I want to offer a warm welcome back to all students and families returning home to Loyola for the 2020-21 academic year. A special greeting to our new students and families joining us for the first time. In addition, our faithful alumni, many of whom I have taught throughout the years; greetings and gratitude for your continued and unwavering support.
This year, Loyola will undoubtedly look different than previous years. There will be changes, adaptations, and likely challenges along the way. In typical Loyola tradition, we will overcome these challenges and persevere. In my role as president, with the help of a remarkable team of professionals and educators, we will ensure that our school continues to provide the academic excellence and spiritual formation for which we have become known. Equally as important, we will do our best to ensure that our students, staff, faculty, and the entire Loyola community, remain healthy and safe.
When faced with any challenge, Jesuits return to their experiences of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola – 30 days of silence and prayer. At the end of the Exercises, Ignatius provides the “Contemplation to Attain Love,” – which calls us to arrive at a more profound love of God that Ignatius points out should be “manifested more in deeds than by words.” In this prayer, Ignatius invites us to contemplate and reflect upon all the gifts that we have received from God in our lifetime. This year is an opportunity to do just that – love God more profoundly and contemplate all that has been given to us, while recognizing that despite the turbulence of the pandemic, the gifts always outweigh the challenges. As we know, in God’s mysterious way, even some of the challenges will eventually manifest themselves to us as gifts.
Loyola is unlike any other school or community, and God has been unceasingly gracious to us throughout our 124-year history. Through this history, we have fine-tuned an approach of labouring toward all things in the same way that God labours for us – with unconditional love and devotion. Yes, there will be new obstacles in the year ahead. Still, we will continue to connect with our community in all ways possible, whether that be on campus in a more secure way, in smaller numbers if we must, or online through virtual meetings and events. Despite these challenges, we will band together as companions in mission and forge ahead.
Loyola’s Board of Governors will soon begin a search for a new president, and as we look forward, I humbly ask for your confidence and continued collaboration as we work toward our shared mission. I pray that we receive every grace necessary to adapt, grow, and be patient with ourselves and one another.
To our students, remember that you are not alone – you are members of a long-standing family, and you have generations of Loyola alumni rooting for you. I encourage everyone to pray that this year, as we move toward our quasquicentennial, will be a year to be remembered for our more profound love of God through our deeds and words.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Rob Brennan, S.J.
President – Loyola High School