Summer events engaged Young Lasallians and Lasallian Youth in community, service and association. The District of Eastern North America, the District of San Francisco New Orleans and the Midwest District provided memorable experiences, which included presentations, team-building activities, reflective seminars and community outreach.
The Midwest District held its annual Lasallian Youth Gathering (LYG), which centered on the theme “Seeing With the Eyes of Faith” at Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois, June 21-26. Students and moderators had time to reflect in small groups and had 45 minutes of personal prayer time each day. They learned more about the Lasallian tradition, scripture and prayer through presentations and by participating in service work at Feed My Starving Children, where they packaged and boxed 46,008 meals, which will feed 126 kids for a year. They summed up their week as rejuvenating, refreshing, reflective and fun.
The first of two gatherings for the District of Eastern North America (DENA) took place at Manhattan College in the Bronx, New York. More than 120 Lasallian students and their moderators gathered together for the Lasallian Youth Summer Assembly 2015 July 12-17. The goal was to recognize the challenges that face the future of not only the worldwide Christian community, but also the entire global family, and how to be agents of change. To accomplish this goal, the students attended various presentations, completed service, and came together through prayer.
Also held in DENA, 35 Young Lasallians, ages 23-35, came together for the bi-annual VEGA conference at La Salle University in Philadelphia August 3-7.
The mission of VEGA, which refers to one of the brightest stars in the sky and is an Italian acronym for the words Vedere, Giudicare, Agire meaning See, Judge, Act, is to educate participants about the founder and the mission. Getting a deeper understanding of Saint John Baptist de La Salle’s spirituality and pedagogy, newer educators learned about the larger Lasallian global mission and their role in it. More experienced Lasallians attended a track with more intensive lessons. The week also provided opportunities for community service and association that helped them grow in faith and gave them the zeal to return to their home ministries to spread the message of the mission.
The first of two gatherings for the District of San Francisco New Orleans (SFNO) took place at the University of California in San Diego June 21-26. Eighty high school students and their moderators from the Districts of SFNO and México-Norte gathered for the 2015 Lasallian Youth Assembly, which was themed “Whatsoever You Do: Lasallians Without Borders” to explore the topics of immigration and social justice. The cross-cultural Lasallian community created a unique opportunity to understand immigration from both sides of the border. From visiting social service agencies, to the United States Border Patrol, participants were able to better understand the realities facing immigrants and the needs of vulnerable migrants. A Mass, celebrated at the United States/Mexico border, and closing celebration where students shared cultural dance and songs concluded the week.
Also held in the SFNO District, 215 students and their moderators took part in the 12th annual Lasallian Student Leaders Program at Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga July 19-24. Highlights of the week included an in-depth examination of the five core principles and the role of student leaders in animating and promoting them, a thought-provoking presentation on servant leadership, and other training sessions.
Additionally, 15 participants from higher education came together for a week dedicated to exploring what it means to be Lasallian in today’s world at the 2nd annual Regional Lasallian Collegians Conference at Christian Brothers University (CBU) in Memphis, Tennessee, June 9-12. Last year, the conference was held at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California, and began to provide students at colleges and universities with an opportunity to gather. The week of formation included a day of community service in Memphis. Participants represented CBU, St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, La Salle University, St. Mary’s College and Lewis University.
Throughout the Region these formation programs helped to create time for reflection, service to community and further the idea of “together and by association.”