and Br. Arian conducted a full-day retreat for St. Andrew’s College Marayong recently. Involving 185 Year 9 students might seem a big challenge, but it is just one of 70 plus retreats which the Team conducts each year. What was satisfying for the Team on this occasion was the way the students became more confident, diving into the activities with creativity and some excitement. It was an opportunity to explore their own selves, and to provide some tools and skills to carry on beyond the retreat. Good Christian spirituality usually tries to depth the Self in the broader avenue of developing the inner life and one’s spiritual relationships. Elements of prayer were broached “through story and lived experience”, as Sebastian, Young Lasallians Coordinator, explains. “People’s lived experience through different media or Scripture or set prayers are standard approaches. The retreat leaders classically love the challenge to mould a set of experiences within a program, to any audience of school students or young adults”. A key Lasallian value operating in the Team is that of inclusivity, as befits a Catholic (i.e. universal) spirituality that promotes freedom and openness. Relationships and developing “positive connections” both with the lead ministers and in the spiritual search generally, is seen as distinctive. “The aim is to attract quite religiously attuned youth, as well as those who come from different faith backgrounds, or none” says Sebastian. The process builds community in all its varied expressions it is affirming and contemporary. The Young Lasallians Team, based at Bankstown, are fielding more requests in recent years. As well as facilitating retreats and reflection experiences, it inducts and accompanies up to 25 part-time Youth Ministers in Lasallian schools. A third arm of its role is acting in consultation capacities with schools and agencies. This has led to expansion of the Team to five members in 2020 young adult ministers serving youth with creativity and commitment. For more information: Sebastian Duhau, Young Lasallians Coordinator, Lasallian Mission Services +61 2 9795 6456


YOUN G L AS AL L IANS -- MINISTRIES MINISTRIES AND AND ACTIVITIES ACTIVITIES YOUNG LASALLIANS STUDENT TIPS: ASSIGNMENTS! STRESS!.... KEEPING TUNED IN.... CHILLING Keeping up with school life, sports, tests and trial exams, not to mention friends and home life, can be a bit chaotic. The Young Lasallian Team has been offering a few smart ideas on the web. “One Minute Top Tips” have been posting each week for a month now. These short two-minute suggestions are led by older Lasallian youth. They can be taken up by young Lasallians to motivate and lift one’s level. Just one way to keep engaged as a Lasallian. A set of new posts are starting now on Study Skills. Check it out! Young Lasallians ANZPPNG (@young_lasallians_anzppng) • Instagram photos and videos CLICK ON THE BELOW VIDEOS TO WATCH



The Year 11 Workshop held at De La Salle Ashfield was a great success. The afternoon commenced with prayer and some input on the life of our Founder (St. John Baptist de La Salle), led by Lasallian Youth Minister, Aiden Moore. The focus was on how the Founder overcame all the obstacles, to allow him to achieve his goals of setting up free schools for the poor children in the cities. throughout France in the late 17th century. Mr. Carter, College Youth Minister, led the boys through a goal-setting session. Students sat in small groups around tables and completed a template on their one year, three year and 10-year goals. There was some robust discussion in each of the small groups. This was followed by Mr. Corcoran (Director of Wellbeing and Learning) and Mr. Garcia (Leader of Wellbeing Year 11) presenting a session on leadership. Students were asked to think about what leadership requires and how they can be the leaders of the College in their final years. Br. Patrick McCarthy then finished the workshop with an inspiring prayer relating to success coming from persistence, hard work and determination.


YOUN G L AS AL L IANS -- MINISTRIES MINISTRIES AND AND ACTIVITIES ACTIVITIES ST. MICHAEL’S ADELAIDE YEAR 11 RETREAT: EYE-OPENING AND INSPIRING The Year 11 cohort at St Michael’s College Adelaide, participated in an eye-opening and inspirational retreat, run by the Lasallian Youth Ministers, Zani Bates and Isabella Tocchetti. SALT (South Australian Lasallian Team) members, Declan and Asha, as well as Calia Sandona and Ms Maiese, also assisted in the successful day. Through interactive games involving the opinions of everyone, and interesting speeches regarding beneficial personal experiences, the notion of service, opportunity and sacrifice was highlighted. As groups collaborated to discuss their ideas and thoughts regarding the theme of “service”, we were exposed to the true meaning behind it, and how it signifies something different for everyone. We were reminded of the statue of De La Salle, which had no hands. We are the hands of the future. We need to continue portraying De La Salle’s legacy of service, to explore and learn to be grateful for the opportunities we are offered every day. The group was intrigued by the Lasallian Volunteers Program, which is a fantastic opportunity for students to ‘serve’ while gaining valuable experience. “The notion of sacrifice was discussed through the Gospel story of Jesus Christ, as he sacrificed his life for us. We were also given other examples of people who sacrifice themselves for us every day, such as family, friends and coaches. Overall, the Year 11 cohort was encouraged to follow in the legacy of St John Baptist de La Salle, based on Jesus Christ, as well as to be selfless in life, by sacrificing yourself to take up opportunities to serve others”. Holly McGorman (11PC-02)

“During the Year 11 retreat, I learnt a lot about myself, my values and my morals, which coincides with those of St John Baptist de La Salle. The Year 11 retreat opened my eyes to issues prevalent in our society as well as showing ways to help those suffering due to those issues. The activities encouraged us to make commitments and live our life in service of others. Many of the themes and teachings discussed on the retreat struck a chord with me, and I’m sure they did too with the cohort.” Daniel Sutton (11PC-06)





Drop-In Events

Short Term Immersions

Music Ministry Volunteering

Retreat Volunteering

Lasallian Volunteers

Camp La Salle

Youth Minister Positions

Parmenie Experiences





LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS LASALLIAN VOLUNTEER PROGRAM - A Real Sense Of Fulfillment Author: Gabby Russo, Marketing & Community Liaison Coordinator - Oakhill College Georgia Brown, former Oakhill College Student (Class of 2018), realised she wasn’t ready to start university, so she applied for the Lasallian Volunteer program and never looked back. Why did you volunteer? While I was finishing Year 12, I realised I wasn’t motivated enough to start university. I’d had a real sense of fulfilment by helping out and giving back, when I went to the Philippines in Year 11 as a Lasallian Youth Leader. I had actually missed the deadline to volunteer for La Salle, but another girl had pulled out and I saw the advertisement which was to go to yourtown in Queensland, which appealed to me, so I applied and was lucky enough to be chosen. Where were you placed? I was placed at yourtown in Deception Bay, north of Brisbane, for 11 months. It is a social work centre facilitated by volunteers who run a young parenting program, to help out mums and dads under 25, and kids under 5. Most of the people are disadvantaged, and have come from troubled backgrounds or poverty. Volunteers counsel the parents, and we help them with all the responsibilities of parenting, as well as encourage them to have positive interactions with the kids. What was the experience like? A little bit daunting at first, as I was leaving all my friends and family. Also, Amy my volunteer partner and I were the first Volunteers to go to Deception Bay, so we didn’t have the chance to ask other people what it was like, or know what the expectations were. We weren’t sure what it would be like to live with the Brothers, but it was great. They were so interesting to talk to, inspiring and helpful. This was an awesome opportunity to live with and learn from them. They were very positive, experienced and well-travelled, and we enjoyed listening to their stories. The retired Brothers community at Scarborough enjoyed living together: it was a real family environment. I really enjoyed working with the families, and I felt a real sense of fulfilment as I was making a difference to their lives and really helping them out.


LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS What were the highs and lows of your time volunteering? There were many highs, such as having the kids really opening up and trusting you. Also getting to know them and hearing their stories and life experiences were inspiring and motivating. I also worked in a school in Brisbane and formed close connections and friends particularly with Year 12. I feel like I gained so much knowledge and wisdom during my time away. There weren’t many lows, but I did miss my family and friends at times and being away from home. What advice do you have for anyone who is thinking of volunteering? My advice would be to go for it. This is pretty much a once in a lifetime opportunity. It has helped me so much as a person, and I have more clarity now about what I want to do with my life. I’ve got to see the many pathways that I can choose. This was such a good opportunity. How has it been to move back to Sydney? It is a bit weird moving back into my family home, after being so independent and self-reliant for so long. I feel that I have improved as a person and definitely matured. What are your plans for the future? After my extended gap year, I am now working full time and planning to go to university next year to study psychology.

POWERING ON IN TOUGH TIMES - Fratelli Project, Lebanon For someone who likes the gym, keeping fit, and hanging with family and friends, it was a world away to be packing and distributing food parcels outside Beirut for months of COVID. Maroun, a 24-year old from the Bankstown area of Sydney, was volunteering as a staff member on the “Fratelli Project” in Lebanon. A visionary venture initiated by the De La Salle and Marist Brothers, it is an agency located in Rmeileh, a southern village of the capital. Its goal is to educate children and young people, largely refugees from the Syrian civil war.


LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS For someone who likes the gym, keeping fit, and hanging with family and friends, it was a world away to be packing and distributing food parcels outside Beirut for months of COVID. Maroun, a 24-year old from the Bankstown area of Sydney, was volunteering as a staff member on the “Fratelli Project” in Lebanon. A visionary venture initiated by the De La Salle and Marist Brothers, it is an agency located in Rmeileh, a southern village of the capital. Its goal is to educate children and young people, largely refugees from the Syrian civil war. Growing up in a Sydney in an Australian-Lebanese family, Maroun attended Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College in Burwood, studying VET subjects, and becoming School Captain in 2013. He was involved in community service and was a youth group leader at St Charbel’s in Punchbowl, NSW, developing social skills, leadership, and youth programs. A bright, outgoing young man, he was a property manager of a boarding house for four years, but was drawn to more volunteering: “I wanted to give of my time and volunteering in a rich program”. Exploring the web, he found a fit in the Lasallian Volunteers, and in the whole 2019 year he assisted in the running of camps and retreats, a “Breakfast Club” for needy students, and being a peer guide to Year 10 at De La Salle Secondary School Bomana, Papua New Guinea. The Fratelli Project ignited his interest: “I felt something in my heart pulling me there” says Maroun. “It would allow me to thrive as I perform best in new environments”. Having been interviewed and selected, at 23 years old, Maroun set off for a 12-month stint in January 2020. Up to a quarter of the Lebanese population are refugees. He became involved in the transition-to-normal school activities for the Syrian, Iraqi refugees and local Lebanese youth doing it tough with disasters, war and dislocation in their lives. The refugees or stateless youth can be 4 to 20+ years of age. They live with their families, and need to learn writing Arabic, English etc. Weekly sports, after-school tutoring and classes for parents fill out the program. The staff become role-models, and with COVID-19 emergence in late March, the closure of all schools was decreed. Staff became emergency workers, filling and distributing food packages and cleaning packs, as the cost of living increased dramatically. One new mind-challenge for Maroun came with the devastating and horrific Beirut port explosion, coming as he was from a Lebanese family. The Lasallian Volunteer program was discontinued at this stage, but there were three flight cancellations of bookings before he could fly home. Maroun saw it as “disappointing, not to have experienced the full richness of the program” but he did not dwell on what he couldn’t control. Being forward-looking, he applied to continue Lasallian volunteering. Maroun now works three days a week at the Lasallian yourtown agency in St. Mary’s in western Sydney assisting and mentoring search-for-work or unemployed youth. He gives weekly “power talks”, conducts mock interviews, and prepares youth for job presentation. He gives talks virtually to youth in the South Australian yourtown agency too. On two other days, he connects with secondary students at La Salle Catholic College Bankstown, offering learning support to struggling students. Switching cultures, adapting, taking up the challenges, all a part of a creative life with purpose for Maroun: “it gives me a sense of community, service and love.” If you would like to became a Lasallian Volunteer, please contact or call 02 9795 6400 21 JOURNAL LA SALLE - DECEMBER 2020

LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS VOLUNTEERING AFTER YEAR 12: Thriving By Serving Others Author: Gabby Russo, Marketing & Community Liaison Coordinator - Oakhill College Andy Carloss was not sure what he was going to do after Year 12. A Lasallian Youth Leader, he had enjoyed the opportunities this role had given him - going on the Indian Immersion trip, visiting the Anglicare Retirement Village regularly, being involved in the special swimming team, as well as school camps and reflection days. He had enrolled in nursing at university, but was feeling undecided about this decision, and was thinking about other opportunities. With a bit of encouragement from his mum and our Youth Ministers Franco and Matt, Andy applied to be part of the Lasallian Youth Volunteers Program. He had his doubts - a significant upheaval of leaving the security and familiarity of home life, as well as all his friends, but he took the “leap of faith” and applied. Looking back, Andy says it was the best thing he ever did. He was posted to an all-boys’ school - De La Salle College, Mangere, South of Auckland, NZ - for eleven months. The school has some disadvantages, with not well-off students from primarily Pacific Island nations. The culture and size of the students were vastly different from Andy’s experience in Sydney, but he embraced being with these gentle giants. Upon arrival, he started working immediately with Year 7 and 8 boys who had special needs with literacy. Also, within the Lasallian Volunteers, one can choose a particular interest area, which for Andy was hospitality and sport, both of which he got the chance to teach and play regularly with the students. Living with the Brothers and being with the students, he enjoyed his new way of life, made strong connections with the community; he felt he was getting more personally out of the experience than what he was putting in. He thrived on the chance to serve others. While at the College, Andy also became a debating coach. Having no prior experience of debating, he threw himself into the challenge, unsure of how to proceed. However, he enjoyed it and learnt a lot about himself and his capabilities. He ran ‘trial debates’ for students to practice before the event and enjoyed coaching the boys and watching them develop and grow. This experience extended Andy, giving him new found confidence and took him out of his comfort zone. Seeing the boys exceed expectations was another highlight. Out of 110 teams, Andy’s team came fourth, which was unexpected for the student’s in a low decile school; it was also awarded as the top school in South Auckland.


LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS During his time away, Andy was also given the opportunity to travel to Saint Paul’s VI College partner school in Samoa. There he was able to experience village life, continue running retreats, perform Samoan dancing, and continue to immerse himself in giving back to the community. This school has now become the first Lasallian school in Samoa and continues the education and service of the Christian Brothers. Andy has learnt so much from his experiences overseas. An important part is the strong community and values that the students in these schools hold. The ‘brotherhood’ is something that is talked about, but more importantly is lived every day. Everything the boys do is for each other. If they go and buy food, it’s not just for them, it’s for everyone; if someone achieves, it’s everyone’s achievement. They look out for each, and this continues after school. The alumni have a powerful connection too, and  return to mentor students in the school to ensure they are heading in the right direction. Andy’s experience overseas gave him the time and clarity to realise that he didn’t want to go into a career in nursing, as he had previously thought, but wanted to teach. He now attends ACU and is studying to become a high  school  teacher. His advice for anybody who is thinking of taking this opportunity is to - just do it. The  opportunity to serve, putting others before yourself, and accepting new challenges has been an invaluable experience, one that he says, he is forever grateful for. For more information contact Joanne Nehme on 9795 6400 and take the leap of faith.



An update from the Formation for Mission Team Dear Lasallians, As you will have read in my recent announcement, the creative restructuring of the Formation for Mission Team is set to further enhance our ministry with your communities. Amidst the challenges which we are all navigating, our dedicated team at LaSalle Centre have had their ear to the ground at the local, District, Region, and Institute levels to gather best practices and emerging ideas for its formation work. Heartened and challenged by careful reading of Circular 475 and Lasallian Formation for Mission: The Pilgrim’s Handbook, they placed these important new Institute documents in dialogue with their practice, the realities of this time, and their hopes for the future.

Exciting new dreams and ideas emerged, and the attached publications for 2021 outline the fruit of this process. Finally, I hope that you will take up the team’s invitation to participate in one of a series of live Q&A sessions via Zoom on 27 August. These will be invaluable opportunities for leaders like yourselves (Principals, RECs, etc) to hear directly and in greater detail from team members about the programs and events they are planning for next year while also having any questions you may have answered. The 2021 Booking form can be found HERE Thank you for all that you are doing each day in your leadership capacities. With best wishes for all that 2021 will bring.



LASALLIAN VOCATIONS FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ST JOHN BAPTIST DE LA SALLE: Find Meaning and Purpose Dear Lasallian Principals, Religious Education Coordinators and Lasallian Youth Ministers, As part of the recent Institute document Circular 475, on Lasallian Vocations and its ministry, the Brothers are called to continue to share their identity, mission and shared charism with students discerning pathways in life. The ministry of the human and Christian education of young people calls us forth to new horizons in these COVID-19 times. We believe in the innovative nature of teaching and learning and encourage you to use this newly created learning resource exploring the mission of the De La Salle Brothers. CLICK TO WATCH

The PowerPoint lesson is a resource to be used by teachers in Years 10, 11 or 12, outlining and explaining Lasallian vocations; the ANZPPNG District; the various ministries and educational settings where the Lasallian mission is today. This lesson provides students with an understanding of the mission of the De La Salle Brothers and givers updated statistics and pathways available to students exploring opportunities in contributing to this great mission. It would be excellent if this presentation could be shown or sent to Year 12 students of 2020 before they depart for exams. We encourage teachers to use this lesson in their Religion classes linking to charism, vocations and Lasallian identity. The lesson can also be broken up and be adapted according to the needs of the students. Thank you for your continued support of the Lasallian mission across the District and we continue to pray for all students as they learn and are imbued with faith, service and community. Lasallian Vocations Team (Br Lewis, Br Arian, Br Garry) 26 JOURNAL LA SALLE - DECEMBER 2020

NEWS FROM THE BROTHERS LASALLIAN BROTHER’S VOCATION: Following The Star Catholic schools and religious sisters or brothers? These days it is not a huge connection on a regular basis, as it was in previous generations. A Brother in a school setting is happening each week at De La Salle Catholic College Cronulla, a senior high in Sydney. Br. Lewis Harwood has taken it on recently. Supported by the central Lasallian Mission Service, Lewis’ presence aims to offer senior students different avenues into spirituality and Christian faith, as well as to show the importance of, and serve those with special needs. On Wednesdays, Lewis is involved in a variety of activities. It can be helping in the Special Needs section, with assignment work, writing and research. It is taking a class, at a teacher’s invitation, for a “Wisdom Wednesday” exploration of impact and meaning in music. This can lead to some brief reflection or prayer in the group. Sometimes it is introducing in English classes a poetry technique, like “slam poetry”. There has been leading some staff prayer, and just mixing with students with table tennis at Recess break. Br. Lewis has seen, he says, a “real sense of community” a strong community atmosphere. Teachers are very personal, knowing students’ names, and pastorally aware. De La Salle, as a Lasallian school, has the benefit of a part-time Lasallian youth minister, Monique Bova, who works closely with the appointed Evangelisation & Youth Minister, Therese Hughes. The Lasallian tradition is valued, Brother says, by the Principal, Stephen Mahoney. A noticeable symbol is the Lasallian Star, prominent in the central campus area, near a statue of St. John Baptist de La Salle, who assigned the “Star of Faith” to his young Institute of Brothers 340 years ago. The College incorporates the Star in its badge, and in its diagrammatic presentation of its ‘Teaching and Learning Framework’. Its light shines in the College community, and in the life of learning and faith, as it spreads out to the wider world of the Sutherland Shire.


NEWS FROM THE BROTHERS BECOMING A BROTHER: Walked with, Inspired, Invited by Brothers A fact-check will tell us the Catholic Church has young men and women worldwide, asking questions about being a Brother or Sister. Our Lasallian “postulants” Jabran Bhatti and Ranil Iqbal are young guys in their twenties, living with the three Pakistani Brothers in a small village, Khushpur, where there is a Lasallian school and an important national catechetical centre. These are run by the Brothers and fellow Lasallian teachers. It is an active life: they have already a Uni degree, or are in process of gaining one. All while they learn and expand their worlds topics about teaching, growing as a fuller, committed person, doing their share of the house jobs, reading, and even visiting some poor schools. On-site learning is expanded by online contact with a guiding Brother from Manila, Philippines. And there’s time for sport and hobbies- Ranil and Jabran are into snooker, badminton, football, photography and poetry, as well as good national food biryani and chicken kofta- fill out the day! And it’s all about deciding to be, as well, a big brother, a “worker for God”.

FIFTY YEARS AS A BROTHER: It’s Gold! Gold! Gold! - Br. Bill Shaw

the mid-1970’s and spent sixteen years on the mission there as a teacher, librarian, as well as a Board member in the Highlands at a teachers’ college administered by the Brothers. After a stint in Melbourne doing administrative work, while he extended his expertise in postgraduate studies in sciences and librarianship. With a master’s degree in information management & systems, he became the qualified archivist of the Lasallian District for ten years.

It’s not an Olympic year, but a Golden Jubilee for a Brother who celebrates fifty years in the fraternity of De La Salle is notable. Bill grew up in the village setting of Kenthurst, N.S.W., attending Oakhill College Castle Hill for upper primary & secondary schooling. He worked in the public service for some years, and studied part-time, before finally testing out the Brothers’ lifestyle when he was twenty-four. There was an interest when he was fifteen : “I was impressed by the kindness of individual Brothers, and their care of each other, and their association together for the teaching and care of students”. He remembered their support for his family when times were difficult.

FRIENDSHIP AND BROTHERHOOD When asked what keeps one going spiritually, he points out that brotherly relationships and friendship are a core, as are reflective decisions on one’s future, at key times. In terms of contact with God, there is “a conversation that lives through the day” which sustains and enriches life. For a “vocation”, a calling to be a Brother, he sees the support and acknowledgment of family and friends as important. These days, Br. Bill is a member of the retired community in Kensington, NSW. He has the opportunity to keep practising his talents, by volunteering in an historical society’s archival work. Satisfaction and achievement!

THE MISSIONARY AND ARCHIVIST Br. Bill taught the humanities and Religious Education in western and Lasallian NSW schools. He was asked to serve in Papua New Guinea in 28


NEWS FROM THE BROTHERS FREEDOM TO CHOOSE! - Older Religious Living Today Who doesn’t value freedom? Phillip Elwin, De La Salle Brother, believes that with freedom comes the responsibility to act wisely. Mature years give plenty of opportunities to live life to the full (cf. John’s Gospel 10:10) - and Phillip proves it with the array of activities he is involved with, in his seventies. A science teacher in several Lasallian schools, then involved in formation ministry in Australia and then many years in Papua New Guinea, Phillip has spent latterly some years as a carer of older Brothers. He has made much use opportunities to continue education overseas and locally. Twenty years ago, he saw an older retired missionary Brother from Papua New Guinea days, explore what he could still offer church and the wider society. This Brother threw himself into the service of housebound and needy people through the St. Vincent de Paul Society in his local church. He was also an overnight carer /supervisor for a disabled people’s house. This witness of a desire, as a retiree, to keep involved in life, has pushed Phillip to use his “life-knowledge, wisdom and talents” to do likewise, and to great effect. Initially, he used his guitar skills to enliven social events in two local aged-care home; he tutored struggling university students through a Sydney “Mission Australia” support service, and then found a solid commitment in leading one of several bush-walking groups, linked to the Heart Foundation. With others, he co-ordinates and leads two groups. These are very often older Asian Australians, who keep healthy while taking in the glories of the natural world, the history of Sydney and Harbour foreshores. The less tangible benefits that he sees are helping others grow in a sense of “being at home” locally, becoming more connected with people and place, and “sometimes deepening their sense of God’s everywhere-presence in creation”. In his local church community, he is firmly committed to a social justice group, which funds projects in a poor Timor Leste community, and is establishing some connections with the indigenous Catholic parish at La Perouse. There has also been raising supplies in-kind, in collaboration with the Jesuit Refugee Service: the Social Justice Group collects donations and distributes food to refugees in Western Sydney. Br. Phillip perceives some older people as “shutting down (and)not searching for life”. His strong motivation to keep searching for new life was also inspired, some years ago, by an elderly Brother Paschal who declined in health until his death, with motor neuron disease. Living in a nursing home, he was a cheerful presence who knew the names of residents and nursing staff, moving around in his motorized wheelchair, connecting with many people. Admired by his Brothers, while body, speech and movement gradually closed down, he was hugely open to and shared with those in his community. We all, says Phillip, have the possibility and opportunity to be more intensely, rather than do and produce for those we care for!


NEWS FROM THE BROTHERS PNG BROTHERS renew their vows Author: Br Thomas Yapo Brothers Gulfam, Simon (Bomana Community) and Sajawal (Hohola Community) recently renewed their temporary vows (for one year) at the Keaga House Chapel, Bomana. Brothers from the two communities came together to celebrate this special occasion. Br Paul Toohey prepared a fitting and meaningful liturgy which was led by Fr. Michael Tomaszewski SVD from the Seminary. He encouraged those gathered with these words: “you are meant to be a blessing to others”; “People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude”; “It is not necessarily the most talented that serves the best, but the most dedicated”. The celebration concluded with drinks and a delicious Indian chicken biriyani and chicken gravy prepared by friends of the Brothers.motorized wheelchair, connecting with many people. Admired by his Brothers, while body, speech and movement gradually closed down, he was hugely open to and shared with those in his community. We all, says Phillip, have the possibility and opportunity to be more intensely, rather than do and produce for those we care for!


NEWS FROM THE BROTHERS A TRUE LASALLIAN: Br. Martin Blattman Retires “Brother Martin is a quiet, gentleman with a wealth of knowledge to pass on to others. He is always reminding staff of the Lasallian charism” Author: Ms. Angela Porro, R.E.C. De La Salle Caringbah Our community has been gifted with a Lasallian Brother who has taught us the true meaning of being Lasallian. Br. Martin Blattman began at the college in 1983, where he worked with Principal Br. Kevin Wilding. He then remained on the staff for an extra year with Mr. Des Pollard. He lived in Cronulla and would often walk to Caringbah each morning. He was then computerising the office so the walking time enabled him to solve programming problems. He then returned to us in 2017. We thank him for his years of service to the college. Whilst he will retire from his official position on our staff this semester, he will be a presence at our major College events, and will continue to visit our community. Being a Lasallian, from Students’ point-of-views What does it mean to be Lasallian? This has been a question which has resonated with me since my time of employment at the College. I often ask the students the same question, and recently they reflected on this in Religious Education classes. Most responses were similar and included: • Being a Lasallian means being a bigger brother to younger year groups and helping those who need it. • “Enter to learn, leave to serve” - this means to be educated to go out into the community and the world in order to serve and make a difference. • Be your own ‘gentleman.’ • To be a Lasallian means that you keep Saint John Baptist de La Salle’s mission at heart. • Treat others the way you would like to be treated. • Being a Lasallian means to be the best person one can be and always striving for more in your life. • Being a Lasallian means being like Brother Martin - someone is unselfish, has God in his heart, and lives for others These qualities have been modelled to me by Br. Martin Blattman. I was fortunate to have Brother’s support when I began as Leader of Religious Education at the college in 2019. I am grateful for his gentle heart, and his encouragement in all I did. His presence in the classroom was most valued by the students, and he always listened to those young men who were struggling with issues in their own lives. Br. Martin always reminded the staff of our main role - to “touch the hearts” of the students in our care, as it was only then that lasting relationships can be formed. He often spoke to me of his experiences teaching in the indigenous community of Balgo, and I was humbled by the impact he had on the many children under his care. Alongside Br. Michael Neville, the two spent thirty years between them at the Luurnpa Catholic school, providing support to the local parish and Indigenous community. At Caringbah, the students themselves will miss his presence, as will the staff. 31 JOURNAL LA SALLE - DECEMBER 2020


Brother Martin, we thank you wholeheartedly for all you have done for the community here at Caringbah, and we wish you well in the next chapter of your life. May God bless you always.

