Human Dignity Initiative
Notre Dame Preparatory High School is “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).
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
With all the recent events going on in our society and our nation, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) gives us a beautiful reminder of how we are to treat and view each other troublesome times:
“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, [finding] in every man a ”neighbor,” a brother.” (CCC 1931).
That is who we are. We are brothers and sisters to one another. We are to see each other as “another-self” and treat others accordingly. We are made in the image and likeness of God.
We are absolutely broken-hearted, sickened, and outraged by the death of George Floyd as well as all the other recent deaths that have occurred in this country. If they have revealed anything, it is precisely the urgent call to stand by each of our brothers and sisters and oppose any and every form of social or cultural discrimination based on one’s race, as it is “incompatible with God’s design” (CCC 1935).
Racism is truly evil and irrational in every way. It is never acceptable. We, imbued by Catholic social teaching and love for Jesus, are called to fight against racism with truth, love, and courage. We, at Notre Dame Prep, are committed to ongoing discussion and actions on ways to make our community more diversified. This year, we worked with the newly established and student-initiated Diversity Student Union to create a four-year scholarship to allow for more racial and financial diversity. We hope to grow this scholarship and invite more students of diverse backgrounds to join and enrich our community. You may support this effort here.
We would also like to share with you a statement from the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). You can read it here.
Lastly, we would like to share a prayer that you can pray with your families in times of social unrest. It is a prayer for peace and for racial justice for all people in our land, asking God to break open our hearts, open our eyes, and act in defense of those who are being discriminated against based on the color of their skin. See below.
A Prayer For Justice and Equality
- 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.
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
- Papal Encyclicals: Faith for a Better World
"The salvation which God has wrought, and the Church joyfully proclaims, is for everyone."
~ Pope Francis