Monthly Archives: September 2012

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International Lasallian Days of Peace: LV Style

September 21st marked the beginning of the annual International Lasallian Days of Peace (ILDP). The ILDP run from Sept. 21 – Oct. 21, intentionally overlapping with the UN’s International Day of Peace.

The idea of the ILDP are to recognize & celebrate peace while also reminding us all that there is still work to be done.The 2012-2013 Lasallian Volunteers, led by Kristen Brenner (LV 11-13) and Meg Weiss (LV 11-13), created this video with messages from their students and clients as part of their awareness and celebration of the ILDP.

Watch the video here!

 

By |September 24th, 2012|Categories: news + events|Comments Off on International Lasallian Days of Peace: LV Style

Kacey Gavin: The Long and Winding Road

“MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” ~ Thomas Merton, “Thoughts in Solitude”

This was one of the readings that we used in our first evening prayer in our Portland community; “what does your road look like?” was the follow up question to this passage. I sat there trying to imagine what my road has looked like after starting this new chapter in my life with the Lasallian Volunteers. Is it a smooth sailing road? A curvy road? What about a bumpy road? This time of reflection made me realize that the road my life is on at the moment has so many different elements to it. My road is curvy, bumpy, and headed towards a very large, dark tunnel.

Kacey Gavin, 12-13, De La Salle North Catholic High School, Portland, OR

Curvy is a description I started off with because I never really know what is going to happen next; what is around this next corner? Last May, as graduation time was approaching, I really had no idea what I would be doing in the coming year. I had several different options and thought processes going through my head. I considered going to law school, teaching abroad, finding some job around Chicago, or spending some time volunteering. I did not know what I was going to be doing with my life. Then the Lasallian Volunteers popped up into the picture to straighten my road out a bit. There are still a few curves here and there with my job (still getting use to having a big kid job). Every day we are doing something different and we have been told not to expect the same things to occur every single day. I have already been sent out into Portland, and its surrounding areas, to drop students off at training for their internships…did I mention I am from Chicago? I generally do not know where I am going but it is a good thing that I have a smart phone as a life saver.

Speed humps. That is how I would describe my bumpy road. If you don’t know what a speed hump is, it is a speed bump but much larger, you really have no choice but to slow down when you come up to one. The only problem is that I am not slowing down. I am driving along this speed hump filled road at full speed. I am hitting these obstacles without even tapping my breaks. I have moved across the country. I left friends and family behind and jeopardized several relationships. I am working in a place that I never thought I would be at in a million years. I am living in a new community with new people. There have been so many changes that have occurred so far and I am going along with it all. I don’t know how these things will affect me in the long run. My car could be bottoming out at any time but I have not fully thought about that possibility yet…This just added another speed hump to my road.

Finally, I would say that my road is headed towards a tunnel and I don’t know where it leads. I don’t really know how many times I can say this, but I do not know what the future has in store for me. Will I start driving on a smooth road in the bright, shining sun or will I arrive at a bumpy, curving road in a dark, dense forest? Who really knows? It is a mystery to what my road may turn into after this chapter. I have to take it one mile at a time. I feel like I should be roaming around in the mystery machine.

P.S. I would just like to mention that it is National Dog Week…so here is a photo of my pup from a few years ago. I hope he brings a smile to your face and will brighten the road you are traveling on.

Kacey Gavin, 12-13, De La Salle North Catholic High School, Portland, OR

By |September 24th, 2012|Categories: blog|1 Comment

Chay Tanchanco: A Channel of God’s Peace

“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” – Alan Cohen  (from TheDailyLove.com)

“World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.”  ― Dalai Lama XIV (from GoodReads.com)

Let us remember… that we are ever and always.. in the holy presence of God.  ___________________________________________________________________________________

Chay Tanchanco, 11-13, De La Salle Blessed Sacrament, Memphis, TN

Lasallian Volunteers have a long list of responsibilities, many of which are never written down or easily explained. Our job descriptions rarely paint the entire picture of the nature of the job we signed up to do, (knowingly or otherwise) and we have little time or means to showcase what it truly means to live a year or two of service in our diversified and vastly unique shoes.

But for all that we do, it would be interesting to find a volunteer to respond to the trite and oft passed over question, “So what do you do?” and to hear something like, “I work for peace.”

Is that really in our contract or job description?

To me, though it would be uncommon to hear such a response, there is nothing more true to me than this.

As volunteers, we give of ourselves in many ways. We dedicate ourselves to teaching, counseling, tutoring and planning tirelessly; we step further and further out of our college bubbles of idealisms and self-centered educational journeys and widen our horizons to include those we have never had to meet before–let alone confront or even share a house or school building. And in this, we are always present. We are present to our own shortcomings, our own failures inside of ourselves, but we also physically present ourselves to put our convictions to test as we work.

