May 20, 2017

Dear OLQA Students and Families:

 The events related to this past Friday’s tragedy at St. John the Evangelist are heavy in our hearts and will continue to be so in the days ahead.  Our prayers are with the man who carried out these acts and whose life was lost on Friday, for his family, for the OLQA community and for the St. John’s and local community.

 First, I know you join us in offering gratitude to our amazing faculty and staff who guided our young people in those most difficult hours on Friday afternoon as well as the staff at St. John’s and the Suffolk County Police Department. You should be proud of the incredible witness your children’s teachers provided. Together, in the midst what was so tragic and fear-filled, they helped to provide stability and comfort. How blessed are we to be in the midst of a loving and caring community.

 Second, we wanted to let you know about some of the things we have planned in these days:

 Recognizing that some of our students may be afraid to come to school on Monday, we would like to have a little “open school” morning after the 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Masses on Sunday, May 21, 2017. THIS IS NOT A REQUIRED EVENT.  Just one effort to provide a little more reassurance for our students and for you.   Masses will be held in the Auditorium so students can walk throughout the school immediately after liturgy has concluded.

 On Monday, May 22, 2017, we will begin with a special 8 a.m. Mass for the entire OLQA school community. Parents and family members are most welcome to attend to pray for our school, the St. John the Evangelist community and for those impacted by this tragedy.

Following the Mass we will have a light breakfast and then begin our day together.

We will have “safe spaces” for students to come if they need to talk or share some feelings.

 On Tuesday, May 23, 2017, Bishop Barres will preside at a Mass for Healing at 7:30 p.m. in the Auditorium. All are welcome to come and pray with us on Monday evening as well.

 Can we offer some suggestions about the days ahead?

  • It is OK if your child is upset.  It is OK, too, if they’re not upset. We all deal with things in different ways. It’s is OK either way.
  • Please reach out if in need. Alex Finta, our school social worker, will be available throughout these days as will Fr. John and others. If we need more resources for our students, rest assured, we will get them.
  • Keep the conversation going but try to avoid getting into too many details. We do not know what drove the person who carried out these acts to do them and we never will.  Honestly, many of the reports in the newspaper and local media are not accurate (not to mention social media). It is probably not too helpful to speculate
  • Routines are good!  Try to keep your family and school routines going.
  • Remember our faith.  We pray for the man who carried out these acts and seek to minister to his family in these days. Our mission is never to condemn but always to show mercy. It’s a very teachable moment. (If you haven’t already, please read Fr. John’s letter to the St. John’s community here.)

Please continue to check our website and Facebook page for the latest information.

 Most important, let’s keep praying for each other in these days.


Peace –


Mr. David Erlanger                                                              Father John Sureau

Principal                                                                                Pastor, St. John the Evangelist

Our Lady Queen of the Apostles School                            Executive Pastor, OLQA Regional School



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