NU Hosts Young Lasallians VEGA Workshop

August 1, 2013  |  by Michael Freedman

Young Lasallian educators from throughout the Northeast and Toronto, Canada, and from as far away as New Mexico, Oklahoma and Oregon will gather at Niagara University for the biannual Young Lasallians VEGA Workshop, conducted by the Brothers of the Christian Schools District of Eastern North America. Forty-three teachers, counselors, presenters and Christian Brothers from various Lasallian schools and administrative bodies will come together to deepen their understanding, faith and commitment to the mission of Christian education to the young and poor, founded by John Baptist de La Salle, the patron saint of teachers.

The workshop aims to teach Lasallian educators, ranging from 22 to 35 years of age, the founding story of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, to expand on important principles of Catholic and Lasallian education, to create a larger sense of the worldwide Lasallian educational mission, and to invite participants to engage in faith-based service in the surrounding community. In collaboration with Niagara University’s Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., Institute for Civic Engagement, and ReNU Niagara program, Young Lasallians will participate in clean-up efforts at the historic Oakwood Cemetery and Temple Beth El Cemetery located in Niagara Falls, N.Y. The cemeteries were part of some of the hardest hit areas during recent storms this July, and the Lasallian educators will be involved in tree limb cutting, cleanup, and debris removal.

In response to the call of the Christian Brothers and of its Superior General, Br. Alvaro Rodriguez Echeverria, FSC, to provide educative and formative experiences for Lasallian educators between 22 and 35 years old, the Young Lasallians VEGA Workshop was created. This workshop further engages and encourages these young educators to be more deeply involved with Brothers’ mission of “a human and Christian education to the young, especially the poor.”  First held in the Christian Brothers’ Region of Europe and the Mediterranean (RELEM) in 2009 at the Generlate in Rome, and then in the Lasallian Region of North America (RELAN) in 2010 at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tenn., this VEGA program continues to keep the enthusiastic energy of Lasallian education growing and going.

VEGA, one of the brightest stars in the night sky, is an Italian acroymn for the words Vedere, Giudicare, Agire – which means to see, to judge, to act.  The Young Lasallians VEGA Workshop will not only educate, but will also invite Lasallian educators to take a deeper look at their vocations as teachers. It further asks them to discuss and work toward what it will take to keep Lasallian education in the 21st century vital and vibrant. Participants will be asked to take a deeper look at the roots of poverty in order to find structural solutions and for educating to justice.

The Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, inspired by the life and vision of St. John Baptist de La Salle, is an international Roman Catholic order of lay religious Brothers. Together, and by association with their partners in mission, the institute strives to provide “a human and Christian education to the young, especially the poor.” The institute sponsors schools and other educational ministries in over 80 countries worldwide, with the District of Eastern North America (DENA) spanning from Toronto, Canada, to Washington, D.C., and Warren, Mich., to Providence, R.I. Locally, St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute in Buffalo, and De La College “Oaklands” in Toronto are ministries of DENA.