(Our Seniors were present in class for the last time on April 27. It brings to an end a stage in their lives which began anywhere from four to seven years ago and has defined them as Belen Jesuit students. Therefore, I would like to dedicate my reflection in this enewsletter to the Class of 2017.)
Seniors, as you prepare to embark on new adventures and opportunities, relish those experiences that have helped shape you during your time at Belen - experiences that are stitched into the fabric of Belen's 164-year tradition. You have not only gained a strong academic foundation through core classes such as Algebra and English, you have also taken classes unique to Belen such as Latin American History and Art History. Perhaps some of you have even challenged yourselves by taking these classes in Spanish.
Where else, but Belen, would you have attended a Sixth Grade Lock-in to start your middle school years and a Senior Gratitude Encounter to close your high school career? Where else, but Belen, would you have participated in a grade level activity every year designed to support and enhance your most important relationships - Grandparents Day, Father and Son Day, Family Day, and Mother and Son Day? Your senior year has been particularly special, beginning with the Ring Mass, where you were escorted to the altar by your fathers, and ending with the Baccalaureate Mass, where you will escort your mothers toward the Blessed Mother at the foot of the altar. Don’t ever forget that your parents have made your years at Belen possible and will continue to be there for you no matter where your college years take you.
Through all of your Belen experiences, your classmates have also accompanied you. They are no longer just your schoolmates, but have become your brothers. Although you will now go off to different parts of the country or even the world, you will carry with you the memories you have made. Your Belen experiences and the memories you share are the ties that will continue to bind you throughout the years. The fact is that the best man at your wedding or the godfather of your children will likely be your Belen brother. Cherish that brotherhood by staying in touch and attending the reunions and functions through your membership in the Belen Alumni Association.
So now what? Well, it is time to move on. You are probably both excited and scared. Rest assured that you have been infused with the knowledge, skills, and faith you will need to guide you through the situations you will encounter over the next few years. Your teachers, counselors, coaches, and administrators have done their best to equip you with the tools to be successful on earth and to get you to heaven.
Our motto this year has been Esto Vir, to be a man. You have the ability to be a man who loves and serves others; a man who is religious, committed to social justice, and who uses his intellectual ability for the Greater Glory of God; a man who is not afraid to share his faith and to proclaim that Jesus Christ is the center of his life. Please remember that to whom much is given, much will be required. We have all been given so much, and it is our responsibility to make this world a better and more peaceful place. Keep doing the great work you have done so far, and remember that you will always have a home here at Belen.
Belen Jesuit Preparatory School was founded in 1854 in Havana, Cuba by Queen Isabel II of Spain. The task of educating students was assigned to the priests and brothers of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), whose teaching tradition is synonymous with academic excellence and spiritual discipline. In 1961, the new political regime of Cuba confiscated the School property and expelled the Jesuit faculty. The School was re-established in Miami the same year, and over the next decade, continued to grow. Today, Belen Jesuit sits on a 30-acre site in western Dade County, only minutes away from downtown Miami.