Human Dignity Initiative
We are dedicated to the promotion of academic excellence and the pursuit of holiness through the shared values of Reverence, Respect, & Responsibility, out of love for Jesus Christ. The three charisms present in our mission statement -- Reverence, Respect, and Responsibility -- serve as touchstones for our long-range, strategic planning while guiding our daily work. They are the pillars of our Integral Student Outcomes (ISOs) and are present in every classroom and office on campus. They are more than just words on a wall; they are aspirational reminders of who we must be.
While the ISOs guide our thinking and actions, we are also mindful of the ways in which our community presents to the larger world and the reputation of NDP in the minds of others. Recognizing this, we also believe all are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). The word catholic means “universal.” As a community, we stand firm in our faith especially in regard to the events happening in our world today. Expanding upon Father Kurt’s Prayer for Justice (see right), NDP has convened a Steering Committee composed of faculty, staff, parents, students, alumni, and administrators to oversee a systemic equity audit and guide stakeholders to lead the initiative. Their efforts will involve addressing all of the ways in which human dignity is subjugated and trivialized -- racism/ethnicity, sexism/genderism, ageism, ableism, sizeism, classism, country of origin, citizenship status, linguistic profiling, religious persecution, xenophobia...sadly, the list is long.
The defense of Human Dignity is integral to our faith yet counterintuitive to our modern culture. We define human dignity through the words of the Church:
“Their dignity does not come from the work they do, but from the persons they are” (St. John Paul II, On the Hundredth Year, #11).
“Any human society, if it is to be well-ordered and productive, must lay down as a foundation this principle, namely, that every human being is a person, that is, his nature is endowed with intelligence and free will. Indeed, precisely because he is a person he has rights and obligations flowing directly and simultaneously from his very nature” (Pacem in Terris (“Peace on Earth”), Saint Pope John XXIII, 1963, #9).
“At the center of all Catholic social teaching are the transcendence of God and the dignity of the human person. The human person is the clearest reflection of God’s presence in the world; all of the Church’s work in pursuit of both justice and peace is designed to protect and promote the dignity of every person. For each person not only reflects God, but is the expression of God’s creative work and the meaning of Christ’s redemptive ministry” (U.S. Catholic Bishops, The Challenge of Peace, 1983, #15).
"Again and again, the Church has acted as a mediator in finding solutions to problems affecting peace, social harmony, the land, the defense of life, human and civil rights, and so forth. And how much good has been done by Catholic schools and universities around the world! This is a good thing. Yet, we find it difficult to make people see that when we raise other questions less palatable to public opinion, we are doing so out of fidelity to precisely the same convictions about human dignity and the common good" (Evangelii Gaudium, ["The Joy of the Gospel"], Pope Francis, 2013, # 65).
American Sign Language Club - Is for students who wish to learn ASL so that they can support, communicate with and engage those who are hearing impaired.
Bridge Club - Builds a BRIDGE·橋 between countries and cultures, and gives students a voice
Diversity Student Union - Supports scholarship and building a community of students from diverse backgrounds to share experiences and grow in acceptance
Hope Kids Club - Serves and supports kids with life-threatening illnesses
Kino Teens Club - Kino Teens is a group of students who work to raise awareness of the migrant issue going on at the border and beyond, and seeks to promote social justice for them.
Medical Club - Supports medical missions and practices healthcare in underserved areas of the world
Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) - Shows Christ's love to children who live in orphanages in Spanish-speaking countries
Saints For Life - Supports human life from conception to natural death
November is Catholic Black History Month, a time to honor and celebrate the long and rich history of Black Catholics. The Church prays and honors all the saints and souls of Africa and the African Diaspora, the mass dispersion of people from Africa during the Transatlantic Slave Trades. In July 1990, the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus of the United States designated November as Black Catholic History Month.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops reports there are 3 million African American Catholics in the United States. There are 250 African American priests, 437 deacons, and 75 men of African descent in seminary formation for the priesthood.
- Nov. 1 All Saints Day: an opportunity to review the lives of the hundreds of Saints of African descent in the first 300 years of the Church.
- Nov. 2 All Souls Day: a time to remember all those African lost to cruel treatment in the Middle Passage crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.
- Nov. 3 Martin de Porres became the first black American saint. He was canonized by Pope John XXIII on May 16, 1962. Throughout his life, St. Martin de Porres exemplified God’s love for all people, regardless of their level in society.
- Nov. 13 The birth of St. Augustine in 354 A.D., the first Doctor of the Church from North Africa.
- Nov. 20 The death of Zumbi of Palmares in Brazil, South American founder of a free state for Blacks.
When our eyes do not see the gravity of this, shake us from our slumber and open our eyes, O Lord.
When out of fear, we are scared into inaction, give us a spirit of bravery, O Lord.
When we try our best, but say the wrong things, give us a spirit of humility, O Lord.
When the chaos of this dies down, give us a lasting spirit of solidarity, O Lord.
When it becomes easier to point fingers outward, help us to examine our own hearts, O Lord.
God of truth, in your wisdom, enlighten us.
God of love, in your mercy, forgive us.
God of hope, in your kindness, heal us. Creator of all people, in your generosity, guide us. Racism breaks your heart.
Break my heart for what breaks yours, O Lord. Amen.
Human Dignity Resources:
- USCCB on Racism
- The Catechism of the Catholic Faith on Racism
- A Video of Blessed Bishop Sheen on What's Inside that Matters
- Learn about the saints who fought for racial equality (en Español) like St. Katharine Drexel and Bl. Augustus Tolton.
- A New Video From the United States Bishops
- Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching
"The salvation which God has wrought, and the Church joyfully proclaims, is for everyone."~ Pope Francis