July 2, 2019
Dear Saint Peter’s Prep Family:
St. Augustine refers to the Gospel as a “beauty ever ancient, ever new.” The idea strikes me. How can something be so powerful that it is ever ancient, ever new? How can something be so sacred and have such history but simultaneously reinvigorate us and call our spirits to dream with a holy boldness? As I think of the future of Saint Peter’s Prep, I cannot help but think of these words—ever ancient, ever new. They fill my heart with a superabundance of gratitude and pride for who we are and from where we have come. Because of our rich tradition and foundation, they also fill my heart with a superabundance of hope and confidence of where we can go and what we can still become. As you look ahead to the future of Grand & Warren, I hope your hearts feel the same. So, it is with the firm belief that Saint Peter’s Prep is a “beauty ever ancient, ever new” that I have approached my first week as your president.
I am extraordinarily grateful for what I have learned through my experiences serving as a teacher and coach at Saint Peter’s Prep and an administrator at two other Jesuit high schools and one Cristo Rey school. But what has most prepared me, and quite frankly, for what I am most grateful is this: I am the product of a Jesuit high school, Saint Peter’s Prep. It was at 144 Grand Street where I was infused with Jesuit values and ways of proceeding. The “giants of my youth”—Harrison, Koszyk, Raslowsky, Browning, Balduf, McGuinness, Urbanovich, Dolan, Azzarto, DeLorenzo—infused me with these values sometimes through lecturing (though rarely), but mostly by surrounding this boy from Bayonne with a culture steeped in fierce love, an indomitable spirit, and an unwavering faith.
In their own ways, these folks and many other teachers and coaches taught me that I was blessed with talents that should be cultivated and utilized for the greater glory of God. I was reminded often that I was writing my own story and I needed to make it one that I was not just proud to tell but one that I wanted to scream from the rooftops of the universe because I knew it was one that could move the hearts and minds of men and women. I was taught that I could do this if I were a man for others—not for some, and not for most, but for all. I was reminded often that Ignatius called us not simply to hope, but to give, to fight, to toil, and to labor for what was right and just.
Like Prep and so many of us, I am built on these Jesuit values. Please know how excited I am to instill these values in our young men with the proud support of you, the entire Prep family. Whether we are teachers, coaches, parents, alumni, benefactors, or friends of Prep, we will do this together, together, together. I look forward to seeing you at reunions, sporting events, plays, concerts, Masses, the Grand Gala, or “home” at 144 Grand Street.
While many things have changed in my life since Mr. Shea’s first period Latin class on my first day at Prep, what has never changed is my tremendous love for the school—our history, our people, our mission—and the gratitude and pride I have as a former student, teacher, board member, and now, president. With much joy and courage, it is my honor and pleasure to join you on this journey once more and continue the ever ancient, ever new work of loving and shaping our young men.
Pride and Glory,
Michael A. Gomez, Ed.D., ’91