Inspire & Ignite is a weekly blog designed to share the stories of the mission and community in action at Regis Jesuit High School—what gives us wings and what impassions us in the service of God.

The blog features a post from the President on the first Friday and one from the Ignatian Identity Office on the third Friday of each month. The other Fridays feature posts from guest bloggers.

If you would like to be a guest blogger or have a question or comment about Inspire & Ignite, please contact communications@regisjesuit.com.

Be inspired and go set the world on fire!


Inspire & Ignite - Stories from the Heart of Regis Jesuit RSS Feed
JIM BRODERICK KING ’87: THE LIFE OF ST. IGNATIUS TEACHES!
4/21/2017

Announcements in this week’s blog (See below or click the anchor link to jump to the details!):

He is Risen! I pray that your Easter season is a blessed celebration after a prayerful Lent.

One exceptional Easter gift for me is reflecting on how much more our community grows each year in our connection to our Ignatian identity and in our shared mission with the Jesuits. Whether it is the growing demand for prayer in the spirit of the Spiritual Exercises, a deeper connection to the Sacraments of our Church, hearing from world-renowned Jesuit astronomer and Director of the Vatican Observatory Br. Guy Consolmagno this week, or an increasing interest in our patron Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the Regis Jesuit community seems to grow more and more into our Ignatian charism.

I have told this story multiple times in the past months, so forgive me if you’ve already heard it. When I went through Regis Jesuit High School as a student in the 80s, when I had multiple Jesuit teachers each year, I think I can earnestly claim that I don’t ever recall even hearing the name Ignatius of Loyola. Granted, that’s trusting the memory of a middle-aged man through the lens of a teenage boy. But I have confirmed with some of my classmates, and I’m fairly certain I never actually encountered St. Ignatius in any meaningful and direct way in four years of Jesuit education!

Ironically, it was while I was going to a radically secular college (Colorado College) that I remember making the direct connection to who Ignatius was. (He was included on campus in a stained glass window depicting the great minds of the Western humanists.) That doesn’t undermine the fact that our teachers those decades ago did indeed suffuse us with the essence of Ignatian values and spirituality. But many have noted in recent years how much more intentional we are now at guiding our work by the example of St. Ignatius and fostering his spirituality in our students.

I’m very excited to announce one great opportunity for us to share in this quest to know our patron and our mission a little bit better: 

We will be screening the feature length biographic film Ignatius of Loyola here at Regis Jesuit High School!
Thursday, May 11, 6:00 pm, in The Z Theatre 
Recommended Donation: $5.00 in support of Jesuit Refugee Service
RSVP via SignUpGenius
For now, I’m limiting each request to five seats. Contact me if you think you will need more or if you have any questions.
We will begin the evening at 6:00 pm with some introductory comments to preview certain elements of the film and set the context. The film is just over two hours. And we will immediately follow-up after the film with a brief Q & A.
I’m initially opening this opportunity to the immediate RJHS community, but I will open it to the general public later if there is room.
The film is not officially rated, but the distributors consider it a PG-13 film, and some of the material will not be suitable for young children. (Ignatius was a dicey fellow! And there are some scenes of violence and peril and other frightening images.)
If you want to know more about the film, visit the official website and you can watch the trailer there.
If you are unable to attend our screening at RJHS, you can take advantage of the same opportunity in North Denver sponsored by Regis University next Wednesday, April 26, at 7:00 pm at the Oriental Theater. More details at this LINK.

Some final announcements for you this month:

  • If you are interested in an Ignatian Day of Prayer for Easter, please see this great opportunity offered by our own Ignatian Spirituality Program of Denver next Saturday, April 29, 9:30 am-2:30 pm at Regis University. Follow this LINK for details and to register. Today is the registration deadline, but late registrations are welcome if the event is not full. This is on the same day as LARK, but still seems like a great way to lead into a great evening!
  • A reminder of our invitation to join www.Formed.org from last month from my colleague, theology teacher and fellow RJ alumnus, Alex Crane ’05.
    Regis Jesuit now has a great resource on campus called Formed. This online tool is often described as a “Catholic Netflix,” but beyond just movies and videos, it also includes programs, studies, radio theatre, audio talks and ebooks. Each person on campus will be able to create a personal account and access these materials for their own use, perhaps in a small community on campus or individually at home. There are certain items that will be advertised as “Featured Content” which correspond to the liturgical calendar. So in this season of Lent, there are many wonderful resources for you to explore, share and discuss to enrich your Lenten experience. Alex Crane ‘05 is the site administrator for our subscription to Formed. If you have any questions about Formed, starting an account, how to access the different types of content or any suggestions, please contact him at acrane@regisjesuit.com. In order to sign up and access the materials, go to www.formed.org. There you will be asked to set up a profile with your email and a “parish” code. Our “parish” code is JF4ZD7 – case sensitive. We have this great resource thanks to the generosity of the RJ Parent Community association, which we thank for their support and openness to this community subscription!

Jim Broderick King ’87 is Regis Jesuit’s Ignatian Identity Coordinator. He also teaches Latin, theology, English and even Ancient Greek in the odd year. He is in his 22nd year year of teaching at his alma mater and 24th year overall. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear the third Friday of every month.

David Card ’87: Organizational Assessment Update
4/7/2017

David A. Card '87As most in our community know, we have been engaged with an organizational assessment throughout this school year. The fundamental question we are attempting to answer is this: Are the current organizational structure and decision-making processes of RJHS optimal for accomplishing the school’s mission and if not, how can they be improved?

The question was originally identified in Regis Jesuit’s 2014 strategic planning process and was formally adopted for evaluation in June 2015. Since that time, we have collected significant and focused input from stakeholders including faculty, staff, trustees, parents, students, alumni and benefactors.

At the heart of the assessment is the way we have organized ourselves from the academic department level to the principal level where we have near complete duplication. And the question today is: Is this the best way for us to organize?

When Regis Jesuit made the decision in the early 2000s to expand its mission to include young women, organizing to serve both genders independently was the obvious choice. The boys school was thriving and no one desired to change its fundamental nature, and the expansion leaders recognized that the emerging Girls Division would need its space – literally and developmentally – in order to grow.

Today, it’s clear that these were wise decisions. Both Divisions are thriving, and student and parent satisfaction is high. The single-gender model continues to offer a uniquely supportive learning environment where students consistently report that they can “be themselves.” They spend less time worrying about how they are perceived by the opposite gender and more time learning. Without a doubt, the organizational assessment is not aiming to alter this winning formula.

But the question remains as to whether the duplication of so many roles is the optimal structure for us. Faculty and staff offered the following observations and comments during the strategic planning process:

  • As a co-divisional institution, Regis Jesuit lacks a clear vision about its identity according to teachers who are not always certain where directives are coming from.
  • Confusion and slow decision-making occur if the Divisions are expected to be individual yet identical. 
  • Faculty and staff worry that the model will become increasingly costly not only in terms of staffing but also in terms of energy expended in communications and gaining approval to move forward on initiatives.

These are the kinds of things we are trying to improve.

During the fall semester we collected a large amount of data from our constituents, and we organized a steering committee to help us synthesize the input and develop recommendation(s) for our Board of Trustees. The committee has met six times since mid-January and is working to have recommendations developed before the end of the school year. Presently, we are imagining alternative structures and evaluating their strengths and limitations.