This presence, in the Lasallian charism, is one of the center focuses of the daily prayer of the Brothers. It distinguishes us, and in my opinion, as one of the most important things that makes each individual a Lasallian. Our work is a manifestation of our love for God in each other, in those we have met before and those we have yet to meet. We leap into the darkness, not sure what exactly we have accepted, but knowing in our own unique ways that it is important, that we are making a change – stemming from our inner compassion. I can’t pretend that I have attained a final and internal peace that allows me to share infinite peace and joy with others — in fact, I would claim the opposite. I have such passion from being imperfect and seeing a necessary change in myself, that I can do nothing else but give my life in order to save it.

I think that’s what I love best about being a Lasallian Volunteer. In each of us, I see in our very presence.. the possibility of peace. Perhaps it will not be what we imagine, a world full of rainbows,  butterflies,  cookies,  people agreeing to treat each other fairly and share equally all that we have. But I see in us the power to overcome our inner and outer afflictions – to be willing to face the world with all of its sham and drudgery (as Max Ehrman would say) and see instead the holy presence of God.

As the Lasallian International Days of Peace come once again this year, Sept. 21, 2012- Oct. 21, 2012, I will make this my effort: to stand for peace in a world that teaches my students and the people around them to hate first, to forget where God is, and to hold on to that which is comfortable but not what helps them grow or change. As a Lasallian Volunteer, this is our ultimate responsibility. We may not have it explicitly in our creed or we may not answer in this way when we’re asked what our work compels us to do. But I have never been so sure of what I stand for.

I am a Lasallian Volunteer, and I stand for peace. And in being more fully realized as God’s image of compassionate existence through the work that I do, I am able to share that peace with the world.

Chay Tanchanco, 11-13, De La Salle Blessed Sacrament, Memphis, TN

By |September 17th, 2012|Categories: blog|1 Comment

2012-2013 LV Welcome Flyers


Click here to download the 2012-2013 LV welcome flyers.

Discover the 42 volunteers serving the Lasallian mission for 2012-2013. These flyers show LVs:

  • Serving all four Districts in the Lasallian Region of North America
  • Who hail from Lasallian college & universities, including
    • Christian Brothers University
    • La Salle University
    • Lewis University
    • Manhattan College
    • Saint Mary’s College of California
    • Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
By |September 11th, 2012|Categories: news + events|1 Comment

Finding One Another

The Times Are a Changin’: For Now and Forever

By Ed Phelan, FSC

This year, alumni of the Lasallian Volunteers have married each other in record breaking numbers: four couples in as many months.

Download this article >

Since 1996, when Amy Smith and Mark Muller walked down the aisle on August 24 at St. Clement’s Church in Bankston, Iowa (population 30), there have been 60 young men and women volunteers who, in Lasallian terms, have exchanged permanent vows with each other in churches across the USA.

After graduating from college, young Lasallians promise to live in community for a year or two to help young people and their families realize their potential. In time, these young men and women, serving as Lasallian Volunteers, make promises to each other and their God “unto death do us part.” Over 90% of these couples have continued to work with at-risk children and families to this day, Having met in a community of service they have continued  as a family of service. It is all about community and relationships. It is Lasallian.

“Our common experience of community prepared us for raising a family,” says Amy Muller. “It inspired us to establish a Midwest community in our family home with several LVs and freed us to share our home and table with new immigrants from Africa.”

In a speech to several hundred Brothers last summer, Superior General Brother Álvaro, said:

“We should above all strengthen and enrich our relationships. This will also help us discover the transforming value of love and to experience that the Kingdom of God is in our midst when we grow together, mutually care for one another, do common projects, pray in a united way, and share our suffering.”

De La Salle never imagined community members sharing marriage vows while deepening their commitment to the mission any more than he envisioned the project spreading across the world with 75,000 partners and over a million students. He simply realized the powerful transformational effect of a small group of men living together while “serving the poor.”

The Times Are a Changin’

We followers of De La Salle have taken his idea to new heights, all to better serve those in need. Brother Álvaro calls it “the new reality” with the words: “the Lasallian Educational Mission has expanded globally in a manner unimaginable in the Founder’s time.”

If De La Salle was alive in our time, I believe he would be proud of what is happening. He would likely accept all invitations to officiate at LV weddings, and would give a rousing homily for each. He would be quick to realize their brief experience with the mission as LV’s, coupled with their love for one another, has greatly affected their vocational journey in life to be of service to youth and their families.

“If you build it, they will come.”

At Amy and Mark’s 1996 wedding, between the church ceremony and reception, several guests visited the local tourist attraction in Dyersville, Iowa: the famous Field of Dreams. It was built for the movie in 1989 (seven years before the first LV wedding) the same year the De La Salle Christian Brothers moved the nascent volunteer program to scale—with a staff, a new name and a national appeal for young women and men to share community with Brothers, all working together on the mission.

The program was finally built, and over 600 LVs have since come to the mission of education originally set forth by De La Salle. And even now there is no letup in sight as the program nears its 25th anniversary. Long live this extended Lasallian family…forever!

