I wish to share with you the thinking and wisdom of the Church to assist you in your role as teachers and as witnesses or supporters of the Catholic Faith here at De La Salle. In addition to what can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church; the Archdiocese of Toronto, through the Cardinal Archbishop and the Canadian Conference of Bishops have provided direction and policy directives on all the matters I will be summarising.
In the name of the entire De La Salle College ”Oaklands” community: students, parents, staff, alums and benefactors, I extend my greetings. Established in 1851, De La Salle College “Oaklands” is part of a world-wide movement inspired by the life and work of St. John Baptist de La Salle who responded to the needs of his time in 17th Century France by founding a religious community of teaching Brothers and providing a Christian education mostly for the sons of artisans and the poor. What he accomplished, however, was more than just open schools, he created a vision of educating youth.
Throughout its long history Brothers and many other dedicated persons have worked tirelessly to continue this vision at the College. A Lasallian school is centred on a life of faith. In such a school, God's presence is a lived reality. It is a Christian school in the Roman Catholic tradition which proclaims the message of the Gospel to today’s youth.
The Christian action and community service programs are an essential part of the education of young people attending the College and assist in the fostering of charity, tolerance and a concern for the poor. De La Salle College “Oaklands” has an outstanding tradition of academic excellence and, like all Lasallian schools, it continues to foster excellence in all areas of school life. Community service and other Christian action initiatives make up an essential component of the educational experience of young people attending the College. These programs assist students in fostering the virtues of charity, compassion and concern for the poor.
Education in the Lasallian tradition is about how to make a life and not simply how to make a living. Such a view is not always easy to pursue since our culture is generally indifferent to this vision. A sound, Christian education based on good example, charity, and excellence is arguably the greatest gift that can be bestowed on the young. I invite you to become part of this vision in whatever way possible. May the Patron of All Christian Teachers, St. John Baptist de La Salle bless you and those dear to you.
Live, Jesus in our hearts. Forever.
Brother Domenic Viggiani, FSC
President, De La Salle College "Oaklands"
In an institution as long-standing at De La Salle in Toronto, there are moments of particular significance that arise every so often. The arrival of the first “Freres” form Montreal in 1851 to the new City of Toronto and the establishment of a small academy the very same year is naturally of major importance. Already in the Province of Quebec for some twenty years, the Lasallian mission would grow too in English-speaking Canada.
Above-all, here and now, we should be especially concerned about how these realities affect the faith of our young people - a faith that is often already very fragile and tenuous. I have made a point in the last few weeks to attend Mass at different parishes. It is encouraging to see that faithful Catholics continue to go to Church in Toronto. Sadly, our City is the exception and not the practice throughout the country. Nevertheless, the witness of the faithful helps remind me, and I hope you too, that God never abandons the Church.