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Thursday, 11 December 2014
Author: De La Salle

Until recently, Br David Hawke was based in Singapore where he oversaw the Lasallian mission across the Pacific Asia region.

“I finished on the General Council in April this year and at that stage my future ministry back in the District was still undetermined. I honestly didn’t know what was in store for me, but I suppose things happen for a reason because soon after I returned to Australia, the Brothers nominated me for the position of Visitor and I was appointed by Br Robert Schieler, Superior General,” Br David said.

Br David was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1950. The son of a Kiwi Mother and an Australian Dad who worked as an accountant, David, along with his brother Kevin and sister Anne-Marie, had a typical Catholic upbringing.

“Our family lived in the developing Auckland suburb of Mangere East in the 50’s and 60’s. We had the usual quarter acre section and we were the only family in the street with children at a Catholic school,” Br David recalled.

According to Br David, his association with the De La Salle Brothers started at an early age, as his parents had strong community connections to the Brothers.
“The Brothers who pioneered the Lasallian mission in New Zealand were all Australians and my Mum and Dad knew them well. I first met the Brothers when I was 3-years-old. They often drove our family home from Mass in the VW combi van. Some of the Brothers who lived in the Auckland community at the time, I still now visit in various communities in Australia.

“At school, I admired the relationship the Brothers had with me and with the other students and this is what prompted my initial inspiration to think about being a Brother. There were a quite a few of us who were so inspired by the Brothers who taught us that we went on to become Brothers” Br David said.

Br David completed the novitiate in 1969 in NSW. After taking his first vows in 1970, he worked at De La Salle Colleges in New
Zealand, namely New Plymouth and Mangere East before moving to Australia to work at St. Bede’s College Mentone in Victoria. After some 25 years as a Brother in various leadership positions, Br David Hawke was elected Visitor of the Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea District in 1996. At the conclusion of his term as Visitor, he was then appointed as General Councillor for the Asia Pacific region, which saw him as one of the advisors to the Superior General.

“Even though I’ve been Visitor of our District before, to lead our mission now is vastly different. In some ways, things are a little easier because of the set up of the organisation – we now have a Lasallian Mission Council, a Professional Standards Office, an excellent Provincial office facility and staff at Bankstown and well-established programs like the youth ministry program. When you add all those things together, it makes for a fairly sophisticated administration.

“On the other hand, the Lasallian Mission stretches across even more areas now that Pakistan has merged with our District. It means I need to get my head around the sheer volume of projects and activities taking place – no easy feat. Keeping up with what is happening across the four countries and embracing those involved in our works is a big part of my job as Visitor. It will be a challenge but thanks to modern technology and communication, it will be manageable,” Br David said.

When discussing plans for the future of the District, Br David says, “It’s about building on what is already in place and I look forward to
the next four years with hope and confidence.”

In considering his life as a De La Salle Brother, Br David says, “I know it’s right for me. And of course I believe it is good for young men to consider being Brothers.
“I am often asked whether we have guys participating in the Brothers’ formation programs and the answer is, yes, we do. We have Brothers in temporary vows from Papua New Guinea, Australia and Pakistan and younger Brothers with Perpetual Vows in Pakistan and PNG.

“In the words of our founder, St John Baptist de La Salle, ‘The need for this Institute is very great. The young, the poor, the world and the Church still need the ministry of the Brothers’. I firmly believe this and I say to all our young men out there to give it a go.

“And don’t forget that other vocations are encouraged in our Lasallian family with new forms of Lasallian community evolving. Countless people have participated in formation programs conducted both within the District and beyond. The Lasallian Mission in the schools and other enterprises is thriving. I am really encouraged that vocations ministry is a priority in the District.

“There are many ways for people to get involved in our mission to educate and care for young people in need. Our mission is not one that the world can afford to go without. The more people that get involved and support our work, the more we will be able to reach out to the last, the lost and the least in our society,” Br David commented.

