Mission Statement

The mission of Saint Joseph’s Prep as a Catholic, Jesuit, urban, college preparatory school is to develop the minds, hearts, souls, and characters of young men in their pursuit of becoming men for and with others.

Explanation and Interpretation of our Mission Statement

By “Catholic” we mean that the Prep is grounded in the person and teachings of Jesus Christ who established a Church that has a tradition, creed, body of doctrine, moral code, and sacramental system that are essential to the life and culture of this school.

Because we are Catholic, we strive for a personal relationship of friendship with Jesus Christ so that we may, in the words of St. Ignatius Loyola, “love him more intensely and follow him more closely” (Sp.Ex., # 104 ).

Because we are Catholic, instruction and formation in religion, rooted in both Scripture and Tradition, covers Catholic faith and morals while opening the minds of students to an ecumenical outlook and an appreciation of, and respect for, other faith traditions.

Because we are Catholic, we foster in students a consciousness of their shared sonship under God and their brotherhood with men and women of all races, nations, and cultures of the world.

Because we are Catholic, we instruct our students in their responsibilities as stewards of God’s creation.

Because we are Catholic, it is our aim to form leaders—men of competence, conscience, and compassionate commitment--who choose to order their lives in a radical way toward God, as modeled for us by Jesus Christ in love and service to others, all for the greater glory of God.

By “Jesuit” we mean that the Prep has its founding vision in the person and spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, who saw education as an end in itself believing that one can “seek God in all things.” Ignatius also saw education as a preferred means to the end of “helping souls.” His book of  Spiritual Exercises (an outline of a guided retreat for a person of faith seeking to align his or her will with the will of God) offers principles that shape a Jesuit “style” in education characterized by  experience, reflection, action and evaluation. (The Ignatian Pedagogy – A Practical Approach, 1993)

Because we are Jesuit, our education and formation are rooted in Ignatian spirituality.

Because we are Jesuit, our work is characterized by loyalty to the Church, availability for service, and a high-hearted love of Christ.

Because we are Jesuit, the education we provide is marked by “cura personalis,” which means attention to the individual student and respect for the individual’s potential and pace in learning. Jesuit education is characterized by adaptability to individual differences and needs, as well as to wider needs determined by a reading of the “signs of the times.”

Because we are Jesuit, we routinely engage in the practice of discernment, an effort to choose wisely in worldly matters by striving to align personal and institutional choice with the will of God. We share this practice with our students, helping them to choose wisely and well as they mature into men for and with others.

By “urban” we mean that our geographic location places us in the middle of an urban context (where we chose to remain after fire destroyed our former facilities in 1966). Our outlook ranges quite literally from the urban downtown skyline of a major city, across acres of urban decay and renewal, and places us within reach of persons both rich and poor, elderly and young, immigrant and native, homeless and housed, healthy and ill, addicted and free, educated and illiterate, hungry and well-nourished, employed and unemployed.

Because we are urban, we guide student reflection on (1) the root causes of the problems they see in the city, (2) the solutions that they may someday contribute toward the elimination of these problems, and (3) we provide them with appropriate community service opportunities to assist the needy as well as internship opportunities that a major urban center has to offer where classroom learning can be linked to practical experience.

Because our urban location puts us in proximity to the disadvantaged poor, we  make a special effort to attract students from disadvantaged communities and thus add to the diversity of our student body.

By “college preparatory” we mean academic rigor in a curriculum that forms the learner in five dimensions: (1) open to growth, (2) intellectually competent, (3) religious, (4) loving, and (5) committed to doing justice.

Because we are college preparatory, we are engaged in the work of character formation. This requires a well-designed curriculum accompanied by diverse extra- and co-curricular activities.Because our work is college preparatory, we offer to our students in the personal example of faculty and staff, models of lifelong learning and motivation to learn. We are motivated by the Ignatian magis—the drive to excel in all things and to give greaterglory to God.

Because we are college preparatory, we encourage students to understand that their learning will, in the final analysis, be self-motivated activity. We therefore  hold them accountable and responsible for their academic progress.

By “men for and with others,” we incorporate into our mission statement the words of the late Superior General of the Jesuit Order, Father Pedro Arrupe, who said in 1973, “Today our prime educational objective must be to form men for others.” Fr. Arrupe’s successor, Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach, introduced the notion of “men with” as well as “for” others in order to make the point that Jesuits and those moved by Ignatian spirituality are in solidarity with those they help and can learn from them.  We, therefore, encourage our students to be men for others who are also conscious of being “with” those to whom they reach out in service. At the Prep, “men for others” is a shorthand phrase that includes “being with” and serves as a motto that reminds the entire Prep community of its purpose in education.

[This “explanation and interpretation” is the product of reflection and discussion that led to consensus among two groups—13 faculty and staff members who met for a full day on July 31, 2006, and 42 faculty and staff, together with five students, who met for a full day on August 24, 2006. These days of  “Apostolic Discernment and Mission Renewal” were co-chaired by Bruce Maivelett, S.J., Director of Ignatian Identity; Michael Egan, Executive Vice President; and Stewart Barbera, Director of Guidance. The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the Mission Statement Explanation and Interpretation on 26 September 2006.]

St. Joseph's Preparatory School
1733 West Girard Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19130
tel: 215.978.1950
fax: 215.765.1710
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