The process, however, is not simply pragmatic. With the help of Jack Peterson of Managing for Mission, we are engaged in an Ignatian Group Discernment process. Jack describes the process this way:

A hallmark of the Jesuit way of proceeding is to make decisions based on an approach to Discernment described by St. Ignatius in the Spiritual Exercises. The essence of Discernment is to let our decisions be shaped by God’s will for us and, in this case, the school. It’s not easy for us as humans to know precisely what God’s will is, but if we are prayerful, patient, willing to let go of our preconceptions and open to the Holy Spirit speaking through our colleagues, we trust that God will encourage us in the right direction and bless our collective decision. 

The further we go with the discernment, the more important it will become for us to utilize both prayer and silence to try to determine how God is encouraging us. We are making great progress, and I invite the Regis Jesuit community to also keep this committee and its work in your prayers as they work to determine an ever better way for the school to serve its important mission. I look forward to giving another update in the coming months.

AMDG

Organizational Steering Committee Members
Mike Duncan – Chair, David Card ’87, Alan Carruthers, Kim Dyer, Katherine Fay, Gretchen Kessler, Bill Leer, Bill Maly, Jennifer Meyerrose, Tony Naes ’80, Rhonda Morroni, Jodie Prohira, Rev. Tom Rochford, SJ ’64, John Schmidt, John Schuster ’79, Rick Sullivan, Bryan Timme and Karen Wuertz


David Card '87 assumed the role as Regis Jesuit's first lay President in August 2016. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear the first Friday of the month. 

 

Sadie Wuertz ’18: Cultivating Youth Advocacy
3/24/2017

What does it mean to be an advocate? This question was heavy on my mind as I boarded my flight to New York City to attend the UN Commission on the Status of Women. I can’t remember exactly when my passion for social justice was ignited, but I know that advocating for women’s rights has been a driving force in my life ever since I read I Am Malala in middle school. So when I heard about this conference, I knew I had to go. First of all, who could pass up an opportunity to be in New York City and hear women in government all over the world speak at the UN about the small and large scale issues women face in the world today? Besides this, I was still searching for ways to go beyond just researching the global struggles of women. I wanted to know how a 16-year-old white girl attending private school in the United States could really be an advocate and make a difference for women less fortunate. So, what does it mean to be an advocate?

The first day in the UN was a bit of a shock; I saw diversity expressed everywhere I looked: women wearing hijabs; people conversing in French and Arabic; African women wearing traditional cultural dress; the girls next to me taking notes in Chinese; people speaking in beautiful English and German accents. I felt like I was in the midst of something more important than anything I had ever been a part of before That day we attended a session about modern slavery in a conference room that looked like something straight out of the Ministry of Magic in a Harry Potter book. I was surrounded by hundreds of people, and in front of me was a microphone, in case I wanted to contribute to the discussion. I felt like a real, 16-year-old diplomat. Men and women on the panel began talking about sex trafficking in Nigeria—the girls kidnapped, tortured, sold or killed by Boko Haram; families forced to work tirelessly to pay off debts from generations ago; and forced child marriages. As a woman on the panel told a story about a mother unwilling to send her daughter to school out of fear she would be given as a gift to a gang member, I thought about my life: how lucky am I to not be afraid to go to an incredible school with all girls? How lucky am I to not even have worried once about being forced to be married as a teenager to a man 30 years older than I? Somebody said something to me that has stuck in my memory: “women’s bodies have become part of the battlefield.” After the session, a woman told us about a website where you can answer questions about your lifestyle—what you wear, what you eat, what you buy, etc.—and it made me aware how many unseen people are working in adverse conditions to provide the comforts I enjoy. I encourage everybody to visit the site: www.slaveryfootprint.org. Participating in this session made me realize that the first step in being an advocate is confronting the truth about my own privilege.

I next attended a session in the UN about sexist hate speech. We sat on the ground in a cramped room while a woman spoke about how to define and recognize what it is and its detrimental effects on women. Because hate speech towards women is so common and almost encouraged by society, it is seen as less harmful as other forms of hate speech. In reality, it affects the majority of women everywhere daily. It can be found anywhere, from the Internet to sexist portrayals of women in advertisements. It silences women, plays with power relations, limits advancement, opportunities and income for women, and restricts women’s freedoms right under the general public’s nose. Learning about this, I knew that being an advocate is being aware of ways in which you and the people closest to you can be or have been directly affected by discrimination. Being an advocate is knowing that there are two options for victims: they can sit in silence and give power to their offenders, or they can stand up and trust the people around them to offer support. Being an advocate is offering support.

I went to several more sessions that opened my eyes in a big way, including “Combatting Violence Against Women and Girls,” “Investing in Refugee Women” and “Violence Against Women in the Workplace,” but I still felt as if a piece of the puzzle was missing for me. Women all around the world go through tremendously horrible things every single day, but what could I bring back to Regis Jesuit? “Faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” James 2:17. How can I preach the hardships and needs of women without actively helping? How can I encourage myself and my classmates to be advocates? 

On Thursday, our last day at the UN, I attended a session called “HeforShe: Mobilizing Men and Boys for Gender Equality.” This session talked about something called the Barbershop Toolbox, providing men with tools to start conversations about gender equality in male-dominated spaces. It was an honor to have eight of my brothers from the Boys Division on the trip as well, already engaging in this effort with the women at the UN. Gender equality goes beyond women struggling and women helping. Men holding other men accountable, men recognizing the damaging effects of traditional masculinity, and men being aware of their own power and privilege in order to be agents of change are all critical components of the fight for gender equality. One speaker said, “To uplift half of society, one must uplift the whole of society.” 

It was then that I realized that to be an advocate, all I need to do is start a conversation. In fact, one already began among those of us on the trip. Conversation is an entry point to making change on a smaller scale, and further down the road, making change on a larger scale. Bringing back what I learned to continue this conversation among my female peers, and just as important, among my male peers, is advocating for women. I’m a teenage girl. I won’t be ending world hunger or building schools for every girl on the planet anytime soon. But I can initiate a shift in attitude in my own community. For me, that is Regis Jesuit.

Opening a dialogue on gender equality is only a start, but it’s a pretty significant start. It’s a start created by an advocate.


Sadie Wuertz ’18 and 13 other RJ students – eight boys and five other girls – spent last week in New York City attending and actively participating in sessions on the UN Commission on the Status of Women’s annual conference. Regis Jesuit has been privileged to send students to this conference for the last four years due to the generosity of the Loretto Community, which helps underwrite the cost of the trip. 

JIM BRODERICK KING ’87: Delving More Deeply with the Life of St. Ignatius and with Our Catholic Faith
3/17/2017

Greetings and a continued blessed Lent to you all! We have a few seemingly disparate topics for you this week, but they all lead toward a deeper understanding of our mission and our faith.

First, I want to gauge our Regis Jesuit community’s interest in a brand new feature film – Ignatius of Loyola – a biographical movie that presents a dramatized version of the first parts of the life of our founder, St. Ignatius. You can learn more and see a trailer by following THIS LINK. In order to determine the viability of bringing this film to our community, I invite you to take this very brief survey by following THIS SURVEY LINK in the next several days. I will determine how we will proceed in engaging this unique opportunity by looking at your responses in the coming week. Thanks!

