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School UPDATE + What's Wrong with the World: Thursday, June 4
School UPDATE + What's Wrong with the World: Thursday, June 4
St. Mary's High School
Thursday, June 04, 2020

St. Mary's Families,


- CHAOS.  In a world already unmade, where "normal" was an early victim of the coronavirus, we now see inserted into our newly unnormal world a spasm of violence and anger that we have not seen in our country since the civil rights turmoil of the 1960s.  

- HORRIFYING DEATH.  A police officer knelt on the neck of a handcuffed man, killing him, slowly.  That police officer has been arrested and will be tried in a court of law.  If he is convicted, he will be punished for his actions.  The three officers who stood by and permitted it to happen have been arrested and will also likely be tried and judged by a jury of their peers.  The observing officers were arrested for failing to do their duty, and under the legal maxim that "silence is consent."  They stood silent and allowed a man to die, so they approved.  We'll come back to that.

- CIVIL UNREST.  I detest calling what is happening in our country right now "unrest."  Perhaps "civil upheaval" or "civil volcano" are more descriptive.  In addition to being a nation of laws, we are a nation of rights.  Of course we have a right to express ourselves, and we have a right to be heard.

- VIOLENCE.  That said, our individual rights end where other human beings' rights begin.  I have a right to express myself, but not if I decide to express myself by burning down your house or by killing you.  It appears that the majority of the people protesting the horrific death of Mr. George Floyd are doing so peacefully.  As a retired military officer who pledged my life to protect those rights, I applaud them for exercising their rights.  The small number of "protesters" that have chosen violence, to include in a handful of cases the murder of their fellow citizens, should be arrested and tried just as the police officers who killed Mr. Floyd have been arrested and will be tried.  For us to remain silent while anyone burns our communities and kills our fellow citizens is to approve of the violence.  Silence is consent.

- ST. MARY'S.  This issue is close to us here at St. Mary's.  According to the top high school rating website in the country, St. Mary's is the eighth most racially and ethnically diverse private high school in the state of Colorado among the 88 private high schools in the state that have public demographic data.  As members of a Catholic school community, where the expectation should always be open minds and soft hearts, we should all be profoundly unsettled by what we are seeing unfold in our city, state and nation.  I hope you are all as unsettled as I am to hear that members of our very own St. Mary's community have felt marginalized and demeaned in this world turned upside down.  This is appalling, and it is not someone else's problem; this is our problem.

- THE CHURCH.  Perhaps the Church has something to say on this?  The official teachings of the Catholic Church are found in her Catechism, and by our membership in a Catholic community, this is what we hold true as it pertains to issues of social justice:

   -- (CCC 1931) Respect for the human person proceeds by way of respect for the principle that "everyone should look upon his neighbor (without any exception) as 'another self,' above all bearing in mind his life and the means necessary for living it with dignity." No legislation could by itself do away with the fears, prejudices, and attitudes of pride and selfishness that obstruct the establishment of truly fraternal societies. Such behavior will cease only through the charity that finds in every man a "neighbor," a brother. 

   -- 2,000 years ago, a Jewish carpenter said it thus:  "Love your neighbor as yourself." 

- DIGNITY.  The offense of racism is a symptom of our failure to understand the inherent dignity of every created human being, born and unborn.  The Church in her Catechism makes it clear that the passage of laws alone cannot fix the plague of racism.  Then what does fix it?  Well, we are a Catholic school, and what is the central principle of Catholic education?  Again, the Catechism.

   -- (CCC 2223) Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery - the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the "material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones." Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them. (Emphasis in the original)  

   -- In other words:  Parents, you're up to bat FIRST.  TALK to your children about these issues, and MODEL the Christian demand that we treat all others, "without exception," with the dignity and respect that is due to us and is due to our Creator.  We, ALL of us, were made in the image and likeness of God.  If you don't see Jesus Christ in every human person you observe, then you are not looking close enough.

- AN APOLOGY.  If that sounds preachy, please forgive me.  The COVID-19 crisis presented (and continues to present) an opportunity.  The upheaval all around us also presents us with an opportunity for an examination of self.

   -- Here's what I mean.  There is an apocryphal story about the great Catholic writer G.K. Chesterton.  In the story, supposedly The Times of London newspaper once asked their readership to submit letters that answered the question:  "What's Wrong with the World?"  As the story goes, Chesterton's simple answer was, "I am."

- PRAYER.  As a minimum, we are all called to pray.  For George Floyd and for the police officers who killed him.  For the peaceful protestors and the violent protestors who abandoned their moral compass.  And especially for each other.

Daily Mass readings and Saints of the Day.  What are you reading and who is your hero? 


- GRADUATION TIME CHANGE.  Due to a weather forecast calling for warm temperatures on June 13, we are moving up the start time for graduation to ***9 am***.  If the forecast temperatures continue to climb, we MIGHT move the time up to 8 am.  If the weather becomes stormy (unlikely), the weather backup plan is 9 am the following day (Sunday, June 14).  STAY TUNED.

- NO HEALTH QUESTIONNAIRE, NO GRADUATION.  Per state and county health requirements, all seniors need to bring a PAPER COPY of the two-page health questionnaire with them to the ***9 am*** graduation on Saturday.  Both pages must be SIGNED by BOTH the parent AND the student.  If a senior shows up without a signed paper copy of the questionnaire, they will not be allowed to participate in the ceremony.

- SENIORS ONLY.  Per state and county requirements (I feel like I'm saying that a lot), if additional spectators show up for the graduation, we will not start the ceremony until those additional attendees leave.  If spectators show up after the start of the ceremony, we will stop the ceremony until the "extras" depart.  Thank you in advance for your cooperation as we all work together to put our SENIORS FIRST and do our best to deliver a graduation experience for them.

- GRADUATION LIVE STREAM.  Watch graduation at one of these two links. 

- SENIOR MASS.  Senior Mass at 10 am on Friday, June 19, at Holy Apostles with Bishop Sheridan.  Each senior will be allowed to have a maximum of two guests.

- THOSE ARE THE RULES.  Why Mass with guests, but no graduation with guests?  Because that's the law (as of today).  If that changes, we will inform the community immediately.  REMEMBER, we are grateful that we can have both a graduation for our seniors and a Mass with guests in a world where so many schools have been forced to do nothing for their seniors.

COVID-19 coronavirus.  

- We are doing better in the battle against COVID-19, but it's not going away anytime soon.  Stay informed, stay healthy.     

How You Can Help.  


   -- The Catholic Charities Marian House is moving back to serving hot meals in a modified manner on June 8. Meals will be prepared and plated by volunteers in the kitchen and then served to the clients in shifts at the tables by the paid staff. 

   -- If you (students and parents) have some time to help prepare and plate meals, please contact Connie at or 719.866.6554. 

   -- The shifts are 7 am to 10 am prep, 10 am to 2 pm plate the meals, and 7 am to 2 pm if you'd like to work both shifts. They are in most need of volunteers on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, but please let Connie know If there is another day you can volunteer. Students should bring a SMHS Community Outreach form if they'd like to earn hours. This is a great cause, and the Marian House is part of the St. Mary's family as St. Mary's parent and board member Andy Barton is the president of Catholic Charities.  Thank you!

Prayer.  Would you take a moment right now and pray with us?

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.
To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy, hear and answer me.

Rob Rysavy
St. Mary's High School