We were delighted when Brother Martin joined us in The Learning Centre in 2017 - a welcome addition to our team. Brother Martin, with his extensive experience, worked alongside our students and gave them his undivided attention. The boys appreciated his quietly spoken manner and his listening ear - his gentle nature was apparent in his presence when he entered a room. He often reflected that although teaching methods had changed considerably over his lifetime, he believed that truly listening to a student was a great conduit for a meaningful connection. On a personal note, Br. Martin always had interesting travel tales to share with us. He shared stories of his six months sabbatical in Europe, visiting many of the well-known pilgrimage destinations. As the Brothers have communities all over Europe he was able to avail himself of their hospitality and visit England, Wales, Rome, Barcelona, Seville, Granada, Córdoba and Madrid. I know this experience was enriching for him, and a well-earnt retreat after his lifetime of service as a Brother. Br. Martin is an inspiration to us all with his unselfish service to others. On more than one occasion he expressed that the contact with our staff and students gave him life. As we strive to inspire our students to be their own “gentleman”, we are sad to say goodbye to Br. Martin who is the epitome of a gentleman. Our team will be incomplete without your presence and you will be greatly missed. We will fondly remember the part of your life and soul you shared with us. What an extraordinary blessing you have been to our De La Salle community. Mrs Veronica Robins, Learning Centre

In my time at the college, Brother Martin Blattman joined us in January 2017. We were fortunate enough to have a Brother to come to De La Salle and he brought with him a wealth of information. He supported many students with their learning. Brother Martin provided teachers with support and was a wonderful mentor in the staffroom. He is such a genuine man and always had wonderful stories of his experiences from all around the world. We were always intrigued whenever he shared these with us. I wish him well in his new adventures in the future. Mrs Pina Budd 32 JOURNAL LA SALLE - DECEMBER 2020


I first met Brother Martin in 1986. Shortly afterwards, he volunteered to be the laboratory assistant as we did not have one at the time. His wealth of knowledge in all areas of science was of great assistance, and his advice was God-sent for the Science Department over a number of years. He left to do valued work at Balgo Hills in Western Australia. He returned to De La Salle many years later to assist with Religion classes, and with this, bringing a presence of the De La Salle Brothers back to the College. I have always found Br.Martin to be a quiet gentleman with a wealth of knowledge to pass on to others. He is always reminding the staff of the Lasallian charism and the importance of “touching the hearts” of the students, one thing he has done all his life. It has been a great privilege to work with Brother Martin over the years. Our College will miss his zeal for promoting Lasallian values. I wish him well in his retirement and hope he will drop in to see us when he can. Mr Gerard McMullen, Science Dept.

On behalf of the student body, we thank you for your service to De La Salle. Brother Martin has helped many students here in finding the path of a true Lasallian as they begin high school. He always modelled the Lasallian qualities of service and love. We thank him for his contribution to the school: he always attended Masses, assemblies and classes to assist us. We will miss him sitting in the front pew. We hope that this Bible passage inspires you, Brother Martin, as you enter the next chapter of your life: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13) Zack Pontey, College Captain, and College Vice-Captain, Adam McMahon


NEWS FROM THE BROTHERS BR. MARK MCKEON Takes on New Ministry at a Seminary Accompanying seminarians in their journey towards becoming “men who live out the values of the Sermon on the Mount” is how De La Salle Br. Mark McKeon describes his new role as the Director for Human Formation at Holy Cross Seminary in Ponsonby, Auckland, N.Z. A De La Salle Brother for 35 years, Br. Mark has taught in Australia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. In 2017, he was appointed as pastoral director at Holy Cross. “A lot of my time as a De La Salle Brother has been in the area of formation” said Br Mark, who was vice-president for human resources at Bethlehem University for three years, before taking up an extended seminary role. “While I haven’t been involved in priestly formation, I’ve been involved in the formation and the accompaniment of young Brothers, from the time they initially started journeying through to, and after, they make their vows as Brothers”, he said. “I’ve studied in Rome for 12 months looking at this area of human formation and human development, to prepare me for formation work with the Brothers particularly” He said the purpose of human formation is to assist the seminarian in “becoming a man of integrity, with the personality necessary for priestly ministry in the Church. Human formation cultivates the seminarians’ personal and emotional maturity, to ensure they are capable of establishing healthy and nurturing relationships, relating with others in a respectful way. We want to form men who are willing to serve, and to take up the challenge of Pope Francis to show the joy of having answered the Lord’s call, and who live the Beatitudes expressed in the Sermon on the Mount”. Br. Mark said the key to their formation is becoming “self-aware…to be aware of their strengths and aware of their weaknesses as humans”. “The seminarian’s personal growth is examined in the areas of human, spiritual, intellectual, pastoral, physical, social, apostolic, and emotional development. This process ensures that the seminarian will grow in the virtues that will enable him to be a priest of the highest personal integrity, men who are humble and willing to listen and work collaboratively with others”, he added. Br Mark said it is important that men preparing for priesthood know that formation of others is not one way only. Others, especially the communities they will minister to, will form them as well. “We need to love the gift of celibacy, too, so that they can really witness to the fruitfulness of that gift in their lives”. Br Mark said he is enjoying his role at the seminary. “They are a great group of young men to work with. What makes them a good group to work with is their openness to being formed”. He hopes that, when they become priests, they live the message of the Gospel. “I hope that, through having lived with me, listened to me, walked alongside me, they’d have a love for Jesus, a love for people, and be passionate about being men of the Gospel”, he said. “I hope I’m witnessing to that at the moment in my own life”.


TOGETHER AND BY ASSOCIATION FR. KEVIN WALSH - Granted Association To The Castle Hill Community Author: Br Peter McIntosh Father Kevin Walsh was granted Association to the Castle Hill community for his long-standing relationship with the De La Salle Brothers. He is a former Passionist priest, living privately in retirement in the diocese of Parramatta, in a parish neighbouring our Castle Hill community. Kevin has been for some time on a roster of priests who serve our community with a regular weekly Mass. Besides his regular place on the roster, he offered to fill in for any priest unable to attend. Kevin’s long association with the De La Salle Brothers began when he visited his grandparents who lived next door to the Ashfield community. As a deacon, he was appointed to Marrickville to await his ordination and was invited by Br. Claude Sweeney, then Director and Principal of the College, to work in the school on a regular basis. He impressed Claude as a gifted teacher, and after ordination before leaving Marrickville, Claude suggested to him that if he had the opportunity, he should undertake teacher training. Appointed to Hobart, he took the opportunity to gain some work with the Christian Brothers at St. Virgil’s College. When his superiors suggested he attend university, he followed Br Claude’s advice and trained as a teacher. Kevin was posted to the UK for a period and found himself again close to the De La Salle Brothers and took the opportunity to work with them at Highgate. (The Passionists conducted the Highgate parish). On his return to Marrickville his Superior, Father Linus, suggested he apply for the position of Religious Education Coordinator at Casimir College Marrickville where Br. Colin Griffin was Principal. When Br. Pat McCarthy took up the position of Chaplain at Oakhill College in 2019, he would call on Fr. Kevin to assist him when a death occurred in a family, or when an ill parent had lost contact with the Church. Pat sees his role as pastoral in Ashfield and Oakhill, and saw that Kevin could be associated with him by fulfilling a sacramental role when needed.  When he realised that there was such a role, Kevin asked if his position could be recognised as Associated with the Brothers in their work. Our Institute was founded on the ‘Vow of Association’ taken by each De La Salle Brother. The Vatican reminds all religious to look to their original charism “Association”. Our superiors have urged us to encourage our helpers to be associated with us in the human and Christian education of the young, thus sharing with us more profoundly in the charism of St John Baptist de La Salle. Our former Superior General, Br. Alvaro, wrote extensively for the Brothers early in this century under such headings “Associated with the God of the Kingdom and the Kingdom of God” and “Associated together to seek God, follow Jesus Christ in the Work of the Kingdom “. He also set the following objectives to the newly formed Lasallian Family and Association:


TOGETHER AND BY ASSOCIATION i. to reflect on and evaluate the diverse forms of Association in the Institute in order to understand and articulate the meaning of Association among partners in our times,  ii. to foster forms of Association and the structures for Association at all levels of the Institute, making reference to such groups as “Signum Fidei”, Catechetics, and the new movements including Young Lasallians and Lasallian Volunteers. We are delighted to officially recognise Fr Kevin as an Associate of the Castle Hill community.

TO FIND MY PURPOSE: Vietnamese Lasalle Sister Theresa The exotic Communist country of Vietnam still struggles to provided schools for young children with over-worked parents. Begun in 1966, the Viet Lasalle Sisters 160-strong has been answering that need. On August 8, the feast of Mary MacKillop, Sr. Theresa Nguyen Thi Nga made her commitment with vows for life, at Bankstown St Felix de Valois church, surrounded by the Vietnamese community, her Sisters, friends and the Brothers. Coming from a very faithed family, she was looking for “another way to serve God better” and wanted to “find my purpose” in life. The community of three Sisters, who live in a simple house in Bankstown, work in childcare and in Therese’s case works in the LaSalle Centre and local parish office, teaches Religious Education to Vietnamese Australian children, and visits elderly or sick local community people. She hopes that her temporary visa can be extended to work in childcare. Like all people coming to a foreign country, Therese values greatly the support of Australians -the Brothers in the Chapel Road Community and the Vietnamese local community.



BOUND TOGETHER IN THE TIME OF COVID: Brothers and the Khushpur Parish Author: Br Qumar John Iqbal F.S.C For Catholic Christians, our Faith is incomplete if we don’t receive Holy Communion regularly.  We believe that it is a joining of our lives to Jesus, who offers himself to us under the form of bread and wine. It binds us together as the Body of Christ. In Khushpur, with a Lasallian High School and an important Catechetical Centre for the nation of Pakistan, there is, of course, the danger of COVID-19. As a response to our spiritual needs in the parish, the Clergy decided that every Sunday the Holy Mass would be broadcast over a loud speaker. When it had finished the Priests, Sisters and De La Salle Brothers would go door-to-door to distribute Holy Communion to the predominantly Catholic village community. For this purpose, the Brothers’ Community are actively engaged in preparing and recording the Liturgy. It is also available on YouTube for the whole village. Each Sunday, the Brothers make themselves available even though they are not the usual lectors or acolytes who still supply certain of their functions in the Ministry of the Word - presiding over liturgical prayers, and leading the choir. (All is in accordance with the provisions of Canon law). It is a great opportunity to care for one another in the Christian community, and to bring Jesus to those who are unreached at the very difficult time.


TOGETHER AND BY ASSOCIATION TRACY ADAMS: CHAMPIONING THE RIGHTS OF KIDS, Australia-wide Author: Maree Reason-Cain How fortunate Australia’s children and young people are, that for 30 years yourtown’s Tracy Adams has been one of Australia’s leading voices championing the rights of kids. Growing up in a small country town in New Zealand, near central Otago, the eldest of six children, Tracy Adams had no idea of the legacy she would leave in Australia many decades later. For Tracy Adams, that innocent upbringing is a world away from the advocacy work that she has been doing to protect children and young people as the Chief Executive Officer of yourtown. Tracy reflects on going to church with her mother and grandmother, growing up with a knowledge of social justice, yet it was not referred to as that. It was just knowing you were doing the right thing you helped out, you looked after each other, you were part of community. A wife and mother she describes herself in three words - energetic, optimistic and driven. The businesswoman started at BoysTown charity 30 years ago as a fresh faced young woman in her early 20’s, to fill a casual administration assistant role, for what was meant to be two days. She never left. Tracy will celebrate her 30th anniversary at yourtown this year, working her way to the top, having been appointed to the position as yourtown’s Chief Executive Officer thirteen years ago. (BoysTown transformed into yourtown in 2016 to better reflect the organisation). It is fantastic to see the growth of yourtown from its humble beginnings in 1961 to an iconic organisation that enables young people, especially those who are marginalised and without voice, to improve their quality of life. As CEO, Tracy is responsible for the overall leadership and management of one of the largest providers of charitable youth services in Australia, employing over 700 staff across four states. It has an annual budget of more than $120 million. “I actively encourage staff to challenge the status quo. I want people to feel empowered to take action. I maintain an open-door policy, and I want to hear the opinions of our team.” (Tracy) Today, yourtown provides a range of face-to-face and virtual services to children, young people and families seeking support. These services include: • “Kids Helpline”, a national 24/7 telephone and on-line counselling and support service for 5 to 25 year olds, with special capacity for young people with mental health issues; • Employment and social enterprises, which support young people into employment, including programs for youthful offenders, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific services; 38 JOURNAL LA SALLE - DECEMBER 2020

TOGETHER AND BY ASSOCIATION • Education engagement programs supporting young people at risk of disengaging from formal education early. • Accommodation responses to young parents with children, who are at risk and to women and children seeking refuge from family and domestic violence. • Young Parent Programs offering case work, individual and group work support, and child development programs for young parents and their children; • Parentline, a telephone and online counselling and support service for parents and carers; • Mental health services for children aged 0-11 years old, and their families, with moderate mental health needs. “You don’t often get the opportunity to take on a role like this. I inherited an incredibly well-run and impactful charity, for which I must thank my predecessors.  We are lucky to be in a strong financial position, given the wider challenges and uncertainties that we face in the current economy.”(Tracy) As Tracy says: “yourtown is an inclusive faith-based organisation, committed to being a practical example of the Lasallian charism, understood as courage, tenacity, compassion, love and respect. We are committed to serving young people in need regardless of their religion, race or gender. I am also a member of the District Safeguarding Committee and have a number of other Board roles unrelated to the Lasallian charism. “We are clear about our goals. Our leadership team makes sure the staff know how their efforts all contribute to keeping children and young people safe. The principles and values that embody yourtown are our Lasallian heritage. These are the elements we aim to demonstrate at all times, and we’re privileged to have many people working with us because they believe in what we do. With a focus on evidence-based research, we are well positioned to be a voice for those who may not be heard otherwise. We have been actively engaged in providing responses to Governments on issues such as cyberbullying, youth suicide, employment, bullying, health and wellbeing, and issues affecting the lives of people within remote indigenous communities. “Like many organisations, yourtown has sustained many challenges over the past 59 years. The headquarters in Milton suffered significant damage in the January 2011 floods. “Kids Helpline” was needed more than ever for the children and young people who were in serious distress, so the team dismantled and re-established the call-centre on higher ground, to keep the national counselling service open 24/7, through overwhelming adversity. “It has been a privilege and an honour to steer yourtown through these difficult first few months of COVID-19, to continue to make a substantial difference to children and young people’s lives daily. We are facing a challenging year, seeing firsthand the repercussions that the pandemic is having on both mental health and the safety of the nation’s youngest generations. This has been evidenced by a 40% spike in demand to the counsellors at ‘Kids Helpline’ over the past 3 months. “The unknown duration of COVID-19 and the social isolation of the community is having deep and long-term impacts on the mental wellbeing and safety of children and young people. COVID-19’s economic impact is the unseen enemy. It’s impossible to tell what will happen in the future, but we’re keeping a close eye on the situation, and putting plans in place to make sure we’re in the best position possible as an organisation to advocate for the needs of children and young people. 39 JOURNAL LA SALLE - DECEMBER 2020

TOGETHER AND BY ASSOCIATION “Our income generation and fundraising is likely to become harder over the coming years, and so maintaining our work in supporting children and young people will be critical. It is a big responsibility: we need to lean into the challenges and changes we see before us. At yourtown, we are primarily funded by the generosity of our yourtown Art Union supporters and corporate partners, which make up over 70% of our annual income. “However, I am confident that we will continue to succeed. We are making clear and measurable progress against mental health and child safety goals, and we will continue to do that. One of my top priorities as CEO has been building collaboration. I see our role as collaborating with the nation’s best to build a movement of protecting children.” In recruiting and evaluating staff, Tracy has always valued intangible qualities like motivation and drive. Despite having a deep knowledge and industry nous over her three-decade engagement with yourtown, she believes the real keys to her success as a leader have been energy and ambition. Tracy believes being a hands-on CEO is essential for success: “I think it’s critical not to lose sight of what’s happening across all service levels of our organisation”. With an incredible work ethic, Tracy heads up yourtown at a critical time in which she and her team shape and deliver an ambitious strategy, to tackle the demand on all its services. She continually strives to be a collaborative, thoughtful and an empowering leader to her team: “There is nothing that I would ask any of my team to do that I would not do myself.” “I confess being in a leadership position of an organisation of enthusiastic people who really are wanting to make a difference each and every day is an opportunity of a lifetime, and one I never take for granted.”

