From the Director: Easter 2017

May 24, 2017

 

Fr. Baker, S.J., sitting atop a new Ford 550 flatbed truck, acquired through a generous donation from the Aja and Pat Stokes Foundation.

 

Feast of the Ascension, 2017

Dear Friends of Xavier,

Greetings from Mabuchi Hill.

My colleague and friend, Mr. Jack Raslowsky, the president of the “other” Xavier—Xavier High School in New York City—wrote in his Easter message to his community that he is often unsure of when to pen his Easter missive.  With Lent and the Easter season lasting so long, there are plenty of opportunities.  I share Jack’s sentiment that finding the exact time for an Easter message can be a challenge, but I think I have found a time suitable for us this year:  the feast of the Ascension.

Other than describing Jesus’ physical body moving to heaven, the Ascension also lets us know that the season of Easter is almost complete; only ten days remain until Pentecost, which will bring this holy season to a close.  In many ways, we find ourselves here at Xavier at a somewhat analogous point in the school year.  Tomorrow marks the last day of classes, and final exams will begin on Monday.  After that, it will be on to the senior retreat, the awards ceremony, the baccalaureate Mass, and, finally, graduation.  We’re close to the end, but there is much that will happen between now and then, just as I am sure much happened to those disciples between witnessing the Ascension and the appearance of the tongues of fire at Pentecost.

There is so much to report, but here is just some of the good news worthy of sharing lately:

 

  • The inaugural Easter Appeal was a great success. Thank you to everyone who donated to such a worthwhile cause.  As you know, we set the goal at $12,000 to update the classrooms with projectors, screens, and speakers.  With your generosity, we surpassed our goal, and finished the appeal with $12,576.11.  We’ve already ordered much of the equipment and hardware.  Wylly Suhendra, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic from the Indonesian Province, will work with our maintenance crew this summer to have everything installed and running smoothly for the 2017-2018 school year and beyond.

 

  • Speaking of donations, we will close our fiscal year having received $260,746.73 in gifts.  I’ve found people’s generosity this year completely staggering.  We’ve purchased two desperately needed trucks, in addition to lots of other, smaller supplies that we simply could not afford in the past.  We were able to make several off-island retreats with students and faculty, and we were able to hold a school picnic on the island of Pisiwe.  Without the generosity of so many, we simply would have had to do without many things this year, and that would have been tragic.  What we’ve experienced instead has been deep joy, and a fostering of our great Xavier community spirit.

 

  • On the college front, 95.5% (43 of 45 students) of the Class of 2017 was accepted into four-year colleges in the United States. As a group, the class was awarded $3,925,695 dollars in merit-based aid and scholarships, and many more dollars in other kinds of financial aid.  The generosity of so many continues well after our students are done at Xavier.

 

As we approach the end of the Easter season and simultaneously draw nearer to the joyous events surrounding graduation, I find myself filled with gratitude.  Gratitude is an emotion that is deeply engrained in Ignatian spirituality, for Ignatius knew that gratitude is an authentic emotion.  I am grateful for the incredible generosity shown to us in providing such tremendous financial support.  I’m grateful to the colleges and universities who have shown themselves exceedingly willing to take chances on our very deserving students.  I’m grateful for our tireless faculty who give so much to our students, knowing that their reward lies not in riches, honor, or pride, but in the unbreakable bonds they’ve formed with the students and with one another.  I’m grateful for the staff and other workers who toil without much rest.  I’m grateful that God’s presence and loving plan for the world is alive and well here.  This is a great place because of the love shown to us from around the world.

Happy Easter.  Thank you for all you do for us.

For Xavier,

 

 

Rev. Dennis M. Baker, S.J.

 

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