Secondly, I will say that I’m excited by the prospect of seeing this film myself for a number of reasons. One is that it certainly may be helpful for me in reflecting on this time of Lent and the approaching season of Easter. As I have heard from others, the struggles and triumphs of Ignatius’ experiences, as they are portrayed in the film, show the very difficult tension he experienced with his own sense of scrupulosity, that is his overwhelming spiritual and psychological wrestling with his own sin and his sense of shame. One scene in the film shows how Ignatius physically punished himself to excess in dealing with this scrupulosity. It would be a poor film and an inaccurate biography if it left us as viewers only with that scene. But, in truth, the beautiful spirituality Ignatius handed down to us acknowledges the other side of that tension: the distinct way Ignatius felt and knew God’s mercy – a mercy that demanded nothing like Ignatius’ self-destructive scrupulosity. My hope is that tension will be shown clearly in the film to give more heart to my prayer experience and the grace of Christ’s resurrection in my life. Seems like one great possibility in bringing this film.

The third and final point for you this week is a note from my colleague, theology teacher and fellow RJ alumnus, Alex Crane ‘05. Here is an important invitation to everyone in our community – students, parents, alums, employees and the wider community of those connected to Regis Jesuit. I give you the invitation in Alex’s own words:

Regis Jesuit now has a great resource on campus called Formed. This online tool is often described as a “Catholic Netflix”, but beyond just movies and videos, it also includes programs, studies, radio theatre, audio talks and ebooks. Each person on campus will be able to create a personal account and access these materials for their own use, perhaps in a small community on campus or individually at home. There are certain items that will be advertised as “Featured Content” which correspond to the liturgical calendar. So in this season of Lent, there are many wonderful resources for you to explore, share and discuss to enrich your Lenten experience. Likewise, Formed is featuring content to celebrate St. Patrick on this holiday! I (Alex Crane ‘05) am the site administrator for our subscription to Formed. If you have any questions about Formed, about starting an account, about how to access the different types of content or any suggestions, please contact me (acrane@regisjesuit.com). In order to sign up and access the materials, go to www.formed.org. There you will be asked to set up a profile with your email and a “parish” code. Our “parish” code is JF4ZD7 – case sensitive. We have this great resource thanks to the generosity of the RJ Parent Community Association, and we thank them for their support and openness to this community subscription!

Once again, have a blessed remainder to your Lent!


Jim Broderick King ’87 is Regis Jesuit’s Ignatian Identity Coordinator. He also teaches Latin, theology, English and even Ancient Greek in the odd year. He is in his 22nd year year of teaching at his alma mater and 24th year overall. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear the third Friday of every month.

Noah Simpson ’13: The Ability to Listen
3/10/2017

A few days ago I was talking to a professor of mine. She told me of how difficult it can be to get students to discuss the “hard” topics. A history professor, she constantly attempts to tie themes of America’s past into classroom conversations about current events. Discussions about race, different economic backgrounds, foreigners within the U.S. and religion can be hard to get going within a college classroom. Personally, I have sat through many silent classes, finding fellow students unwilling to approach these difficult conversations. 

It is not that these discussions are easy to have; it is that they are necessary and often liberating. Misunderstanding can lead to alienation of fellow students and human beings. I personally believe that silence leads to misunderstanding more often than conversation does. My university recently hosted a panel in which refugees from Europe, Africa and the Middle East came to share their stories with students and answer questions. Attending the event, I watched bridges of understanding being built as students attempted to conceptualize the experiences of being a refugee. The room was filled with an open, attentive energy, and it reminded me of my time participating in the Diversity Advocates Group (DAG) of Regis Jesuit High School. 

In my time with DAG, I learned one skill that has served me without end: the ability to listen. In DAG we often held classroom conversations in which students shared their opinions on current issues. Students were encouraged to share their experiences of life, whether they were “the norm” or not. Those of us in DAG had the wonderful opportunity to attend many different diversity conferences around Colorado. Conferences are comprised of speakers and workshops where people of many backgrounds share their experiences of life with others. Of all the events I attended, my favorite was Regis Jesuit’s very own Diversity Day. The day allowed students to engage the stories, culture and ideas of others, whether guest speaker or fellow student. 

I did not realize how rare this was at the time. Leaving Regis brought me to realize that the world does not care to listen. Your story, who you are, are not always welcome or appreciated. Recognizing that I had to find for myself the experience Regis had so generously given me, I engaged many different communities at Marquette University. I sought communities of shared understanding, places where I could feel known. A social justice community floor, study abroad experience, campus ministry participation and, nearly four years later, the ability to listen to others has shown me worlds I otherwise would have missed. I’ve spent time in the Philippines, time with the disabled, time on retreats with fellow students, and time in tension filled classrooms that nonetheless found their way through the hard conversations. 

Perhaps the greatest gift my time with DAG and Regis Jesuit gave me was the understanding that all of us are human, with personal stories to share. Learning to see the humanity of others opened me up to experience a larger view of the world. 


Noah Simpson is studying Digital Media and History at Marquette University and will graduate this May. He was invited to write this post for Inspire & Ignite in anticipation of next Tuesday’s 12th Annual Diversity Day Conference at Regis Jesuit. We are pleased to share his reflection as the first from a non-faculty alum of the school.

PEGGY FALKENBERG: SEVEN WORDS WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY DAVID CARD ’87
3/3/2017

David A. Card '87From David Card ’87, President of Regis Jesuit High School

Recently we extended invitations to more than 400 eighth graders who we hope will become the Regis Jesuit class of 2021. We will welcome them to campus on March 7 for New Raider Night, and this evening is really just that – a welcoming, and one of the first steps we take to invite new people in to the Regis Jesuit family.

I am delighted to defer my blog space for this month to Regis Jesuit parent Peggy Falkenberg, who describes what we aspire to achieve. I thank Peggy for sharing her experiences, and I join her in welcoming the class of 2021!


The Falkenberg Family

In 2011, my son, Bennett, and I attended our first Regis Jesuit event: New Raider Night. Bennett knew no one, but I knew Allison Langenderfer, and she happened to see us that night. She approached us and spoke to Bennett saying, "Congratulations on your acceptance to Regis Jesuit!" This doesn't sound like an extraordinary statement, but those seven words spoke volumes. You see, Allison reached out to our son and invited him in. Later that week, I saw Allison and thanked her for her generous spirit. She responded by saying, "we’re community; we belong to each other." Again, seven words. In that split second, I had a moment of clarity and realized that we, as a family, had entered a compassionate community of Men and Women with and for Others

New Raider Night is coming up next week, and I can't help but think what small gestures of love will pierce the hearts of the class of 2021.

Our compassion, however, is not restricted to one night a year. It is available to us every day through our seven-word identity of Men and Women with and for Others

And yet sometimes we pass on the opportunity to reach out and connect with one another. We pass on the opportunity to acknowledge that we are standing on common ground. We pass on the opportunity to realize that we are called to accompany each other on the journey.

How, you may ask, do we embrace these opportunities instead of letting them pass us by? How do we bring our community even closer together?

  • We remind ourselves that we chose this community. 
  • We remind ourselves that our children were chosen by this community.
  • We remind ourselves that we love our community.
  • We remind ourselves that our friends are part of our community.
  • We remind ourselves of the knowledge that there are people we disagree with in our community, but this does not keep us from loving them.
  • We remind ourselves that we don’t have all the answers and that daily learning is big part of our community.
  • We remind ourselves every day “We’re a community; we belong to each other.”

