On Friday 22 February, De La Salle Secondary School, Bomana, hosted the Tercentenary Opening Mass and Liturgy to celebrate the death and 300-year commitment of St John Baptist de La Salle.
The Sector was honoured to welcome the Republic of France Ambassador, His Excellency Monsieur Phillipe Janvier Kamiyama; Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Archbishop Kurian Mathew Vayalunkal; fellow priests and sisters; Fr John Glynn AFSC and Br David Hawke, Brother Visitor of the District of Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea.
Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Archbishop Kurian Mathew Vayalunkal and His Excellency Monsieur Phillipe Janvier Kamiyama, recognised the De La Salle Brothers for their 74-year commitment to education in Papua New Guinea and for touching the hearts and transforming the lives of thousands of men, women and children in the Sector. St John Baptist de La Salle was recognised for founding the De La Salle Brothers more than 300 years ago in France.
The event brought everyone together to celebrate the legacy left by St John Baptist De La Salle, to celebrate the present and continue to enhance the future for education in Papua New Guinea.
The Tercentenary Closing Mass will be celebrated on the 20th of September 2019.
See below for the opening address of Br David Hawke, Brother Visitor of the District of Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea
Excellency Archbishop Vayalunkal Apostolic Nuncio, Excellency Monsieur Phillipe Janvier Kamiyama Ambassador of France to Papua New Guinea.
Good morning Lasallians. We gather today because one man, St John Baptist de La Salle continues to inspire us to be excellent students and educators. None of us would be here today if John Baptist de La Salle had not founded the Christian schools over 300 years ago. We are here today celebrating the Tercentenary of the death of John Baptist de La Salle and the Year of Lasallian Vocations.
I want to say something first to the students and then, to the educators present. The theme of the year ONE HEART ONE COMMITMENT ONE LIFE I feel is best left for adult Lasallians whereas this year calls young people to deepen their understanding of FAITH SERVICE COMMUNITY those values that are so prominent in our Lasallian schools. Use every opportunity this year to deepen your FAITH and live it. SERVICE is not only a Lasallian value; it is a basic Christian value. At school and in your families be prepared to be of service to others. COMMUNITY is strong in Papua New Guinean society and hopefully is your experience in a Lasallian school.
At various times while students we think about our future and what we will do after we graduate from high school whether it be further studies or employment. But in this Year of Lasallian Vocations let’s dig a little deeper into our future planning. We are using vocations in the plural so it may be you consider in your future plans being a teacher in a Lasallian school or a Lasallian Volunteer or youth minister. One Lasallian Vocation which is dear to my heart is the vocation of the Brother. In this special year I issue a challenge to the young men and young male teachers; have you ever thought about being a De La Salle Brother? I have a dream that the national Brothers here will outnumber the foreign Brothers. How will that come about? Only if Papua New Guineans answer God’s call to become Brothers and “yes” God still calls!
To the Principals, teachers and other staff present, let’s take a brief look at the Tercentenary theme: ONE HEART ONE COMMITMENT ONE LIFE. In announcing the Tercentenary Year, Br Robert Schieler, Superior General reflected on the theme:
ONE HEART reminds us that as educators we have responsibility to touch the hearts of children. It also reminds us that like the first Brothers we are communities of educators associated from the heart.
ONE COMMITMENT renews our call to provide a human and Christian education to the poor, the young and adults entrusted to our care and try to be good educators in all that we do.
ONE LIFE shares our hope for the Lasallian mission and brings to mind how we should follow De La Salle’s footprints by answering God’s calls in our lives just as De La Salle did in his day.
I invite all educators present to take some time to reflect on the theme in the light of Br Robert’s words.
Thank you to all who planned this memorable Mass today and to you all for celebrating so well our Founder, St John Baptist de La Salle.