Lasallians are celebrating their tercentenary year
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Lasallians are celebrating their tercentenary year

Kicking off the celebrations of the founder’s death: Students and staff at De La Salle College forming a human encircled ‘300’ in the school grounds.

Kicking off the celebrations of the founder’s death: Students and staff at De La Salle College forming a human encircled ‘300’ in the school grounds.

The Lasallian community worldwide is this year celebrating the 300th anniversary of their founder’s death, St John Baptist de La Salle, who died on April 7, 1719.

It is a year to celebrate the many Lasallian vocations (Brothers, Lasallian partners in ministry, students, alumni, parents) in the worldwide community and to reflect upon our call as Lasallians to be people of faith, service and community. The logo for the Tercentenary Year features a large 300 surrounded by the words: One Heart One Commitment One Life. 

​The monument dedicated to St John Baptist De La Salle, patron saint of teachers, at De La Salle College, Vittoriosa, is made up of 100,000 pieces of mosaic of 120 blended colours, and rises 10.5 metres. It stands on a circular base, with the beautiful mosaic scene of the Brothers’ founder facing the college drive. The monument, designed by artist Envin Cremona, was unveiled by Bro. Charles Henry, Superior General at the time, and blessed by Archbishop Michael Gonzi on May 26, 1967.​The monument dedicated to St John Baptist De La Salle, patron saint of teachers, at De La Salle College, Vittoriosa, is made up of 100,000 pieces of mosaic of 120 blended colours, and rises 10.5 metres. It stands on a circular base, with the beautiful mosaic scene of the Brothers’ founder facing the college drive. The monument, designed by artist Envin Cremona, was unveiled by Bro. Charles Henry, Superior General at the time, and blessed by Archbishop Michael Gonzi on May 26, 1967.

In 1903 the Brothers of the Christian Schools opened their first school in Malta in Strada Buongiorno, Cospicua, followed by another school in Sliema. Throughout the 20th century, the original schools grew and changed, adapting to the needs of the times and facing the challenges of the historic upheavals that marked the 1900s.

Throughout it all, De La Salle College in Vittoriosa and Stella Maris College  in Gzira never lost sight of the main objective that inspired the founder nearly 300 years earlier – to help students develop as persons in all aspects of their life. 

Both colleges are first and foremost Catholic schools. Many among the serving clergy and in religious life received their first formation at the colleges. However, throughout theirhistory, the schools have also educated children brought up in other religions. 

At the same time De La Salle College successfully prepared students for the entry examinations into the Lyceum, H.M. Dockyard, Oxford and London GCEs, City and Guilds, and, in more recent years, SEC, Matsec, OCR and CIE exams. With the introduction of Sixth Form studies, the college has seen many of its former students going on to tertiary education at the University of Malta as well as other colleges of higher education both locally and abroad.

De La Salle College established a name for itself in the field of sports and physical education. Many former students went on to represent their country in football, waterpolo, athletics, tennis, squash, badminton, basketball, sailing and others. In inter-college sports, De La Salle is always prominent. 

A creation by De La Salle primary school pupils to mark the tercentenary celebrations. Photos: Leander ThomasA creation by De La Salle primary school pupils to mark the tercentenary celebrations. Photos: Leander Thomas

It is worth recording that the college built the first full-size sports hall in Malta, which became the venue for various associations to hold their national competitions. Outside playing fields to cater for various disciplines form an integral part of the school premises. De La Salle College and Stella Maris were also pioneers in computer and IT education. Today it boasts one of the most extensive educational programmes in this field.

The Brothers are no longer as numerous as they used to be and the schools have to employ a good number of qualified lay teachers, but the schools’ atmosphere is still dominated by the original principle of the founder – to educate body and soul for life.

Preparations for Founder’s Day 2019 at Stella Maris College started in May last year when members of staff and students mounted the largest hand- painted flag at the college.Preparations for Founder’s Day 2019 at Stella Maris College started in May last year when members of staff and students mounted the largest hand- painted flag at the college.

A special celebration at De la salle college tomorrow

Leading tomorrow’s celebration will be Archbishop Charles Scicluna who will concelebrate Mass in honour of St John Baptist de la Salle at the school’s gymnasium. 

Attending Mass will be more than 2,000 students and teachers who attend Stella Maris College in GŻira and De La Salle College, Cottonera. Assisting Mgr Scicluna will be about 15 priests, former De la Salle school students.

After Mass, students, assisted by their teachers, will present a celebration of song and dance. Two leading singers will also take part.  

 

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