Dear Gonzaga Families:
St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit Order, believed wholeheartedly in a personal God whose presence permeates all of created reality. Because he believed that God can be found in all things, he learned to approach reality in a very intentional way so that he might maximize his own direct, personal experiences of God. His “way of proceeding” became the basis of Jesuit spirituality and the driving force behind Jesuit education. It is this spirituality of St. Ignatius that makes Jesuit education, not just a great education, but a life-altering experience.
At Gonzaga College High School, it is not enough for us to simply teach students what they will need to be successful in college and beyond. It is not enough for us to develop students’ athletic and extracurricular abilities to their fullest. To be faithful to the tradition of St. Ignatius, we must do this and much more. For an education to be truly “Jesuit,” we must help our students encounter, engage, and reflect upon their world in a way that helps them see the underlying presence of Christ who loves them personally, calls them individually, and who invites them to labor by his side in his plan of salvation. For an education to be truly Jesuit, it must always point in some meaningful way to the ongoing presence of Christ in our world. This is the mission of Jesuit education. This is the spirit of Gonzaga College High School.
Excellence is part of the culture of Gonzaga. It is not, however, merely excellence for its own sake. A Jesuit education challenges students to pursue their potential to the fullest, and then to confront the question, “and now what?” What do I do with all that God has given me? What do I do with the talents that I have developed?
It is not the school’s role to answer fully these questions for any student. A Jesuit education, however, through religious studies, retreats, opportunities for prayer and service seeks to help all students answer these questions and the three pivotal questions of St. Ignatius, “What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What will I do for Christ?” The answers to these questions, central to Jesuit spirituality, are the four-year quest of a Gonzaga student, a quest which then continues for life.
I invite you to join us in helping our young men answer the three questions of St. Ignatius. We are more than a school. We are a community of faith committed to forming “men for others.” Together then, let us ask God’s blessing on our school community that we might faithfully carry forth the mission entrusted to our care. May God bless you all.
Rev. Stephen W. Planning, SJ