Lasallian conference highlighted social justice

Benjamin Browning, Guest Column, Abp. Rummel

The Lasallian Youth Assembly, or LYA, is a weeklong gathering of Lasallian students ranging from San Francisco to New Orleans.

LYA served to help its students engage in their school’s Lasallian heritage, get to know other Lasallians from all over the country and grow in their own faith while centered on a theme of social justice.

Throughout the week, the attendees learned about the problems, both legal and moral, within the justice system. Some of the more focused-on problems were those caused by the 13th Amendment. Students watched documentaries, met with speakers and even took a trip to Angola, the Louisiana State Penitentiary, to learn about these problems.

Another topic widely discussed throughout LYA was service, one of the Lasallian five core principles. Although tropical storm Cindy disrupted plans to go into the community and do service work, students discussed different ways they participate in service and how to get more involved within their communities.

Each day at LYA began and ended with a prayer service led by a different school in attendance. Then we would go to a talk about the topic of the day. From there we all broke into groups and began the activity of the day.

On the third day the group took a trip to the Louisiana State Penitentiary to get a hands-on, close-up experience of the topics we were discussing. It was amazing and shocking at the same time. To see these men, some of whom had made just one small mistake, working in fields to pay off a life sentence was a memorable experience and a great way to make the topics we were discussing real and applicable to our lives.

The next few days focused on service and community time. We took time to get to know our fellow participants as well as New Orleans by taking a trip to the French Quarter. The week ended with Mass, the same way it began.

LYA truly allowed its students to grow close with each other by sharing both similar and very different cultures. Students got to engage in activities to grow in their faith, meet people with similar beliefs and share ideas.

Benjamin Browning is a junior at Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie.

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