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Brothers of their times

 

The De La Salle Brothers have a long and proud history of education in Hong Kong and none more proud that La Salle College in Kowloon.

“And if today there is a flourishing Christian community in Hong Kong, it is thanks to the education that the youth received from the brothers,” Bishop Enrico Valtorta wrote in a letter to the brothers in 1931.

The brothers sought to promote excellence in education by inspiring students to a love of knowledge, and nurturing the Catholic faith in their midst.

They saw the school as the only structured way of touching hearts with the word of God and paid great attention to the formation of staff in their schools to ensure they gave good witness in this respect.

They were conscious of the strength of peer witness by Catholic students and continually reminded them of their responsibility to influence their companions for good.

While the stately campus in Prince Edward Road was cherished as reflecting pride in education, experience would show that “much effective thinking can be done in a hut or a tent,” as La Salle continued to churn out men of letters during protracted periods of exile.

As times changed, so did catechesis. As the bulk of the Catholic population of the college changed from Portuguese and Filipino to Chinese, who did not have the traditional Catholic family background in faith, new initiatives were developed.

Disappointed to see the practice of the faith lapse in many of their old boys during the war, the brothers made a strong commitment to making up for lost ground and again their approach was revised.

With few brothers in the classrooms today, the challenge is to pass on the Lasallian charism, which has been taken up on an Asia-wide basis and is at the root of staff and community formation in the college today.

But the tradition of quality education within a context of faith and human development lives on, and, as learning moves beyond the limits of accessing and acquiring knowledge into the arena of how to use it accurately and constructively, La Salle is launching new initiatives to ensure its students continue to excel, both academically, and as men of faith and community spirit. JiM