It has been quite a fortnight for Jesuit, for our broader community, and for the world. Even as we celebrate the soaring triumphs of our fine arts and athletic programs, as well as amazing graces in campus ministry and Christian Service, we are mindful of tragedies both local and international. To respond to each, we turn to God our Creator in gratitude and supplication.
On Thursday, November 7, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee opened a run that stretched vocabularies and laugh muscles through five side-splitting performances. As emcees Bryce Earhart and Carly Seedall walked the cast through its alphabetical paces, four “lucky” audience members were selected to join the fun on stage for a night full of improvisational fun.
On the morning of Friday, November 8, hundreds of JHS students made it to Liberty HS by 8 am to play their own roles in a rollicking volleyball playoff against the Sprague Olympians. The spirited student sections engaged in full-throated, good-natured banter during the match, won by Jesuit in four games. Those witnessing their first high school matches learned that volleyball can contain as many highs and lows as any Shakespearian drama, as we saw again in that night’s match vs. Central Catholic.
Also on Friday morning, the lads of the November Men’s Encounter rolled toward a transformational spiritual and community experience—as Typhoon Haiyan was making landfall in the Philippines. Haiyan, the largest storm in recorded history, struck close to home for many families in our community with roots in the Philippines, and shook all who witnessed its devastation. The call went out from Fr. Tom Smolich, SJ, President of the US Jesuit Conference, and Jesuit High responded with a collection at Mass on November 15.
Sometimes, events come in such intense waves that they become difficult to process, especially when they stir emotions of both elation and despair. The weekend of November 15-17 brought another such time.
On November 14, 29 Jesuit High students and faculty journeyed to Washington DC to join over 1000 other Jesuit-affiliated advocates for social justice. The JHS delegation lobbied Congress and attended the Ignatian Family Teach-In on peace and justice. Junior Claire Lucas addressed the conference on the topic of humane immigration reform, informed by her Christian Service experience on the Mexican-American border last summer. Claire was eloquent and poised as she embodied a “faith that does justice.”
On the evening of Friday, November 15, the Jesuit and Lake Oswego football teams engaged in a tense, thrilling playoff won by the Crusaders 21-19. Hours later, JHS Dean of Students Elaine Forde received a call from her good friend, LO principal Cindy Schubert, with the news that three Lake Oswego students had been in a terrible car accident on their way home from the game. The girls are still in serious condition as of this writing. They and their families are receiving an outpouring of prayer and support in Lake Oswego, as well as from their friends at Jesuit.
November 16 brought one more triumph, as the JHS men’s soccer team defended its state title in a hard-fought battle against Central Catholic. In addition to the Crusaders’ scintillating play on the field, the match was highlighted by the appearance of the famous “Shorthairs,” seniors from last year’s championship team. Their support lifted the team’s spirits, as did the chants of hundreds of white-clad JHS students rocking Hillsboro stadium.
As we head into Thanksgiving, we are mindful once more of all the blessings that have been showered upon us. Among those blessings is our faith, which allows us to respond in gratitude for the many moments of triumph achieved by our students, and in supplication for the many needs of our world. Right now, we are praying for the girls from Lake Oswego and the people of the Philippines, and for all those members of our community and the world who need God’s healing touch.
on Monday November 18