Ed Phelan is a 72 year old young Brother who has attended Lasallian weddings from Bankston to Boston over the past 16 years and has been known to give rousing homilies.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

— Margaret Mead

The Committed

Amy Smith & Mark Muller • Christina Ciabattari & Steve Epperson • Sarah Hansen & Brad Henry • Amanda and Scott Bell • Nancy Boehner & Don Taylor • Christi Crowe & Marty Wolesky • Wendi Wrinkle & Bill boselli • Kate Sullivan & Vince Goeddeke • Shannon Guere & Mark Robinson • Brenna Fitzgerald & Joe Ryan • Karin Mcclelland & Michael Anderer • Lisa Koppes & David Levasseur • Kim Brown & Jaime Montenegro • Charlene Fleming & Jeb Myers • Teisha Smith & David Devine • Nikki Herth & Phil Shumaker • Annemarie Booth & Travis Phelps • Jen Solz & Andrew Blake • Melissa Maletto & Anthony Wasacz • Jeannine Fitzpatrick & Ryan Keenan • Angelica Garcia & Maria Capitelli • Kristen Corbal & Chris Giangregorio • Christine Cepress & Derek Nelson • Ashley Prevost & Daniel Salvaggio • Sarah Crabtree & Gary Pritts • Sarah Jane Engle & Daniel Maher • Alina Rivas & Scott Baietti • Katie Hills & Brett Adams • Clare Johnson & Joe Kolar

In Their Own Words…

When I wrote to the LVs who married other LVs, they responded. Here’s what I said:

“I am writing an article about people in Lasallian communities who have married one another — couples like yourselves. I would love to check some details and pick your brain for a minute. Since marrying, could you both share with me some of the activities you have been involved with at work, in your community or at home. I appreciate any help you can give! Ed”

“This summer Brett and I led two mission trips for high schoolers to DC and Nicaragua. Our goal was to help these privileged young people to see the world outside of the bubble that they live in and learn to see these needy people as individuals with dignity rather than just as a cause or circumstance- opening their hearts to the love of Jesus.”

— Katie Adams

 

“I work with preschool age children in my work and have taken part in several service opportunities through my preschool: adopting families every year at the holidays, canned food drives, walk-a-thons. Chris has worked at DeMarillac academy since 2006 and has recently been appointed principal of the school.”

— Kristen Corbal Giangregorio

 

“So Bill and I are both public interest attorneys. I serve the interest of families in the City and County of SF as a Child Support Attorney. Part of my job entails doing outreach to prisoners as well as parents that are struggling to gain employment and overcome their barriers such as criminal records, language, lack of GED, etc. Bill and I both also serve our local parish by teaching Faith Formation classes to 2nd grade children.”

— Wendi Wrinkle

 

“Nikki and I volunteer in the children’s ministry at church. Nikki is in her fourth year of teaching natural childbirth classes to expectant couples. She teaches under the Bradley Method, which focuses on exercise & nutrition throughout pregnancy, and then relaxation in labor with the husband being there every step of the way to help his wife. In a less formal way, our time as LVs really taught us to view all people with respect. Living on the reservation and working with the kids showed us the face and humanity of poverty. That influences decisions we make every day.”

— Phil Schumaker

 

“We just had our 6 year anniversary last month. Time has flown! Things are good. Anthony is a Special Education High School teacher. I worked with older adults in a variety of settings, but I’m currently looking to find a position in the non-profit sector with dementia patients.”

— Melissa Wasacz

 

“We often credit our time in Chicago and Kansas City for making our relationship stronger, it helped to shape our values and taught us the importance of communication. We are both still in the field of education. Lisa is the project director of an educational non-profit, The Parent-Teacher Home Visit Project. The project trains teachers who work in lower income schools on how to effectively engage their families back in the classroom in order to bring about success for their child. She was a classroom teacher for 10 years. I am currently starting my 13th year teaching, and my 7th year at Christian Brothers HS.”

— Dave and Lisa Levasseur 

 

“Mark Muller directs the Food and Justice program at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, which includes management of the IATP Food and Community Fellows. The program advocates for a larger vision of justice and encourages public policies that will contribute to a fair, just and healthy food system.”

— IATP website,

 

“I got my Masters of Divinity in 2008 and I am seeking ordination in the United Methodist Church. We have two amazing daughters, Isabella (born 2008), and Jayme Grace (born 2010), and in two weeks we will add a third addition to our family! I am currently serving as the Senior Pastor of Linden United Methodist Church.”

— Kim Montenegro 

 

“Since marrying, I have continued to teach in a Roman Catholic School (9th grade world history and AP US History.”

— Mark Robinson

 

“Life is crazy busy sometimes, but it beats the alternative. And I hope that our kids are picking up some decent values along the way. Service is really important to Mark and me, and I hope they see that it’s a privilege to be able to serve. And it’s darn fun, too.”

— Shannon Robinson

 

“I have worked for the midwest district for 8 years…San Miguel Schools Chicago 3 years (total)…studied theology for 2 years…worked in alumni relations…now campus ministy…Lived in three different style communities in Chicago…”

— Karin McClelland.

By |September 10th, 2012|Categories: news + events|Tags: |Comments Off on Finding One Another