The Catholic Message of Xavier

The Catholic Message of Xavier

By Justin Caulfield, Chief Copy Editor

From the creation of man and woman to the resurrection, the Catholic faith is full of history. Exodus, the covenant made with Abraham, the rule of King David, the birth of Christ, and the Last Supper might come to mind when thinking of religious history. Those events, and many more, are the foundation from which the Catholic Church’s history is built. It is that foundation that continues to stand strong today, and acts as the basis for the faith life for countless Catholics around the world. Each Catholic must do their part to keep the faith alive by living according to the example of Christ and being a Christ-like example to others.


Xavier High School teaches young men across the state of Connecticut to live out the school’s motto, “Be a Man.” The motto of Xavier is very simple, and yet complex. To whom is it referring, and how are the students at Xavier living out this motto?


The simple answer to that question is Jesus. Xavier teaches its students to be like Jesus. However, it is the way in which that lesson is taught and the dedication surrounding the teachings that bring it to life. Xavier, being a Catholic school, teaches its students of the value of a strong Catholic faith and belief in God.


Each student at Xavier is required to take one credit of theology during each of his years at Xavier. The curriculum starts with Sacred Scripture in freshman year, which sets up the foundation of the Catholic faith. A student can expect to learn about the many stories of the Old Testament, as well as the life of Jesus and the Apostles in the New Testament.


Once the foundation of the faith has been taught, sophomores learn about the early Church and her practices in Church and Sacraments. Students learn about the magisterium, the succession of bishops, the Pope, and the matter and form of each of the sacraments.


Once a student has a good understanding of the practices of the Church, he will take a course in morality, which applies the teachings of Catholicism to practical situations. There is an emphasis on situations that teens may experience to ensure that they know how to tackle moral dilemmas.


As a senior, a student is able to choose how he wants to fulfill his first half credit. Classes range from Catholic Apologetics to Peace and Justice. To fulfill the second half credit, all seniors are required to take a Christian Life course which applies all the teachings of a student’s faith journey and tells a student how to apply those teachings in day-to-day life in a manner which adheres to the magisterium and exemplifies Jesus.


Clearly, students at Xavier are taught how to Be a Man, but actions speak louder than words. Does the Catholic message of Xavier extend past academics and are students receptive to the message that Xavier has to offer?


Students at Xavier are reminded of the Xaverian Values every day at lunch. Banners in the cafeteria clearly list the five values of Trust, Humility, Compassion, Zeal, and Simplicity. Xavier makes one of these five values the focus of an academic year, building students up in that value while still encouraging them to live out all five values.


The values are formally defined during the freshman retreat, which takes place in the Xavier gymnasium. Furthermore, students learn the importance of marching on in faith, and the value of prayer, family, and a strong relationship with God.


A similar theme is shared with the sophomore retreat, which starts on a Saturday morning and ends with a vigil Mass in the evening. After these two retreats are completed, students are able to choose if they want to continue attending retreats. The junior retreat is entirely optional and takes place over the course of a weekend. Students who attend this retreat have typically had a positive experience in previous retreats and want to learn more about themselves, their classmates, and the importance of hope, faith, and trust in God. A junior can also apply to attend the XBSS retreat, which is a retreat experience shared with students from the entire Xavier Brothers Sponsored School network.


As a senior, students can choose to take on the most fulfilling retreat experience that Xavier has to offer: the Xavier Leadership Institute, commonly referred to as XLI. Students who attend XLI have an unwavering desire to live out the faith as they must attend this four-day retreat during the summer. The retreat is student-run. They are given responsibilities, expected to rise to challenges, and leave the retreat with the qualities of a leader. Students who complete the XLI retreat are ready to lead the school by their dedication to upholding the Xaverian Values, living out Christ’s commandments, and bringing positivity to the Xavier community.


Xavier teaches young men to live according to Christ’s example through academics and retreats, but do they live like this in the day-to-day life of a student? Xavier is blessed to have a chapel on campus which is open every day to the students. To show that Christ watches over the school, a large cross on the outside wall of the chapel overlooks the courtyard. Whenever a student has a spare moment, he is encouraged to step into the chapel to say a quick prayer. If stopping to say a prayer is not to a student’s liking, he could simply make the sign of the cross while passing by to show a sign of reverence. Most students who walk past the chapel can be seen respecting the sacredness of the chapel by making the sign of the cross. Furthermore, the rosary is recited every Monday after school, and the chaplet of divine mercy is said every Friday after school. Students are free to attend these short acts of reverence to honor God, His angels, and the saints.


Xavier High School’s Catholic message continues to ring true since its founding in 1963. Students are taught to follow Christ’s example through academics, encouraged to reflect on the Church’s teachings in retreats, and inspired to live a good faith life every day, inside and outside of Xavier. “Be a Man” has been Xavier’s motto for as long as its doors have been open. In the same way the motto has never changed, so too does the Catholic foundation on which Xavier is built never change.


Xavier carries the legacy of Catholic teachers and previous generations of faithful Catholics. Xavier continues to form young men into good Catholics who live that motto in their everyday lives, always sure to follow Christ’s teachings and example and being an example to the next generation of Xavier men and the next generation of the entire world.