LYG 2014
Thursday, 11 December 2014
Description: LYG 2014
Author: Philippe Dulawan

The theme of the conference was “Be an act of hope” and attendees were challenged to think about how they will be acts of hope, both now and in the future.

Joining the Australians were Lasallians from America, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea who all made the trip to the city of Brisbane and finally to Southern Cross Catholic College, the host school for the gathering.

Attendees were inspired by stories from those who have worked in disadvantaged areas, in places like Cambodia and Papua New Guinea
by participating in programs such as Share The Mission, Volunteer La Salle and others.

The Superior General of the De La Salle Brothers, Br Robert Schieler, who was in the country visiting from Rome, attended the last few days of the event.

In his address on the last day, Brother Robert encouraged all young people to have zeal in being an act of hope and to explore how we are already living out this mission every day.

Thursday, 11 December 2014
Author: De La Salle

La Salle Connect, Sydney

How did your community begin?

La Salle Connect was founded to give post-school students the opportunity to continue playing active parts in the Lasallian community. La Salle Connect now welcomes post-school and current Year 12 students. We gather on a regular basis, participate in faith activities, hear and learn about what is going on in the District and think about ways we can put our faith into action.

In what way(s) does your community express the Lasallian values of Faith, Service and Community?

We bring young people together to help develop their faith and give them the opportunity to continue their participation in the Lasallian tradition, which can sometimes be lost once a student finishes school. We allow the participants to express their faith and provide them with a safe place to interact with others who have had similar experiences. We organise and run Camp La Salle, which focuses on Year 7 and 8 students who are having a hard time during the beginning years of high school. Our participants also help facilitate reflection days and retreats at various times throughout the year.

How does your community attract new members?

La Salle Connect is constantly growing. Youth ministers invite students finishing Year 12, who then invite friends, creating a great flow on effect. We continue to expand not only through word of mouth but also through social media.

What is the value in being part of your community?

La Salle Connect not only helps to serve those in the Lasallian school community but it is also a great way to develop leadership skills in young adults. Community is a strong component of our Lasallian tradition and by giving young people the chance to gather with others, we are continuing to embrace our Lasallian charism.

Jordan Bottalico

John Paul College: Signum Fidei, New Zealand

How did your community begin?

This community was established in 2009. The De La Salle Brothers encouraged us to formalise our commitment to the Lasallian heritage by learning more about the Lasallian values.

How many people are involved?

We have a group of 12 staff members who meet regularly for prayer and reflection, and over the years we have been ably supported by a variety of Brothers who have assumed the role of Mentor to us all. We extend an open invitation to staff and the wider John Paul College community, which includes people from all backgrounds and faith beliefs.

In what way(s) does your community express the Lasallian values of Faith, Service and Community?

Over the past five years, many of our members have participated in formation programs, which have assisted their faith journey. Through our teaching as Lasallian educators, we also see ourselves as role models for our students, our colleagues and the people in the parish and wider community. We endeavour to teach through example; in our teaching, our prayer-life and leadership.

What is the value in being part of your community?

Service is an important aspect of being Lasallian and our Signum Fidei members have an outreach project with the Pasifika students and families of John Paul College. Showing our aroha (a Maori word which means ‘love’ in an holistic sense) to others in the community which is an important part of our Signum Fidei vocation, as is attending funerals, supporting bereaved families and visiting those who need support in their time of need.

Being part of the John Paul College Signum Fidei community is about belonging. It is about having an identity grounded in the spirituality of St John Baptist de La Salle and his teachings.

Marie Hepi and Bernadette Fredricksen

La Salle Community Melbourne (LCM)

How did your community begin?

By 2012, it became clear that a number of young people involved in Lasallian activities were searching for something with a greater depth of commitment and more focus on Faith, Service and Community. Br Tony Cummins (Director of Lasallian Vocations) proposed to establish a non-residential community, based at the Vocations Office. Towards the end of that year, several members of LCM asked whether a residential facility was possible for those who wished to live together in community.

