Special from La Salle RELAN. A celebration of zeal highlighted the 2019 Huether Lasallian Conference, which took place at the Minneapolis Marriott City Center November 21-23, 2019, and included a keynote address by Brother Superior General Robert Schieler, FSC.
The 46th annual conference, themed “Living the Lasallian Mission: Celebrating with Zeal,” began with an opening celebration on Thursday, November 21 that featured performances, reflections and videos by students. Keynote speakers John Donahue-Grossman, inspirational storyteller, and Brother Robert continued the message of zeal during their addresses on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
215 educators from the Lasallian Region of North America (RELAN) gathered for the 3-day Conference, including 75 first-time attendees. The District of San Francisco New Orleans (SFNO) sent 45 participants, about half of whom were experiencing their first Huether.
“One of my biggest takeaways is that I’m seeing a lot of young faculty members here that are bringing the Lasallian vision, Lasallian identity, Lasallian education back to our schools,” said Brother Jesús Lara, FSC, vice principal for Discipline and Student Life at San Miguel High School in Tucson, Arizona. “Taking back to my school zeal and faith, I think it’s woken me up a little bit to be more active in the community, be more active with our students, be more active in inviting our students to become Brothers too and hopefully to become teachers.”
The theme of zeal also resonated with participant Kate Ward-Gaus, assistant vice president for Student Wellness Services at La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
“At this time of the year in higher education, coming up on finals, students are really stressed, the pace is relentless, and to be reminded of the importance of zeal and having energy,” laughed Ward-Gaus. “Energy and enthusiasm for the mission, for the work that we do, I think is really important. The presentations have been the balance between being prayerful with colleagues and then also stimulated to think outside of our siloed experience about the bigger mission has been really important.”
Brother Gerard Rummery, FSC, Lasallian scholar from the District of Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea (ANZPPNG), who attended Huether for the first time, also felt the focus on zeal had an impact.
“That, to me, is a very, very important motif which then goes through everything that’s being done, everybody speaks to this idea of zeal,” shared Brother Gerard. “It’s a very Lasallian idea of zeal because often the word De La Salle uses, in English, we say ‘ardent zeal,’ but the word in French literally means ‘burning,’ which is a much stronger concept when you think about it.”
At the Distinguished Lasallian Educators Banquet at the end of the Conference, seven outstanding educators from RELAN were recognized. From the District of Eastern North America (DENA): Charles “Skip” Gaus, AFSC, Dr. Rhonda Hazell and Carol Soltys; from the Midwest District (MW): Alisa Macksey and Lou Anne Tighe; and from the District of San Francisco New Orleans (SFNO): James Broadous II and Joey Scaffidi, AFSC.
Also at the Banquet, Brother Gerard presented a posthumous award in honor of his longtime friend and colleague, the late Brother Jeffrey Calligan, FSC. Brother Jeffrey was remembered with the Brother John Johnston, FSC Award for lifetime service. The award was accepted by Gina Hall, AFSC, of Saint Paul’s School in Covington, LA. Brother Jeffrey, from the District of San Francisco New Orleans (SFNO), was an accomplished high school teacher, administrator, counselor, and a renowned catechist and retreat master. He taught in the Buttimer Institute of Lasallian Studies for 30 years and had an impact on many Lasallians through his contributions in SFNO District, the RELAN, and throughout the Institute.
The Huether Conference welcomed participants of the 7th World Congress of the Association of Lasallian Alumni (UMAEL) to portions of the gathering. UMAEL took place across the street from Huether, marking the 25th anniversary of UMAEL and the first time the international gathering had been held in the United States. Huether also paid tribute to the 30th anniversary of Lasallian Volunteers during Saturday morning’s prayer. LV also held an alumni panel and conversation on Saturday.
Huether is hosted by the Office for Lasallian Education at Christian Brothers Conference in Washington, D.C. See more highlights on Facebook and Twitter by searching #Huether2019.
All photos SFNO Communications except where otherwise credited.