Lasallian communities throughout the world are holding celebrations on the 300th anniversary of the death of their founder, Saint John Baptiste de la Salle, patron saint of teachers, in 1719.
Bishop Tom Williams celebrated Mass for the Lasallian communities in the northwest of England in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. Coordinated by De La Salle St Helens, the celebration was attended by staff and students from De La Salle Liverpool, Cardinal Langley Manchester, St Margaret Ward Stoke, De La Salle Basildon, the primary schools of St Julie and St Bartholomew, as well as staff from Kintbury retreat centre.
The congregation were welcomed by Andy Rannard, headteacher in St Helens, who talked about the current dangers and divisions within modern society and how refreshing it was to see so many young people with different accents, uniforms and backgrounds come together to celebrate what unites them rather than what divides them.
This theme was picked up by Bishop Tom in his homily, as he spoke of John Baptist de la Salle’s passion to find the wonder in each individual and his ability to ignite and inspire – something the Lasallian Brothers have done over the generations.
The service concluded with a powerful piece of drama that explored the importance and meaning of the five core Lasallian values: faith in the presence of God, respect for all persons, inclusive community, quality education, and concern for the poor and social justice. St Helens Year 11 student Ines Bonati talked very movingly about the impact that a Lasallian education was having on her life.
Art work from staff, students and brothers across the district of Great Britain, Ireland and Malta was on display including a very well observed landscape from the Provincial, Brother Laurence.