La Salle welcomed young professionals for a week-long program of mission education and fellowship.
Young Lasallian educators spent a week immersed in mission on La Salle University’s campus.
VEGA, an acronym from the Italian words Vedere, Giudicare, Agire–“to see,” “to judge,” and “to act,” is a formation program developed by Young Lasallians for young Lasallian professionals, ages 22 to 35. The week-long program ran from Monday, June 26, to Saturday, July 1.
VEGA participants created community over a week of activities including prayer, educational/formation sessions, small group reflections, evening socials, and a service immersion experience.
“In response to the call of the then-Superior General, Br. Alvaro Rodriguez Echeverria, FSC, to provide educative and formative experiences for Lasallian educators between 22 and 35 years old, the Young Lasallians VEGA workshop was created,” explained Justin Martineau, associate director of the Office for Mission and Ministry in the District of Eastern North America Brothers of the Christian Schools (DENA). “The VEGA program began out of the center of the Institute in 2009 and migrated to the Lasallian Region of North America (RELAN) in 2010. This Regional VEGA inspired committed young Lasallians in the District of Eastern North America (DENA) to begin hosting their own biennial VEGAs from 2011.”
DENA moved to hosting VEGA annually in 2022.
Participants at this year’s VEGA included Lasallian educators and social workers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. Educational sessions focused on the history of John Baptist de La Salle, the Lasallian mission, and educating in today’s world.
“VEGA aims to foster association for mission and provide a space for young Lasallian educators to capture a sense of what it will take to keep Lasallian education in the 21st century vital and vibrant,” Martineau said. Since the second Vatican Council, the Brothers have acknowledged and welcomed the role and importance of Lasallian Partners in Lasallian educational works. Formation programs like VEGA introduce young educators to St. La Salle’s pedagogy, spirituality and educational vision. They invite a commitment to, and co-responsibility for, the Lasallian educational mission. As a result, an increasing numbers of Partners join Brothers committed to being the heart, memory, and guarantors of the Lasallian mission.”
Martineau said VEGA is a part of the Brothers’ overall work and mission as both an educational and vocational experience. The program allows its participants to discern how their life’s calling intersects with the Lasallian educational work. It also gives young Lasallians a greater awareness of mission outside of their ministry or local area.
“Induction programs, like VEGA, guide participants to a sense of belonging,” he said. “Belonging can, in turn, beget commitment. Commitment yields to co-responsibility and ultimately wisdom. Along the way individuals are guided from outside to inside a community, from seeing their job as merely a means to an end to a vocation—a calling. Soon, one call leads to another and eventually a call to leadership and sharing our Lasallian identity with others.”