LEAD Story 382

SINGAPORE - In view of the pandemic restrictions, representatives of the Singapore Lasallian family gathered at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd on 2022 March 29, on the very day that the first pioneering 6 Brothers arrived in Singapore in 1852. Thus began the Lasallian presence in Asia. One of the six Brothers who arrived, Bro Switbert, is buried in the grounds of the cathedral with a memorial plaque on a wall of the cathedral.

The Mass began with the entrance procession of the school flags of the 8 schools and the framed picture of HopeHouse. The hymns sung at the Mass were pre-recorded of the voices and the faces of teachers and students from the schools.

The Chairmen of the governing boards, school leaders, teachers, parents, students, alumni and the Lynksters (Lasallian Youth) gathered for the eucharist to thank the Lord for the many Brothers and partners who gave their lives and contributed to nation-building and character-formation.

Archbishop William Goh presiding at the Mass thanked the Brothers for their work of forming many generations of Singaporeans. He also cited that a large percentage of converts to the Catholic Church were mainly from Catholic schools and also that the largest number of priests in the archdiocese were those who had a Lasallian education. Archbishop William Goh encouraged the Lasallian partners to continue their good work while also asking the young to consider the life of a Brother as a vocation. (Text: Br. Nicholas Seet FSC; Photos: SJI-Junior Official Facebook Page)

The 170th Anniversary Mass on YouTube

"That is what these 170 years of Lasallian Mission in Asia are about - that we continue to have that vision and the dream of serving new needs among the young." - Br. Nicholas Seet FSC Click on the image to view a short message by Br. Nicholas Seet FSC on the 170th Anniversary of Lasallian Mission in Asia on YouTube.

Early Brothers of St Xavier’s with Br Aloysius Gonzaga Pin (Brother Director of SXI from 1879 to 1898)

MALAYSIA - March 29, 2022: On this day, 170 years ago, six pioneering La Salle Brothers - Br Liefroy Bajon, Br Lothaire Combes, Br Venere Chapuis, Br Gregory Connolly, Br Switbert Doyle and Br Jerome King arrived in Singapore from Antwerp. Brothers Liefroy, Switbert and Gregory stayed in Singapore while their three companions set out to Penang to inaugurate the Lasallian establishment there, the school which was to flourish under the title of the great Jesuit missionary, St Francis Xavier.

The Covid-19 pandemic has crippled the world. We experience a number of movement control orders and very strict SOPs enforced by the government due to the Delta and now Omicron variant. With sadness and disappointment, the Lasallian Family in Malaysia were unable to organise any meaningful events to commemorate the very significant date on the Malaysian Lasallian calendar.

Nevertheless, with borders opening on April 1, 2022, the Malaysian Federation of Lasallian Alumni Associations (MFOLSA) is confident that we can proceed to organise events and programs during the 3rd and 4th quarter of 2022.

MFOLSA in collaboration with the La Salle Brothers will be organising a series of events to commemorate 170 Years of La Salle Mission in Malaysia. There will be a Malaysian Lasallian Educators Conference in Taiping, Perak from September 8 - 10, 2022.

A 170 Years La Salle Golf Classic is planned for the 3rd Quarter of 2022. And a Thanksgiving Mass at the Church of St Francis Xavier, Petaling Jaya followed by 170th Year Gala Dinner is scheduled for the last Quarter of 2022. (Text & Photos: Mr. James Sia)

Xavier’s Institution
Picture of St Xavier’s Institution in early 1900. However, during World War II, the building was bombed and badly damaged and had to be demolished

Xavier’s Institution
Current St Xavier’s building


Brother Visitor’s Message

There are times when it is helpful to look back and imagine how things would have turned if individuals with the freedom to choose their destinies chose otherwise than what we already know from our history. What if the six Brothers assigned to the Far East had cold feet and reconsidered? What if the Brother Superior discerned otherwise and changed their missionary assignment? What if those tasked with a critical mission turn their backs because they lack the audacity to embrace the challenge?

It is difficult to second guess what was in the minds and hearts of these pioneers when their boats set sail from Antwerp with the mission to lay the Lasallian Foundation in East Asia 170 years ago. What is certain is that the tiny spark that has since become a living Lasallian flame would not have been kindled, and this part of the globe would have been a little less brilliant.

Even today, we recognize the urgency of responding to so many emerging educational needs in our world and the ever-complex problems of intergenerational poverty and ignorance. The legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and our vibrant Lasallian tradition have engaged in intercultural and interfaith dialogues in Asia through the decades. The Lasallian spirit of faith and zeal has taken root in Asia's fertile soil and grown into a sturdy tree. Let us celebrate the past with a fresh resolve to recreate our future.

It is our turn today to be the change we want to see. Let us nudge the dream within to sail on and conquer the deep; for while it is safer to stay closer to shore, boats were built to ride the waves.

Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC

HONG KONG – One central topic and over seventy representatives.

The number seems to speak for itself – Hong Kong is ready to address meaty topics regarding mission opportunities in the sector, notwithstanding the inconvenient pandemic situation.

Various representatives of the HK Lasallian family showed up in an online platform to take part in conceiving, planning, and rethinking the current and future state of the Lasallian mission in Hong Kong. Joining the spirited discussions were members of the Lasallian Education Council, alumni, youth volunteers, administrators, teachers, and students each taking with them their distinctive insights. The Brothers were also present and performed valuable duties during the two-hour assembly.

