Posted by Joanne Nehme
on 6 December 2019
De La Salle Mangere concluded their sacramental program with 3 students receiving their sacrament of Baptism and 15 students and 1 Lasallian Volunteer, Micah Scholes- Robertson from Armidale (O'Connor College, Class of 2018) a receiving their First Holy Communion and Confirmation. Micah has immersed himself in the culture of Mangere it was without hesitation he wanted to not only assist the students he also wanted to join with them in the process. When asking Micah , "Why'? He simply said, "It was a natural decision". Having spent all his schooling years at a Catholic school, this was the right time for him to commit to the faith more completely.
Cardinal Soane Mafi of Tonga gave a moving homily to the students, family and friends who filled the college gym. He encouraged the recipients to always stand firm in their faith, especially on the eve of All Saints Day. He asked everyone present to have courage to carry the light of Christ with them and share it with others, just as the saints did.
What made this day more special, was witnessing the way in which the Lasallian Volunteers were embraced by the community of Brothers, staff and students. Br Declan received a rock star welcome and I was part of a Powhiri. Another privilege of being at De La Salle Mangere for the event was seeing how the Lasallian Family crosses so many boundaries and is not only inclusive but truly welcoming and hospitable. The other boundary was the physical tyranny of distance, the support of Lasallian Volunteers and Youth Ministers saw a real Lasallian commitment to each other, as peers. It was indeed amazing as 3 Youth Ministers from Armidale and another from Sydney travelled to Mangere to share in the joy of Micah's special day.
Finally, with a nod to the Tercentenary year, Br Waseem closed the mornings proceedings with a prayer and reflection based on the theme of One Heart, One Life, One commitment. Following a traditional Polynesian lunch, I spent some time in the classroom and also visiting Lasallian Volunteer Andrew Carloss (Oakhill , 2018). He has been assisting the debating club and it was uplifting to see 30 students stay back after school to rehearse their skills and refine their techniques for the debating season which begins next year!
It was a great occasion to visit the school and I thank the Brothers and staff for their generosity and zeal, together and by association. Congratulations to both Micah and Andrew for their contributions as Lasallian Volunteers in 2019.