Peggy Falkenberg is the mother of Bennett ’15 and Owen ’18. We are pleased to feature her reflection as the first parent post for Inspire & Ignite

Courtney Haag ’17: Reflections on "The Opposite of Loneliness"
2/24/2017

I feel the opposite of lonely in Math Club. I started feeling it my sophomore year at Metro Math Day. Math can be such a lonesome subject. Not understanding the material, and worse yet not understanding what you don't understand. This recently happened to me in physics when my dad asked me what I was confused about and I said “that's the thing about confusion, you don't know what you’re confused about.” 

Freshman and sophomore year I felt lonely in math because I did not belong. I was a little freshman in a junior level class with people who were smart, but hated math, or not-so-smart and hated math or kind of liked math. But no one loved math like me, and for that I was lonely. I wanted to share my joy, but there was no one to share with. Freshmen are already weird. What kind of a girl enjoys doing math homework and taking tests, but brushes others off when they compliment her? I loved it, but I had no one to love it with me. 

Math Club wasn't much better. It was kind of like nerd convention. Like another math class except everyone there was smart. But, no one loved math just because. It was always something they were good at or they liked more than English. It still wasn't enough for me because I loved math just to love it. Then Metro Math Day came around and three days beforehand, my friend and I decided to go. I knew hardly anyone in the club, so I wasn't too thrilled to be with them all day. But I had my friend and any opportunity to skip all the rest of our classes and do math was a golden one because I loved math. 

I walked in to the competition and was filled with a feeling I had never felt before—the opposite of loneliness. I suddenly realized we all loved math, and we were not ashamed of it – at least not there. Back at school we may feel embarrassed for liking math because everyone else seems to hate it, but at Metro we were happy. And it was not some kind of community or gang. It was the reassurance that we were not alone; in fact, we were the opposite of lonely. We did math together and when we were right we laughed, and when we were wrong we laughed. We sat in that old church with high windows and made fun of each other for making mistakes, but we know it was all harmless because for the first time I did what I loved and was the opposite of lonely while I did it. 

Ever since that day, Math Club and math class have been new and without embarrassment. I still go with joy, and I like to do my math homework, but I know that although there are so few of us, with them I am the opposite of lonely. Perhaps it will not always be this way when we leave Regis Jesuit. But the opposite of loneliness gives me confidence like nothing else does. I am reminded of the joy I feel doing what I love and am not ashamed. Other activities may give me peace, like reading books; joy, like playing golf; or hope, like having lunch with friends. But the peace, joy and hope I have found in math is unlike any other. It continues on and is unchanging. It's the opposite of loneliness. 


This is a journal entry Courtney Haag ’17 wrote during Silent Retreat after hearing an essay from The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. We are pleased to share it as the first student submission for the Inspire & Ignite blog. 

 

 

Jim Broderick King ’87: What is it that you want? No, what do you really, really want? Talk to Jesus about it.
2/17/2017

It’s that time of year! I don’t mean the paralyzing boredom of weekends without professional football. I don’t mean the days when we see the flood of eighth graders accepted to RJHS, though that’s very exciting! I do mean the approaching time of reflection, fasting and giving in our Church calendar: LENT! This year’s Lenten weeks are relatively late in our calendar, but they still offer us a powerful and prayerful way to prepare for the joy of Easter. I mention it now since my next blog will be after Ash Wednesday, and I want to give you a chance to hit the road running as Lent begins in a couple of weeks. I don’t intend to dwell this time directly on Lent, but feel free to dig into the archives of Inspire & Ignite by scrolling down on this page to my post in February of 2016. There you’ll find my reflections on my absolutely favorite season in the Church year. I will also share some resources at the end of this blog post to bolster your Lenten experience.

This week I have been reflecting much on one special aspect of our lives in prayer and a hallmark of Ignatian spirituality: asking very specifically for one particular grace from God. Every formal time of prayer, as we are encouraged by Ignatius, especially in the Spiritual Exercises, should be punctuated by asking for a specific grace. Maybe it is the grace to follow Jesus more closely and love Him more deeply. Perhaps it is to enter Jesus’ suffering in a personal way. It may even be as simple as, “I want to be close to you, Lord.” In the tradition of Ignatian prayer, often a spiritual director can encourage us in how to phrase these graces, to really get down to what we desire. That is an exhortation a spiritual director will often use repeatedly, another important hallmark of our spiritual charism and a central question in discernment: “Friend, ask yourself and state what it is you truly desire. Then ask it of God.”

On one hand, as a spiritual director myself, I use that question a lot. And I am often reminded of the ending of homilies at Mass by some of my favorite Jesuits: “Now, close your eyes and talk to Jesus about that.” What a wonderfully disarming and simple command! But I am also reminded this week of how hard that question is to answer for many people. So, in order to illustrate how I think this quest for the perfect grace works, I offer the following completely hypothetical, but true-to-experience scenarios:

Scenario #1: I’m speaking with a young high school student. Let’s name the student Sam.

Sam, what do you want right now?

I really just want my parents and teachers to stop hassling me about everything.I get it, but what is it you really want?Well… I guess, like, you know, that even when I like mess up sometimes that adults would trust me more. I don’t really mean to you know like make mistakes.

Sure, we all want to have other people show us some patience. Still, after reflecting about it a while, what do you really, really want from God?

I just…I suppose what I want from God is to know He trusts me, that He trusts me to do the right thing and to use all my gifts in the right way.

That’s awesome, Sam! You should spend some time today talking with Jesus about that and ask for that trust.

Scenario #2: I’m speaking with an older student or a young adult. Let’s name this one Chris.

So, Chris, can you say what grace you want to ask for? What is it?

I suppose what I want is to feel less confused and overwhelmed.

You’ve talked a lot about the ways school and life can be overwhelming. What about this desire to be less confused? What’s that about?

Ya, I do feel busy all the time and like I just don’t have any down time with homework and a job and everything I have to do. But I sometimes feel confused about what is really important – what I would put first if I had to decide?

So many obligations and demands. It’s a wonder any of us manage it, but you seem especially taxed by it all. If you could tell God what it is that you most deeply desire, what would you say?

Honestly, I’d say I want to feel assured that I value the things that God wants me to value. I really want to know God is with me when I struggle to understand what’s most important.

Wow! Truly, Chris, I feel like what I know of God, He would love to hear you say that. And I’m positive God would assure you He is with you in that struggle, not to simply give you the answer you want but to appreciate the struggle with you. I think your prayer today should be a dialogue with God about that confusion and wanting Him to be with you.

Scenario #3: I’m speaking with an older adult approaching the age of retirement. Let’s name this person Pat.

It seems to me that you often spend time in prayer, Pat, praising God and thanking God. That is a great attitude and focus. But do you ever just come out and say to Jesus or to Mary or to God the Father what grace you desire?

Well, I’m tired. I love my work. I love my family. I love my friends and community. But at 65, I’m pretty tired. I kind of wish I just had freedom – the time to go fishing and time to travel. It seems like it’s time to retire, but I’m afraid that, if I did, I’d be lost.

I can only imagine how uncertain that feeling would be. You have been so involved and hardworking all this time. If you imagined for a while that you did retire, can you think of what you truly want your life to be like? How would you say that to God?

Like I said: free. Free from worry. Free from obligations. Free from being on time. Free from email.

