LEAD Story 377

First time in HK after half a century

HONG KONG - December 8, 2021 is certainly one date the Hong Kong Lasallian family would never deign to forget as Br. Angelo Paolo “Br. Paul” Mata FSC had chosen it to be the day he said forever to the Brothers. For a sector that has not seen the rite of final vows of a De La Salle Brother in over fifty years, Br Paul’s profession in Hong Kong is, as one might say, precious.

Prior to the Eucharistic celebration, Br. Patrick Tierney reminisced about his rite of final vows in Hong Kong which took place in 1967. In the same sharing, he helped the attendees understand the meaning and impact of Br. Paul’s profession on the current state of the Brothers’ ministry in the country.

Though he was unable to make his profession in the Philippines, his homeland, due to travel and health restrictions, Br. Paul was grateful to have received so much support from Hong Kong Lasallians, who made the mass and the rite of final vows possible. The evening's Mass was presided by Fr. Jojo Ancheril CMF with Fr. Alan Wong SJ, Fr. Joseph Haw SJ and Fr. John Wang SJ concelebrating. The altar servers, Eric Wong and Dustin Li, were old boys from La Salle schools in HK. Ms. Edith Ng of De La Salle Secondary School made sure solemn music was in place by bringing with her the Charis choir. Present, too, was Br. Jeffrey Chan who served as commentator. Br Mikey Cua, Ms Maggie Lam of St Joseph's Primary School and Ms Amy Lo of St Joseph's College served as lectors. Mr. Raymond Chu of Chong Gene Hang College and Ms Wendy Wong of La Salle Primary School led the Prayers of the Faithful.

Working behind the scenes were dedicated HK Lasallians that comprised the technical team headed by Ms. Nikki Chan. Together with Dr. Timmy Lo of De La Salle School, she was in charge of the event’s social media live feed among others. The highlights of the event were documented by Mr. Mark Huang and Mr. Jeffrey Or, the main photographers of the program.

Aside from Br. Patrick, Brs. Dennis Magbanua and Tom Lavin were also present to perform customary yet significant roles in the program. In his shared reflection, Br. Dennis revealed how well he has known Br. Paul even before the latter joined the Brothers. His exhortation centered on how Br. Paul has always embodied the image of “Kuya” to the people he has met. He explained that the very word, which also appears in Br. Paul’s email “kuyapaulfsc@gmail.com”, aptly defined his passion for being an “older brother” to his students.

Br. Tom Lavin, on the other hand, formally accepted Br Paul’s vows on behalf of Br Armin Luistro FSC, LEAD Visitor.

Before Fr. Jojo said the final blessing of the Eucharistic celebration, Br. Paul was given the chance to share his response. “This journey has empowered me to share my voice and presence. The Brother’s life has allowed me to find fellow companions who, to me, may not be related by blood but have significantly become ‘family.’ Today I am chosen. Today I also lovingly and humbly choose the One who has chosen me. Today, this ‘yes’ leads me to a tomorrow I know not, but with a certainty that the One who called is already there,” said Br Paul. He ended his response with a prayer that he himself composed:

Dear God,
For the grace to find you and meet you in the many
faces, places,

For the truth of the here and now,
For the hope that tomorrow carries,
For the shadows that have been brought to light,
For the resilience to carry what continues to weigh medown,
For the courage to let go of what is no longer necessary,
For the smile in my heart,
For those and that which make my heart smile,
For the many “NOs” that have allowed me to preservethis “YES”
For the “yes” that has brought me to where I am today,
For the “yes” that is You in its beginning and its end...

The on-site mass attendees were each handed a six- decade rosary as a token of thanks for witnessing the event.

Br. Angelo Paolo Mata FSC is a De La Salle Brother from the Philippines. His tour of ministry as a Brother includes teaching assignments in Iligan and Singapore, and now in Hong Kong. Prior to joining the Brothers, he had served in De La Salle Schools in the Philippines responding to the Lasallian mission in various capacities. In Hong Kong, Br. Paul is more commonly known as Br. Paolo. (Text by Br. Edmon Viroomal FSC, Photos by Mr. Jeffrey Or and Mr. Mark Huang)

MYANMAR - We are so blessed for being able to hold and successfully conclude a 3-day program for some youths who were able to attend in-person. For those who couldn’t be present, they joined the program online. This program was part of a L.I.N.E. (Lasallian InterNational Experience) Project conducted by Lasallian youths who participated in L.I.N.E. Program together with Br. Justine Nge Bo FSC (Vocation Promotor), Ms. Christine Soe Hlaing (LEAD Mission Council member) and Mr. Louis Kyaw Ko Ko (Lasallian Youth Coordinator) as facilitators. The program was held in Lasalle Language Center in Yangon, Myanmar from December 14 to 16, 2021. The theme of the program was “Social Inequality”.

On the first day, 15 participants were warmly welcomed, and the program started the morning session with self-introductions. Then the participants shared their knowledge and their lived experiences about the social inequality they have witnessed or have heard of. In the afternoon session, the participants had group discussions about how they can help lessen the inequality in the society where they live and know so well.

