#300LaSalle Celebration

“It’s a special opportunity for the Brothers and Lasallian Family to celebrate the legacy of the Founder’s life,”
Brother Christopher Patiño

We have three themes and ideas being played out during the year300 years since the passing of Saint John Baptist de La SalleLasallian Hearts on Fire: Our hearts are burning within usPope Frances has declared this year the Year of Lasallian VocationThe year 2019 marks the 300th anniversary of John Baptist de La Salle’s entry into eternal life.

“It’s a special opportunity for the Brothers and Lasallian Family to celebrate the legacy of the Founder’s life,” said Brother Christopher Patiño, director of vocation ministry for the Lasallian District of San Francisco New Orleans.

The #300LaSalle celebration will include special events and renewed commitments in Lasallian communities around the world. At Saint Mary’s College, Vice President for Mission Frances Sweeney said 2019 will see conversations centering on three new areas, which will help to:

1. Develop or strengthen orientation and formation programming in light of our mission.

2. Better integrate the three traditions into ongoing programs and practices (for example, First Year Advising Cohort, Collegiate Seminar Critical Reflections, and student life).

3. Promote and expand faculty research and participation in the themes established by the International Association of Lasallian Universities, including food, nutrition, and health; sustainability and the environment; and educational and learning initiatives.

Sweeney said the faculty and staff have already been involved in a new national initiative that addresses issues related to the Lasallian call for racial justice, along with developing a research immersion program to study immigration at the border with Mexico. She added that there will be conversations about these programs and others, reflecting on how we live together our shared Catholic intellectual tradition. Faculty, students, and staff gathered to create the number 300 to celebrate the De La Salle tercentenary.

Brother James Joost, auxiliary visitor for the District of San Francisco New Orleans, said the anniversary helps the new district, established in 2014, come together and encourage the great work of the Brothers in California, Louisiana, and the worldwide institute. Even the district’s retired Brothers are involved. “The Brothers continue actively in ministry, and those who cannot be directly involved minister through their prayer for and, at times, presence with each Lasallian school.”

The #300LaSalle celebration will also create awareness for the Lasallian mission through music and art. A sharp, multilanguage video titled One Heart. One Commitment. One Life. features the official song for the 300th anniversary campaign, with lyrics by Jorge Roig and Antoni Bosch. A traveling art installation created by Oakland artist Bill Weber highlights figures significant to the spiritual and historical heritage of the District of San Francisco New Orleans. It includes part of the wooden cross (circa 1872) from the Brothers’ original novitiate in Martinez. Framing for the piece was made from the legs of an altar from the Brothers’ former community at Magnolia in Lafayette, La.

“The anniversary provides the opportunity to remind ourselves of the original gift of the Holy Spirit to John Baptist de La Salle and the meaning of that gift into contemporary local, national, and worldwide society,” said Brother Charles Hilken.

To that end, Brother Camillus Chavez hopes the campaign will ignite a flame in the hearts of the faithful worldwide. “The Founder gave us a stick of dynamite. When are we going to light the fuse?” he said.

The Lasallian art installation will be on display at Saint Mary’s College April 1– May 3, 2019, to coincide with the annual De La Salle Week. The video can be seen on YouTube. —Ginny Prior