How many deadlines have you met or emails have you answered in 40 years?! Amazing to ponder. Well, if you were free of all of that, then what would you really and truly ask for in God’s grace?

Freedom to know God’s presence and love. I’d want to know the kind of carefree life where I can feel God bathing me in His pride and love. I don’t want to be bored; I want to be busy, be engaged. But I want to do that because God wants to be busy with me.

Pat, you’re coming to know that you and God want the same things. Go and pray and say that to God. Go tell Him you have the same desires as He does and listen to what God says back to you. I think you’ll spend most of your conversation in laughter and celebration! 

OK, I’ll admit that these scenarios are a bit stilted, even hokey. They do represent some real discussions, albeit ones that have been dramatically condensed for the sake of this time and space and to illustrate a point. But they do have the authentic sense that all of us have very deep desires. Sometimes we have to get past the initial selfish or shallow or uncomplicated wants of every day and every person. Sometimes we need to be pushed a little to delve deeply into what we really, really desire, and we have to be given the confidence that God wants to hear, answer and SHARE our deepest desires.

This Lent, maybe a part of your prayer would be to ask for the grace you really, really want. You may be surprised that God’s answer is really, really the same. When you figure it out, go talk to Jesus about it.

If you want to know more about spiritual direction, read more here, or simply contact me (jbroderickking@regisjesuit.com), and we can chat!

Happy Lent, fellow sinners! (Again, see last year’s blog.)

Lenten Prayer Opportunities
A few here; more to come:


Jim Broderick King ’87 is Regis Jesuit’s Ignatian Identity Coordinator. He also teaches Latin, theology, English and even Ancient Greek in the odd year. He is in his 22nd year year of teaching at his alma mater and 24th year overall. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear the third Friday of every month. 

Jennifer Meyerrose: Teaching (and Experiencing!) the Creative Process
2/10/2017

You may have heard the phrase, “getting into the zone,” or “getting into the flow,” or maybe it’s “flowing into the zone…?(!)” No matter, all of these phrases reference the focus that you achieve when you lose track of time and are completely immersed in an activity. 

Artists call it the creative process, and it can feel like magic when you’re in its thrall. The trick is in teaching our students to find their way to it and then to create their own paths.

I am an art teacher, and I am an artist, but teaching the creative process and getting into my own painting process can be very different paths and processes. 

I teach AP Studio Art: Drawing and 2-D Design. In preparation for each project I ask myself, “What do I need to present, explain and demonstrate to help my students get into their process; to begin a dialogue with their work.

Typically, I start by exploring art history or by introducing an inspiration artist. Recently, we studied the art of Robert Rauschenberg. He created his work by blending aspects of painting and 3D objects for which the term “combines” originated. A very famous example of his “combines process” is Monogram, 1955-1959, which is currently on display in the UK at the Tate Modern. His work created a new artistic category.

Using Rauschenberg’s work as an example (as well as other artists and genres throughout the year), I set the parameters for the project through visual examples, demonstration and expectations. Then I set the students loose with materials! Students always generate many more ideas than I could ever fathom, which is very exciting to witness. I sometimes compare it to an episode of Chopped, where all of the chef contestants are given the same basket of ingredients but not one meal is the same. 

So, that’s one way to teach the creative process. For me as a painter, when I approach my own work, the process is very different.

First of all, I know that I must consistently and continuously paint. I’m not a student; I’m not waiting for an assignment or an exhibition opportunity to come along. I have to manifest my own purposes, which are based on years of research since my days as an art student. I read, attend exhibitions and seek conversations with other professional artists and colleagues.

But while the path to the creative process may be different for students than it is for teachers, our emotional and spiritual achievements are often similar. The actual creations may turn out to be wonderful and interesting, but the real growth happens inside, when we are allowed to ask questions and are given space to listen to the whispers. And thus, the creative process is very similar to our own calling as Catholics to listen for God’s whispers in our lives. I deeply believe that teaching the creative process in my art class leads my students to be better listeners to the wonders around them and to the gifts that God has given them.

Truly, art education is critical to the Jesuit ideal of educating the whole person – body, mind and spirit – because the creative process connects all three and helps students to be attentive listeners.

“Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.”
— Leonardo da Vinci


Jennifer Meyerrose is the Chair of the Fine Arts and Media Technology Department. She teaches AP Studio Art and Graphic Design. This is her 14th year teaching at Regis Jesuit. Her paintings can be viewed on her website, www.jennifermeyerrose.com.

DAVID CARD ’87: BITING IN TO THE CARE OF OUR COMMON HOME
2/3/2017

David A. Card '87I have to admit something I have failed at – at least so far. I downloaded Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ encyclical on Care for Our Common Home, but I haven’t managed to actually read it yet. I’m very interested in what he has to say, but I started to read it, and it’s a bit like eating a truffle – you can only take in so much at a time. And time seems to have grown more scarce for me this year!

So, imagine my delight when attending a conference with my fellow presidents of Jesuit schools recently, and on the agenda is Fr. Tom Reese, SJ, author of an NCR eBook, Caring for Our Common Home: A Readers’ Guide and Commentary on Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the Environment (2015). 

A Readers’ guide presentation! Just what I need! 

Only, this is not an encyclical for the happily comforted creature (i.e. the average American, i.e. me). I think Pope Francis’ letter challenges we Americans more than most, and it’s not easy to imagine how we would adopt the kind of ethos he is prescribing. We are so disconnected from the manufacture and disposal of our everyday way of living that we really don’t even know what our impacts are.

Francis is challenging us to face this.

He is a Jesuit after all, and true to form, he suggests that caring for our common home is not just an environmental issue, but also a social one. Our care for the most marginalized and our environment need to be integrated. They require the same disposition of seeing God in all things. Often I think our students are more keen to this than we are.

In a debriefing conversation after Fr. Reese’s presentation, we Jesuit school presidents were discussing how we are connecting to Pope Francis’ call to care for common home and there were several proud presidents talking about solar projects, geothermal temperature regulation, LED lightbulbs and even food-waste pulpers! Yet, how fast we presidents turned the conversation to the efficiencies (read: savings) to be won. Certainly a good result, but not exactly on point.

Perhaps it underscores the challenge we have of creating the disposition of heart we need to respond to the call. It made me appreciate our Vice President for Operations, Rick Sullivan, because I think he really has been trying to increase our consciousness at Regis Jesuit about the sustainability of the finite resources of our world. Mr. Sullivan has led the efforts on our campus to reduce our waste and energy consumption, and our latest project of adding solar panels to the roofs of our buildings. In all of these projects, Mr. Sullivan has a goal of connecting the effort to students and student-learning. So for this commitment, thank you Mr. Sullivan.

Pope Francis ends his encyclical with a road map and a charge:

  • We need to begin by considering a simpler lifestyle
  • We need to stop relegating our attention to our common home as optional or a secondary Christian response
  • We need to live in a way that recognizes our connection to each other
  • And our political activity should always be a response of love for people and our common home

So there you have it. The cliff notes from the readers’ guide with a twist of Regis Jesuit. Just like eating the truffle – take one bite at a time, but don’t give up. Our children are depending on us.


David Card '87 assumed the role as Regis Jesuit's first lay President in August 2016. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear the first Friday of the month.