On the second day, Br. Moris Tang FSC, as guest speaker, shared about the life of the Founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle. He also talked about his life as a Lasallian Brother and the work he has been doing in the Institute. At the end of his session, he encouraged all the participants to imitate St. La Salle, his life of holiness, and his dedicated work in education for the poor. The session concluded with Br. Moris providing the participants some reflection questions and urged them to continue reflecting even after this program.

On the third day, we had some social activities to get to know each other better. We also had Christmas carol singing and did some Christmas crafts to have a taste of Christmas as we were moving closer to the celebration of the birth of Our Lord Jesus. The program ended with lunch for those who participated in person and some of the parents also joined the festive meal. (Text & Photos: Br. Justine Nge Bo FSC)

THAILAND - The De La Salle Brothers and Sisters in Thailand, together and by association, reflect the importance of community, mission and participation.

The event begins with an opening prayer led by Br. Luke, followed by a message from Br. Joseph Klong, the Sector head.

Rev. Fr. John Baptist Chanchai Thewphaingam facilitates the recollection on the recent synod in the country on communion, mission and participation.

Announcements about the sector, such as the groundbreaking of the Bamboo 2 project: La Salle Mae Hong Son School in Khun Mae La and Br. Mario's retirement in the mission in Thailand, are also mentioned.

The recollection concluded with a group discussion on Life and Mission in Times of Pandemic, School and Community Life, Thailand's Future Sector, and the recent Catholic Church Synod on Communion, Participation, and Mission.

In the afternoon the young Brothers play football against the faculty members of La Salle Bangkok.

The day concluded with community mass and Christmas party. (Text: Br. Eugene de Luna FSC; Photos: Br. Eugene de Luna FSC; De La Salle Brothers - Thailand Official Facebook Page)

THAILAND - Christmas is a time of sharing. Today (December 22) the teachers have distributed worksheets, school milk to the students, and on the occasion of Christmas, we have brought a bag of happiness from the diocese of Ratchaburi by Father Chitchanon Saengpradab which were distributed to the students' families.

The school would like to thank the Ratchaburi Diocese for bringing the love and blessings of the Child Jesus to share with us. (La Salle Sangklaburi Official Facebook Page)

PHILIPPINES - The University of St. La Salle in Bacolod produced 3 short films on The Miracle of Christmas. Click on the images to view the videos in YouTube.

The Miracle of Christmas: The Greatest Gift
Generosity is at the heart of God. Jesus who became man and offered his life for us. This season, what is the greatest gift we can give? Are you willing to share even the little that you have? Our generosity to those who are most in need is a miracle of God through you. Will you be part of His Miracle?

One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. - Proverbs 11:24-25

The Miracle of Christmas: The True Meaning
How do we prepare to celebrate the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ? Is it by cooking a sumptuous meal for Noche Buena? Buying and wrapping gifts? Planning parties and games for reunions and gatherings here and there?

In the words of our Founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle, “Because we know that Jesus Christ is going to come into us today and we recognize him for what he is, let us prepare for him a dwelling place worthy of him. Let us dispose our hearts to receive him in such a way that he may be pleased to make his home there.” More than the food, gifts, parties and games, the true meaning of Christmas is welcoming the Christ Jesus in our hearts and allowing Him to live there forever.

The Miracle of Christmas: A New Beginning
Christmas is one of the most awaited times of the year for many of us, but before we reach this joyful and glorious day, the season of Advent helps us to prepare ourselves in welcoming the Child Jesus in our midst. How do we prepare to welcome Christ in our midst?

We are called to be instruments for new beginnings, to help rebuild and restore, not just relationships but especially now with the lives of those affected by Typhoon Odette. Let us be Miracles in these trying times and always.

#TheMiracleOfChristmas #TheMiracleOfChristmasIsHere #TheMiracleOfChristmasIsYou #YouArePartOfTheMiracle

Excerpts from the Article:

De La Salle University – Dasmariñas (DLSU-D) is hosting the first-ever Fabrication Laboratory (Fab Lab) in Cavite for Filipino Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

DLSU-D and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) established the Cavite Fab Lab to enable the transformation of digital designs into solid prototypes and continuously improve the competitiveness of MSMEs in Cavite and the entire CALABARZON region.

(Photo: DTI Cavite Official Facebook Page)

Sources: https://www.facebook.com/DTI.Cavite/posts/1608242956190978 https://www.goodnewspilipinas.com/de-la-salle-university-dasmarinas-hosts-first-cavite-fab-lab-for-filipino- enterprises/

Rest in Peace, Br Jean de Dieu.

Br Jean de Dieu took and finished his doctorate degree at DLSU-Manila. During that time, he stayed in the 1911 Brothers' Community. He went back to his home district in 2019 after finishing his studies.

Prayers requested for the repose of his soul.

Eternal rest grant unto Jean de Dieu, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon him. And may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

(Poster: La Salle - Institution Sainte Famille Ofisialy Official Facebook Page)