On Sunday, many of the Lasallian Volunteers gathered in Chicago for The Sweetest LVs Run Ever! We ran the Chicago Hot Chocolate 5K/15K. This race is particularly special to me for three reasons:
- Chicago is my hometown.
- My birthday is the day before the run. (All Souls Day WOOT WOOT!!)
- My parents had no idea I was coming home for the run. (Surprise!)
Whenever gathering with Lasallians, for a 5K/15K run, a Mass, or just a meal, I always feel like I am in the presence of family (and, well duh, God too). This weekend, I am sure many others shared the same feeling. This was one of the main reasons I decided to apply to become a Lasallian Volunteer. I had been blessed to already know how it felt to be welcomed by the Lasallian community. I am now living in the El Paso community and serving at Cathedral High School.
One of my roles as a LV in Campus Ministry at Cathedral High School is to coordinate and develop senior students to lead retreats for the underclassmen. Whenever they are writing a talk for a retreat, I tell them to include some personal examples to give their message more personal meaning to the retreatants. Taking my own advice, here are some personal examples of my experiences of the Lasallian Family:
- The Lasallian family is welcoming. Brother James Gaffney, President of Lewis University, knew my name as well as every other students name by the end of October my freshman year. How much more at home can you feel when the President of your University knows you by name?
- The Lasallian family cares about you. The Brothers genuinely want to spend time and get to know the students. They set up card tournaments, go out to lunch with us, and even show up to our events to support what we do.
- The Lasallian family is encouraging. Since becoming an LV, I have been learning how to cook for a “Lasallian family” of five. Though I am much better now, the Brothers in my community were very polite about the first meal I made for them, undercooked chicken. Br. Al made sure to stay near the kitchen the next time I cooked in case I had any questions. They are now always quick to compliment me when I made something edible.
- The Lasallian family is there for you when you least expect it. In September, I went to a Campus Ministry seminar in Russian River, California. I was nervous because I did not know where I was or anyone else going for that matter. When I walked in, I saw Kenenna and Katie, two other LVs, and I immediately felt like I ran into family in the middle of nowhere! I was much more comfortable the rest of the seminar.
- The Lasallian family is great at hosting. Less than a month ago, I ran the Chicago Marathon. The Chicago LVs live on the course at mile 24. Their community welcomed my parents to stay with them and barbeque while I ran. My parents could not have been happier. My mother said one of the brothers at the community taught her in High School! What a small world!
- The Lasallian family is inspiring. One of my responsibilities at Cathedral High School is to lead Lasallian Youth, a service group. Whenever I take them to a service site, they always surprise me with their hard work and determination. When we clean at Ronald McDonald House, I constantly find myself looking for something else to clean so that I do not look lazy compared to the boys. It is such a blessing to be able to organize these opportunities for them to inspire me.
- The Lasallian family is there in your times of need. On a school night in September, Br. Mariano picked me up because I couldn’t make it all the way back home on a marathon training run at 10:30 at night. That may seem small, but it was huge for me at the time.
- The Lasallian family loves to see you succeed. Br. Al chaperoned the Sophomore Retreat this year. At dinner that night, he made sure to compliment me on how well it went and asked me how they can make me LV of the month. One can only wish.
- The Lasallian family is faithful. Lasallian communities begin and end each day in prayer. We pray the liturgy of the hours, which is awesome when you really think about it. Everyone around the world who does this is praying the same prayers with us each day in the morning and the evening. I like this because our days are centered around prayer and association, the foundation of who we are.
I challenge you today to consider how the Lasallian community has become a family in your life. If you have not yet become a part of the Lasallian world, I challenge you to reach out and experience it for yourself.
St. John Baptist de La Salle, Pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, Forever!
Ron Pollak, 13-14, Cathedral High School, El Paso, Texas