This past March 22 – 26, Institute General Councilors Brother Gustavo Ramirez Barba, FSC, and Brother Rafa Matas, FSC, visited the Bay Area section of the District of San Francisco New Orleans (SFNO) as part of their tour of the four Districts of the Lasallian Region of North America (RELAN).
Brother Gustavo is the Institute’s General Councilor for Association and Mission, and Brother Rafa is the Institute’s General Councilor for Lasallian Family and Vocations. Their time in the Region and in SFNO focused on association for mission, in particular the District’s experience of association and what it is doing to further its development.
The Councilors arrived on March 22 in San Francisco, CA, spending the evening with the Sacred Heart Cathedral Community. They also were met by SFNO Office of Education-Mont La Salle director Michael Daniels, who had coordinated their itinerary and would accompany them during their trip.
The next day began with tours of, first, Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, and then De Marillac Academy. At both schools, the Councilors met with members of the schools’ administrations. Later that day, they traveled to Moraga and Saint Mary’s College of California, again spending time with administrators.
After staying the night at the Provincialate Community at Mont La Salle, the Councilors met on March 24 with the SFNO District Leadership Team. Team members described their roles and responsibilities, followed by questions and the discussion of several topics, some of which were the District’s new evangelization and catechesis office, its formation for mission programs, and the Lasallian Volunteers program. At the conclusion of the meeting, Brother Gustavo commended the District’s Brothers and Partners, observing, “Association for (your District) is not just a concept. It’s life.”
The Councilors’ next stop was Justin-Siena High School in Napa, where they conversed with school administrators and student representatives. They then returned to Mont La Salle for the evening.
On March 25, the Councilors attended the Brothers’ District Day at Mont La Salle, where they had the opportunity to join in the Brothers’ prayers and discussions around both their own community life and the life of the District. They also spoke to the Brothers about their visit and their impression of the District. Following this very full day, the Councilors returned to San Francisco for the night and then an early Match 26 fight and departure, concluding the SFNO leg of their RELAN journey.
Brothers Gustavo’s and Rafa’s visit highlighted the attention that the Institute, led by the General Council, is giving to the global Lasallian family’s awareness of its self and its potential to further the Lasallian mission. When asked about the particular importance of their travels throughout the Region and SFNO, Brother Rafael Matas offered, “When we talk about the Institute’s dynamism, we need to talk about the local experience, to have a discussion that refers to things that are possible. It is important that we are always asking, ‘What is the next step?’ That is why we are visiting.”
(School visit photos courtesy host school. District Day – Mont La Salle photo courtesy Br. James Joost, FSC. LV photo courtesy Br. Rafa Matas, FSC.)