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“Holding Space”

In the wake of the alarming political and social events of the last several weeks, I cannot help but wonder if both the adults and students in our community see these unsettling events as just one more crisis in a continuously unfolding series of crises over the last 12 months. I believe one risk facing our society is desensitization to crisis. Confronted with a daily barrage of bad news, upsetting images, and tempting one-line solutions to complex problems, we must be deliberate about safeguarding our ability to show empathy to others.  In addition, we must not lose our ability to think deeply about these issues that threaten so much of what our society holds dear. The centuries-old approach to learning and formation that is expressed in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition is more crucial now than ever.

Bishop Lynch, as with any Catholic high school, cannot exist in a bubble. Teaching students how to engage with the world is central to our mission. That engagement leads us to confront the same temptations that society offers as remedies for the world’s problems. Our journey of reflection on the opportunities presented to BL at this moment have led me to recognize that the approach of offering simple solutions to complex problems does more harm than good. 
Under the leadership of the Assistant Principal for Student Formation, Ms. Candice Barbosa, BL has begun training students and faculty in a process that allows for deep listening, processing, and reflection on issues of great impact and importance. Professional-level training, conducted by Essential Partners, has begun to equip our community to engage deeply and thoughtfully with such issues. The process of “holding space” is radically different from the sound bite approach that modern modes of communication make so easy to pass as intelligent and thoughtful discussion. Such a style of dialogue, listening, and learning is at the core of an authentic Catholic high school education and formation that is rooted in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. 
This process of “holding space” is challenging work. It is an endeavor that requires commitment to ongoing learning, disciplined thinking, and embracing the possibility of personal or community change. Despite the hard work that is involved, Bishop Lynch has embarked on this journey. “Holding space” will become a new paradigm to advance our mission “to promote the development of the total person by bringing together a diverse community...where students are taught to strive for excellence, seek truth, and work for justice in the world.” 
In Luke’s gospel, Jesus says to Simon: “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch” (5:4). Committed to the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, Bishop Lynch will continue our journey into the “deep water” of learning, dialogue, and reflection. Our call to continue this journey allows us to be true to our mission and readies our students and their families to contribute empathetically to the common good, especially at a time when that common good appears to be threatened. 
Respectfully yours, 
Chad Riley 


Faithful to Catholic Tradition and to our Dominican heritage of scholarship and service, Bishop Lynch High School promotes the development of the total person by bringing together a diverse community in a rigorous, college preparatory environment where students are taught to strive for excellence, seek truth, and work for justice in the world. - Founded in 1963