This week’s post comes from a guest writer, Rev. Robert J. Sandoz, OFM, President of Christ the King Prep in Newark, New Jersey.
Recently I had dinner with a good friend of mine and we were talking about this year and how eventful the year has been. We spoke of movements large such as the “Arab Spring.” We remembered a year filled with natural calamities: tsunami in Japan, volcano eruption in Brazil, floods in Pakistan and earth quake in Turkey. Of course, we decried the financial scene unfolding across the globe. On the plus side we both were happy over advancements in peace between India and Bangladesh and the celebration of World Peace Day in Assisi, Italy in October. We smiled as we acknowledged that the world never tires of a beautiful love story such as that of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
This friend knows my belief in the spiritual wisdom contained in the Serenity Prayer. I’m sure that many of you know it: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” He asked me if I had difficulty this year with the first part of this prayer. I quickly answered that the first part was not an issue. The second part of the prayer is what motivates me and keeps me on focus. I told him about my ministry here at Christ the King Prep and that I am convinced every day that we need to change the educational success rate of young urban students. It takes courage to enter upon such a mission as this. Many people will say, “It can’t be done.” Others will suggest that we need to wait until there are better times than now to be committed to such a project. Still others will say that I should let others “deal with that problem.”
I am inviting you to join me in a very courageous mission: “Transform Urban America One Student at a Time.” This is the motto of the Cristo Rey Network of schools, now numbering 24 schools across the United States, with more in feasibility. We believe that we do not have to accept the fact that only 10% of urban young people complete a college education. We have the courage to change that. We believe that we do not have to accept as unchangeable that the United States has fallen to #15 in the production of college graduates worldwide. We have the courage to change that. We believe that we do not have to accept that in less than 10 years more than 20 million jobs in this country will go unfilled because the new jobs require college talent. We have the courage to change that.
As we bring this year to an end, let us end on a renewed commitment to courage and to a future of hope. We have the courage to change; join us in this mission.