Oh How Precious

Dear St. Pats family:
George Floyd’s funeral was held today in Houston. One of the songs performed was “Oh How Precious.” Everyone listening could feel the family’s pain and witness their faith. It was very moving.
I have been struggling with my own despair and confusion, not certain of what to say. I have prayed about it. This is my statement of belief and my personal hope for us as a school community.

Black Lives Matter
A Statement of Belief from Chris Gavin, Principal
Saint Patrick Catholic School

June 9, 2020

As a Catholic school principal, I believe in the transforming power of education, and yet I know that racism systemically denies the gift of learning for too many children of color. We in Catholic schools perpetuate that injustice, both in our own school and in the Catholic school system, if we neglect to listen to and support our African American families and other families of color. And we are complicit when we ignore the challenging words of Jesus to “Love one another as I have loved you.” We are most faithful to our mission as Catholic educators when we treat and hold precious everyone as our sisters and brothers.

In the Christian life, my own dignity is in relationship to the dignity of every life. Our faith is predicated on the belief that we all are made in the image of God- God is love and we can’t parcel out who God loves. Pope Francis and the United States Catholic Bishops have called racism a sin. “Sin”, an old-fashioned, uncomfortable word, describes what we know to be true: racism tears us apart from the love of God. God is with us as we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of color against racism. As loudly as I profess my own faith, I equally profess that racism and injustice are not of God; therefore, I stand for Black Lives Matter.

In just the last month, in a single breath — one man’s last breath — our world erupted from nobody in the streets to millions marching every day. It started with black people; calling out for justice to end systemic racism and the racially-motivated violence perpetrated for many years. Then people of all ethnicities, backgrounds, professions, faith traditions, and ages joined, walking together, calling for justice and peace. We now witness police officers kneeling with peaceful demonstrators. Rage remains, but love is finding a place in the spaces where people are listening to each other. The anger and distrust are constant reminders that we have so much more to endure, but there are increasing signs that hope is present in the midst of that pain. Psalm 34:18: The Lord is near the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The Lord is in this work of justice.

I ask everyone in the St. Pats community to pray for an end of violence, especially violence perpetrated by racism. Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to settle more deeply into our hearts so we can be agents of just change for all of God’s people. Let us pray for Saint Patrick Catholic School so our school prayerfully strives to be an even more peaceful and just community valuing the diversity of all members. Let us pray for racial justice, true reconciliation, and peace in our country. And finally, let us pray for our children, our students, so they will grow up believing in their inherent dignity and will care for others with that same dignity and love.

St. Patrick, pray for us and our country.