Kennedy High School President, Mike Prato put on leave of absence following protests
Archbishop Paul D.Etienne has given Kennedy Catholic High School President Michael Prato a ˜leave of absence" until the end of the school year folowing a series of protests in the wake of the departure of teachers Paul Danforth and Michelle Beattie, who voluntarily resigned after announcing their plans to marry their same sex partners.
Father Bryan Dolejsi was named as the interim president, effective immediately by Archbishop Etienne. Dolesjsi had previously served as chaplain at Kennedy for six years from 2011 to 2017.
"Mike Prato is a highly respected leader, and it is our desire to support him during this challenging time," the Archbishop said in a statement. Please continue praying for him, the faculty and staff and the entire Kennedy Catholic community."
The Archbishop said this in a prepared statement:
To the Kennedy Catholic High School family,
â€œIt is with a pastorâ€™s heart that I am writing to you. I have heard your voices and read your letters â€“ from teachers, parents, alumni, and even an open video letter from a student representative. Voicing your care and concerns is not only a testament to how much you support your school community, but is also an important step. Pope Francis says:
Pope Francis says:
Do not be afraid of dialogue. It is about agreeing on proposals
for forging ahead together.
(May 30, 2016 address to Scholas Occurrentes)
Last Friday, I visited Kennedy Catholic High School, along with the Kristin Dixon, the superintendent of Catholic Schools and Father Bryan Dolejsi, former chaplain of Kennedy Catholic High School. We listened to the concerns of the teachers and staff. Hearing first-hand the hurt, frustration and confusion was both helpful and challenging. I sincerely appreciate everyone's honesty and feedback. In times like this, respectful dialogue is required so we can navigate our way forward.
It is abundantly clear to me that our Catholic schools are serving a much broader community than in the past. We as church need to understand that people in our culture are coming to our Catholic schools with various expectations. However, we must remind everyone why Catholic schools exist. Our primary mission is to form people with the mind and heart of Jesus Christ.
With a focus on our mission, I am creating a special task force to look at how we apply universal church teaching locally. Specifically, under the leadership of the Office for Catholic Schools, this task force will examine how we remain faithful to our mission in a dramatically changing world. We will review input from our school communities and create clarity and guidance moving forward. This will require time, and I ask for your patience as we prayerfully discern future steps. We will update you on the timeline and the process along the way.
In addition, I have appointed Father Bryan Dolejsi, as the Archbishop's special liaison and interim president to provide daily pastoral leadership and foster healing for the community. He will meet personally with various members and representatives of the community. At the same time, he will work closely with the Office for Catholic Schools and me.
As a former pastor with a Catholic school, I fully understand the day-to-day challenges inherent in running a school. For all the teachers and staff at Kennedy Catholic, I am grateful for the professional, courageous, and respectful way in which you have continued to fulfill your roles. Thank you for your efforts to focus on the daily tasks at hand during this challenging time, ministering to one another and taking care of students for the sake of your community.
Please know of my continued prayers for you. We unite the suffering of this present moment to those of Jesus Christ, with the sure and certain hope that is ours in his Resurrection. May this challenging time bring forth new life for us personally and for the Kennedy Catholic community.
In the heart of Christ,
Most Reverend Paul D. Etienne, DD, STL
Archbishop of Seattle
I am a Catholic.. In my heart I truly believe that every individual needs the love and acceptance of God. As a church community I believe that we need to mirror the kind of love that God gives. God is all accepting and understanding. This is the kind of love we all need to strive for.
Stand strong Kennedy C S and the faith! Somthing doesnt make it right just because it is accepted by the majority. The path of a Christian walk is narrow not wide. God is VERY CLEAR on this subject. Dont like it? Then go to a non Christian private school or public. I agree with your decision regarding the teachers. Im aped at the ketting go of this man while the Church are too cowardly to stand up for Gods teachings for us. Once we accept Him, we are bound by His teachings to follow andive by, NOT the world which is becoming worse and worse as prophesied. Im not saying dont love and be unkind to anyone, but with choices come consequences.
I fully support the teaching of solid Catholic doctrine. The watered down theology get us nowhere. What's the point of trying to get along with the "wok" culture, which either hates Christ or simply dismisses him and his church as irrelevant? Stay strong, faithful ones!
My husband and I were in the process of helping our son apply to Kennedy as a transfer student. I was thankful to read that Mike Prato had held true to the teachings of the Church and recognized natural and Divine law. In this culture, it was refreshing to see someone have the courage to stand behind and apply the code of conduct. Based on this latest news, we will most likely be looking at other options. We want to send our son and other children to an authentically Catholic high school. Mike has been instrumental in making the school shine as a beacon for the Faith.
As an Alumni of Kennedy I appreciate the voices and efforts of the current student community working to evolve policy to embrace all students and staff in this decade. It is time that Kennedy reflect the inclusion to respect the differences in sexuality identity while we want Kennedy to be a welcoming educational experience for all.
In my very hu
We are behind you, Mike Prato! Thank you for standing in the gap.
In his book "The Truth War", John MacArthur observed that "The idea that the Christian message should be kept pliable & ambiguous seems especially attractive to young people who are in tune with the culture and in love with the spirit of the age and can't stand to have authoritarian Biblical truths applied with precision as a corrective to worldly lifestyles, unholy minds and ungodly behavior...and the POISON of this perspective is being increasingly injected into the evangelical church body..thank you Kennedy for standing firm and don't cave to Biblically ignorant students and their equally ignorant parents.
I’m curious to know if the the protesters would have rallied with the same vitriol in their message if this school wasn’t Catholic but instead, maybe Islamic. This is a genuine question I have.