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Lasallians, Heartians celebrate La Salle Day

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TANJUNG ARU  – May 13 saw once more the Lasallians and Heartians, together with heads of schools, teachers and parents, rallying to celebrate their Patron’s Day, St John Baptist de La Salle, cum Teacher’s Day at Stella Maris Church here.

Though unspoken, no doubt the indelible memory of the beloved late Br Charles O’Leary has left a big void in the celebration. But, true to the spirit of Br Charles, which is the spirit of their patron St John Baptist de La Salle, the school community will “follow the way you taught us, strong in faith and unity”!

Following the advice of de La Salle “Join prayer to your efforts, otherwise your actions will have little effect,” the celebration has unwaveringly  began with the celebration of the Holy Mass.

Led by Msgr Primus Jouil as presider at Mass, a prayer from the heart of the La Salle community was offered up to God that “like de La Salle, we may deepen our friendship with You and grow more aware of Your Presence in our lives each day,” and to “inspire teachers who are dedicated to serve new generation in our schools.”

The students, school heads and teachers were joined at Mass, by new head of school Mary Macdalena Komuji, Bro Peter Foo, Bro Justin Mobilik, former principal Julia Jock, members of the Alumni, Sr Rita Chew and other religious, and parents and well-wishers.

Light refreshments followed after the Mass.

Mary Komuji, when asked by Catholic Sabah, was happy to share that she was blessed and fortunate to have been given this opportunity to be a principal of a great school.

Having been on board for four months, she has found the teachers and staff to be very supportive and welcoming.

Acknowledging the role of her predecessor, “I am also very thankful to her for having set the direction for the school so clearly that all we need to do is to work hard to maintain the high standard that has been achieved by the school!” said Mary.

She noted that the school board, PTA and Alumni have also been very helpful and supportive in all the events that the school has organised.

On the occasion of her first La Salle Day, Mary Komuji called on the school community to “remember our founder St John Baptist de La Salle and work hard to continue in the spirit with which he first started a school for young people.”

She also reminded the community to “remember that we owe everything we have achieved to all the previous La Salle brothers, principals, teachers and students who have once been in this school. Everyone of them has left a mark in this school; so let us all do our part so that our beloved La Salle Secondary School will continue its fame.”

She rallied the teachers, as they celebrate Teacher’s Day, to follow “St John Baptist de La Salle who has shown us how to teach and care for young people, how to meet failure and frailty with compassion, and how to affirm, strengthen, and heal. So, let us follow his advice to do all things for the love of God with all the affection of our hearts and to hold prayer in high esteem as the foundation of all the virtues, and the source of all the graces that we need to sanctify us.”

Meanwhile, the teachers opined that La Salle Day is very special to them. “It is a day that we remember our patron saint, St John Baptist de La Salle and his initiative in starting a school for the street children in his days. It reminds us of the responsibility that God has entrusted to us to educate the children placed under our care guided by the values of St John Baptist, that is, to care for and bring up even ‘the Last, the Least and the Lost.’”

Another teacher opined that because of the busyness of their tasks, “we tend to treat our duty just like an ordinary routine and not as our calling to touch hearts, teach minds and transform lives. Hence, La Salle Day is very important as it helps us to ponder anew our calling in the teaching profession.” “This is also the first year that we celebrate La Salle Day without the prominence and influence of the late Br Charles O’Leary. Although he is no longer with us it is our sincere hope that we, La Salle teachers, would continue to educate the young under our care with equal zeal, faith and hope.”

“La Salle Day is also a time of thanksgiving and reflection: to give thanks for all the ups and downs that shape us all and to reflect on our past scholastic life and to strive for improvements and fulfilment” said another teacher.

Form 4 students, Eric Jingulam and Darren Lee, understood the theme for this year “Lasallians enter to learn, leave to serve” as all Lasallians are “trained to be good people, taught to make the world a better place, and be ready to serve God, country and community.”

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