In what way(s) does your community express the Lasallian values of Faith, Service and Community?

Faith: LCM Residential meets four times a week for prayer and sharing to which all members of the non-residential community are welcome. Additionally, once a month the members of the community participate in Mass together. The community has a ‘spiritual companion’ who walks with us as individuals and as a community. This is an important part of our spiritual and personal growth.

Service: LCM Residential coordinates most of the Lasallian activities in Melbourne, including Camp La Salle, the Refugee Support Program and Volunteer La Salle. The community also assists in facilitating retreats, reflections days and workshops when possible.

Community: LCM invites all young Lasallians to consider committing themselves to the mission to educate and care for those less fortunate on an annual, monthly, weekly or daily basis.

How does your community attract new members?

By inviting young people who have been part of our volunteer programs, assisted with retreats and reflection days or have been to a Lasallian school. The second, less obvious way, is by the example we give to others by the way we live our lives.

What is the value in being part of your community?

One of the greatest strengths of being part of LCM is the support we give to each other and, just as importantly, the support we give to others who need our help. Having a common goal in community has helped too, in that we all place importance on the Lasallian values of Faith, Service and Community.

Stephen Beirouti

Friday, 13 June 2014
Author: Ashleigh van den Akker

The students are the reason we are here. 'We' includes 4 Kiwis and 10 Australians who have all come together under the guidance of Br Tony Cummins to work with the children and teachers of La Salle School Po Thum, Cambodia. It is for them that the Brothers have laid down roots and built not only a school, but a sanctuary. The local children come at all hours of the day and night to play, manoeuvring their way through locked gates if required. They’ll do anything to get attention, only because they are starving and desperate for some food. The lunch area doubles as a doctor’s surgery for the village and there is enough space to house 20 volunteers comfortably all with mats, blankets, pillows, bathrooms (including flushing toilets and running water).

Prior to our arrival, we began planning projects and gathering resources for our 10 days at La Salle school. Projects included painting murals on each fence, setting up a health check centre, teaching both teachers and students from the school, creating a pathways and a sandpit for the students to play in, and general tidying of the school grounds. As a group, we all worked together to ensure projects could be completed to a high standard in a short space of time. It is amazing what you can obtain when you ask a local to ring through an order for you. 500 bricks for 25 US dollars delivered in less than 30 minutes was one of the highlights.

Aside from the hands on practical projects, it is in the classroom and on the field with the students that you experience the strongest connection to Cambodia. I will never forget their daily classroom greeting: "Good afternoon teacher, thank you teacher" sung before every lesson with hands clasped together at chest height, eyes bright with anticipation. Nor will I forget washing about 30 children all of whom had been wearing the same clothes over the entire prior week, and then giving them new clothes, which had been donated. It was when the older girls started to get fussy as to what they would wear that I realised all children no matter their background are similar. I won’t forget the games, especially knucklebones with pieces of gravel, nor the laughter, which is contagious. Their smiles fill your heart completely with such a deep gratitude. It is a feeling I find hard to explain. They just live and breathe joy, even though they have nothing.

Volunteers were drawn to Cambodia for their own reasons. What drew me there was the need to reconnect with my own teaching. I wanted to experience working with students who cannot take education for granted and who absorb everything like sponges granting the teacher the utmost respect. There is always going to be a need for education, but there is something very special about working with those who really and truly appreciate life and learning and can’t afford to take anything for granted. Po Thum gave me inspiration, a renewed zest for life, a reminder to smile always, and a deep appreciation for every material object and opportunity I have enjoyed throughout my 24 years of life so far. It has been the most enriching and rewarding experience, which will impact my classroom for years to come.

Ashleigh van den Akker
2014 La Salle Cambodia Volunteer

Friday, 13 June 2014
Author: Rhys Jack

Earlier this year, I returned home from a month of volunteer work in North Western Sri Lanka, an area devastated by 30 years of brutal civil war. There I spent time working to construct classrooms, painting, gardening and doing whatever we could to help rebuild homes and the local school for children who had lost one, and in some cases both, their parents in the war. Some of the kids we spent time with were even forced to fight in the war as child soldiers. It was really a world that could not have been further removed from my cosy reality here in Australia.


