Who Is My Neighbor?

A statement on racial justice in solidarity with Xaverian's students and families of color, from our Headmaster, Dr. Jacob Conca '94, and our Principal, Mr. Michael Nicholson

At Xaverian, we continue to prepare for our upcoming summer programs and for opening this fall, in light of the COVID-19 implications that will likely exist. However, we are also observant of the world around us and to say that we are distressed by the deaths of Mr. George Floyd, Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, Ms. Breonna Taylor, and countless others, is an understatement. We are disgusted by it. It is clear to us that racism is at the heart of these deaths and, frankly, we believe it has no place in our society and certainly no place at Xaverian. So, in light of what is presently transpiring within our country, we feel compelled to write to you, our students and families. 

As a Catholic school rooted in the mission of the Xaverian Brothers, we are called in a very special way to “love thy neighbor” just as Jesus has taught us. But what does this mean, to love your neighbor? In the Gospel of Luke this question was posed directly to Jesus himself. His response was typical of Jesus; he told a story. What he said carries tremendous relevance today, more than 2,000 years after the lesson was taught. 

The Parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the most well known passages in scripture and it illustrates a central tenet of Jesus’ teaching: the superiority of love as a guiding principle in all of our actions. In this parable, a man was robbed while traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. He was severely beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. Several people walked by this man as if he did not exist, offering no help. In fact they shunned him. Yet a Samaritan stopped and offered comfort, care, and love. The Samaritan exemplifies what it means to “Love thy neighbor,” no matter the circumstances. This is a poignant reminder that love, in essence, is the law.

Yet, who is my neighbor?

The answer is simple. It’s the person in front of you. The person on the street corner. The person sitting alone on the park bench. Your classmates. The person at the grocery store. Mr. George Floyd. Mr. Ahmaud Arbery. Ms. Breonna Taylor. They are all our neighbors. And all of us associated with Xaverian, our students, our faculty, our families, our alumni, we are all neighbors. 

Perhaps the question is better posed, “Who isn’t my neighbor?”. Jesus would say no one. The reality is that a violation against another human being is a violation against our neighbor. God grants all of us dignity which flows from being created in His image and likeness. This truth is certain.

So as we go forward in these distressing times, we humbly ask each of you to continue loving, caring, and supporting one another, much like we see in the example of the Samaritan. You know how to do this; we see you do it as students every day. The truth of the matter is that we are all unique and each one of us offers gifts and talents that when taken together, form the beautiful community that we call Xaverian.

To all of our families of every skin color and ethnicity, you are valued, cared for, and loved here at Xaverian. All of you bring your gifts to Xaverian every day; frankly, we would have it no other way. Yes, you are all different—different heights, different personalities, different skin colors, different names, different perspectives, different gifts, different talents—but that is what we love about you, and that is what makes our community so strong. Know that you are (and will always be) valued for who you are and what you represent. 

The motto of the Xaverian Brothers is “In harmony small things grow.” There is a beauty and richness in our diversity that, together, makes us a better community. We are called to live this reality not just at Xaverian, but in the actions we take in our everyday lives.

Respectfully yours, 

Dr. Jacob Conca '94, Headmaster, and Mr. Michael Nicholson, Principal
A private, Catholic, college preparatory day school for boys in grades 7-12. The Boston area prep school offers a rigorous academic curriculum, a well-developed campus ministry program focused on faith, character, and leadership, and a proud athletic tradition featuring competitive Division 1 high school athletics in the Catholic Conference.