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Ramview Monthly Message from Fr. Devron
Posted 03/23/2020 09:58AM

Dear Fordham Prep Community, 

This issue of the Ramview Monthly has been evolving since the global health crisis which has now radically transformed our communities. This crisis has also transformed how Fordham Prep carries out our mission of faith, scholarship, and service.  While I hope the Monthly provides some good reading for you during these quiet days of social isolation, I write to update our message in light of these new and challenging times.

Over the past several weeks, our administrators researched best practices in strategies and methods to prepare for distance learning.  We developed our own comprehensive Distance Learning Plan and provided our faculty with professional development.  

It is undeniably difficult to relinquish the interpersonal, face-to-face dimension of our work.  To put it simply, we miss our students terribly. At the same time, this experiment allows us to leverage the integration of technology into our coursework introduced several years ago through our innovative one-to-one computing program.  Parents, students, and teachers have shared with us positive and encouraging reviews of our first week of distance learning. 

We continue to advance our mission of faith and service as well.  Each weekday morning, we live-stream Mass from the Prep’s student chapel.  I always remember you and your intentions in my prayers. Please consider joining us at 7:55 am ET, or sharing a specific intercession for our prayer.   

We are exploring service opportunities too—whether by inviting our students to call residents at our local nursing homes, ensuring that POTS (a neighborhood outreach center) has enough food for its soup kitchen, donating personal protective equipment from our science labs to the emergency room at St. Barnabas Hospital or initiating a movement for other schools to follow suit. 

As for the future, it is too early to tell how this new environment will impact this summer’s planned work on our East Wing Project; how families’ changed financial situation will require additional tuition assistance; and the outcome of next year’s enrollment.  There are surely other challenges we cannot anticipate. 

Please be assured that the Board of Trustees and I have stress-tested various financial and enrollment scenarios in order to sustain and strengthen the Prep’s 179-year mission entrusted to us.  Thanks in large part to our generous parents and alumni, the past few years have seen record-breaking giving, and growth in class participation rates. The Prep’s endowment, which doubled over the past five years, is managed conservatively for long-term growth by outside professional advisors who report to the Board’s investment committee.  This year’s Annual Fund has performed better than our year-to-date projections, and our annual Igniting Our Mission dinner and auction netted more than $400,000.00 for our new iSTEAM Program.   

Despite present uncertainties, I know that our community has always stepped forward to lead and serve when we have most needed their generosity and care.  I trust that we can count on your support, as you are able, as we move forward in faith to form Men for Others, dedicated to God’s greater glory.

In the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius Loyola teaches that “love is shown more readily in deeds than words.”  Now we are being urged to cease action, precisely as an act of service, as we practice social distance to prevent the spread of this virus. 

Maybe now is the time for us to seek the One who acts first, in love, and labors in our hearts.  

Through the Exercises, Ignatius invites us to “sentir y gustar de las cosas internamente”—to taste and see the internal movements of one’s heart.  As one commentator writes: “In a busy life filled with chores and tasks, options and possibilities - often occupied and preoccupied - it is easy to stop seeing, listening, tasting and feeling. Speeding through life, and suffering from. . . ‘the mountain of too much,’ we run the risk of becoming mere consumers of experiences, hardly ever stopping long enough to taste and see how Life (God) has been blessing us” (Philip Chircop, SJ). 

I pray that you and your family may remain safe and healthy. But I pray also that as the world pauses, you may “taste and see” God’s blessings in the internal movements and quiet and perhaps less explored recesses of your heart.  

Finally, a request: as you pray, please remember us--especially our students and faculty.  

Sincerely yours,

Rev. Christopher J. Devron, SJ


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