In order to bring all participants to the same plane of understanding and expectation, Br Dennis Magbanua FSC explained that the discussions that morning would mainly revolve around the strengths, the challenges, and the future of the Lasallian Educational Mission in Hong Kong.

The actual conversations didn’t start until after the short prayer service led my Br Paolo Mata FSC.

Br Patrick Tierney FSC’s report focused on the Acts of the second LEAD Assembly held in 2018. Stipulations in the said assembly includes (1) the promotion of shared mission within the district, (2) ways of inspiring young Lasallians, (3) engaging the HK Lasallian family more deeply, and (4) mobilizing HK resources for the benefit of LEAD.

The report proved to be ample to jumpstart the detailed discussions eventually enriched during the Breakout Sessions, which lasted for 45 minutes. Each breakout group consisted of about 8 members who were expected to share their thoughts and reflections on these two prompts:

  1. How would you describe our existing Lasallian Educational Mission in Hong Kong in terms of its strengths and challenges?
  2. What dreams do you have for the Lasallian Mission in Hong Kong, and what steps can be taken to achieve these dreams?

Having left the breakout rooms, the participants returned to the plenary to have quick exchanges on whatever transpired in their respective breakout discussions. Later on, Br Tom Lavin FSC had every one’s attention as he gave his synthesis of the entire sector conversation. Among the items that he capitalized on were (1) the importance of forging bonds and network between and among schools, (2) incorporation of the spirit of service in the formation programs of students and staff, and (3) sharing of resources in a more structured way.

When the assembly reached its end, new directions, new aspirations, and new hopes for the sector were included as intentions in the closing prayer which was led by Br Mikey Cua FSC.

Br. Jeffrey Chan FSC was the master of ceremonies. (Text & Photo: Br. Emong Viroomal FSC)

PHILIPPINES – Brother André Labelle FSC celebrated his 92nd birthday at the Residencia De La Salle last March 19, making him the strongest Brother in the Lasallian East Asia District. Br. André enjoyed and shared his favorite baked salmon and fruit salad.

In his short message to the community he said, “I am very grateful to all of you for taking care of me. I am very happy to be here. Don’t be afraid to tell me what I can still do to be better.” Before retiring at Residencia De La Salle, Br. André served in Japan for 63 years. (Text & Photo: Br. Aikee Esmeli FSC)

PHILIPPINES – Last March 14 to 19, the Brothers of Residencia De La Salle participated in the weeklong Lasallian Mission Celebration of De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute (DLSMHSI). While the activities were primarily online, the Brothers made sure that their presence were warmly felt and received.

Residencia De La Salle Online Open House

01 residencia (1)

01 residencia (1)

The Brothers welcomed 350 senior high school students and staff from DLSMHSI to the Residencia De La Salle and gave them virtual tour of the house through the Zoom platform. Brothers Arian, Marvin and Aikee featured the important areas of the Brothers Community and shared its relevance to the Brothers’ way of life. They also had a meaningful exchange with the students after the tour.

Rediscovering the Lasallian Interior Prayer

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02 rediscovering (1)

Br. Jun Estrellas gave a short preview of his unreleased book, ‘Zen and the Lasallian Interior Prayer’ for three days to the DLSMHSI community. Livestreamed through Facebook, Br. Jun shared his reflections to students and staff on the three movements of the Lasallian Interior Prayer how it could be related to the practice of Zen meditation. After his 20-minute talk, the viewers were invited to virtually join the evening Mass with the Brothers of Residencia De La Salle, where the largest relic of St. John Baptist de La Salle in the Philippines is temporarily enshrined.

Brothers with the ‘gamechangers’

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03 gamechangers (1)

Br. Arian represented the De La Salle Brothers in an online voters education forum organized by DLSMHSI, De La Salle University – Dasmariñas and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting – Cavite. Speaking to mainly young voters from colleges and schools in the Diocese of Imus, Br. Arian presented the public statement of the Brothers, ‘Discerning our Future: The 2022 Elections’ and shared points of reflection in choosing the right leaders through the principles of Catholic Social Teachings. The forum emphasized the role of the young electorate in ‘changing the game’ of traditional politics in the Philippines. The forum was attended by at least 1000 participants.

Different calls, one answer – Yes Bro!

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04 diff calls (1)

Celebrating the various ways of following St. John Baptist de La Salle today, Lingkod Lasalyano, the student volunteers of the Lasallian Formation and Social Action, organized the Yes Bro! Lasallian Vocations Online Forum. The speakers shared to 170 students how their lives and associations are inspired today by our Founder - Br. Marvin Sipin FSC for the De La Salle Brothers, Ms. Myra Patambang for Signum Fidei, Mr. Ximon Doceo for Lasallian Youth Corps and Mr. Carlo delos Santos for Lingkod Lasalyano (formerly Hermano San Miguel / DLSMHSI Volunteers). (Text & Photos: Br. Aikee Esmeli FSC)

SINGAPORE – A wonderful celebration of a much-loved man, and inspiring educator and artist at our screening of Brother Joe at LASALLE College of the Arts on Saturday. Congratulations to director James Khoo on this insightful film.


Thanks to HE Ambassador Patrick Bourne for his warm and thoughtful opening remarks, and to our panel Kumari Nahappan, Chris Bogaars and James Khoo for sharing their personal insights and memories of Brother Joe.

Raising funds for the McNally Legacy at LASALLE - supporting a new generation of artists - under our Sense of Ireland.

#progressthrooughpihilanthropy #art #film #brotherjoe (The Ireland Funds Singapore Official Facebook Page)

Watch the film trailer: https://bit.ly/BroJoetrailer