Note: This message was originally shared via email with students, parents, faculty and staff on the evening of Saturday, May 30.
May 30, 2020
Dear Prep Family,
I write this letter to you on the eve of Pentecost Sunday. In the biblical narrative of Pentecost, many languages were spoken, but everyone was able to understand one another. Amidst this multiplicity of tongues, unity was created by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. On the one hand, I am excited to celebrate this feast day with you, as this vision of the early Church, bound as one family with love at the center, reflects what we are constantly striving to sustain in our own Prep family.
But on the other hand, I am heartbroken and enraged by the horrific manifestations of racism and violence that we have seen over the last several months, most recently the death of George Floyd, which has reverberated across the nation. One scene of hatred after another forces us to confront the sobering and sickening reality of racism in our country.
Just this week, that same reality hit close to home. As some of you may know, in the opening moments of our Virtual Gala on Thursday, our livestream of the event was “Zoombombed” by intruders who started an avalanche of unconscionable racial slurs while Ms. Dalma Santana, our Director of Special Events and emcee for the evening, was just beginning her welcoming remarks.* It was a horrifying, gut-wrenching moment, the antithesis of the fundamental values of Saint Peter’s Prep. It underscored for our online attendees in real time just what type of hatred lurks seemingly around every corner. I am grateful to and proud of Ms. Santana and Tyler Greene, ’20, our student speaker, for their grace, perseverance, and leadership in hosting a wonderful night.
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, these hateful events may make us feel like the country is being torn apart. Many members of our school community are no doubt feeling hurt or confused or angry or scared or anxious—or all of the above. I wish that I could write or do something that would make those feelings dissipate. I know that I cannot. I can, however, remind you how much you are loved by our Saint Peter’s Prep family and how you are simultaneously rare and extraordinary, but also a part of something beautiful and great at 144 Grand Street. As always, if you think it would be helpful to connect with a counselor, teacher, coach, or administrator, do not hesitate to reach out. We are here for you.
As I mentioned earlier, tomorrow is Pentecost Sunday. As we grapple with a world that can feel as if it has shattered into so many pieces, we can still virtually stand together and pray in solidarity against all forms of hatred. In response to the death of George Floyd, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops calls upon us to pray that God will “heal our deeply broken views of each other, as well as our deeply broken society.” In that spirit, I invite you to join us for Mass with the Saint Peter’s Jesuit community tomorrow (Sunday, May 31) at 11 a.m., on the community’s Facebook page (facebook.com/JerseyCityJesuits).
As I have shared with you many times this year, please know we walk the road together, together, together. I love you.
Sub Umbra Petri,
Michael A. Gomez, Ed.D., ’91
*Note: Because the link to join the Virtual Gala on Zoom was posted publicly, Prep has been unable to identify the attacker(s) behind this hateful intrusion. We have filed a report of the incident with the FBI.