In Good Company

This message was shared via email with the entire Prep community on September 5, 2023, at the start of the new school year.

Dear Saint Peter’s Prep Family,

Greetings from Grand & Warren. I am writing this letter just a few weeks after the passing of our former president, Fr. Jim Keenan, S.J. Even as I begin my fifth year as president of our Prep, I still feel very much as though I am writing this from his office. During my time as a member of Prep’s English department about 25 years ago, Fr. Keenan was my president…and the first Prep president to use this “corner office” on the second floor of Shalloe Hall. 

In the span of just four months, Saint Peter’s Prep lost three Jesuits who helped to not only greatly deepen Prep’s mission and identity, but also generously define Prep for so many of us and our families. While saying goodbye to Fr. Tony Azzarto, S.J., Fr. Jim Joyce, S.J., and now Fr. Keenan has been emotionally trying, it has gifted so many of us with a tremendous amount of gratitude–the phone calls, the notes, the pictures, the sacraments, the cheering in the stands, the preaching from the altar, the joy and the leadership and the humility, the love shown to Saint Peter’s Prep, and above all the love shown to each one of us. This four-month experience has also gifted us with so much hope–we know the lessons we have learned from these giants in our lives are, of course, written upon the “banners that guide us wherever we go.” Although these men no longer walk among us, they will still walk the road with us.

And gratefully, so many others have walked (sometimes crawled, sometimes ran) with us over the past 151 years. Then, now, and always, we walk this road in good company. 

In Good Company. This belief, this promise is the theme of our school year at 144 Grand St. We have been infused with our Jesuit values and ways of proceeding because of this good company. But of course, this company includes not only teachers, coaches, staff members, and administrators, but also students, alumni, parents, and friends. Whether you are memorizing your Latin endings or looking forward to your 50th reunion, whether you are drawing up the final play in a state championship game or congratulating your son on making the freshman team, whether you are leading a class discussion on Hamlet’s problem or leading a small group reflection on an Emmaus retreat, whether you are donating to our capital campaign or applauding a Prep Dramatics production, whether you are standing next to your Prep classmate as the best man at his wedding or sitting and praying with him at a funeral, you are a part of that good company, this Prep family. I am grateful that you are a part of our then, our now, our always. 

I recently read “For a New Home,” a prayer by John O’Donohue. Ironically, many of his words reminded me of this place I have called home for decades. One line in particular resonated with me: “May you have the eyes to see that no visitor arrives without a gift, no guest leaves without a blessing.” In their own magnificent and subtle ways, each of the three Jesuits we have lost this year has taught us to see with eyes like that—eyes that see each person is a gift, and each person deserves our blessing. The way they lived will always challenge us to do that at Saint Peter’s Prep. 

I look forward to seeing you on campus, whether you are here with us every day during the school year, or you are just at Grand & Warren for a few minutes. While you are here, be sure to visit the statue of the young Saint Peter, still a young man whose story is yet to be written, so much like the young men who pass under his shadow each morning. Observe the beginning renovations of the English Building, which remind us that even our icons are moving forever forward. Look into the eyes of the folks on campus, and see their gifts and notice all of our blessings.

In Good Company.

Michael Gomez, Ed.D., ’91

Message from the President: Archive