Students line up for morning assembly.
Q: What do each of these places have in common? Eritrea, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Palestine, Puerto Rico, Rome, Vietnam
A: They receive Lasallian support from the District of Eastern North America (DENA)
The Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools maintains schools and programs in eighty countries across seven continents. Unfortunately, however, many parts of our world do not have the same resources as others. Therefore, the Brothers and Lasallians of our District have answered the call of the worldwide Institute that we be “Districts Without Borders”.
DENA carries out this call beyond eastern North America in different ways, whether by deploying Brothers and volunteers to serve at missionary schools and ministries, or by raising funds and awareness. Whether time, talent, or treasure, our Lasallian family explores every possible strength it has to effect change―to provide a human and Christian education to the young, especially the poor. Here are some of the current forms this support has taken:
The Twinning program connects our schools with Lasallian ministries in our Lwanga District of Africa. Each of our participating DENA schools is matched directly with a “sister” school in Africa, not only to support them financially through student fundraisers, but also to build relationships within the Lasallian family. While the pandemic has hindered traditional fundraising projects, we are working with our students to develop new venues of financial support. More importantly, technology has allowed students in our DENA ministries to deepen their connection with students at their twinned ministry through Skype, Zoom, e-mailing letters, etc.
HAITI – ADVENT APPEAL
Following the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010, our District offered to help build College Saint Jean Baptiste de La Salle. This pre-k through 7th grade school provides students and families in the capital city of Port-au-Prince with a first-rate school and a Mother & Child Center. Recently, we have also begun supporting seven Lasallian schools in the most impoverished region of the country. Each Advent, students in our District are invited to raise money to support fellow Lasallians in Haiti, a country that has been affected so greatly by natural disasters and deficient national leadership.
Brothers often accept or request assignments to serve in Lasallian ministries beyond our boundaries. Several current examples include:
Rome: Br. Robert Schieler, FSC, is currently in his seventh year as Superior General―head of the worldwide Institute. We have two other Brothers, Robert Schaefer, FSC, and Patrick Duffy, FSC, also holding global positions at our Generalate in Rome.
Mexico: Br. Peter Killeen, FSC is working with young men in formation to become Brothers. He also teaches Theology at La Salle University Mexico City, along with helping the local community.
Vietnam: In 2017, Br. Anthony Nguyen, FSC, accepted an invitation by Brother Visitor of the Vietnam District. He has been teaching Catechism, Church history, and English, first at La Salle Theological Institute, and now at a school in Dalat.
Palestine: We currently have two DENA Brothers assigned to positions at Bethlehem University: Brs. Peter Iorlano, FSC and Stephen Touhy, FSC. BU is a Catholic co-educational institution, founded in 1973 in the Lasallian tradition and open to students of all faith traditions.
WOMEN OF HOPE
In 2020-21, our District is promoting the growing global movement, Lasallian Women of Hope (LWH). LWH targets specific countries and regions where educational inequities and many gender-specific educational obstacles are common for girls and women, delivering creative, effective and durable solutions to these inequities. The mission of LWH is to ensure that females enjoy full access to education.
After three years of discussion, discernment, and formal procedures, it was recently announced that on August 1, 2021, the Lasallian school and Brothers Community of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, will officially transfer from the District of Antilles South-Mexico to the District of Eastern North America. Since Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, this school now will be able to take advantage of DENA’s educational structure and links, as well as its administrative, legal, and juridical structures.
While the Brothers and Partners of DENA continue our commitment to ensuring the best educational experience to our District schools, we also are proud of our Christian commitment to serve our Lasallian brothers and sisters where we are needed most. We ask you to pray for and support our Lasallian family throughout the world.
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