RILEY PEICK: A DESIRE TO BE PRESENT
1/27/2017

Well, the spring semester is finally upon us and this, being Regis Jesuit, means a lot of things. Service Projects are in full swing; spring sports begin in a month; our annual LARK fundraiser is only three months away; and pretty soon seniors will be walking across the stage with their diplomas… See what I did there? At a school like Regis Jesuit, we sometimes look too far forward to the next great thing in our calendars. We forget about the other dozens of activities that keep our students on campus from the crack of dawn to the late evening every day.

When making the decision to volunteer a year of service with Alum Service Corps, I had a few options as part of the process, but Regis Jesuit stood out to me. It wasn’t just the fact that it included Denver with its awesome city life and the many breathtaking mountains nearby, although this definitely was a plus on my list. It was the co-divisional nature that interested me, with its great accomplishments in both academics and sports that excited me, and its amazing Service Program, which made me eventually say “yes.” What I saw on the school website and what I discussed with administrators when interviewing came to fruition as, within a couple months, I was busy helping coordinate Service Projects for juniors and seniors in both Divisions, teaching sophomore boys history and being an afterschool presence for those who needed a little bit more academic help.

The first semester of being a first-year teacher presented its challenges and successes, many of which resulted from the mindset I came in with. I approached it with the goal of having a lasting impact in my short one-year stint as a Jesuit educator. This proved to give me a lot of frustration. I needed to shift my focus. Instead of desiring to be loved, I needed to love. Instead of being a teacher who is not forgotten, I want, this semester, to be a teacher who never forgets. 

I never want to forget the small successes of every day and be a present presence in this school. What does this mean; to be a ‘present presence’? I want to be a teacher who engages with my students more than just every other day in class. I want to be a “sub,” as the students say, who does more than just give the students their assignment. I want to be more than the guy who emails people to do their service hours and actually engage with them in service with and for others.

Here are some of the things I am focusing on this semester and I invite you to participate in them too. I think anyone could benefit from these goals:

  • Attend school events – After a long day or an exhausting week, the last thing I want to do is drive back to school to watch a sporting event or listen to an arts performance, but being a part of the RJ community means going beyond your own self-interest and cheering for and participating with the whole Regis Jesuit community and not just those that work in the same areas we do. By doing this, I hope to feel more connected to the whole Regis Jesuit community.
  • Say thank you – I have learned this semester that Regis Jesuit is very good at being thankful and showing the love that has been shown to them. I sometimes take for granted the blessing Regis Jesuit has given me this year, so I want to show that I really am grateful, even if it just means saying thank you more.
  • Participate in the Examen – Something I take for granted most days, the Examen is five minutes of silence and reflection in a crazy, work-packed day. I usually use it as an excuse for a nap, but I want to start participating in the Examen, even if it means choosing one question to reflect my five minutes on.
  • Put my electronics down – This is something I have to tell my students about every five minutes… seriously. For me, this usually means I am typing away on my computer or turning to my phone when I have a break. I want to put the electronics down and walk the hallways to engage with students instead of hiding away in my office. I want to be forming real relationships instead of reading up on the latest gossip on Twitter.

This semester, I am focusing on my desire to be present. Present to my students, present to my colleagues, and present to all the wonderful things that happen in our Regis Jesuit community, each and every day.


Riley Peick is one of Regis Jesuit’s three Alum Service Corps (ASC) volunteers this year. He teaches two sections of World History in addition to helping in the Magis Learning Center, with LARK and in the Service Office, as well as with the girls JV tennis team. Riley earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in economics and minor in service leadership from Saint Louis University. Next year, he will begin work on a master’s degree in customer analytics at Xavier University.

JIM BRODERICK KING ’87: RIGOR! Mortis? and the Traditional Jesuit Education
1/20/2017

A blessed New Year to you all! I pray that this semester has begun with ardor and hope for our students, their families, our staff and all of our friends!

When I last wrote for this blog in December, I exhorted us all to embrace SILENCE, both the intentional absence of noise and distraction in our lives and the new feature film Silence by director Martin Scorsese. I hope you have found a way to make silence more a part of a meaningful day and prayer life; if not, keep going. I also hope some of you have or will see this excellent film about Jesuit missionaries in medieval Japan. A fair word of preface after my own viewing: it is a difficult film. Difficult subjects, difficult length (almost three hours), difficult theology. While difficult, Silence is a remarkable film, and I encourage you to take it in before it leaves after a predictably short run and when you find yourself in just the right mood. 

As my semester begins with the usual mix of chaos (snow day, special schedules, only two days to learn lots of new students’ names) and silence (oh, it is indeed relaxing to have half the Boys Division gone this week), I’ve given myself over in part to considering one aspect of our school’s values: RIGOR. It may seem like a strange topic, but some sense of rigor can help bridge the chaos and silence. Rigor can help set a tone for order and reflection. Still, in academic circles, especially Jesuit ones, we throw this idea around pretty liberally. In fairness, the priority of a “rigorous education” has been essential to Jesuit education for centuries and something for which we are renowned (infamous). For example, in our re-imagining of our mission, values and vision statement this year, we go out of our way to reference this rigor:

Regis Jesuit values a rigorous college-prep curriculum combined with an innovative approach to learning that develops the entire person and prepares students to respond to the challenges facing the world with new and creative solutions.

I myself often need to revisit what we mean by this. Like many “old” alums, I can become nostalgic about what I perceived as rigor in my RJ education – forceful discipline from hard-nosed Jesuits, scads of homework assignments, lots of red marks on my imperfect exams and so on. My nostalgia, I quickly remember, is misguided. Much of that perception of rigor is either embellished or, if accurate, sometimes cruel and capricious by current educational standards.

Still, we hear many teachers, alums and parents extol the virtues of “academic rigor,” yet I am not positive we all mean the same thing. Certainly we have to be careful not to think of academic rigor in the vein of the traditional definition: severe inflexibility and judgment; a state of uncomfortable, harsh or challenging circumstance; austerity in living; scrupulous adherence; etc. Such largely negative understandings of rigor, including the not accidental association with the physical condition of rigor mortis in corpses, probably do not fit well with modern sensibilities in education and, I would argue, with the purest form of traditional Jesuit education over the centuries.

As I said, over a 24-year career as an educator, I have exhibited the telltale signs of the stereotype of a rigorous teacher: harsh task master, an enforcer, one who demanded loads of classwork to create the perception that my subject and my class mattered because it was serious, challenging, rigorous. As time has gone on, and as we humans tend to do, I have softened in those demands which I now consider only “rigor for its own sake.” I am convinced more every day as a teacher that this misperception of academic rigor is the refuge of the insecure and uncreative. Studies are quickly revealing that more homework – sometime even ANY homework – has questionable value for students. So why did I insist 20 years ago on some arbitrary value of 45 minutes of homework every night in my class? That wasn’t valuable rigor. Why did I insist on not grading any paper that still had the little fringy paper scraps when students pulled the sheet out of a spiral notebook? Extreme and excessively rigid (though I admit I still find it extremely annoying). What I perceived as “academic rigor” decades ago as a teacher was little more than a power play for control and a thinly veiled distraction from my own insecurity and scrupulosity. Could it still be valuable? In fairness to some teachers, especially those new to the profession, sure. And I encourage each teacher to find the rules, expectations, the modus operandi that works in their case. But I also always caution that such initially demanding structures will soon be challenged by savvy students (and we do have some clever ones at RJHS!) who do not perceive the authentic and meaningful rigor underlying the expectations.

