The twinning program between ministries in the Lasallian Region of North America (RELAN) and the Lwanga District of Africa centers on building relationships as brothers and sisters in the Lasallian mission. Brother Ghebreyesus Habte, FSC, Visitor of the Lwanga District, encouraged those relationships during his September 2019 visit to schools in RELAN.
Using the theme of walking hand-in-hand, as he did during his 2014 and 2017 visits to RELAN schools, Brother Ghebreyesus visited 13 twinned ministries across three Districts. He spent time touring schools, talking with students about ministries and young people in Lwanga, learning about the RELAN students and their schools, and fostering relationships with students and staff.
“I think the personal relationship, making a physical symbol (walking hand-in-hand, playing basketball) is important with the RELAN students because it will remain in their mind and be remembered always when they think about their twinned schools,” said Brother Ghebreyesus.
Brother Ghebreyesus’ enthusiasm and effort to connect with students left quite an impression on young people in RELAN, as did his message of how students in RELAN and Lwanga are more alike than different.
“I just liked how excited he was to see our school,” said Joseph, a sophomore at Cristo Rey De La Salle East Bay High School in Oakland, California. “I enjoyed the activities we did with him and how interested he seemed in all of the things that we showed him.”
“It was very inspiring knowing that there are other schools with the same mission and in many ways so similar to us. They teach like us with their focus on God,” said Eric Rodriguez, an eighth grade student at The De La Salle School in Freeport, New York.
In addition to Cristo Rey De La Salle East Bay High School and The De La Salle School, this 2019 visit took Brother Ghebreyesus to Justin-Siena High School in Napa, California; to Minnesota to visit Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul, DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis, Benilde-St. Margaret’s School in St. Louis Park, Holy Family Catholic High School in Victoria, and Totino-Grace High School in Fridley; to Rhode Island to visit The San Miguel School of Providence and La Salle Academy in Providence; and to New York to visit Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn, La Salle Academy in New York City, and Saint Peter’s Boys High School on Staten Island. Brother Ghebreyesus also spent time at the District of San Francisco New Orleans Provincialate in Napa and Christian Brothers Center in Narragansett, Rhode Island, attended District and Lasallian Mission Council meetings in the Midwest District, and visited Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York.
Established in 1995, the twinning program connects 66 middle and secondary schools in RELAN and 14 ministries in the Lwanga District of Africa. Twinning helps students make connections with young people in different cultures, while schools in RELAN raise money for their twinned ministries in Kenya, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Nigeria. The fundraising supports those ministries on the road to self-sufficiency.
Top photo: Brother Ghebreyesus Habte, FSC, stands with students on the basketball court during his visit to Saint Peter’s Boys High School. Courtesy Maryann Donohue-Lynch