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News from RELAF

Posted on 19 April 2019

Dear Brothers, dear Lasallian friends.

As an editorial for this 30th edition of our NewsLetter, I would like to draw our attention on three countries in particular: South Sudan, Eritrea and Mozambique. Why these three countries? Simply to illustrate how much the mission of education remains a necessity if not an emergency in this year when, throughout the Institute, we are celebrating the tercentenary of the birth in heaven of our Founder, Saint John Baptist De La Salle.

We must be vigilant and not rest on our laurels because meeting the educational needs of the poorest children and keeping our schools accessible to them remain permanent challenges to our fidelity. The Rule in its article 14 tells us that "In order to remain faithful to the charism of the Institute, the Brothers analyze new educational and pastoral needs. They respond to them in a creative manner, either in their existing educational establishments or by founding other educational institutions for the service of the poor. Article 28 adds, "By the vow of association for the educational service of the poor, the Brothers promise to "conduct" as a community, educational works accessible to poor. Article 3 reminds us that "the Christian schools, which need to be constantly renewed, are the preferred sphere of activity for the Brothers. The Institute is open also to other forms of teaching and education, suited to the needs of time and place."

Two years ago, we started the La Salle secondary school in Rumbek, South Sudan. The youngest nation in the world is also the most unfortunate ...

Until now, our Brothers Eustace, Joseph and Julius, like their 76 students, use two classrooms from the School of the Loretto Sisters. We are eager to see the Brothers fit out with their students on their own site. Hopefully this will be done in the months of next May - June. The construction of the community and classrooms has already started. We need now to think of buying a school bus. The school is 7 or 8 kilometres outside the city.

At last, I was able to visit our Brothers in Eritrea. Their different works are well maintained. Saint Joseph of Keren, a school of 1760 students, has a new look. The Agro-Pastoral Training and Production Centre in Hagaz has 300 students. But the work that impressed me the most is Shinara: a primary school that is quite isolated because of the bad state of the road. It has more than 400 students coming from very far to study. It is in the spirit of a "beyond the border" initiative for poor children who would otherwise not go to school. The novitiate and the scholasticate formation is done within the country because of the impossibility to leave the country. Our Brothers feel very isolated there.

The pastoral visit with the Superior general had given me the opportunity to discover the three works that the Brothers have in Beira. John XXIII School, which had more than 3,000 students, a new primary school with a growing kindergarten and finally a Social Centre located in a popular neighbourhood and welcoming more than 200 young people. The passage of Hurricane Idai, which destroyed the city by 90%, did not spare these institutions.

The Lenten Season is par excellence a time of solidarity, sharing and prayer ... Think of those people who suffer, chil-dren and young people lacking education. Let us keep them in our prayers and let us show them our solidarity. Let's make this Lenten season our "honeymoon with God". Happy Lent to all of you

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