Illustration by Victor Beck ’20 | A student is surrounded by the several different faiths that people encounter in their day to day lives on campus.
By George Anton ’21
Apart from Catholic students, many others with different faith backgrounds try and assimilate and practice their faiths while on campus.
Apart from Catholicism, many students come from Islam, Judaism, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Mormonism and many separate Christian denominations.
With its students representing different religions, Brophy seeks to create a safe space for them to practice their faith.
“We encourage students and families to embrace the faith tradition that is their’s alongside encouraging deep profound respect for the Catholic tradition,” Mr. Paul Fisko, Director of the Office of Faith and Justice, said.
Students have even taken the lead to create student-led organizations like the Muslim Student Union and the Jewish Student Union, which are groups for students of the same faith to practice and discuss their religion together.
“I wasn’t even here a month and I had a Jewish student come into my office and ask me why the Jewish students in the Jewish faith did not have a more prominent place at Brophy,” said Dr. Whitaker, Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion.
Brophy has looked for new ways to be more inclusive of all religions.
Recently, one of the student-led organizations, the Brophy Culture Project, sponsored the third annual Brophy Culture Week. This is a week dedicated to student diversity.
Among the five events at culture week, one of them was a panel in which students discussed their religious identity and their faiths.
“It’s important to include different faiths on campus because as believers ourselves we believe in serving others, and serving others means serving others who are different, said Dr. Whitaker.
Mr. Fisko expressed that it was a good thing to dedicate one day of culture week to examining different students’ religious backgrounds. He hopes to have a whole week devoted to the topic of religion at some point. “As far back as I can remember we have always appreciated and tapped into other faith traditions as a resource to celebrate God together here at this school,” said Mr. Fisko.
Students have even stated that going to a school different than their religion has provided them an opportunity to be cultured and to appreciate diversity. In addition, they have said they see their faiths influencing Brophy’s ideals.
“One of the strong Jewish values is Tikkun Olam, to heal the world, and I see that in a lot of the things that we do here at Brophy,” said Josh Kleiner ’21.
Kleiner says a major way Tikkun Olam is expressed at Brophy is freshman breakaway, a day freshman students go out into the community and do service.
He sees the similarities because breakaway is a time for students to leave their daily lives and give back to their communities.
Kleiner also mentions that although Catholic Mass is not in his faith tradition, it is good for him because he sees others being reverent, and he is therefore motivated to improve his faith life.
Although Brophy tries to create a safe space for students to practice their faiths, some parents and students feel as though different religions are not being fairly being represented in Brophy’s curriculum.
“I have heard from Jewish students and parents who say that some assignments given by teachers treated Judaism as a lesser religion than Christianity,” said Ms. Kelly Guffey, who is the moderator of the Jewish Student Union.
Kleiner mentioned that although he is not Catholic, the Examen and morning prayer give him a chance to enhance his own spiritual life and it can for many other students as well.