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A Board Member's Perspective

Board Chairman J. Christopher Collins offered this reflection at Nativity School of Worcester's Board Meeting on March 1, 2012.

In the musical Les Miserables the main and valiant character Jean Val Jean sings a song Bring Him Home. It occurs at the barricade where Marius has been seriously injured and without Jean Val Jean’s help he will surely die. Jean Val Jean is not his father but he sees the potential in the youthful Marius and asks God to spare the young man to let him live and experience the fullness of life. The words of the song are as follows:

 

God on high

Hear my prayer

In my need

You have always been there

 

He is young

He's afraid

Let him rest

Heaven blessed.

Bring him home

Bring him home

Bring him home.

 

And later he pleads,

 

Bring him peace

Bring him joy

He is young

He is only a boy

Each day at Nativity at our front door loved ones leave their boys off to begin another day in our care. They see the tradition of our Nativity greeting and they know that it will soon be followed by the morning assembly, the Ignatian prayer, classroom work, after school study, activities and all throughout the day careful attention of our faculty and staff. There is mentoring with graduates, focus on life after Nativity but most of all a transformative process where these boys learn about what it means to be - - - for others. And each day at six o’clock the boys return home.

But, it is that moment when the boys are dropped off that I keep thinking about. I often wonder what their parents and guardians are thinking when they drop their boys off and waive goodbye. How will Nativity impact them, after the first day, the first week, the first year and after four years. Who is that Nativity boy who will return home? What are their hopes and prayers for these boys?

 

It is an awesome responsibility that we have to make a difference in these boys lives. Many have been dealt a difficult hand but as soon as you meet our boys you quickly realize their deficits are mostly of circumstance and not of natural or God given gifts. They are bright and funny and charming and many have a good dose of Eddie Haskell in them. We cannot give them intellect but we can help their intellect to shine. We can’t make them caring but we can be caring toward them and others and by doing this day in and day out we can provide them an example. We can’t make them confident but by becoming a member of this community we can give them a sense of belonging a safe harbor and the knowledge we want them to live happy, productive and meaningful lives.

And so I imagined a prayer that is said by parents and guardians as they leave our parking lot each day. Maybe Chick Weiss, our own Jean Val Jean, can sing it at the next activities night.

God on high

Hear my prayer

In my need

You have always been there

 

Teach my Nativity boy

to love learning

to respect others

to appreciate the differences in people

 

Bring him home each day

A better version of the young boy who I left behind

Bring him the joys of life

Bring him the confidence to handle the challenges of life

Bring him character

Bring him strength

Bring him scholarship

Bring him a sense of service

And after four years

Bring him home

Bring him home

Not a Nativity boy but a Nativity Man

So our job here is clear. We must work hard to answer this prayer. I look forward to working with all of you and to carry on the success of the past ten years. As our new Director of Advancement Patrick ends all of his emails----Onward.

Nativity School Of Worcester
Nativity School of Worcester | 67 Lincoln Street | Worcester, MA 01605 | (508) 799-0100

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