The first-ever sessions of the Brother John Johnston Institute of Contemporary Lasallian Practice, a new Regional formation program, wrapped up with the inaugural East Coast gathering March 20 – 23, 2014, at the Inn at Pocono Manor in Pocono Manor, PA. The new program held the West Coast gathering March 6 – 9, and the Midwest gathering March 13 – 16.
Brother Richard Galvin, FSC, Campus Minister at St. Raymond High School for Boys in Bronx, NY, and one of the 50 participants in the East Coast session, was proud to be one of the first participants in this new program and enjoyed being reminded of his Lasallian heritage, “To experience this with other like-minded Lasallians from DENA
Focusing on the Lasallian heritage in light of contemporary realities, the new program engages participants in reflection and discussion on Lasallian themes, including Lasallian Story and Vision; Lasallian Educational Service to the Poor and the Promotion of Justice; and Lasallian Spirituality, Vocation, and Association. The Johnston Institute is conducted on a two-year cycle, from March 2014 through March 2016. It consists of five in-person gatherings (three by District; two Regionally) and four online sessions. The instructors for this first session were Brother John Crawford (from La Salle University), Dr. Roxanne Eubank (from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota) and Dr. Greg Kopra (from De La Salle Institute.)
Alma Gallegos, Director of the Lasallian Educational Access Program (LEAP) and Instructor of World Languages at Justin-Siena High School in Napa, CA, and participant in the West Coast session, shared what she learned. “Through the day-to-day routine it’s easy to lose the sense of perspective as to why we do what we do,” she said. “However, through our first session, I learned that our work is one of which will take time, much reflection, patience, and most importantly love.”
Each gathering offered presentations from knowledgeable speakers. Audrey Kintzi, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, and participant in the Midwest session, found the weekend to be informative and inspiring saying, “Our presenters, Brother John, Greg, and Roxanne, were not only content experts, they demonstrated a deep and sincere desire to help each one of us explore our shared Lasallian charism and deepen our own understanding of what it means to be Lasallian.”
The Johnston Institute left an impression on Carl Unrein, President of Mullen High School in Denver, CO, who said he thinks this program will have an impact on how he approaches the Lasallian mission in his ministry. “To lead my fellow educators in conversation and by example to understand the importance of their call to the ministry,” he wrote.
The Johnston Institute will challenge participants to keep the excitement built at this first gathering buzzing in between meetings. DENA participants created a John Johnston Institute Facebook page to keep connected with each other throughout the program. Brother James Martino, FSC, Director of Administration for DENA, said he looks forward to the online work and discussions, which is a new feature in Regional formation programs created to keep the momentum and energy from fading between in-person sessions. “I think they will be a great support and keep the conversation and connections more alive than has happened in the past with other formation programs,” said Brother James.
When the Lasallian Leadership Institute (LLI) went on hiatus in 2012, Brother James, along with Regional Programs Director Alisa Macksey, facilitated the LLI review committee meetings and the process for evaluating LLI. After thorough assessment, the committee created the new Johnston Institute to meet the needs identified by Lasallians in the assessment process.
How can you connect with fellow Lasallians and deepen your understanding of the Lasallian heritage? Click on the upcoming Regional opportunities below to learn more:
- Reception at NCEA Convention: April 21, 2014, Pittsburgh, PA
- Buttimer Institute of Lasallian Studies: June 29 – July 11, 2014, Moraga, CA
- Lasallian Social Justice Institute (LSJI): July 6 – 11, 2014, Tucson, AZ
- Huether Lasallian Conference: November 20 – 22, 2014, Chicago, IL
- Lasallian Association of Secondary School Chief Administrators (LASSCA) Conference: February 22 – 25, 2015, San Diego, CA