It was more than a year in the making, and more than 100 people were involved in one way or another. These things take time, and now the 13 Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools have a new document, “Partners In Mission: Understanding The Xaverian Way.”
Inclusion is a central theme, and it goes well beyond the sheer numbers of people who played a role in developing the document. It continues with the Xaverian Brothers’ belief that all members of the Xaverian schools (board directors, administration, faculty, staff, students, parent, alumni and benefactors) are partners in their shared mission of a Catholic education.
Brother Philip Revell, C.F.X., represented Xavier.
“The new document better reflects the social, spiritual and religious realities of our time,” Brother Philip said. “The vocabulary is contemporary, and it recognizes the greater diversity of our school populations. It includes very explicit references to the spiritual vision of Theodore James Ryken, in a way that perhaps the original documents did not. It reflects much more the spirituality of the Fundamental Principals of the Xaverian Brothers. It recognizes the fact that there are very few Brothers in the schools and that the charism of the Congregation in its educational mission is entrusted to our lay collaborators, teachers and staff.”
The numbers of Brothers teaching in XBSS schools may be dwindling, but not the passion for the mission by the various constituents.
“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,” said XBSS Formation director Ben Horgan, who led the project. “The previous language from the document ‘Mission, Vision, Values’ document had not been updated since its creation in 1998.”
So 22 years later there is a new document.
“Each of our 13 network schools are incredibly unique,” Horgan said. “They serve a unique population, and have a unique relationship with the Xaverian Brothers. This document honors those unique qualities, but highlights what brings us together.
“As students, staffs, and administrators of Xaverian schools navigate the challenging waters we find ourselves in today, we hope that this document is a source of both confidence and challenge. It should affirm each of our schools in how they live our mission, while inspiring growth to adapt to the needs of our changing world. For example, there is an intentional focus on peace, justice, diversity, and inclusion in this document. This is an important issue the Xaverian Brothers champion today in their ministry and certainly meets the needs of the Church Pope Francis is calling us to be.”
There’s that word again: inclusion.
Part of the document contains various “Calls of the Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools.” One is to “recognize our Christian responsibility to work for justice and peace by responding to the needs of others. “ The challenge for XBSS schools is to reach those on the “periphery: being Christ’s eyes, ears and hands in our world today.”
Another call is “to build diverse and inclusive communities that encourage enduring personal relationships through an understanding of culture and perspectives.” Our 13 schools are challenged “to teach and promote respectful dialogue to bridge divides between cultures, nations, religious beliefs and traditions.”
In 2016, the Xaverian Brothers did a study of the Sponsorship Office to better understand the needs of the schools, Horgan said. An updated document became one of Horgan’s biggest priorities when he was hired in 2018.
From January 2019 until the spring of this year, the document was refined. There is a lot to it, a lot to think about, a lot to act on. Horgan was asked what overarching message he’d like people to take from this.
“We are all partners in mission,” he said. “The future of Xaverian education flourishes when each of us take responsibility for perpetuating the rich legacy given to us by the Xaverian Brothers and our Catholic faith.”
Click here for the document.