COVID-19 swells “Kids Helpline” contacts Posted by kids/kids-helpline-calls-increase-during-coronavirus-pandemic/news-story/059d03f03df447e5522895a128f345ab# on 23 September 2020 Kids Helpline, operating from 1991, is an agency of yourtown. It was formally known as BoysTown was founded by the De La Salle Brothers. Yourtown is “a charity which young people can access to find jobs, learn skills, become great parents and live safer, happier lives. We believe every young person has the right to a brighter future”, says Tracy Adams, CEO. The Helpline has faced 3,000 more contacts a week during the coronavirus pandemic. The counselling service for young people saw a 32 per cent increase in duty of care interventions between January 1 and July 31. This was driven by suicide attempts (26 per cent), child abuse (33 per cent) and mental health escalation (60 per cent). There has been an overall increase of 24 per cent for counselling nationally since the pandemic hit, with Victoria the worst state impacted because of ongoing lockdowns. 40 JOURNAL LA SALLE - DECEMBER 2020


COUNSELLOR EFFIE Breaking Down Barriers (Br Patrick McCarthy interviewed 21-year-old Effie to discuss her role as a Kids Helpline counsellor) What is your role - i.e. How would you explain what you do with someone you just met? My role includes working with children and young people aged anywhere between 5 to 25 years old, from all around Australia. As a national team, we respond to thousands of contacts from young people and offer support through counselling via telephone, web chat and email. We are professionally trained and qualified to support children and young people through whatever hardship, concerns or issues they may face. What is unique about this type of counselling? Kids Helpline is the only 24/7, free, private and confidential counselling service in Australia for young people. Counselling offered through our virtual modalities make our service unique in that we are there for our nation’s young people, anytime, for any reason, allowing us to be flexible and accessible. Young people can call the service on their own; they have the option of staying anonymous and can receive ongoing counselling with the same counsellor. Kids Helpline removes some of the barriers for young people that traditional face-to-face services might present, for example stigma and financial accessibility. Sounds like you have a great chance to make a positive difference to others’ lives - can you tell me about a time when that had a big impact on you? There are so many special moments working alongside children and young people as a Kids Helpline counsellor. As young people invite us into part of their life, we become fellow travellers in our respective journeys. There are moments of connection, collaboration and breakthroughs with many of the young people we speak to, and this opportunity is a privilege that has a daily impact on my own personal growth. What drew you to this field of work?? Throughout my life, I am grateful for close relationships with people from all walks of life, many of whom have had lived experiences with mental health concerns. Each person has a unique story, and this attracted me to finding work as a counsellor. It is a privilege to inquire genuinely into someone’s life, and to gain some understanding into a part of their story, allowing them to feel heard and seen. 41 JOURNAL LA SALLE - DECEMBER 2020

TOGETHER AND BY ASSOCIATION What is the biggest challenge in the role? Some days we might speak with up to 10 or so young people, each time investing a little bit of ourselves in the session. It can be easy to forget to check in with ourselves, and how we are doing carrying the stories of others. For this reason, Kid’s Helpline prioritises the self-care of all parties, staff and clients, through debriefs, breaks, supervision, training and peer support. Wherever I am, I know that support is always available for me. What characteristics are important in a role like this? I would say a passion for helping others, empathy, authenticity and most importantly, a willingness to learn - there is plenty of opportunity! Have you seen any positive ripple effects in the work you have done? There have been a few instances when young people may call back after weeks or months just to share a positive change or success in their lives, relating to something from their our last session. This is a hugely rewarding experience, as we hear the impact of the empowering partnership formed between clients and Kids Helpline counsellors. What has been the most surprising thing for you about this role? Day after day, I am amazed at the capacity, self-awareness and level of insight our young people share with us. I am constantly humbled by what our clients teach us. I have come to understand that there is always a learning for me through my work with children and young people. What advice do you share with others that you need to remind yourself to keep doing/ practising yourself? The opportunity to see into the lives of young people as a Kids Helpline Counsellor is amazing. We are adept at expressing words of comfort, validation and empowerment as a counsellor. However, we are human, and we are not immune to self-criticism. Self-compassion is an ongoing learning for me. What are some of the most common struggles / issues that you are hearing in this time? How can young people and their families manage these? The most common issues and struggles that we have been hearing recently relate to COVID, emotional wellbeing and mental health concerns. We continue to encourage young people and their families that we are all in this together and to continue to ask for help. We also remind families that counselling is available through “Parent Line�, a dedicated, support service for parents.


TOGETHER AND BY ASSOCIATION DE LA SALLE MALVERN: “Mothers For Social Justice” Author: Kerry Martin Editor, Roll Call Alumni Magazine, De La Salle College, Malvern When it comes to “Mothers of Former Students”, MOFS, Marie Grafen is well qualified. She has been attending MOFS functions for more than 45 years. Her four sons, Paul (1980) Christopher (1981), Damien (dec.-1983) and Kieran (1984) are Old Collegians of De La Salle Malvern. Her daughter, Marita, married Old Collegian, Alan Mercer (1989), and her grandson Giles Mercer is currently in Year 8. Giles’ younger brothers, Finian and Isaac, will join him in the near future. During this time Marie, through her involvement in a social justice group, called the “Mission Awareness Group,” has raised more than $250,000 towards Lasallian mission projects around the world. In her own words, Marie has shared the work of the Group with our Roll Call readers. I’m sure, like me, you will be impressed by their efforts. “In 1982, Br Hillary appealed to the Mother’s Auxiliary, as it was known then, for bandages to send to the Brother’s mission in Papua New Guinea. Mrs. Philomena Docherty was the President of the Auxiliary at the time and she rallied some of the mothers together to meet the need. A group of us volunteered and we would meet regularly, initially at the Brother’s residence and later at my home. “We would meet and swap stories and share many laughs as we busily converted old sheets into hundreds, if not thousands, of bandages over the years. When Br. Hilary retired, we no longer had access to affordable freight and suddenly were confronted with mounting shipping costs, so we found ourselves evolving into a fund-raising group to pay for the bandages to be sent to those in need. Our fund-raising efforts centred mostly on film luncheons, which attracted many De La Salle mothers and other supportive folk. Over the years as the practicality of making and shipping bandages diminished we refocused our efforts on general fund-raising for the Brothers’ Missions around the world. “The Luncheons proved enormously successful, and over the years the “Mission Action Group” has been privileged to hear about the efforts of the Brothers’ outreach work caring for the most marginalised within Australia, and in the developing world. These efforts have strengthened our sense of being part of the wider De La Salle Family, as well as our bonds of friendship with each other. During this time we have watched our sons and now our grandsons sharing the same Lasallian tradition. The Group, though now slightly less in numbers, still continues to meet monthly, and we welcome new members who may like to join us. Everyone is welcome. Recently we were delighted to hear from Br. Paul Toohey (1969) in PNG that our funds ($1,000) went towards installing bubble drinking taps at the school in Bomana. We are grateful to all the Brothers who have worked with us over the years. They have enriched our lives forever.”


TOGETHER AND BY ASSOCIATION LASALLIAN EDUCATION AT ST MICHAEL’S COLLEGE ADELAIDE Author: John Foley, Principal Earlier in the year, St Michael’s College staff came together and shared what Lasallian education at St Michael’s should look like today and for the future. This approach to defining Lasallian education is very much in the spirit of the early Brothers, who came together in the early 1700s as the ‘most experienced and most capable of running a school well’ to inform the monumental work known as “The Conduct of the Christian Schools”. It provided the essence of what a quality education in that era should be, and focused on what the Brothers (teachers) at the time knew ‘worked’. Over 300 comments were offered by St Michael’s Primary and Secondary teaching and non-teaching staff and these are now being developed into aspirational statements that staff will proudly put their name to. Somewhat like “The Conduct” this will be our agreed, authentic, well-articulated, ‘way of being’ at St Michael’s College, and has the potential to be definitive and enduring, in terms of what is core and most important to our educational culture. As a small preview, some of the aspirational staff statements include (without names at this point): “Staff at St Michael’s/Lasallian educators • understand that students should be treated as individuals with their own unique needs and provide the right balance of gentleness and firmness.” • are positive, friendly and welcoming; they are busy, respectful and patient, always recognising the value of teamwork.” • provide opportunities for all students, regardless of means, and work with each individual to bring out their best.” • ensure students at St Michael’s are engaged in their learning and involved in respectful, two-way conversations with teachers and other students. Safe and inclusive behaviours are always evident, as are smiles on the faces of staff and students.” • are welcoming, friendly and attentive, always providing service with a smile. They work as a team, are open to learning, organised, and respectful of the circumstances of others.” • display a positive attitude, passion, and a heart of compassion, showing their care and love for self and others through actions rather than words.” • lead by example, not just talking about their values but displaying them. They focus on the positives in individuals and aim high to thrive, not just survive.” • ensure they are amongst students throughout the lesson so they are not only seen to be the teacher, but a member of the team. Staff know student names and ‘check-in’ through frequent casual conversations both inside and outside the classroom.” • display a presence where they smile, are enthused and excited to be with students. They are innovative in their teaching methods, actively seek strategies that work and consistently upskill. Expectations are clear, feedback is constructive and interactions are positive, kind and respectful.” Whilst the process will continue with staff throughout this year, students and families will also be invited to contribute their thoughts on what a ‘Quality Lasallian Education at St Michael’s College looks like, now and into the future’.  I look forward to progressing our partnership on this important work. 44 JOURNAL LA SALLE - DECEMBER 2020





OPENING THE DOORS – Inclusive Community At “Oakhill” Oakhill College offers education in the Lasallian tradition to students, from the booming north-west Hills district of suburban Sydney. The College was founded by the De La Salle Brothers as a boys’ boarding school with four students in 1936. The property of Edward Cox, a shipping magnate, had been bought in 1932 as the “Training College” for new Brothers. Today, there are 350 students at senior level, girls comprising 110 of that cohort. Recently, a girl student has become an altar server for the College’s voluntary weekly Mass. It may sound unnoteworthy, but for Elia Chaiban, it is one way to serve the community. This, in a Church which totally preferences male clerics. She trained through her primary school and church - Our Lady of Lourdes Baulkham Hills, and really enjoyed the opportunity to serve again. She was honoured to be the first girl; since then, another girl in her year group expressed interest in joining the Altar Serving team. Elia will be speaking with the new Year 11 girls on their induction day in January 2021 and is hoping to inspire other young Oakhill ladies to express their faith through Mission@Oakhill. As Oakhill promotes Lasallian principles of Faith, Quality Education, Inclusivity, Respect and Social Justice, it was seen as normal to show diversity in the school’s liturgical life. Another girl, Isabella Hurst has also “made history” this year by playing in the First XI cricket team, alongside her twin brother. As the College website states: “a united community where diversity is respected, where no one is left out, and where everyone is accepted so each person can grow”. Respect, inclusion and acceptance seem to be the road to a mature learning community.


AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS FRONT LINE FIRST RESPONDER – First Aid Officer, De La Salle Malvern Author: Kerry Martin, Editor, “Roll Call Alumni Magazine”, De La Salle College, Malvern As De La Salle College Malvern’s First Aid Officer, Kylie Upton’s days are never boring. Responsible for more than 1,100 students, she has seen it all, but nothing could have prepared her for COVID-19. Working as part of a frontline team to implement the College’s health response to the pandemic, Ms. Upton had to think laterally and quickly, to ensure students and staff were safe. “On Sunday 22 March 2020, we received the news that all schools across Victoria would close and within days the College was put into “lockdown”, said Kylie, who has been the First Aid Officer at the College since 2012. She never dreamed she would ever experience a lockdown, and would be required to care for students during a pandemic. “Victoria was fighting a deadly virus, a virus that we couldn’t see, smell, taste or hear and the College needed to be ready,” she said. With teachers busy designing curriculum materials to deliver remotely, Ms. Upton was preparing the College for those students who would not be able to learn from home. “The holidays provided valuable time to facilitate the requirements at school for the students of “essential workers” and those considered “vulnerable.” During the term break she organised a drive-through flu vaccination for more than 100 teachers and support staff, who wanted vaccination from their cars. The Health Centre quickly responded to welcome students back under lockdown conditions. Day one of Term 2 was like no other, with seven students arriving at Tiverton campus to commence the term. They were accommodated in the Rheims Centre and were closely monitored by Ms. Upton and a small team of teachers. “We needed to regularly monitor students’ temperatures and maintain strict hygiene and social distancing measures. The Centre acquired infra-red non-contact thermometers, alcohol swabs, disposable gloves and hand sanitisers”. Ms. Upton said it was vital to regularly liaise with the Department of Health and create systematic tracking of College community members who had been in close contact with confirmed cases. Every negative test result received brought a small sense of relief, knowing the College community was safe from this virus. “Our first recess presented a new problem. How to keep students entertained during recess and lunch time. We took the risk, disinfected a basketball and let them out in the sunshine to make the most of the entire College grounds. By lunchtime they were friends, and after temperature checks and hand sanitizing, we survived our first day.” Fast forward to day four and the students, now referring to themselves as “Class Iso 2020”, elected a senior student, Thomas Simpson as “Captain Iso”. Deputy Principal of Students, Jessica Alger (safely) presented Thomas with a Class Captain Badge, which he pinned on himself due to the physical distancing rules. With students now back on campus and adapting to the “new normal”, Ms Upton is constantly vigilant, making sure that appropriate hygiene and safety measures are followed. “I am enormously proud of our COVID-19 cohort. I want them all to look back fondly on our surreal days spent together and know that De La Salle College and the Health Centre cared about them and went to great lengths to keep them safe whilst in our care.” 47 JOURNAL LA SALLE - DECEMBER 2020

AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS EARLY CAREER HISTORY TEACHER OF THE YEAR @ St. Michael’s Adelaide Author: Mr Matthew Muscat, Head of Department - History - Secondary St Michael’s College, Adelaide Congratulations to St Michael’s College staff member Ms. Anna Porcelli ,who has been awarded and named the 2020 World Teachers’ Day and History Teachers’ Association of South Australia (HTASA) Early Career History Teacher of the Year by (HTASA).Anna is very deserving for her hard work, dedication and ability as a teacher and leader at St Michael’s College, but in particular in this award for her work in History. Anna is a most worthy recipient of this inaugural award. Her achievements and work within and outside the History department have been nothing short of outstanding. She is a valued member of the team and has allowed both students and staff to flourish in realising their potential. Some of the many highlights include setting up the Year 11 and 12 Ancient Studies courses here at St. Michael’s College from scratch; contributing heavily to History and Modern History courses in all year levels; engaging students, collaborating and providing support with colleagues (both within and outside the school). Anna is the definition of a respectful and inclusive educator, and we have been the beneficiaries of this for most of her first five years of teaching. To celebrate World Teachers’ Day, Year 9 students showed their appreciation by providing a morning tea. This grateful gesture was their way of acknowledging all the hard work that has been put into ensuring that their learning continues during the challenging year. The College student leaders wrote letters to their teachers letting them know how they have made a difference in their lives, and thanking them for the time they spent ensuring the best learning outcomes. Students took photos of staff wearing sunglasses for the AITSL national social media initiative #brightfuture. Through these three activities, students helped teachers celebrate that they are constantly striving to ensure that every student is known, valued and cared for at St Michael’s College.


AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS STUDENT ENTREPRENEURS: La Salle Bankstown Raising Money For The Mission Year 9 Commerce students at La Salle Catholic College Bankstown, had their first taste of becoming entrepreneurs. As part of their study of Commerce, students have been learning about how to run a successful small business. Students were asked to plan a unique business idea, promote their products and run the business on “Market Day”. Commerce students ran incredible stalls selling a range of products from homemade sushi, fresh burgers, loaded fries, bubble tea and an amazing range of fresh desserts! This year, our retailers were required to be COVID safe by wearing gloves and masks while interacting with their customers to ensure utmost safety. All businesses were 1.5 metres apart, and all students were encouraged to socially distance when interacting with businesses. Assistant Principal, Ms. Leonie Dowd took the important role of Work Health and Safety Officer, to ensure hygiene and COVID safe practices applied at all times. The Commerce students were delighted with their business success, and found the learning experience to be highly valuable. Diala Daoud in Year 9 stated that “Market Day was one of the best experiences I’ve had at La Salle Catholic College yet! I felt very nervous but at the same time very excited about running my burger stall. However, we received so much great feedback from our fellow peers and teachers about our business. What I enjoyed the most was learning that our business was one of the many businesses that sold out really quickly on the day. We also managed to make $110 dollars which made my group and me proud!”. Students generated an outstanding $1,530.05 in revenue, all of which has been donated to Lasallian Mission Aid.The College is looking forward to the business ideas our current Year 8 students will develop for Market Day in 2021!


AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS “DE LA DAY” @ Caringbah De La Salle De La Salle Caringbah celebrated “Founder’s Day”, and what a wonderful celebration it was. Thank you to all our community members for making the day memorable. Congratulations to the Lasallian “Touching Hearts” Award recipients - Michael Papanikitas, Nixon Powell, Ashton Hetherington, Joshua Tyldsley, Brendan Fares, and Mrs. Andersson. Fr. Mani Manala from Holy Family parish Menai led the celebration of Mass. We thank him wholeheartedly again for his service. Fr Mani reminded us of the importance of time: “If you do love life, we cannot squander or waste time and the opportunities time offers us. Time is a great gift from God, given without any partiality, young or old, man or woman Our successes and failures depend upon how best we make use of time. A mother who has given birth to a premature child will tell you the value of a month. To realise the value of a day, ask the daily wage labourer who has ten kids to feed. To realise the value of one minute, ask the person who has missed the train. To realise the value of a second, ask the person who has survived an accident. Now is the time for you to think and thank God for the blessings you have received. Make Jesus your personal saviour and friend, and life will be different; each moment will be different for you.”

The Leader of R.E. spoke: “Congratulations to our students who raised over $1,300 despite limitations with fundraising. The young Lasallian men in the community have pride in who they are: they look after each other, and they stand up for what is right and just. What kind of young man do we hope to see leave the gates of De La Salle when they graduate at the end of Year 10? Brother Miguel himself encouraged young men to work with diligence. “We hope to see young men of integrity, or as Br. Solomon explained, to be men of self-sacrifice and commitment. It is easy in life to go with the crowd, to do what everybody else is doing, and to not stand up for justice. That is not being courageous. A true man of integrity will not be afraid to be ‘a voice for the voiceless.’ My wish for our students is to know that they matter in this world and that they too can be a man who stands out in a crowd. Like Saint Benildus, we are called “to do common things in an uncommon way.” “It is our hope that the young men who leave us realise that they can make a difference in our society, and as Br. Dermot encouraged - to be people of passion and spirit. As global citizens, they will have the power to make whatever impact they choose. May they have the courage to look beyond their individual circumstances, to the disadvantage which exists in our wider world. Gentlemen, may you enter the world with gentleness and respect. In life, the importance of nurturing positive relationships and demonstrating good values can never be underestimated. As our College theme this year teaches us, we must use our God-given gifts to serve others. A good gentleman will show all people respect, regardless of circumstance or background, and serve them to the best of their ability. Br. Kilian taught us all to be compassionate and generous in our daily lives.” “Our hope as teachers is to make a difference in the lives of students. We are a community of faith and my hope is that students know that regardless of any challenges which they may face, that God can be a source of strength. St John Baptist also believed in inspiring students and bringing the word of God to them, wherever they were on their faith journey. We continue his legacy in our community”. 50 JOURNAL LA SALLE - DECEMBER 2020

AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS REMEMBRANCE DAY COMMEMORATED - De La Salle Cronulla Author: Therese Hughes, Evangelisation and Youth Ministry Coordinator - De La Salle College, Cronulla De La Salle Catholic College Cronulla commemorated Remembrance Day - an important ceremony that remembers the end of World War I, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice in war. The most noticeable symbol of Remembrance Day is the red Flanders poppy. It was popularised in the contemporary poem, ‘In Flanders Fields,’ by the Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, who was moved to write the poem in 1915 after the death of a close friend on the Western Front. McCrae’s poem has inspired generations to recognise the red poppy as a symbol of remembrance for those who served in war. The College’s Youth Ministry Team asked students and teachers in the week leading up to the ceremony to write the name of someone that they know or knew who served in war on the back of a commemorative poppy or to look up the Australian War Memorial to find the name of a person they could remember for the ceremony.These paper poppies were planted around the College flag poles to serve as a personal reminder for students and staff to help remember that the peace and security we take for granted is due largely to the bravery of those commemorated in the Remembrance Day ceremony. “It’s important for students to take time out of their busy school day to remember significant events in Australia, and Remembrance Day is one of those events,” said College Evangelisation and Youth Ministry Coordinator, Mrs Therese Hughes. “We sometimes forget that Australia was a small nation with a population of fewer than five million people at the start of World War I and more than 400,000 Australians put their hands up to enlist. From this group of brave Australians, 62,000 were killed and 155,000 wounded. A further 8,000 died of war-related injuries after the war.” - David Callander HSIE Coordinator


AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS RUOK? DAY @ Oakhill College R U OK? is an Australian non-profit suicide prevention organisation, founded by advertiser Gavin Larkin in 2009. R U OK? ‘s mission is to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with people around them, and support anyone struggling with life. R U OK?’s vision is a world where we’re all connected and are protected from suicide. The year 2020 has been a challenging one for everyone, and circumstances have made it even more important for us all to stay connected and, for those who are able, be willing to support those around us.

On Thursday 10 September Oakhill College Castle Hill marked RUOK? Day. The day began with students being greeted in a festive atmosphere by College student leaders and Missions staff asking R U OK? Students were encouraged to check-in with each other and explore options to promote good mental health in their tutor groups. The Mission team reminded us of the value of connecting, and checking in with each other, through RUOK? themed prayers throughout the week. An exciting addition to this year’s RUOK? Day events was Year 12 Design and Technology’s students Madison Johnston’s HSC major work. Madison’s inspiring RUOK? Day fashion design and marketing strategy was displayed at various locations around the College. RUOK? Day at Oakhill College presented a welcome opportunity for students and staff and a timely reminder to check in with family members, friends and colleagues any time we see signs that someone may not be OK.


AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS O’CONNOR CATHOLIC COLLEGE: Funds Raised For “Kids Helpline” Author: Caroline Chapman

The annual Founder’s Day event at O’Connor Catholic College celebrates the College’s religious founders St Angela Merici and St John Baptist de La Salle. O’Connor was the product of the amalgamation of two historic Catholic schools in Armidale, St Ursula’s College (1882) and De La Salle College Armidale (1906), in 1975. On the day, students were able to participate in a wide range of activities coordinated by the College Leaders and Lasallian Youth Ministers, which were delivered via video link to individual classrooms. Students enjoyed viewing pre-recorded videos which focused on the history of the College, quizzes, as well as a ‘Rage’ styled presentation which showcased various parts of O’Connor. Over the day, the Spiller Cup was up for grabs, and the four College Houses competed against each other in a variety of activities including monies raised for Lasallian organisation ‘Kid’s Helpline’. From the lunch break, a ‘Splendour in the Quad’ style concert enabled many of the students and staff to showcase their skills on any of a number of stages around the College. The concert is always one of the features of the day, and is a great way for students to gain valuable experience in performing. This year it was also an excellent opportunity for some of the cast of ‘Mary Poppins’ to be able to perform to their peers. Unfortunately, due to the weather, the teachers’ band had to be postponed.


AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS “WHERE DO WE SEE GOD?”: Year 7 De La Salle Caringbah Boys Share Faith Author: Angela Porro, Religious Education Coordinator, De La Salle Catholic College, Caringbah

and image. This means that whether I am looking at nature or my teachers and peers, I can see God.

The Year 7 students were asked to share what they have enjoyed in their Religious Education classes this year, and where they see God in their lives. Their responses are a beautiful reflection of the spirit and soul of our boys at De La Salle Caringbah.

• Ms. Porro has taught me from when I started Year 7 that we see God in people; so this is where I see him - in all those who support me in my life. I see him in the waves when I surf, and on the soccer field when I score the winning goal.

“Where do you see God and the role Religious Education plays in your life?”. • I see God in my life as someone who guides me to push myself and to try harder.

• I see God in my life when I am struggling so he can help me.

• God is one of my best friends. He gives me the skills to be resilient and to have gratitude for life’s offerings.

• The teachings we learn in class help us to stay connected to God. The lessons are fun and are informed about the past. The information and prayer is something we can use in our everyday lives.

• I know God is always there for me. When I need to make a decision, I know that He is guiding me to make a good choice.

• I enjoy learning about all the different types of prayers and what amazing things Jesus has done.

• I see God in my life through the friends and family I have, the people I meet, and nature. My friends consider me extremely hyperactive, because I am always outside. It is because I want to witness the beauty of God.

• The time that I see God in my life is when I look at all the incredible things that I have and I see Him in all the great people that I meet - I see God there.

• I love how we can talk to God and He will listen.

• I enjoy RE as it gives me the peace and knowledge to know that I have my faith to carry me through hard and great times.

• God, to me, is in everyone, and everywhere. I enjoy learning about new prayers and religious facts where I can ask questions and have answers to my wonders.

• I enjoy RE because of the joy it brings me. RE means learning about God and working as a team to complete fun activities such as mindful colouring-in and prayer in song.

• I enjoy learning more about God and having a closer relationship with Him. God is a very important aspect in my life as I pray to Him at school, I go to Church every Sunday, and even pray in the morning and at night.

• What I enjoy about RE is that you have the freedom to speak what you believe. Our teacher tries to get us involved with all new and different activities that are challenging, but at the same time they are fun. While our class loves to talk and tell each other what we believe, we complete a lot of work at the same time. This is why it is such a productive class since we can communicate and give others our ideas.

