By Chris Swain, Director of Community, Justin-Siena High School, Napa, CA
Local to Global Preparations
Tomorrow the 3rd International Symposium of Young Lasallians will officially commence, while in reality, preparations, planning, and prayer around this event have been happening for sometime now.
On the local level, delegates to the symposium held formal and informal focus groups with other Young Lasallians in their Districts/Sectors/Regions exploring:
- a shared sense of identity, as young people, inspired by the mission;
- a commitment to and vision for faith, service and community;
- the gifts and talents young people bring to the mission;
- and how internationally, the Young Lasallians movement can be a source of hope (inspiration, courage and empowerment) for young people.
These conversations, along with delegates’ own personal reflections will guide and focus the work of the symposium.
On a Regional level, RELAN delegates gathered in November at the Huether Lasallian Conference in New Orleans, LA, for pre-symposium preparations and to build community as a Regional group encompassing the Districts of the Lasallian Region of North America. The meetings brought forth sharing of best practices, exploring Districts’ Young Lasallian structures and a shared commitment and excitement about the opportunity to build hope together.
Internationally, delegates around the world have been engaged in similar preparations. In this process of dialogue and discernment, the goal is to articulate the hopes and aspirations of Young Lasallians: personally, communally, structurally, and through the symposium experience.
During pre-symposium preparations, each RELAN delegate received a prayer partner: another delegate, to remember, hold up and pray for in the time leading up to the symposium. Delegates wrote notes of prayer and affirmation that were mailed and received during January as a way to continue to remember and hold up those gathering and the Lasallian family around the world.
Expressions of Community
Central to the Lasallian mission is the essential role community and relationship play in the lived reality of the charism. In the preparations, theme, structure of the symposium and desired outcomes — the importance of building community, intentionally and for the mission, is clear. Through the symposium process, the continued growth of an international movement and network will be made manifest. Through capitalizing on our community there is an opportunity for the symposium to become a catalyst to promote contemporary and creative ways of living out our shared heritage and common mission.
The community experience of young people who are invited, accompanied, and formed in the Lasallian charism fuels the mission to provide a human and Christian education to the young, especially the poor, according to the ministry which the Church has entrusted to it. In the context of the symposium, the dialogue around the themes of 1) Lasallian educational mission; curriculum and pedagogy, 2) vocational growth, and 3) service for the poor will hopefully further animate the lived reality of the mission around the world, as delegates return to their communities. Following the symposium, delegates in all areas will be plugging into varied opportunities to share about the symposium and Young Lasallian Movement, provide opportunities and resources, and most importantly share a further invitation into community.
“each dream is a personal one, but the Lasallian dream should also be a collective one… when one dreams alone, it remains only a dream, but when many people dream, their dream becomes reality” (Superior General Brother Álvaro Rodríguez Echeverría, FSC)