As we all reflect, pray, and consider our own understanding and response to the tragic death of George Floyd, the unjustified deaths of many other people of color, and the ensuing demonstrations across our nation, we, the leaders of Catholic parishes and schools in North St. Louis County, hope to offer a degree of encouragement and guidance to our community. Humility and compassion must remain at the center of our thinking and feeling as we examine injustices both personal and systemic in our community, nation and world.
The Federation of Catholic Schools aims to make Catholic education a welcoming and inclusive home for our children and their families. This work includes the academic growth of our students as well as building social and spiritual capital in our neighborhoods through our school and parish communities. We must now support our students and their families through these current days of prayer and reflection, peaceful protest, vandalism and violence across our nation, in response to racism, impacting people of color, including many of our students and their families. We are grateful for those who have brought this reality to the attention of the world once again by raising their voices and telling their stories.
The Federation and its members will always work to examine our own practices and procedures, biases and blind spots, and the feedback and perspectives of our staff, students, and parents, to ensure that we are providing an inclusive, welcoming, and provident school community. We encourage families to talk and listen to their children. Speak clearly and explicitly, remembering that the Church holds parents and families as the first and primary educators of their children. Silence is a message. Our children are looking to all of us to help them process and understand more fully the events and emotions that have been placed before us. As Christians and as Catholics, as brothers and sisters in Christ, as human beings, we are called and compelled to speak against injustice, against violence, against bigotry, against hate. We are called and compelled to assume goodwill, to work for peace, and to realize and appreciate the dignity of every human person as they are made in God’s image.
The Federation of Catholic Schools will continue to work for academic, spiritual, and social empowerment for our students, their families, and our local communities. We will continue to hold the spiritual, cultural, and economic diversity of our collective student body, our parish congregations, and our neighborhoods as a precious responsibility and crucial strength. We will work to make the Catholic education of the children of North St. Louis County an experience of safety, of love, and of excellence.
We encourage everyone to watch and listen to Archbishop Robert J. Carlson’s Statement Regarding Racism and the Pursuit of Justice and Peace in the Greater St. Louis Region.