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This reflection was originally presented following Mass on the Feast of All Saints

November 1, 2021

It is great to be able to pray with you together, especially on the Feast of All Saints. Thanks so much to Fr. Rosinski for his comments about the “Boston Marathon of feast days.”

For me, especially in our 150th year, it’s hard to think about All Saints’ Day without thinking about our guy, Saint Peter. Now if you look around campus, we don’t have statues of Saint Peter and we don’t have many pictures of Saint Peter. But an important reference to him is everywhere around campus, which Fr. Rosinski mentioned: Sub Umbra Petri. It’s located in our seal, and if you’ve watched Mr. Jiran’s video about our seal, then you know, really, that it’s all over campus. It’s actually seen seven times in this room…and it says Sub Umbra Petri, “In the shadow of Peter.”

That comes from the Acts of the Apostles, where it reads: “They even carried the sick out into the streets and put them on cots and mats, so that when Peter went by at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them.” That’s the only thing written about his shadow in scripture, yet we have it all over campus: Sub Umbra Petri”

People did this for healing, but really they just wanted to be in Peter’s presence. They felt inspired, they felt safe, they felt protected, even if they only interacted with him indirectly, just the touch of his shadow. Now we’re supposed to believe that Prep is under the shadow of Peter. But how does that come to life? Do you believe it?

In my heart, in my belief, Sub Umbra Petri comes to life through you, through the students and faculty and staff of Saint Peter’s Prep. We are the visible evidence of Peter’s invisible shadow.

I try to check in with as many students as I can during the day, just to say hello, and I say, “Hey, what’s up, how are you doing?” And most of you say “great,” or “all good,” almost as a reflex. But sometimes I get into conversation and here are some things I’ve heard in the past two weeks: I had freshman tell me his grades are great. He can’t believe he has straight A’s. But the hardest thing about Prep is making friends. I had a sophomore who attended school virtually last year say that he’s having trouble adjusting to the hour and 15 minute commute, and he isn’t sure he can do this for two and a half more years. A junior said his grades are great, he stays out of trouble, but for some reason he has a hard time impressing his parents. They just don’t say “Good job.” And then there’s a senior who is confident he’s going to get into some great schools, but just doesn’t know if he or his parents can afford them.

I share these things with you because these things are real. This is our school. These things are happening at Saint Peter’s Prep. You might know some of those guys, or in the past, you might have been one of those guys. And of course, you probably have your own story of how our lives are imperfect—as Fr. Rosinski said, just like Saint Peter: imperfect. Everybody deals with something at some point.

Now, I tell you this because this is a reminder that we need to be present to each other, to take care of each other. As young men between the ages of 14 and 18, you’re not supposed have all the answers or find all the ways to solve someone else’s problems. But for one of your brothers or sisters that is struggling, your presence might make all the difference. Just your time and your presence can be that shadow of Saint Peter that passes over and lets that person find the strength to meet that challenge—maybe in a tough moment, a tough day, or a tough week.

I think we’re off to a great start this year. I’m really proud of the way the seniors are leading. They’re doing a great job, so good job, men. There is so much joy and energy on campus. I love seeing all of you gathered on Warren Street, just hanging out and smiling and laughing. That’s our year so far. It’s going in a great direction. We are moving forward, forever forward. But we can’t let our own joy and these great days we’re having stop us from looking out for each other and paying attention to each other. Somebody probably needs you, and so I’m asking you to bring to life Sub Umbra Petri for your friends, your colleagues, and members of this Prep family. Keep your eyes open for the seal around campus. It really is all over. And let those words serve as a reminder to be Peter’s shadow.

There is a lot going on these days…There is so much going on. But remember: it’s together, together, together. That’s on the great days and on the not so great days. It’s on the days that we win and it’s on the days that we lose. That’s what makes us the greatest school on the planet. Let’s go Prep!

Sub Umbra Petri,
 

Michael A. Gomez, Ed.D., ’91
President


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