• I enjoy learning about different prayers and ways to pray them. I also find pleasure in getting to know and understand the way that God wanted us to live, and how to be stewards of creation. I see God in my everyday life. I have learnt in RE that God made everything in this world in his likeness 54


AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS THE BEIRUT DISASTER: La Salle Bankstown Raise Funds After the devastating explosion that occurred on 4 August 2020, Lebanon has been devastated and is in immense need for food, safe shelter and medical supplies. In Week 4, La Salle College Bankstown encouraged students to fundraise toward the Beirut Disaster Appeal developed by “Maronites On Mission”. Donations would be sent via “Maronites on Mission Australia” to Lebanon through Caritas, Solidarity Lebanon, St Vincent de Paul and other organisations for these particular causes: • 1000 urgent mattresses to people who have been displaced and staying at Monasteries, Convents or Schools. • Urgent home repairs (windows, clean up, removing debris) to render homes habitable through Solidarity and Caritas. • Assistance with food packs through Solidarity Lebanon, currently supporting around 6000 families in Lebanon. • Medical aid to Caritas Lebanon, on the ground in Lebanon with the devastated communities. Year 12 student leaders and staff collected donations at recess and lunch during the week to help raise funds. A College Mufti Day was also held, where students were asked to donate a gold coin to assist those affected. Through the generosity of students and families in our College, the community raised exactly $4,500 dollars which will tremendously assist those devastated in Lebanon. The College would like to thank the local community for their support of this important initiative!





NEW ZEALAND A KIWI PROJECT: “You are nearer to God in a garden than anywhere else on earth”

Who wants to restore a rugged island off the coast of New Zealand? Orla Walsh suggested making a difference, to celebrate the 300th death anniversary of her school’s inspirational saint, John Baptist de La Salle. A Year 12 student of John Paul College, Rotorua in 2019, she was involved in the school’s strong environmental and social justice committees. A Catholic friend of Orla’s family is the owner of Motukaraka Island on the Hokianga harbour. It is seven minutes from Totara Point, where the legendary Bishop Jean Baptiste Pompallier said the very first Catholic Mass on Kiwi soil. To plant trees for Jean Baptiste de La Salle seemed fitting. Who would have imagined that two French Jean Baptistes would have a special place in New Zealand. The island itself in the far north of the country was purchased from the local Maoris by a Sydney sea captain in 1832. Now, having been neglected for forty years, the strong network of Lasallian schools got into action. De La Salle Mangere, Francis Douglas Memorial College New Plymouth, and John Paul College Rotorua each raised money, buying 300 trees from students giving $4 each. The Department of Conservation produced a planting plan to allow for 3000 trees over five years, which would see the return of native birds including Tui, Fantails and Bellbirds. The owner of the island had worked with his local kiwi, and with friends and family, to clear the Island of predators. The Forestry Commission donated a beautiful piece of wood to sign “La Salle Grove”. Despite a drought on the North Island and COVID-19, a tree-growing nursery had been sourced and when time, the local community and owner’s family has seen the trees planted and grown, over the two years. They, as volunteers, were impressed with the schools’ fundraising, and can call on them for extra resourcing. This memorial sanctuary will live on.


NEW ZEALAND MASKS – A PART OF UNIFORM at De La Salle Mangere Author: New Zealand Herald

Although the Ministry of Education has announced that the risk of contracting COVID-19 within a school environment is low, De La Salle College Mangere East, has added a college-brand face mask as part of the school uniform, on a voluntary basis, to ensure the safety of their students. About 60 per cent of students at the largely Pacific decile-1 Catholic boys’ school in Māngere are now wearing either the college masks or their own masks, as mask-wearing spreads across many South Auckland schools.

The Ministry of Education sent another bulletin to schools on Tuesday saying that face coverings are not required in schools “because the risk of infection within the school environment is low”. But several schools in South Auckland, where the latest Covid-19 “Auckland cluster” started, are now asking students to wear them. Ormiston Senior College principal Diana Patience said all staff and “nearly 100 per cent of students” are now wearing masks at her school. “We have requested them to wear masks, and there has been wonderful take-up,” she said. Kia Aroha College principal Haley Milne said “the vast majority” of her students are wearing masks, “in class more so than outside. We have provided fabric ones so every kid has their own little snap-click bag for them,” she said. “We wash them regularly at school.”


NEW ZEALAND FDMC STUDENTS TAKE ON THE ANNUAL TARANAKI SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA CONCERTO COMPETITION Author: Anna Zsigovits-Mace, Director of Religious Studies, Francis Douglas Memorial College

Recently, Thomas Whaley and Sreeram Murugaiyen from Francis Douglas Memorial College New Plymouth, competed in the annual Taranaki Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition. Sreeram played Mozart’s Flute Concerto in D, 2nd mvt, Andante ma non troppo. Thomas played Beethoven’s 5th piano concerto no 5 in Eb major op 73, mvt 2 Adagio. Both gave an outstanding performance to a very appreciative audience. Thomas has been selected to perform with the Taranaki Symphony Orchestra at a later date. We will keep you posted of the date for this show. For these musicians, performing at this level has taken hours of dedicated, self- disciplined practice. Congratulations Thomas and Sreeram!


NEW ZEALAND TALANOA* WITH DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER MR WINSTON PETERS Author: Jarren Iuvale, Year 11 Student at De La Salle College Mangere East De La Salle College Mangere East were privileged to have the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mr Winston Peters, talanoa with us in the College staffroom. Coming from a perspective of a student looking to pursue a career in law and/or possibly politics, this was a huge experience and opportunity for me, being able to gain knowledge and wisdom from a Polynesian/Maori politician himself. It was a great experience for the debating team, who was able to ask the Deputy Prime Minister questions about social issues and his position. Being able to converse with such a leader was a buzzing experience and was a real insightful moment. Thank you, Deputy Prime Minister, for giving up your time. Thank you Mr. Wendt for organizing this opportunity! *“Talanoa� is a generic term referring to a conversation, chat, sharing of ideas and talking with someone.


NEW ZEALAND FOUNDERS DAY AT FRANCIS DOUGLAS MEMORIAL COLLEGE Author: Anna Zsigovits-Mace, Director of Religious Studies, Francis Douglas Memorial College

As with many other events this year our annual celebration of Founder’s Day looked significantly different to recent years. We kept the tradition of providing for our community Foodbank. The gifts were very generous from families who themselves are dealing with the current situation, which is turning many lives upside down. It was our Lasallian love-in-action, which was gratefully received by the New Plymouth Foodbank. The Foodbank sent a representative to our liturgy, and she explained to the boys that their donations are very welcome, especially in the current climate with so many losing jobs due to Covid-19.

Usually, we would all travel down to St Joseph’s church, and celebrate the life of our Founder, and the gift of education with a Mass ,before returning to school for the Haka competition and the time- honoured pie. Normally, we would have visitors from our sister school and our sibling Lasallian Colleges but once again normal has changed. We had a lovely day celebrating the life of John Baptist de La Salle. Sir Br. Patrick Lynch spoke to the boys about the gift of education, and encouraged them to make the most of every opportunity. The Brothers also added an ice cream to the traditional pie, an announcement that was received with delight! We were also able to farewell Mr. Mike Ingram and thank him for his 19 years of service here at Francis Douglas Memorial College. He was presented with a certificate for long service to Catholic Education. We wish Mike well in his retirement. Manaakitia koutou e te Atua! 61 JOURNAL LA SALLE - DECEMBER 2020

NEW ZEALAND STUDENTS INTERVIEW MYLES HOGARTY, Principal De La Salle Mangere Transcript of interview by Manaia Iakimo and Aisea Niuafe, Yr. 8 students, DLS Mangere

Mr. Myles Hogarty took over as Principal of De La Salle College Mangere in 2012; he made history as the first person, not a Brother, to lead the school since it was established in 1953. Myles brought with him over a quarter of a century of experience in Catholic boys’ education through a fellow Auckland school, St Peter’s College, run by the Christian Brothers. “I soon appreciated how similar the educational philosophies were between the founder of the Christian Brothers, Edmund Rice and our founder, St John Baptist de La Salle”, he explains. “They were both committed to establishing schools to cater for the needs of boys from disadvantaged backgrounds, but one started off in Ireland and the other in France”. Click HERE to watch the interview filmed by Sione Nisa.

What are your hobbies outside of school? When I was younger, I used to do a lot of running, including marathons. Nowadays, my knees don’t work so well. I enjoy golf, walks and mountain biking. Who is your favourite author or what is your favourite book? The book I loved ever since I was young is the Bible. And my favourite authors would have to be those from the New Testament, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. Also, Paul and Timothy, who of course, wrote our school motto. The Bible is a source of inspiration and comfort. Do you have a hidden talent and if yes what is it? It must be very well hidden because I don’t think I’ve discovered it yet. I guess though, I enjoy being a grandfather, rediscovering things I haven’t done since a child, like building with Lego. If you were the prime minister, what would you do for New Zealand? I think I would make a law to be kind to one another. It would be compulsory to be kind to our neighbours, to show compassion and to be inclusive. 62 JOURNAL LA SALLE - DECEMBER 2020

NEW ZEALAND What makes you proud of De La Salle College? When I’m on stage, acknowledging those who have achieved highly. I’m especially proud of those students who are the quiet achievers, humble but proud of what they have achieved. During the lockdown, did you personally learn any skills or acquire any new hobbies? At Christmas, I got a new bike. I haven’t had a bike since I was 15. During the lockdown, I cycled a lot; it was great with fewer cars on the road. What do you think was the major problem for online learning during lockdown? I think the major problem was expecting young men to spend long periods of time in front of a computer. It’s important to get the balance right, of time in front of the computer and other important activities, spending time with friends, exercising etc. Why did you choose education as a career? I enjoy working with people; spending my working day surrounded by 1000 students and 100 staff is great. I also enjoy seeing students grow and mature. What are the biggest challenges you face as a principal of De La Salle College? That’s pretty similar to the previous answer. I’d like to see boys take real ownership of the school, the way they work in it, represent it and lift its reputation in the community. Who is your favourite sports team? I don’t have one favourite team. I guess I always support the underdog. Of course, any team who wears the “maroon”, our school colours gets my support. Three words to describe yourself. Respectful-Hardworking-Inclusive.


NEW ZEALAND A DISTINCTIVE CATHOLIC LASALLIAN SCHOOL: Francis Douglas Memorial College Author: Anna Zsigovits-Mace, Director of Religious Studies, Francis Douglas Memorial College

A Presentation to Parents The “Special Character” at Francis Douglas Memorial College is more than a couple of words that separate us from State Schools in Aotearoa New Zealand. Our name on the wall at the bottom of our driveway states we are: “A Catholic Lasallian School for Boys.” We are rightly proud of our status within the community and among our families which holds Francis Douglas Memorial College in high esteem. Our curriculum is varied, and our teachers are knowledgeable, caring and effective. Our sports programmes and extra-curricular activities offer many opportunities for the boys to be involved in a variety of interests. Our service program is active in the community, and our Special Character is well covered with events and opportunities for personal development. On sending your son to Francis Douglas Memorial College you are agreeing to their participation in all activities. This includes academic, sport, culture and Special Character. Retreats are one of these Special Character events. Every Year Level will have a one-day retreat every year. These retreats are based around spefic themes, with a lot of effort going into planning a day that is varied. We have speakers, fun activities, quiet reflective time and some form of celebration. This is either a Mass or a Liturgy. The boys are able to wear mufti. We provide snacks and lunch.


NEW ZEALAND A Year 11 Retreat Author : Mrs Christina Hermanns, Retreat Coordinator

The year 11 students at Francis Douglas Memorial College gathered in the chapel for their retreat focussed on ‘What’s Important?’. The students took part in activities to consider important things in their lives. These included: deciding who the important people are, right now, in their lives, and who they would seat at their tables. All sorts of people were invited from family members to famous people. Would Jesus have a place at the table? The bomb shelter activity saw the boys decide who would be saved if there was only room for 6 people in a bomb shelter. Would the 30 year old SAS soldier who could not have children get a place, or the wheelchair-bound geologist who could help recover fossil fuels but refuses to leave his twin boys behind? What about the agricultural scientist who is secretly part of the white supremacist movement? The boys had to decide who got to live, and who was left behind. Mr. Basile got the boys thinking of the importance of brotherhood through song and Hika Perez provided an opportunity for the boys to meditate and react. Our guest speaker for the retreat was Mrs. Dalliston, who sparked the boys’ interest by sharing her experience of volunteering in a Lasallian school in Papua New Guinea. She highlighted the contract between things we take for granted in New Zealand, and the reality of life in a developing nation. The students heard about the dedication of their Lasallian brothers and sisters, who are struggling to make a life for themselves in very difficult circumstances. Later, Mrs. Chylek-Peters shared a short story about a boy who is faced with the tough reality of being a new boy compounded by enduring gynecomastia. Although this topic is not often discussed, the boys all agreed that everyone faces challenges and situations that can be embarrassing, but having supportive friends makes all the difference. The day concluded with Liturgy of the Word and anointing by the senior student leaders. The boys went away with a lot to think about. Thank you to the boys who participated so well and to the staff for facilitating the activities. The retreat days are an aspect of student life that makes Francis Douglas Memorial College different from secular schools.


PAKISTAN LA SALLE HIGHER SECONDARY SCHOOL MULTAN - Facilitating an Online English Class Author: Br Rehman The education of students and teachers has always been a goal of the Institute, and to fulfil this objective, La Salle Higher Secondary School Multan, held an Online English Class to help improve literacy skills. The class was attended by 40 students and teachers, and was facilitated by Br Rehman Javed (School Administrator), Cameron Streeter (Youth Minister, Bankstown, Sydney), Gregory Phocum (English Teacher, Cambridge Section) and Jennifer Kiran (Headmistress Cambridge Section). The use of ‘Zoom’ (video conferencing software) was beneficial in conducting the online lessons, along with ‘Google Tests’ which was used to evaluate the skill level of each candidate during their learning. Overall, the participants provided positive feedback on the interactive online class. Appreciated was expressed to the facilitators who volunteered their time to help improve the literacy of each student and teacher.


