By Rev. John W. Swope, SJ, President, St. Joseph’s Prep
No Surprise to me
When I first heard about John Matthews’ plan to pedal across the US to raise awareness for lung cancer, I was not surprised. Obviously John has devoted a tremendous amount of time and treasure to honor the legacy of his mother and to help other families avoid the fate that he and his family suffered in watching her pass from this devastating disease. Still, John’s desire to go further still, to tackle something as daunting as a cross-country bike ride may seem incredible to some but not to a person educated at St. Joseph’s Prep. To a Prepper, it’s another opportunity to use their God-given gifts and talents–to be a man for others.
As the President of St. Joseph’s Prep, I am blessed to hear stories like this all of the time. Men who graduated from the Prep in any decade who continue to strive for the more, to work in service of others. John’s crusade to rid the world of lung cancer, to inform the uninformed, fits that model.
At the Prep, we are taught that everything we do, we do it “Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam” (AMDG). Pope Francis, himself a Jesuit, has evoked this mantra many times in his talks and writings. He applauds young people for “being creative and imaginative, courageous in changing, magnanimous when it comes to spending themselves for others or for ideals such as solidarity, justice and peace.” We are obligated to work to the best of our ability because all that we do is for God’s greater glory.
It won’t be easy, and The Prep is with you!
That’s how I see John’s journey. There will be moments when the road ahead seems very
long and the challenge too steep. It will be then that John can turn within, to his God, and ask for help to continue on. John will be guided by the hand of his loving God who sees value in this incredible mission in which John and his team have embarked. I look forward to following his journey with other Preppers, knowing that he is doing exactly what he was trained to do and to celebrate when he finishes 3,400 miles later. Thank you, John for your work in service of others and for striving for “the greater glory of God.”
All the best John; your alma mater is most proud!