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Message from Brother Superior General to Vietnamsese Lasallian Alumni Association
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On the 5th Lasallian ReUNI0N Day took place at La San Mai Thon, Vietnam on August 8, 2016. Brother Robert Schieler, Superior General of De La Salle Brothers presented his message to all members of Vietnamse Lasallian Family, particularly to Vietnamese Lasallian Alumni Association. Below is a full-text message from Br. Robert Schieler.

“Together and by Association”
A Message to the Alumni of Lasallian Schools in Vietnam

Brother Robert Schieler, FSC
8 August 2016

Good morning.  It is a privilege for me to be present in Vietnam to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Brothers to your wonderful country.   I am honored to be with you and share some thoughts on the worldwide Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.  Today the Institute is very different from the time of St. John Baptist de La Salle and even from your days as students in the Lasallian schools of Vietnam.  Today many women and men share the Lasallian mission with the Brothers; a mission providing human and Christian education in 1,000 schools to one million students in 78 countries around the world.  In de La Salle’s time the schools were primary schools for the sons of artisans and the poor; today, however, 51% of our students are female and one third of the one million students are in universities and other institutions of higher education – and most of the administrators and teachers are laymen and women.
Since March, I have been visiting the Brothers and our Lasallian schools and educational communities throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific region.  Today we have 200 educational institutions in 16 countries in this part of the world.  In these 200 institutions there are 230,000 students taught by nearly 20,000 teachers of whom 56% are women.  Today, in addition to traditional schools, we have many non-formal education centers and programs in direct service with the poor.  Here I know the Brothers and La Salle Sister conduct non-formal educational centers; these initiatives contribute to a vibrant Lasallian mission in Viet Nam.   I thank you for your support of the Brothers and Sisters in these centers.  In other parts of this Region there are programs in direct service with the poor such as the Bamboo School in Thailand, boarding hostels for students and programs such as two in the Philippines for boys who have been convicted of crimes.  We also collaborate with other religious congregations and NGO’s in different parts of the world: examples are the Fratelli project in Lebanon for Syrian and Iraqi refugees and Teacher Training Schools in the South Sudan, the newest country in the world that is now sadly engaged in a civil war.
Globally the Brothers make up only 2% of the teaching force in Lasallian schools.  And yet today, more poor and young people are receiving a Lasallian education than at any other time in the history of the Institute.  Together and by Association, Brothers, laity, religious sisters and priests are maintaining the vitality of the Lasallian mission in the 21st century.
The Original experience of together and by association that begins with John Baptist de La Salle and the first Brothers now continues in nearly eighty countries on five continents.  The Lasallian charism appears to have a new dynamism because of the presence in a variety of ethnic, cultural, and religious settings.  Educators throughout the world find in De La Salle and the Lasallian educational mission an inspiring element to integrate into their daily lives. (Circular 461, 3.1)
Our Lasallian understanding has expanded:  more and more teachers view their profession as a vocation and draw sustenance from Lasallian spirituality.  There are new forms of consecrated Lasallian life such as the La Salle Sisters and Signum Fidei movement (Circular 469, 2.7).  As an Institute we recognize today that the Lasallian charism is not only a gift for the Brothers of the Christian Schools but also for the entire Church.  We invite the laity with whom we work to become the protagonists in the Lasallian mission in the 21st century.  We are continuing to accompany and associate ourselves as Lasallians discovering new ways to announce the Gospel to young people, especially to those who are poor and abandoned.  Alumni groups like yours are enthusiastic supporters of the mission.  For this we are most grateful.
In conclusion, I would like to indicate how we can better experience association for the mission with the Brothers and Sisters:
•    Together and by association we are discovering that all of us have a vocation as a result of our baptismal promises;
•    Together and by association we are supporting each other in our journey towards fullness of life in Christ;
•    Together and by association we are finding new ways to serve the poor and the vulnerable who live on the peripheries and margins of our societies, particularly the refugees, the immigrants and the stateless;
•    Together and by association we are participating in the world-wide Lasallian Family;
•    Together and by association we are recreating the Lasallian identity, organization and structure to better realize our mission of human and Christian education for the 21st century;
•    Together and by association Lasallians are being called to announce to all, especially to the poor and young people in general, the Good News of Jesus Christ and God’s desire that all be saved.
During this celebration we will look to the past and recall times of great joy and great sadness. We will reflect on the present and thank God for the blessings we are receiving.  And, together and by association, we will look to the future and reflect on how we can better serve the young people entrusted by God to our care.
Thank you

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