The Superior General of the De La Salle Brothers, Robert Schieler last week delivered an powerful address to a major educational conference in Perth, reflecting upon the changing nature of religious education in a multicultural and multifaith society.
Br Robert was a keynote speaker at the Inaugural Lasallian Educators Conference, hosted by La Salle College at Middle Swan in Perth.
The conference has brought together 170 delegates from across the Asia Pacific region, with strong interest from Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.
Br Robert told delegates that the global reach and diversity of the Lasallian Mission would have been inconceivable when St John Baptist De La Salle first opened schools for the poor in France in the 17th century.
“When we look around this District of Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea, there is such an amazing scope of Lasallian works, from yourtown and Kids Helpline through to training catechists in Pakistan and training teachers in remote provinces of Papua New Guinea”, Br Robert explained.
“The Church calls everyone to holiness and in a globalised world, many Lasallians are ministering in settings where they may encounter hostility or misunderstanding”.
“We need to be constantly adapting to the changes we are facing with growing numbers of women also taking on key leadership roles in Lasallian education and works”, Br Robert added.
The three day conference featured a memorable presentation from the Principal of La Salle High School in the Pakistani city of Faisalabad, Br Shahzad Gill who reflected on the joys and challenges of Lasallian ministry in a Muslim society.
The Principal of La Salle Technical College in Hohola, a suburb of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Br Antony Swamy, spoke about the challenges of working with limited classroom resources in the Papua New Guinean capital, Port Moresby, while two staff members from the Lasallian agency yourtown, John Dagleish and Carla Harvey, spoke about the challenges in helping young adults manage the transition from high school to the workforce.
Students across all year levels at La Salle College joined in a panel discussion around what it means to be a Lasallian, with many of them giving up some of their school holidays to welcome the delegates to the landmark conference.