So, I began this semester with a largely new group of senior boys in theology, and I began, as teachers often do, laying out some basic expectations and hopes for the semester. I repeatedly said that my course and I are rigorous experiences; I emphatically stated that academic rigor would have its day in my class! The handful of students who had me last semester quietly chuckled, waiting for the sarcastic shoe to drop. They knew from experience that, despite my decades-old reputation as a “hard case,” that I have actually become an old softy who doesn’t assign a lot of homework, who asks kindly for rule adherence (multiple times) and who doesn’t often fly into a spasm of disappointment when my students miss the mark. You can imagine 18 year-olds just an arms-reach away from the glory of graduation and college will especially relish this which they perceive as liberty. I acknowledged and received their chuckles and knowing glances and admitted to my new students, “Ya, ok, these knuckleheads will tell you: I’m not gonna bust your chops too much with homework and all that.” A clear sense of relief spread through the room. However, I stuck to my guns and insisted, “This is still a rigorous class and I am a rigorous teacher. This isn’t because I will give you lots and lots of homework and demerits, but it’s because I think you and I both think this is an important conversation. This class is a dialogue, sometimes a debate, that requires us to be earnest in our attention and serious in our desire. Academic and personal rigor will prevail because theological inquiry is important and maybe, for some of you, your last formal chance to do it. You won’t get by with lazy thinking or half-baked arguments. If you can do that without doing homework, great. But I think we all know that we have to gird ourselves for philosophical debate and spiritual authenticity by preparing ourselves and sometimes humbling ourselves.” OK, I’ll admit it probably didn’t sound that prepared or patronizing, but I think I got the point across.

My point today: We all want a rigorous program of growth and education at Regis Jesuit. Let’s be sure that it isn’t the rigor mortis of tired and arcane expectations – stereotypes of private schools in the 1800s. Let’s reject the thin excuse of making learning difficult for the sake of being difficult, a methodology that is close to dead. Let’s rather emphasize the academic and personal rigor that comes with doing difficult but worthwhile things seriously and with integrity. Let’s celebrate the truth that excellence should require scrupulous preparation and that facing the real challenges and opportunities of the world demands close examination, in-depth reflection, deep humility and thorough mental and spiritual training. That to me is the best of academic rigor in a traditional Jesuit education. As a good product of such a rigorous Jesuit program myself, I await your thoughtful arguments in response!


Jim Broderick King ’87 is Regis Jesuit’s Ignatian Identity Coordinator. He also teaches Latin, theology, English and even Ancient Greek in the odd year. He is in his 22nd year year of teaching at his alma mater and 24th year overall. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear the third Friday of every month. 

JASON BEYER: STEAM - IT’S ABOUT VOCATION AND MISSION
1/13/2017

“All the things in this world are … created because of God’s love and they become a context of gifts, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily.” 

Principle and Foundation, by St. Ignatius of Loyola, trans. by David Fleming, SJ 


Two years ago, a broad collection of students, parents, faculty and community members met with a consultant to analyze and offer insight into Regis Jesuit’s present and future. Among the many ideas expressed, one shared and emphasized across all cohorts referenced the educational movement labeled STEM. At its base, STEM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Yet clearly the call to STEM and the Spirit underlying that call are insufficiently summarized by the names of academic disciplines. 

In the time that has followed, we have discerned that in our community, founded on the Incarnation, the inclusion of the Arts is vital. Beyond making the acronym STEAM, it conveys a holistic academic enterprise; it implies the embodied creativity that sustains all disciplines; and it strives to avoid a false narrowness in educating the sons and daughters walking through our halls.

Beyond this history, and the acronym, what does STEAM mean at Regis Jesuit? This is where the opening quote serves: Science and Math powerfully attend to the context of gifts presented to us in our world. They allow us not only to marvel at the complexity of the Creation, they offer us in partnership with Technology, Engineering and Arts the ability, design and desire to return love more tangibly. Our faculty articulate in this call to STEAM certain challenges and opportunities:

  • How do we break down the compartmentalized atmosphere of learning? How do we help our students fertilize their learning in one classroom with knowledge gained in another?
  • How do we help our students move abstract concepts into real world applications? How do we foment in their thinking an awareness of local, national and global issues and marry that to the content we are studying? In our Catholic imagination, how do the vulnerabilities many suffer under focus our intellectual pursuits?
  • How do we help our students develop an iterative mindset? How can we help them see that the products of human thought are the work of many attempts and failures? How do we help them develop the perseverance and grit necessary for articulate expression and useful innovation? 
  • How do we fan the flames of intellectual desire as they discover an enjoyment in a specific discipline? How do we offer students an accessible entry into a field, then further it by helping them see their talents and passions meeting the needs of our world?

STEAM is a process of education, not a product of education. It's a framework that fosters ingenuity in approaching challenges to health, sustainability and quality of life. Our world needs Regis Jesuit graduates with the head and heart to make a difference. Is that not what they desire as well?


Jason Beyer is Regis Jesuit's STEAM Coordinator. He also teaches theology. This is Jason's seventh year at the school. 

DAVID CARD ’87: BUDGETING BEGETS LOVE
1/6/2017

David A. Card '87It’s time to work on the budget!! Oh boy!

Truthfully, none of us really approaches budgeting with that much enthusiasm. Like most people I suppose, we tend to begin with a long list of desires that have to get culled down to wants, and then ultimately to needs. The questions we ask ourselves get harder and harder. Sort of like, “Do I really need to replace my toothbrush next year?” Okay, perhaps that is a little dramatic. The point is, we have to know where our core priorities lie.
Student learning is at the heart of the matter. And to help 1640 students learn we need good teachers, and lots of them. This is where budgeting begins. 

One of the things we have been working on for several years is making our faculty compensation more competitive with surrounding school districts to ensure that we can always hire the most talented people. Historically, Catholic school salaries have not been very competitive with public school teacher salaries. In the early days, Catholic schools were staffed by nuns and priests who lived in communities together, had housing and other basic necessities provided and no families of their own to support. This model was very effective in keeping the cost of private, Catholic education low. It was also fairly effective at legitimizing corporal punishment – but that’s beside the point.

Those days are long gone. Today, we know that if we expect to continue to have an excellent school, we’re going to need to provide competitive compensation for our teachers. The priority of next year’s budget is to continue our progress here. This naturally puts pressure on the cost of tuition (which puts pressure on families), so the second priority of our budgeting is twofold: to increase our budget for financial aid and to moderate the increase in the cost of tuition. We have been doing this steadily since 2012, and we will continue to do so next year.

Each of these priorities is critical to our primary mission at Regis Jesuit: to help our students come to know themselves honestly so that they can grow in an authentic relationship with God, so they can know that they are loved. Like other types of exercise we engage with to keep ourselves healthy, St. Ignatius has given us the great gift of his Spiritual Exercises to help us convey this to our students. It’s a privilege, really. 

Did you see how I did that? Budgeting begets love! If I say it enough, I might just believe it. Here’s to a happy and health 2017 to everyone in the Regis Jesuit community. 


David Card '87 assumed the role as Regis Jesuit's first lay President in August 2016. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear the first Friday of the month.