The experience opened my eyes as to just how lucky I am to have been raised in this country and the opportunities I have been given as an Australian citizen. That’s not to say that our nation is without its faults. We are far from perfect. But no matter what our individual history or heritage, we are all Australians and we all have the responsibility to contribute to a shared vision of what we stand for as a people and as a nation.


The ongoing spate of coward punches and alcohol fuelled street violence, particularly in Sydney, has been the focus of much public debate and soul searching, and these acts are in no way a reflection of what we seek to stand for as a fair and moral society. They are the result of mindless acts of violence committed by individuals detached from what it means to be a respectable and decent citizen. But rather than attacking the offenders who have committed these crimes, why don’t we instead put our energy into changing the culture that has created them? If we are to develop decent men and women as Australian citizens, and make real, lasting changes to prevent these acts, we must take action and engage our people to recognise the shared values that they are responsible for upholding. What we require is an Australian model committed to making lasting cultural change, a change for good, a change for peace and a stand against the destructive mentality that exists on our streets.


One idea that has been vocalized by many of our most prominent thinkers is the idea of an Australian program based on the values of the US Peace Corps. Upon completing a training program within the US, Peace Corps volunteers then dedicate two years to living and working alongside the people they serve in countries like Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. They work at the grassroots level toward sustainable change that lives on long after their service – at the same time becoming global citizens and serving their country. And when they return home, volunteers bring their knowledge and experiences – and a global outlook – that enriches the lives of those around them.


Currently in Australia, we have two Government-run programs allowing Australians to make a positive use of their time and skills in helping developing nations. These are the AYAD (Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development) and the ACC (Australian Civilian Corps). These programs are limited in their range, scope and outlook and don’t allow ordinary Australians without the required qualifications or experiences to take part. A new programme is needed that is accessible to all Australians, young and old, from the builder to the banker.


What we need is a program dedicated to promoting peace and smart diplomacy in our region, whilst also spreading Australian values, which improves our international relations and creates mutual understanding with developing countries. We need a program that produces pro-active cultural change rather than reactive legislation and terminology. A program committed to developing good citizens who value each other as much as they value themselves. One that is unconcerned with knowledge and experience but instead focuses on character and values. One which doesn’t require a master’s degree but rather a master’s mindset and one which can provide young Australians with a deeper understanding of their shared national identity and install a sense of national pride. I believe an independent, Government-run program based on the values of the US Peace Corps would have an enormous impact on our society and would contribute to a better world.


If my journey to Sri Lanka has taught me anything, it is that maintaining peace in our country is an outcome I want for my children and for all future generations of Australians. If an average Australian guy like me, who works, studies and enjoys a beer and a game of cricket with his mates can travel to a foreign country and find lasting benefits from it, then imagine what a program like this could do for others in a similar position or worse? To change the culture that has created the coward punch we need ideas and action. An Australian Peace Corps is one idea that will not just create better people, but a better Australia.


Rhys Jack


Rhys is a Macquarie University Business Graduate. He works in construction management and volunteers as a youth presenter with De La Salle Foundation and Black Dog Institute. Follow him on Twitter: @rjack888.


Friday, 13 June 2014
Author: Philippe Dulawan

Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Philippe Dulawan and I am 25 years old. I graduated from Baulkham Hills High in 2006 and then completed a Bachelor of Commerce - Marketing Co-op Scholarship at the University of NSW in 2010. After a few years in the workforce, I attended Australian Catholic University in Strathfield NSW completing my Diploma of Education and Graduate Certificate in Religious Education last year.

Where have you worked recently?

