At Lancaster Catholic High School, we stand with Archbishop Josè H. Gomez, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who issued the following statement:
“I join people of good will in condemning the violence (Wednesday) at the United States Capitol. This is not who we are as Americans…The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of this great nation. In this troubling moment, we must recommit ourselves to the values and principles of our democracy and come together as one nation under God. I entrust all of us to the heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. May she guide us in the ways of peace, and obtain for us wisdom and the grace of a true patriotism and love of country.”
We are committed to helping our students deal with this latest in a string of stressful, even traumatic, events they have experienced over the last several months, while clearly communicating the stance of our Catholic Faith Community on the violence yesterday. As educators committed to best practice, we listen to our students’ feelings and ideas, create a safe environment in which all are affirmed as worthy of equal respect, and model calm and reasoned discussion and discourse focused on generating the light of understanding rather than the heat of intolerance.
Our approach in classrooms today has been to invite conversations which encourage our students to share how they are feeling in response to the events, images, and commentary surrounding the attack on our Capitol building yesterday. We worked to reassure our students of their safety by underscoring how quickly our government returned to operation. We used this teachable moment to reinforce our daily lessons on the importance of civility and the rule of law, on the need and value of treating all people with respect at all times, and on how to recognize the difference between a disagreement and a fight and practice the skill of showing restraint and respect in debate and dialogue. Perhaps most powerfully, we point out the terrible impact of demonizing and vilifying others with whom we disagree, and the catastrophic effects of the violence to people and property it incites.
We will continue this approach going forward and ask you to join us in fervent prayer for peace and healing.