PAKISTAN GIRLS EDUCATION IN PAKISTAN The importance of girls’ education, told by our students from the La Salle Girls High School in Faisalabad, Pakistan. CLICK TO WATCH


PAPUA NEW GUINEA A TEACHER PILGRIMAGE - TO TIMBUNGE, Papua New Guinea Setting out at six o’clock in a truck carrying twenty-three teachers is not everyone’s idea of a break from the routine. We did this for a three-day reflection and sharing recently. St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School Timbunge was the peaceful venue along the mighty 1126 kilometre-long Sepik River. Collecting food, batteries and fuel for the 3-hour journey at Wewak came first, then the 2-hour boat trip, which included a dug-out canoe. Despite the cramped conditions, there was excitement about the venture a “mission” to meet some remote Lasallian teachers at Timbunge. The school, founded by pioneer Divine Word Missionaries (SVD’s) in the early 1950’s, was the venue for an enriching program, designed by Aloysius Jalapuin. It focused on our teaching journey in life, and significant points in that of St. John Baptist, our patron saint. Josh Moish introduced or re-introduced the Patron Saint of Teachers to us. Josh in his simple and quiet manner, took the participants into history and into the founding years of the Lasallians mission in France in the 16th Century. The next five sessions were facilitated by Aloysius following a prayerful process of -firstly - reflecting on a significant time in De La Salle’s life, then listening to De La Salle’ words, and meditating on the Word of God. Time followed for reflecting on one’s own life by journaling, and open sharing sessions. The process was a spiritual enriching exercise. It was a wonderful experience to remind Lasallian teachers that their journey in life as teachers is a prayerful calling, to do God’s will for the children in their schools and classrooms.


PAPUA NEW GUINEA CARIBOU CRASH – A YEARLY COMMEMORATION at DLS Bomana Forty-seven years ago, a RAAF Caribou transport aircraft crashed into a Papua New Guinea hillside near Wau, Bulolo in Morobe Province. It was returning PNG school cadets from their annual training camp when it went missing on a flight from Lae to Port Moresby. Killed was its Australian crew and most of its passengers - high school student cadets. This RAAF peacetime air crash on August 28, 1972, claimed the lives of 25 of the 29 onboard. The crash of the DHC-4 Caribou in Papua New Guinea on this day was the most tragic accident in RAAF history. Most of the cadets were from De La Salle Secondary School, Bomana. Five students survived and were found four days later. One died shortly after from his injuries upon his return to Moresby and two others have died more recently. On this 48th anniversary, the school gathered in the new Assembly Shelter for a simple but moving ceremony. Students led the customary daily devotion before the Principal, Br. Antony Swamy fsc, welcomed all, including the special guests: Cardinal Sir John Ribat (Catholic Archbishop of Port Moresby), the two surviving cadets (Mr. Joe Fraghi and Rev Patrick Gau), Commander Peter Philip (Training Commandant, Bomana Police Training College), Lt Colonel Joseph Reu (SO1 Protocol Officer HQPNGDF), Mrs Maureen Duang (De La Salle Secondary Board Chairperson), Mr Vincent Tapungu (Police Forensic Officer and De La Salle Secondary Board Member), Br. John Pill fsc (Principal, Hohola Technical College), Ms. Grace Wrakia (National Lasallian Family Coordinator), Mr Michael Eluh (PNG Lasallian Alumni Chairman), Mr Simon Siki (De La Salle Alumni Chairman) and Mr Stanley Nahua (Boroko Motors Service Manager. Students gave stirring renditions of the national anthems of Australia and Papua New Guinea followed by a recitation of the national pledge. Simultaneously the flags of PNG and Australia were raised, together with the 24 Provincial flags, a strikingly colourful salute! On his behalf and that of Rev. Patrick Gau the two remaining survivors, Mr. Joe Fraghi shared his memories of that fateful day 48 years ago - gathering what resources they had and going in search of a clearing where they might attract the attention of a search party. Miraculously, on the fourth day, they were spotted, and a rescue was mounted.


PAPUA NEW GUINEA LASALLIANS IN RURAL AND REMOTE PAPUA NEW GUINEA If I leave then who will teach these children?”: Author: Grace Wrakia, National Lasallian Family Coordinator In July 2020, a group of Lasallian teachers from distant, remote schools travelled to one such school for a threeday retreat. They took valuable time to share the exultations and tribulations in their Lasallian lives. Their recounts are summarised below. One Lasallian teacher was physically attacked in the school by a fellow teacher for speaking up about the unprofessional conduct of teachers. Teachers were chewing betel nut while conducting Assembly and doing official duties. A mediation was held between the two parties and peace was finally reached when the betel nut teacher admitted that what he did was wrong and apologised. Another Lasallian who is the head teacher in a primary school, was verbally assaulted by drunk youths from the school’s surrounding communities. This head teacher had to speak up against youths who continuously harass young female teachers. The teacher became the target of ridicule, verbal assaults and threats, concluding “it was better I take the full brunt of this harassment because I have grown a thicker skin over the many years of experience and I can take it, than to see a new graduate teacher losing their passion for teaching  because of attacks like these”. Authorities and police have stepped in to assist this head teacher and other teachers. A third and junior teacher had to step up under difficult situations to manage or run a school, after the head teacher and senior teacher left the school. With little experience but great confidence, he has managed the school of 500 students and 7 teachers for the last six months. The pandemic added to already existing challenges, and was further topped by an ignorant and unco-operative local community. This Lasallian teacher asked himself: “if I go too then who will teach these children?” With that self-conviction, and backed up by few years of Lasallian formation, he plans to stay on to complete this academic year and maybe -if allowed- continue to teach there for some more years. He hopes to turn this school around for the better. Many shared their dissatisfaction about the lack of or no emphases placed by their colleagues in the teaching of Christian Religious Education (CRE). Lasallians expressed sadness at this and many of them have decided to take up additional CRE classes themselves. They said: “CRE is a very important and core subject in the curriculum and therefore must be taught with care and zeal”. 70 JOURNAL LA SALLE - DECEMBER 2020

PAPUA NEW GUINEA (In this article there is no intention to discredit or disrespect any school, community and authorities, but to draw light on the dedication of some teachers in the provinces, and honour them for it). I sincerely thank these Lasallians who talked about their life’s journey. Listening to these stories, I personally appreciated their dedication, and admired their boldness to stand up for what is right, in justice for the vulnerable children in the schools. Let us continue to pray for Lasallians and especially for the lone Lasallian teacher, teaching in a rural and remote school in Papua New Guinea. Their stories continue to inspire us.

CRICKET FOR GOOD GRADUATION Sacred Heart Teachers’ College is the first Tertiary Institution that has adopted the Cricket PNG ICC Course.


YOUTH ALIVE: FEW ARE CHOSEN Congratulations to our Grade 11 Solomon Student at De La Salle Bomana, George Gau, for participating in sharing the Gospel Reflection in Program Youth-Alive sponsored by CBC.



PAPUA NEW GUINEA CHECK OUT MAMBU MAGAZINE 2020 Issue 1 – “identifying & connecting” The revived e-magazine is here! It was first published online in 2008, with the inspiration of the renowned missionary, Br. Ignatius Kennedy who promoted the Lasallian Family network in PNG. It became a critical sharing point for the widely dispersed teachers in remote schools and the cities in this Lasallian Sector. More and more teachers took inspiration from the Lasallian tradition. These teachers had mainly graduated from Holy Trinity Teachers College, Mt. Hagen, which the Brothers led, and where they had worked and lived since 1979. The publication continued till 2016, and is now returning stronger than ever. Why “Mambu” as a title? It is the local word for “bamboo” in Papua New Guinea. The bamboo plant has been a basic resource over thousands of years for self-sufficiency in village life. So bamboo was chosen as a symbol of the PNG Lasallian Family. Joined with the Lasallian Star, which proclaims our faith in God, these symbols show, says Grace Wrakia, the National Co-ordinator, that “the Family” is growing strong and resilient in connecting Lasallian schools and Christian teachers right across a rugged, fertile country. Grace points out that just as the mambu is valued for its strength, its many varieties, and an ability to grow anywhere in the country, local Lasallian teachers bring the Good News of Christianity to a myriad of local settings, with a spirit of faith, and an adaptability to local needs...

2020 Issues 2 – “20 years of Association” Here is Issue Two of “Mambu” for your information and enjoyment of all things Lasallian! The Lasallian Family in Papua New Guinea has not been sitting with its face to the wall during the tumult and dislocation of COVID-19. The following pages give all the great and creative activity that good Christian education can offer to “those entrusted to our care” (St. John Baptist de La Salle). “Mambu” helps sustain knowledge, inspiration, friendship and networks of Lasallian schools and Christian teachers right across our rugged, fertile country. You, as a reader, are one Lasallian who is bringing the Good News of Christianity to your local setting, with a full spirit of faith, and an adaptability to local needs. In town, remote village or city we are growing strong and resilient as Lasallians in the Mission. God bless you richly this Christmas time when our Saviour came!


LASALLIAN ALUMNI DE LA SALLE COLLEGIAN AWARDED MEDAL OF THE ORDER OF AUSTRALIA Author: Kerry Martin, Editor, Roll Call Alumni Magazine, De La Salle College, Malvern Paul Stewart OAM (1979) was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to the community and to the performing arts. He is a committed advocate for social justice and runs the ‘Just Voices’ program for Jesuit Social Services. A forming member and front man of the legendary Melbourne band, “The Painters and Dockers”, Paul has been a formidable presence in the performing arts scene in Australia for more than 30 years. Paul has also been a long -ime campaigner for East Timor, following the tragic death of his older brother. Anthony (Tony) Stewart (1971) was a 21-year-old sound recordist on assignment in East Timor when he was gunned down by Indonesian forces, along with four other newsmen in 1975, known since as the “Balibo Five”. He travels regularly to East Timor where he works closely with the Alma Nuns, who are in Australia this month. Stewart and the nuns visited the College to talk to students about the disabled and abandoned children they work with in East Timor. Alongside his numerous other charitable roles, Stewart is a founding member of the “Mirabel Foundation” and “The Transplants”, a band made up of organ recipients who promote the work of “Donate Australia”.

ST JAMES EAST BENTLEIGH OLD BOY MAKES AFL DEBUT Author: Martin Callanan Religious Education Domain Leader, St James College Former St James College Captain, Ryan Byrnes, made his senior AFL debut for the St. Kilda Football club recently against the Adelaide Crows. After being drafted by the Saints in 2019, Ryan was given his opportunity following strong form at reserves level. The 19-year-old, was given the news by St Kilda coach Brett Ratten, in the presence of his teammates, as well as parents Justine and Danny who were present via ZOOM. Ryan’s leadership credentials were evident in his early years at St James and it came as no surprise when he was elected to the position of College Captain in 2017. He went on to captain the Sandringham Dragons in the AFL Under 18 competition and he won the Best and Fairest Award for that club in 2019. Many experts regard Ryan as a ready-made footballer, but his chances of squeezing into the senior line-up in his first year appeared slim. However, his attributes of persistence and hard work have seen him earn his place this week. All at St James College wish Ryan the very best as he begins this exciting new chapter in his life. 73 JOURNAL LA SALLE - DECEMBER 2020

LASALLIAN ALUMNI HAVING A BALL: DLS Malvern Past Student Author: Kerry Martin, Editor, Roll Call Alumni Magazine, De La Salle College, Malvern When he was a student at De La Salle Malvern, Jack Gray (2009) says that football ruled his life and as the AFL’s “Lead for Player Engagement and Activation”, he is proud to say it still does. “Football”, he says, “pretty much ruled my life during my days at De La Salle. I was constantly looking out for opportunities to play both at school and outside of school. I played with the Year 9 and Senior teams in Years 10 and 11, winning, ACC competitions two out of three years”. After graduating, Gray completed a Diploma of Sport Development and worked in a variety of roles before landing his dream job in football. “I had a few casual roles straight out of high school whilst trying to figure out the career path I wanted to take. I did a bit of hospitality and retail work, and a lot of manual work which kept me fit. As is often the case, a personal contact, who worked at AFL House, helped me get a foot in the door and eventually I was lucky to make it through to a full time position.” His current role as the “Player Engagement and Activation Lead,” sees him working with all AFL/ AFLW Clubs in conjunction with AFL state bodies, on the CBA Player Appearances. Current CBA arrangements require all players to be available for 4-hour public appearances, 21 times throughout the year. A typical day for Jack sees him attending internal meetings about upcoming projects and campaigns, and responding to AFL Clubs and Player managers. Developing young players is an important part of his job, and part of his role involves coordinating the young “Auskick” players on Grand Final day. “On the day of the Grand Final, I have organised the “Auskick “players, including the half-time game and the presentation of the Premiership medals to the premiership players after the game. This has become such an important part of the grand final celebrations, and fans agree that the young kid’s presentation of medals after the game is a real highlight. Seeing the excitement on their faces running out to 100,000 screaming fans, is an experience you never forget.” For Jack, being on the ground for the grand final celebrations is a definite career highlight: “I have been at the last eight AFL Grand Finals and been out on the ground during the player celebrations. It’s a real highlight,” he said. When he is not talking football, he still plays for Williamstown CYMS, with which he has had a long and successful football career. In 2014, he was voted Division One Competition Best and Fairest after a consistent season, for which his team also took out the flag. In the same year, has also represented the VAFA in their Under 21 game in Tasmania. De La Salle has many legacies for me. “I still have so many friends that I’m regularly in contact with. I can’t say I was the most academic student, but I loved coming to school and interacting with all my mates and my teachers.” In spite of the delayed 2020 AFL season, Jack is busy working with the players making sure they can still engage with their fans.


LASALLIAN ALUMNI LASALLIAN AWARDED 2020 YOUNG WALKLEY AWARD Author: The Guardian Congratulations to Luke Henriques-Gomes, graduate from De La Salle College Malvern (2010), who was awarded a 2020 Young Walkley award. The Guardian Australia’s welfare and inequality reporter, won the award for short form journalism. The award-winning report was one of a string of exclusives by Henriques-Gomes,on the robo-debt scandal and flaws in Australia’s welfare system. The Morrison government had considered expanding the scheme to target thousands of pensioners and other “sensitive” welfare recipients.t helped to expose widespread failings in a punitive welfare scheme that the federal government later admitted was illegal. Luke was also nominated in the Public Service journalism Walkley category for his reporting during The Guardian’s “Fair Go” series, which exposed flaws in the lucrative and privatised “welfare-to-work” system. That award finally went to The West Australian newspaper’s Annabel Hennessy, who also took out the overall young journalist of the year prize for her exposé on the trial of Jody Gore, an Indigenous woman who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the murder of her ex-partner Damian Jones in 2016, despite enduring decades of domestic abuse at his hands.