I have had the privilege of experiencing a few varied work environments. Straight from university, I was a marketing graduate at MARS incorporated in Albury/Wodonga. I then transitioned to work for World Vision as a Sales and Youth Representative working in schools, prisons and shopping centres, on the 40-hour famine, the Global leaders’ convention and face to face sponsorship. Simultaneously, I have also passionately engrossed myself in St Patrick’s Blacktown as Parish Youth Coordinator facilitating Youth groups, running retreats and working to create engaging youth programs.

How did you come to accept the role of Lasallian Youth Ministry Coordinator with the De La Salle Brothers?

I felt this role aligned with my overall values and goals of making a positive and lasting impact on the lives of others, especially high school students, who are impressionable and often need that little bit of extra guidance and support. Additionally, I had loved my time as a youth ministry coordinator in my previous role and the opportunity to do this work full time on broader scale and in the Lasallian Charism was one I could not pass up. Moreover, I felt it allowed me the opportunity to express my sense of faith more overtly and provide a plethora of experiences unparalleled in the teaching world such as opportunities to travel to Papua New Guinea and New Zealand.

A large part of your role is to coordinate the long-term volunteer program, Share The Mission. In your own words, how would you summarise Share The Mission?

Share The Mission is a transformative and powerful encounter for anyone wishing to undertake a year of service. It is an opportunity to make a tangible contribution to the most marginalised in our society. The program equips participants with skills, adventures and a strong character, which lay solid foundations as they enter adulthood and become more certain of who they are and who they want to be as individuals. Ultimately, it is a year of service to a community and it is in this service that Share The Mission volunteers have an unforgettable experience, which fosters and shapes their lives.

Why do you think Share The Mission is a good volunteer opportunity?

Share The Mission is a great opportunity as it provides an environment for you to push the boundaries and really discover who you are as a person. The great thing about investing 10 months of your life in Share The Mission is witnessing the growth of those whom you serve and, in turn, seeing yourself grow. Shorter volunteer programs allow volunteers to see just the beginning of the progress. In contrast, over the 10 months program you journey with the students, teachers and mentors, you can truly witness tremendous growth and advancement. It is these human relationships and stories that Share The Mission volunteers enthusiastically expound once they return.

Having come from a non-Lasallian background, I also appreciate that most other volunteer programs require fundraising or funding and this can often be a deterrent for interested participants. However, Share The Mission is generous in providing training and covering many of the costs. And for someone who has lived the university and post-school lifestyle, this is a big consideration!

What are some of the challenges Share The Mission volunteers face?

One of the greatest lessons/characteristics Share The Mission volunteers learn is resilience, independence and interdependence. A major challenge is building a support network in the Share The Mission location, away from the normal support of friends and family. Building healthy connections with teachers, supervisors and community members who are able to support and guide the STM volunteers is the key to a vibrant year.

How do you hope to improve Share The Mission? What will make it a better volunteer program?

Share The Mission is a great program and one of the first things I would like to do is increase the awareness of the program in the Lasallian community and beyond.

A second aspect would be to continue to build on the solid formation program present for the volunteers. This would include providing a broader scope and tailored formation and professional development for each volunteer. This will ensure that Share The Mission volunteers continuously improve and get the most out of this unique experience.

Friday, 13 June 2014
Author: De La Salle

The Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools recently elected Br Robert Schieler as Superior General. He replaces Brother Alvaro Rodriguez who has served as Superior General for the past 14 years. We wish Brother Alvaro every blessing in the future and thank him for his wonderful leadership of the Lasallian Family.

Brother Robert Schieler was born in 1950 in Philadelphia, USA. He made his final profession in 1979. In his first year of ministry he served as a teacher in the United States and then spent 13 years as a missionary in the Philippines.

He studied Modern European History and has a Ph.D. in Educational Administration.

From 1991 to 1998 Brother Robert was Auxiliary Visitor of the District of Baltimore, and later he was appointed Visitor of his District from 2001 to 2007.

For the past seven years, Brother Robert has been General Councillor for the new Lasallian Region of RELAN (USA and Canada) residing in Washington, DC.

