Strengthening a Culture of Respect


This morning, through the efforts of our counseling team, along with our Chaplain, Fr. Thompson, and faculty and student leaders, we held an assembly focused on RESPECT. Students offered examples of how to strengthen a culture of respect in our community and beyond. Through prayer, reflection and Eucharistic adoration, we endeavored to take to heart the challenges to be models of respect for others, particularly in challenging times. I share with you here my remarks at the outset of the assembly.

Good Morning Everyone,

I am glad to have a moment to speak with you at the outset of this assembly focused on respect.

At this moment in history, when natural disasters remind us of the need to extend our hands in service, generosity and love to those impacted.

And when the violent acts of deranged individuals challenge us to smother evil with love.

And when the public discourse, amplified in a social media environment, feels at times to have become more mean-spirited, sarcastic, and at times even hostile.

It is appropriate that we pause and recognize a fundamental starting point for answering the question: "What can I do?"

That starting point is an acknowledgment of the fundamental worth and dignity of every human person.

How will others know they have worth and dignity? – By how we treat them...and they will know we are Christians by our love...

What does it mean to be the face of God to another?

What does this mean for us in the daily work-and-school sense?

How do we lift others up?

How well do we listen to what others are saying?

How do we put the needs of others before our own?

Do we subordinate our own wishes and desires to the needs of others?

Do we suppress our ego and seek to serve others with humility?

And where do we find the strength to do this? (because we know it is not always easy)

Do we do as our Bishop Burbidge has suggested and "Look Up" to the prayer...

"God give me patience..."

"God give me fortitude to persevere in what is hard"

"God, guide me...I want to help, but I am scared..."

"God forgive me try again and do better"

We are a community, a community of Faith and hope and we can be part of the light that casts out the darkness. Let us use this time of meditation and prayer this morning to remember this potential in us and to resolve to use at every opportunity.

Thank you.

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