Riverdale, NY – Eight young men in the District of Eastern North America’s (DENA) Contact Program gathered at Manhattan College for a weekend retreat. The summer retreat is an integral part of the discernment program the Brothers have for young men to learn about the life of the Brother. The weekend featured conferences on living the Lasallian life today, communal prayer and opportunities to get to know fellow Contacts better.

Bro. Thomas Casey, founding Executive Director of the De La Salle School in Freeport, New York, presented to the Contacts about his journey from high school teacher and administrator to founding a school on Long Island for middle school boys. While the transition had some rough patches, the young men heard first hand of the devotion to the mission of the Brothers’ founder, John Baptist De La Salle. This mission of making quality education available to all has from its inception been open to leaving successful works to attempt new and risky ventures.

Bro. Thomas was followed by a presentation by Kelvin Mejia, a graduate of San Miguel DC, who spoke of a similar school from the student’s perspective. A good Q&A session followed. Both speakers emphasized the power of teachers to help transform lives.

The Contacts had opportunities on all three days to pray communally with the Brothers, with each other and in the quiet confines of Manhattan College’s Riverdale campus.

A running joke among the participants regarded a survey each had filled in months and years before: “All I did was check a box and now I’m in New York City.” As all of the participants are graduates of Lasallian schools, they each had at one point filled in a survey card that posed the question of wanting to learn more about the Brothers. A simple yes then, led to a series of steps that ended in the young man saying yes to this weekend. Bro. Richard Galvin, Contact Coordinator, noted to them that their journeys mirror that of De La Salle’s. The saint wrote late in his life that he never imagined his initial yes would lead where it did.

A second retreat will be held for both new and returning Contacts in August in conjunction with the welcoming of postulants and novices.