August 12, 2020
Dear York Catholic Community,
Recently, the mission of York Catholic High School has been called into question. Our community finds itself performing the necessary work of reflection. For more than 90 years, our school’s faith-based mission has provided for the education and formation of a community comprised of 10,000 alumni. Our desire has always been to ensure our community members feel they are equal and respected.
~ 1 Corinthians 12: 25-26 ~
We’re all united in our desire for York Catholic to be a community that provides an inclusive environment for everyone within the teachings of the Catholic Church. It’s through that truth that we will remain strong and follow a path forward that seeks to ensure everyone can freely express their feelings.
Over the last week, we have been in contact and spoken with several members of our community, and we have listened a great deal. We have communicated with a representative of the York Catholic African-American Alumni Association and look forward to our continued discussions with their organization. Those discussions will involve our continued commitment to listen. As many of you know, a peaceful protest march is planned this Saturday, which will end at the high school. We have spoken with community members who are assisting with the march. Measures will be in place to provide for the safety of the participants and our campus. We respect the rights of all participants in this march, and we support their desire to be heard.
For our community, the path in front of us is important. We seek to listen for understanding and provide an opportunity for healing. In doing so, York Catholic will remain true to our mission by fostering an atmosphere of faith, family and mutual respect, as we prepare our students to serve our global community with grace.
August 2, 2020
On Saturday, August 1, 2020, a statement written by the parent of a recent graduate of York Catholic High School circulated publicly on social media. The statement indicated that the graduate had been told to remove a “Black Lives Matter” face mask prior to entering St. Joseph Church in York for the celebration of the Baccalaureate Mass for the Class of 2020.
Each graduate was given a face shield to be worn in lieu of a face mask. Graduates gathered outside the church prior to processing inside. They were checked in, asked several questions regarding exposure to COVID-19, and temperature checked. Two other graduates chose to wear a solid face mask with no writing in addition to the actual shield and sought permission in advance to do so.
The graduate mentioned in the statement by the parent did not seek permission to wear a face mask in addition to the face shield, nor was the face mask worn at all during the 45 minutes prior to the processional portion of the ceremony. It was not until the last minute, right before entering the church, that the face mask with writing was put on. York Catholic administration directed the face mask to be removed privately, away from the other graduates and guests.
The decorum of York Catholic’s Baccalaureate and Graduation ceremonies follow the tradition that no messages are permitted on caps or gowns. Any graduate wearing a cap, gown, or mask with any message would have been asked to remove it.
We wish to re-emphasize that York Catholic believes in the dignity of all human persons, and the equal treatment of all people. We encourage our students, faculty, and alumni to engage in personal conversation, continue to listen with open hearts, always strive for better understanding, and grow as a supportive community of love and respect.
Mr. Arthur Full
Chairman, York Catholic School Board
Very Rev. Daniel K. Richards, V.F.
Dean of the York Deanery
Pastoral Chairman, York Catholic School Board
Chaplain, York Catholic
June 2, 2020
York Catholic Family,
The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 has left the world, our nation, our community, and each of us experiencing a variety of emotions including sadness, anger, and horror. It is disheartening that actions of hate and injustice continue in our society. It is clear there is much more progress to be made.
In the last week and a half, the York Catholic community has proven, across social media and through other communication channels, it stands for what is right and just, reinforcing the values of faith, family, and mutual respect for all of mankind. We are proud. With each graduating class, we become more confident that our future is bright.
As Mr. Dan Breen, Superintendent and Secretary of Education for the Diocese of Harrisburg, stated in his address to the senior class of 2020, “the world desperately needs you!” The world needs young men and women who will peacefully work for justice, defending the dignity and sanctity of all human life, and using the values and lessons instilled during their formative years of Catholic Education.
As a community, we must continue to stand strong together to ensure our Catholic Christian faith and values permeate every corner, from our care for our students and their families while they are in our halls to the mandate to serve the global community, leaving it better than we found it.
During these times, we must rely on our faith in Christ and faith in each other, which unite us. We must rely on our Christian values where discrimination, injustice, violence, and hatred are sins that will not be tolerated. And we must not allow the political rhetoric to divide us, but rather be united in our values and our voice. We must “love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind.” And we must “love our neighbor as ourselves.” For “on these two commandments depend all the law.” (Matthew 22)
May we all continue to believe in the power of the York Catholic community and remain proud of our collective voice for peace and justice. We encourage our students, faculty, and alumni to engage in personal conversation, continue to listen with open hearts, always strive for better understanding, and grow as a supportive community of love and respect.
Mrs. Katie Seufert ‘96
Click here for a message from Pope Francis and Bishop Gainer.