January 8, 2021

Dear CBU Community:

This past week has been among the most dispiriting and dishonorable chapters in the history of our nation. We have witnessed a lawless and unprecedented attack upon the U.S. Capitol, which has resulted in the mindless deaths of five of our fellow citizens. We also have seen record numbers of new COVID cases and fatalities — locally, nationally and globally — with daily death totals from the virus in our country now exceeding the number of lives tragically lost on 9/11.

As I find myself at times feeling overwhelmed by such moments of crisis, and being very mindful of my personal limitations as I endeavor to convey an appropriate message to our Lasallian community, I recall the following words of Abraham Lincoln: “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”

There is certainly much good reason for us, like President Lincoln, to pray and reflect in response to recent events. I also believe, though, that there has never been a time when the work we do at Christian Brothers University has been more needed or consequential, given that we have so much to do in repairing the frayed fabric of our democracy and protecting the shared health of our communities. While our progress no doubt will be difficult and halting at times, we must be resolute in our efforts as Lasallian community towards creating a better, more equitable and more inclusive path forward.

As sisters and brothers to those among us who for too long have been excluded or left at the margins of society … In honor of those who come before us and have created the cherished liberties and bountiful resources we enjoy as citizens of our nation … As stewards to the generations who will follow us and whose future is dependent upon our doing what is right and just today.

As a campus community, I ask that we now recommit ourselves — both individually and collectively — to restoring a sense of decency, respect and humanity to our society. Now, perhaps more than ever, our larger world needs to be guided by the Lasallian values that, together and by association, inspire the work that we do daily. If we can do that, I have no doubt that the students we educate today will ultimately succeed in creating and sustaining a better, more caring, and more just world for all.

Together and by association,

Jack Shannon