Brother Robert is the 27th successor of St. John Baptist de La Salle and will now lead the Brothers and Lasallian Partners who are present in 80 countries around the world as they continue in their mission to educate and care for youth, especially the poor and marginalised in society.

On behalf of the District of Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea, we offer Brother Robert our sincere congratulations and best wishes, and we ask God’s blessings on him in this important leadership role in the Lasallian Family.

Friday, 12 July 2013
Author: De La Salle

A former student of De La Salle College in Malvern (VIC), after graduating from school Br Tony studied education at university and gained qualifications in Pastoral Counseling as well as Human and Spiritual Formation. Throughout his 30 years as a De La Salle Brother, he has taught in six Lasallian schools in Australia and New Zealand, worked in Campus Ministry and has been involved in programs with young people and adults across our District, as well as for the Pacific Asia Region over the last 10 years.


In talking about his new role as Director of Lasallian Vocations, Br Tony says, “This is a challenging role that I hope makes a difference in the lives of those who are involved in the Lasallian mission. In a word, my role in the district is all about 'accompaniment' - giving people access to opportunities to deepen their understanding of their vocation as Lasallians. Hopefully, this is a role that complements and enhances the great work being done in every place that prides itself in being Lasallian.”

Thursday, 19 July 2012
Author: Br Mark McKeon

For the past eight years, Br Ambrose Payne has led the Lasallian family in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and more recently in Pakistan. During this time he has been someone who has truly led by example, which is something that has earned him great respect, not only locally but also by our wider international Lasallian family. In fact, his leadership style, talents, vision and ability have been recognised in his appointment to three international commissions of the De La Salle Brothers.

A highlight during his tenure as leader has been his facilitation of the restructuring of our own District, which resulted in Pakistan formally becoming part of our mission in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. This was a significant change for our District and resulted in a major shift in resources, both financial and personnel.

As leader, Br Ambrose has consistently reminded the Brothers that their primary call as Brothers is their call to holiness. His fidelity to prayer and community life and his commitment to the educational mission has been an inspiration to all who have worked under his guidance.

Reflecting on his role as leader for the past eight years he said, “The overwhelming sentiment of which I am conscious is my total gratitude to God for the opportunity to have served as leader. That opportunity has afforded me the immense privilege of coming to understand the dedication, frequently of heroic proportions, that Brothers and Lasallian Partners manifest consistently and unreservedly as they carry on the Lasallian mission in such scattered and diverse settings.”

Br Ambrose is a man who has a purpose behind every move and every decision he makes. When Br Ambrose chose me to be his Second-in-Charge during his final term as leader, he did so with the intention of preparing a new generation of Brothers for leadership positions in the District. I knew that at the time and felt honoured that he saw the potential in me to one day take on the most senior role within the Brothers. Little did I expect that his intention would become a reality so quickly.

When I first received word advising me of my appointment as leader of the Lasallian mission in this part of the world, it was initially a little overwhelming. However, over the past seven weeks, having had the opportunity to pray and reflect on the role, I am confident in my ability to lead the Lasallian mission in this District.

I am looking forward to all the opportunities that will come my way with a real sense of hope and enthusiasm. I appreciate the support I have received from many people as I strive to build upon the immense contribution of my predecessor, Br Ambrose.

During my time as coordinator of vocation promotions and youth ministry programs, I have seen first-hand the generosity of many young people and teachers. One continuing challenge will be to support, to encourage and to affirm all those engaged in our mission to educate and care for those young people who are most in need in our society.

I have been fortunate over the past few years to have travelled and worked in all four countries of our District. Each country is making its own unique response to the educational needs encountered in their diverse contexts. As leader, it will be necessary to work with people to ensure a prioritised and coordinated response to these needs.

What I want to be in this new role is a person of hope. I am convinced, as was St John Baptist de La Salle, that “God is so good.” So, as leader, I want to affirm the goodness in all people and encourage them to respond authentically to what God might be asking them to do with their lives.

Br Mark McKeon

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