It affects the future of the students and the employment of faculty. The enrollment of the school has been brought into question with the argument from the Diosese of Memphis ultimately being that the school (Bishop Byrne High School) would benefit more from consolidation with another area school (Memphis Catholic) who statistically performs on a lower-level in terms of academic rigor; ministerial outreach, Christian identity, and general student-engagement. As a student of the school, I feel as if though my home is being broken-up without any notice or warning. My family has dedicated everything to Bishop Byrne. With a brother having graduated in the class of 2010 and my sister, in the class of 2012, the decision on the part of the Diocese of Memphis leaves me with no place to call my own; with no way to follow in my siblings footsteps. This is true not only of myself but of many of Bishop Byrne's other students, numbering near 180. I have attended Bishop Byrne since the seventh grade, planned on graduating as part of the class of 2015, but now I am uncertain as to my life's direction. In times like these, many may expect us to just sit and let this happen, to let the light which is Bishop Byrne burn out. However, we are to going to fight like true Red Knights. We know This decision to extinguish our light is not a decision "of God," even though it came from the Memphis Diocese. Jesus calls us to be lights to the world! Extinguishing our light is NOT in keeping with His call. At Bishop Byrne, our motto has always been, "Fiat Lux Veritatis," literally, "Let there be the light of Truth!" We are Christ's hands and feet to this world in need. PLEASE, help us speak. Help us fight to keep Bishop Byrne open that we may continue to lead and serve by the Light of Truth, Christ the Lord!
- Bishop Byrne Middle and High School
School Closing (Bishop Byrne Middle and High School)
Your Most Reverence, J. Terry Steib, SVD
Bishop of Memphis in Tennessee
As students of Bishop Byrne High School, we firmly disagree with your hasty and under-rationalized decision to close our school. A number of us have been at Bishop Byrne since we were freshman and now we are qualified upperclassmen due to the approval of the excellent faculty at Bishop Byrne. However, thanks to your decision and the little support you and the Catholic Schools office under Janet Donato have offered us in the past few years, it seems as if though we will be closed; diminished only to memories. As collective believers in the Holy One, Our God, will never fail us because He has special concern for the most vulnerable. When you, who is charged with the leadership of this Diocese refused to send funds and resources into our school to repair our roof; or maintain our building, you made us weak and vulnerable. Not only that, but many of us already come from broken-homes and these friends of ours; these faculty, have become our family. You are breaking our family apart. And should you not value the importance of the family as a servant of the Church? It is clear that you have forgotten your call to the Gospel. Bishop Byrne is a school filled with love and people that care. If you truly believed that "God is Love," you would see His Holy Face reflected in this place and not wish to close and "consolidate" us with Memphis Catholic. Whether you believe that merger to be a solution or not, the fact is that Memphis Catholic will always favor their students over ours; their faculty over ours. How do you have the audacity to make us and our faculty re-apply? Why not transfer us all there automatically? As the President of the United States, Barack Obama , said in his speech last Monday, "We shall be one, and one we stand." That said, Bishop Byrne is one and will always be one no matter what the Diocese does or says for the power of Christ's Gospel and the friendships which unite us will not be dissolved. From God's own wisdom is this TRUTH: "What God has joined together, no one shall separate" (Mark 10:9). As students, we can confidently say that we have learned many things from Bishop Byrne. Many of us came to Bishop Byrne our freshman year as "F " students, but with the profound teaching and preaching of our school's great faculty, our grades are above what we could have ever imagined. When many of us received this news, we were on a mission trip with 36 of our fellow classmates and three teachers on the road to Washington D.C. to March for life. While our purpose was to fight for life for others, back home our school's life was being taken away. When we were told the news, students cried; we hugged each other; some students were sitting on the floor thinking about what would happen next. We did not believe it. We got down to the lobby and this unknown couple came up and prayed for our school. Halfway through the prayer, students started to cry again. This was a very heartbreaking moment for us. What the diocese doesn't seem to understand is that Bishop Byrne is not only our "home away from home", but that for other students as well. You are breaking up our family! Where, in the Gospel, is the mission of dissolving a family? Where?! We feel and have felt like the Diocese is not here for us! You have abandoned your people and your mission as a Servant of God. You have cited low-enrollment and rising-costs as your reason for our closure, but that decision is one based solely on economics. You've chosen to yield to the Almighty-dollar rather than to God Almighty! As Bishop Byrne students, we have great joy and the Diocese is trying to take it away from us, but we are not going to let them do it. Jesus Himself says, "No one will take your joy from you" (John 16:22). Apparently, as a Bishop and a Diocese, you have not simply forgotten YOUR mission and dedication to Christ's Gospel ,You are ignoring it all together. We beg you: Reverse your decision! Keep Bishop Byrne open and once again, remember your mission; your fidelity; your call!
Forever in that "hope which does not disappoint" (Romans 5:5), we are,
The Students of Bishop Byrne Middle & High School - Memphis, TN.
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