QUEEN HONOURS CATHOLICS FOR SERVICE: MIKE BAILEY RECEIVES OAM Author: Catholic Weekly, 30 July 2020 Catholics across Sydney and the country were recognised for their outstanding service to Australians in the annual Queen’s Birthday honours list in fields including health, welfare, education, politics, justice and sports. St Patrick’s church in Mortlake saw two of its parishioners honoured, the Archdiocese of Sydney’s Mike Bailey and former Liberal MP Paul Zammit, both with a Medal in the General Division (OAM). Mike Bailey was educated by the De La Salle Brothers in Bankstown and Ashfield. He said they “helped develop my sense of social justice and community involvement, which has guided my spirit of service, to clubs, charities and other worthy causes.” Mike is the Executive Officer to the Vicar General and Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Sydney, as well as serving as Chair of the “Wests Ashfield Leagues Club”, and on the boards of several charities. The former journalist and weather presenter was awarded his OAM for services to rugby league and the community. “I am very much a ‘man in the stand’ who has not played the game but worked to keep the history of Wests Magpies and Balmain Tigers alive during a very tough period for the NRL side, Wests Tigers,” said Mr. Bailey. 75 JOURNAL LA SALLE - DECEMBER 2020


LASALLIAN INTERNATIONAL HEALTH UPDATE - BR. SUPERIOR GENERAL Author: Br. Robert Schieler, Superior General Dear Brothers Visitor, Brothers and members of the Lasallian Family, I am happy to share with you the good news that my liver transplant was a success. I feel fine and I have resumed my full responsibilities as Brother Superior. I am most grateful for your prayers and support which, I believe, have contributed to my recovery. I would like to thank Brother Jorge, Vicar General, and the Brothers of the General Council for their leadership while I focused on my health. I invite you to offer a prayer of gratitude for the doctors, nurses and their support staff who professionally and compassionately cared for me. I continue to hold in prayer both the generous liver donor and their loved ones. Since the doctors recommend that I not travel at this time, for the time being I will continue to work from my community in the United States. Once again, I thank you for your prayers and support that have accompanied me from the initial diagnosis of cancer and all throughout this period of surgery and recovery. Your many expressions of concern and promise of prayers have been a source of strength for me. Please join me in thanking God that I am able to continue to serve you. Sincerely, Brother Robert Schieler, FSC Brother Superior

COVID TAKES ITS TOLL ON BETHLEHEM UNIVERSITY Author: Letter- Br Peter Bray, Vice Chancellor Bethlehem University Greetings from this beautiful, holy place as we enjoy the wonder of summer here, with beautiful clear skies, hardly a breath of wind, warm temperatures, and being in the place where Jesus was born! However, because of the number of cases of COVID-19 in Palestine and in Israel, people are facing severe restrictions. This is part of the unpredictable situation in which we are living. Thanks to many of you who have been in touch in a supportive way. Because of what has been happening here, I am sorry I have not been able to respond individually to your e-mails, but I do appreciate your support. I generally only write at Christmas and Easter, but I want to take the opportunity to bring you up to date on some of the things that have been happening here, given these unprecedented times. After the lockdown on March 5, we managed to finish the Spring semester on time, online, at the end of May, and then similarly a summer semester. But, unfortunately, there was no graduation! We have been forced to have the Fall semester online as well, and one of the big disappointments is that the 978 new students (the largest in our history) will be introduced to Bethlehem University online! 77 JOURNAL LA SALLE - DECEMBER 2020


This is not the best introduction, and does not give them a good feel for the place. It does not allow our returning students to interact and welcome them. However, there is little we can do about that. We have not had students on campus since 5 March, and with the Fall semester now online, if students are able to return for Spring 20 21 at the end of January, it will be eleven months without them here. It is certainly a strange place without students, and we are emerging into an unpredictable and unprecedented world. We are fortunate that we have some very forward-thinking academics and technical people here, who are making the most of the situation, and finding ever better ways to provide for our students. The COVID-19, while not the cause, was the trigger for a major financial crisis at Bethlehem University. The budget deficit has been rising over recent years because of several factors: the increase in the salaries bill; the money from the Palestinian Authority not arriving; the unexpected increase in the arrangement for currency exchange moving from $300,000 per year, to last year being over $700,000; some cutbacks from major donors, the impact of COVID-19 on other donors, etc. While the revenue from tuition and fees along with fundraising has been slowly increasing, it has not been at the same rate as the increase in salaries. Then COVID-19 hit us in early March, with the result that there have been no pilgrims here since then. With so many of the families of our students being involved in the hospitality industry, it has meant many of those families have had no funds coming into the home since then. That has, of course, made it difficult for them to pay their tuition, which we needed for salaries! The challenge we are facing is predominantly a financial one. We were faced with a situation where we did not have any reserves left to provide funding for salaries in this current 2020-2021 academic year. In a very conservative draft budget, we were some $1.5 million short of what we needed. When the Palestinian Authority reduced and then stopped their support of Bethlehem University in 2017, which had been around $300,000 a year, we began taking steps to address this loss and so cut back on budgets, with subsequent protests from faculties and offices. Initially, there was no indication that the lack of funds from the Palestinian Authority would become permanent, so we lived with some hope that we would get something. The attempts to raise money to cover the deficit met with only mild results, and I have found it very difficult to convince donors to contribute to operational costs! So, it is an uphill battle to increase fundraising for the operational budget. 78 JOURNAL LA SALLE - DECEMBER 2020

LASALLIAN INTERNATIONAL With some $1.5 million short of what we needed, we began to look at where we could make savings. With 75% of our operating budget going in salaries and benefits, that was an obvious place where savings could be made, so a process of restructuring began to be planned. The main driving force for restructuring is the payroll bill, but it is not the only one. For some time the Academic Office has been reviewing what is being offered, exploring what the needs of the Palestinian people are, and seeking to develop new programs to meet them. Software engineering was introduced two years ago, and a new program in Medical Laboratory Sciences began in this present academic year. What is very heartening is that these new programs have been over-subscribed this year, which indicates that we made good decisions in choosing to introduce them. I certainly do not like the restructuring process and would much prefer not to be doing it. We had numerous meetings with the Union to seek to find a way to manage the budget, but in the end, we could not reach an agreement and find the needed funding. I was pushed, therefore, to the only option left to me, that is restructuring with the loss of some jobs and the reduction of hours for some others. That saved us what we needed, but I was conscious of the impact that would have on people here at Bethlehem University, with the unemployment situation here in Bethlehem being so dire, and the possibility of getting another job very remote. However, we didn’t have reserves to dip into, and I have a responsibility for the sustainability of Bethlehem University! When we moved to introduce the restructuring, the Union called a strike and that continued for two weeks. The Deans of the faculties then intervened and over the course of several days worked with the Executive Committee of the Union, and arrived at an arrangement which was virtually what the Union had rejected three weeks before. With some intense discussions an agreement was reached at 10:30pm last Sunday evening. I signed the agreement with the Union at 8:00am on Monday morning and at 9:00am everyone returned to work! In this deal the restructuring was put on hold, and the Administration will withhold up to 15% of the salaries of employees (on a sliding scale depending on the salary) to be repaid within ten years. This loan from employees buys time, and will mean we will have the cash to get through this academic year, but it does not solve the underlying problem. Hopefully, in the course of the year we may be able to find an answer. Over the past twelve years I have talked about, and worked to create, an oasis of peace and a beacon of hope here. I am aware of the impact a major restructuring would have on that, and am very reluctant to do it, but may be forced to do so. We have started a process of review with external consultants, which will provide us with the opportunity to step back and seek to find better ways to organize, run, teach, assess, and generally serve the young people entrusted to us. I am hoping this will provide a turning point in the way we respond to our wonderful students, and set us up to be more sustainable. Thank you for your support of the mission we are engaged in here, and I ask you to keep us in your prayers as we navigate these uncharted waters! Best wishes and thanks for your interest in and support for Bethlehem University.


LASALLIAN INTERNATIONAL FRATELLI PROJECT IN THE DAYS OF THE CORONAVIRUS Author: Br Gilbert Ouilabegue, RELAF As in all countries on all continents, the Coronavirus disease, called Covid-19, has appeared in the Middle East, more precisely in Lebanon in this year 2020. Patient zero was an imported case, which came from Iran on February 21, 2020. A week later, several contact cases were reported positive in two regions of the country. This forced the education authorities to close schools and universities as of 3 March 2020. Since that date, the activities of the “Fratelli Project”, as a socio- educational centre, have also been suspended. (The Project is a joint venture of the Marist and De La Salle Brothers, employing lay workers as well). It has been impossible for us to take in children for our leisure programmes, such as school and pre-school support. All this month of March, we have kept our doors and windows closed, for our own safety, and out of respect for government measures. The many families of the refugees, like all the inhabitants of Lebanon, remained confined to their camps and shelters. Some refugee camps are guarded by municipal police officers, to prevent any hazardous exit of the inhabitants. Locking down people who earn their daily bread, by going to work in other people’s homes on a daily basis for more than 30 days is tantamount to depriving them of any source of income, that would enable them to survive at best. Women, children, old people, adults, sick and healthy people, staying cloistered in “houses” that are not always clean and badly ventilated, is a real difficulty that these many refugee families in Lebanon are experiencing. Faced with the new needs, given the grievances and the urgency presented to us by those in charge of the shelters and the heads of families, it was necessary to try to bring a concrete response by “going beyond the borders” of the ordinary activities of the Fratelli Project. To do this, three urgent and concrete humanitarian actions were initiated. In view of the possibilities offered by the annual budget of the project (no transportation, no students present for snacks, no activities to consume the lines of supplies and school equipment), it has taken some imagination and adaptation to meet these new local and urgent needs that we summarize here in three action points: First action for our students who are confined to their homes How could we be present to them despite the distance imposed by the confinement? The Project co-ordination team and the Fratelli community have undertaken to produce 90-second videos to express to the children that we are present, and we hope to welcome them as soon as possible. This will take place twice a week. In this way, we have accompanied more than 650 children and young people through the social networks of Facebook and WhatsApp. Started at the end of March, this activity will run until the end of May.


LASALLIAN INTERNATIONAL Second action for the families of the hungry students With the confinement, it is impossible for parents to go out to look for daily bread and a minimum of hygienic material that the families need. We then undertook to offer each family a pack of various basic foodstuffs (beans, rice, oil, sugar, flour, lentils, canned food etc.), and another pack composed of soaps, detergent, hydro-alcoholic gel, sanitary towels, shampoo, garbage plastic. We distributed, with the agreement of the Municipalities and General Security, more than 1,800 packs to the families of the refugees (Syrian, Palestinian and Iraqi), and some Lebanese families. For Muslim families, this help was more than appreciated, as it came at the right time for the holy month of Ramadan. The program covered the whole month of May, despite the confinement. Each family also received a children’s toy kit consisting of gadgets, balloons to inflate, colouring books, pencils and flipcharts for drawing. Third action for “Baby Kit” Program With the border closures, certain foodstuffs and pharmaceutical products that are essential to preserve life for the most vulnerable have become untraceable, if not inaccessible to the poorest. This is particularly the case of milk for infants. New-borns in this time of Coronavirus pandemics, and whose mothers cannot breast-feed normally, are the most exposed to this shortage or high cost of infant milk. So Fratelli Project has launched a new program to help this category, which is one of the most exposed and vulnerable to the direct consequences of Covid-19. From June 1 for three months, as a humanitarian assistance project, Fratelli wants to bring relief and assistance to children from 0 to 3 years of age, allowing some of the poorest and most vulnerable families to benefit from a few cans of infant milk, baby diapers and talcum powder against itch in this summer season. This new program to respond to the humanitarian emergency of small children will be supervised by a paediatrician during these three months. Finally, for the end of the confinement, since the students will no longer be able to return to school here in Lebanon, the team of educators is keeping alive the flame of transmitting knowledge. To this end, “summer homework” is being designed and sent every week to the homes of all students enrolled in the programs of Fratelli. Once a week, the educators meet by levels to correct and evaluate the distance learning and propose other homework for the following week. This is the new way of teaching students at a distance, imposed on us by the Coronavirus. Fraternally in De La Salle and Marcelin Champagnat whose feast day is celebrated on June 6.


LASALLIAN INTERNATIONAL LASALLIANS ADVOCATE FOR GIRLS’ QUALITY EDUCATION Posted by RELAN 20 August 2020 Thirty-five Lasallian entities from around the world are among the more than 100 signatories who recently issued an open letter supporting quality education for girls. The letter, entitled “Beijing+25: The Road To Gender Equality Begins With Girls’ Education,” was released on July 7, the day that the Generation Equality Forum would have started. That gathering was postponed due to COVID-19. The letter highlights the importance of educating girls, stating, “Girls’ education enables girls to access the full spectrum of their rights. It is also linked with economic growth, climate change mitigation and resilience, promoting peace and bolstering health and education outcomes for children. Education is a critical pathway to achieving gender equality, and has the power to transform the harmful social norms that hold girls and women back from exercising their agency and realizing their full potential.” In addition to signing the letter as strong advocates for females, many Lasallian ministries around the world work daily to address the unique educational issues of girls and young women. To name just a few examples: accessibility via scholarships (Ethiopian Catholic University and Tumba Lasallian School, Congo); dormitories for health and safety protection (St. La Salle School, Kenya; Ethiopian Catholic University; Tumba Lasallian School; and Talba Secondary School, Cameroon); programs for girls with special needs (Egypt, Lebanon, Vietnam); Lasallian Women of Hope (feminine hygiene products for young women in Papua New Guinea, Congo and Africa); and gender-based violence prevention programs along with victims’ assistance (Dominican Republic, Peru, Lebanon, Portugal and Mozambique). The letter also states that education is “a critical pathway to achieving gender equality, and has the power to transform the harmful social norms that hold girls and women back from exercising their agency, and realizing their full potential.” The signatories “call on all leaders to reinforce the importance and the powerful role of education for women and girls’ rights.”


The Generation Equality Forum is convened by UN Women, and co-chaired by France and Mexico, to provide a global public conversation for urgent action and promote accountability for gender equality. It seeks to celebrate the power of women’s rights activism, feminist solidarity, and youth leadership to achieve transformative change. The gathering will start in Mexico City, and conclude in Paris, with participants being connected worldwide, in real-time, through satellite sessions. The 2021 dates have not yet been announced.


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