Headmaster's Newsletter | August 2021

We invite you to read the August issue of the Headmaster's Newsletter from Saint John's Headmaster, Alex Zequeira P'19. 
Dear Saint John’s High School Community,

Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year! Let me begin by expressing my hope that you had a wonderful and healthy summer and that you find yourself recharged and ready for the limitless possibilities that a new school year brings, especially on Main Street in Shrewsbury. A special welcome to our new students and their families. We are excited to walk with you in your student’s journey as a Pioneer. This Headmaster’s Newsletter, which you should expect to see monthly, will be one of many opportunities for our school to further strengthen our relationship with you and our commitment to our 123-year-old mission to bring Christ to life in our young men. I look forward to sharing it with you.

I recently had a great conversation with one of our parents about some of the guiding documents and principles to our work here at Saint John’s. As you can imagine, major decisions here at the school are not made in a vacuum, instead they are arrived at through and influenced by some significant writings found in our context as a Catholic and Xaverian Brothers Sponsored School. As we start the year, I want to introduce or reintroduce our broader community to them. All of these documents are rooted in the Gospels and promote those Gospel values that are foundational to our work at Saint John’s. These will guide much of the writing for my newsletter this year.

Mission Statement of Saint John’s High School
As part of a strategic retreat held in the summer of 2017 involving trustees, faculty, staff, administration, alumni, and families, there emerged a desire to update the school’s 20+ year-old mission statement to reflect the work done by the school today. Led by faculty members Joanne Diaz P'12 and Benjamin Lizotte '89, a committee of community members drafted a new mission statement approved by the Board of Trustees in May of 2019. Our mission statement is unique to our school and drives us - giving us the 'why' of our work."

Xaverian Spiritual Values
As the Xaverian Brothers began to explore ways to better articulate their charism or their spirituality, they landed on five values that were consistently mentioned in describing their life and work: simplicity, zeal, compassion, trust, and humility. These five spiritual values are spoken of frequently at all 13 Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools (XBSS) and are used as a common language for our ministry in the spiritual formation of our young men and our adult community here at Saint John’s.

Partners in Mission
Spearheaded by Saint John’s alumnus Benjamin Horgan '05, who serves as Director of Formation for the entire Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools network, The Partners in Mission document was created through an effort involving over 100 individuals including representatives from all 13 XBSS schools. Ben recently shared, “It was clear that our Xaverian schools were looking for a common language for our network to use to describe our Xaverian identity and make it relevant to the current generation of Xaverian-educated students. The previous language from the document ‘Mission, Vision, Values’ document had not been updated since its creation in 1998.” This document has already been an inspiration and source of our prayer and reflection here at Saint John’s, including faculty and staff professional development and student study in their religion courses. Of particular importance in this document are the “calls” put forth by the Brothers specifically to our work in the education of young people. I share those with you.
  • The call to embrace our Catholic identity and Xaverian charism as partners in the Church’s mission of evangelization within its ministry of education.
  • The call to a spirituality, flowing from a contemplative stance, which is formed by God’s presence in the common, ordinary, unspectacular flow of everyday life.
  • The call to be formed in the spiritual values of simplicity, humility, compassion, zeal, and trust.
  • The call for a challenging academic and co-curricular program that promotes the development of the whole person and their unique giftedness. 
  • The call to recognize our Christian responsibility to work for justice and peace by responding to the needs of others. 
  • The call to build diverse and inclusive communities that encourage enduring personal relationships through an understanding of culture and perspectives.

In compiling this list of foundational documents so seminal to our work as a Xaverian and Catholic school, I cannot help but be moved by the amazing opportunity we have every day to be good, do good, and work hard. I believe in our time - in this moment in history - our mission, our spiritual values, and the Brothers’ “calls” should inspire us. Inspire us to rise above many of the challenges and divisions that exist in our world. Through these works we have an excellent road map for our students and ourselves to live in a Christ-like manner and in the service of others.

In the coming months, I will share some more reflections on these “calls” and how I see their manifestation here at Saint John’s High School. As always, there is a great deal we are already doing, and always more that can be done.

I greatly look forward to the start of this school year in early September and for our Mass of the Holy Spirit and Matriculation Ceremony on Friday, September 17. We continue to have much to be grateful for here at Saint John’s High School. May God continue to bless you, your families, and our Saint John’s Pioneer Community.

Be well and God bless,

Alex Zequeira P'19