JIM BRODERICK KING ’87: SILENCE AND CONSOLATION IN ADVENT
12/16/2016

Here is a recommendation for a wonderful piece of music for your enjoyment and reflection this Advent and Christmas season: 4’33” by the avant-garde American composer John Cage. Perhaps you have attended a live performance of this memorable piece. You can certainly find some recordings on YouTube. If you would like to enjoy playing it for yourself, musician or not, I include the sheet music below:


I apologize that I can’t include a reproduction of the entire work here, but there just isn’t space. I’m sure you will intuit the rest of the work from the pattern. You can download the whole work on Apple Music for $1.99 – really!

That’s right; imagine you paid some exorbitant price for tickets to a performance of 4’33”, witnessed the pianist enter the stage to applause, then open his musical ‘score,’ sit on the bench, start a stopwatch, close the lid on the keys and sit for three movements of this ‘piece.’ Probably a minute or so into the performance, you might realize that the performer hasn’t simply frozen, but has perpetrated upon you a strange experiment or practical joke. The only sounds you realize you hear of this piece are the uncomfortable squirming, breathing and murmurings of a confused audience.

Quite a scene! Sometimes this is how I observe the reaction of people, such as my students, colleagues or participants in a retreat, who react to my suggestion that we spend some time in SILENCE for a prayer of five or 15 minutes. It’s a reaction of confusion, disbelief and, sometimes, even a bit of annoyance. I have seen it when I suggest to a group of seniors preparing for a silent retreat at Sacred Heart Retreat House that they will essentially be silent for three days. In our world today, with media, technology, traffic, work, hustle-and-bustle, true silence barely seems possible.

Lately, partly in relation to Advent and somewhat out of coincidence, I have encountered the word or idea of silence uncomfortably frequently. A recent daily reading in our Church from the Book of Zechariah reminded me: “Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD! For he stirs forth from his holy dwelling.” Certainly, such silence is a worthy sign of reverence. But silence can also be a grave human flaw. As we read Elie Wiesel’s Night in my class this month, and also while I watched the travesty that was happening in Aleppo, Syria this week, I encountered a quote of Wiesel’s that hit far too close to home: “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Beyond the simple discomfort of the patrons of 4’33” or my students on a forced separation from chaos and distraction, silence can be more than an inconvenience. It can be a true human sin.

More importantly and more appropriate for this season, I think silence is not only a wonderful luxury or enjoyable diversion but an absolute necessity! Do we not better know the mind of God when we silently contemplate His view of a world that desperately needs His Incarnation? Do we ever know the essence of the Holy Family’s plight on the first Christmas Eve if we don’t know their wordless moments on the journey to Bethlehem and the deep, quiet pause after Jesus’ birth? Can the carol Silent Night mean anything without the lack of sound and reflective space before and after the notes? Even when I am distracted by the literal and figurative noise of this season, I have a kind of sensory mantra that I use to bring myself to quietude: I remember and relive the moments when my five-year-old self lay beneath my family Christmas tree staring at the strands of tinsel, strings of blinking bulbs and the cardboard Nativity next to my head without another thought or sound to disturb me. 

No matter how uncomfortable or seemingly impossible true silence may seem to us, especially this time of year, we desperately need those silent moments to know how close God’s Incarnation, the infant Jesus, and the descending Spirit are to us. I wish you all a blessed Christmas season enfolded in deep and needed silence!

Note for later: Martin Scorsese’s newest feature film, Silence, based on the novel by Shusaku Endo, about Jesuits in medieval Japan will be released in the coming weeks. It does not appear to be scheduled in the Denver area soon, but keep your eyes open for the opening of this much-anticipated cinematic prayer in the coming months!


Jim Broderick King ’87 is Regis Jesuit’s Ignatian Identity Coordinator. He also teaches Latin, theology, English and even Ancient Greek in the odd year. He is in his 22nd year year of teaching at his alma mater and 24th year overall. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear the third Friday of every month. 

 

SAJIT KABADI: THE HUMILITY TO BE OPEN TO ADVENT’S CALL
12/9/2016

“And a little child shall lead them.”  - Isaiah 11:6

Advent is a time of anticipation and excitement as we celebrate the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Advent is also an invitation to be more open to God’s call to holiness, which calls all of us to deeper humility. The traditional definitions of humility include modesty and humbleness, but humility in Christian spirituality calls for much more. 

Christian humility is the constant reminder that the gifts, talents and people all of us have been blessed with come from God. It is a humility that regularly acknowledges gratefully the mercy of God for our sinfulness and limitations as human beings; this was exemplified by the Year of Mercy called for by Pope Francis. And finally, humility is the grateful acknowledgement that without God, we simply would not be, and that everything we are and possess comes from and will eventually return to God. 

Every school year, I begin all my theology classes teaching my students that a path to Christian holiness requires a deep personal humility; through which God calls each one of us to a unique mission of holiness utilizing the many blessings that God has blessed us with to build his kingdom. This is wonderfully expressed in the Jesuit First Principle and Foundation to live, first and foremost, to praise, reference and serve God in his glory in everything we do.

Throughout Advent, I am always awed by the examples of humility in the Gospel readings. Holy women and men with humility being open to God’s literally putting their lives in the hands of God to lead us to Jesus. Whether it is Elizabeth receiving Mary as “blessed among women” or John the Baptist preaching a Baptism of Repentance and baptizing Jesus himself before humbly leaving the public stage. Or Joseph, being open to God’s will, taking Mary as his wife, despite her being pregnant with child, and becoming Jesus’ earthly father. And of course, Mary declaring herself “the handmaid of the Lord” and becoming the mother of our Savior. All of these figures displayed great humility and, in the words of Karl Rahner, “reoriented the self” towards God. They were open to God’s call to Holiness and to greater things beyond what they could have ever imagined. Are we willing to be as open? What will it take for each of us to reorient ourselves to the Lord this Advent season?

During this Advent, let us pray that all of us in the RJHS community with great humility will be more open to placing ourselves in the presence of God. That, through prayer, we might create a larger space in our daily lives for God’s grace and love to enter into our hearts. Let us pray that we will be more communally open to discerning his will and mission for us as a Catholic Jesuit apostolate. And finally, let us pray that this season of Advent helps us to proceed with great humility towards a deeper relationship with our Savior in how we live our lives and interact with each other—a Savior who dwelled among the poorest of the poor, the marginalized of the marginalized, and the humblest of the humble. 

“And a little child shall lead them.” - Isaiah 11:6


This is Sajit Kabadi’s 13th year of teaching at Regis Jesuit. He has a doctorate in educational leadership and innovation and teaches freshman and senior theology.

 

 

DAVID CARD ’87: MISSION POSSIBLE
12/2/2016

David A. Card '87Sooo…big day today. 

This evening I will be formally recognized by the Provincial of the Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus as the “Director of the Work” – otherwise known as President of Regis Jesuit High School. I’ll be formally asked by Jesuit Provincial Fr. Ron Mercier, SJ if I am prepared to promote the Jesuit Catholic mission of the school, a mission of ‘mercy and Good News for Colorado.’

I am!

But not so fast, he’ll say. There’s more. 

Will you shape your decisions in accordance with the mission of the Society of Jesus, by a commitment to a faith that does justice through interreligious dialogue and a positive engagement with culture?

Will you regularly enter into dialogue with the Society of Jesus through its legitimate superiors concerning those matters that touch directly upon its Jesuit Catholic mission?

Will you foster within the Regis Jesuit community its Jesuit Catholic mission, through a pattern of leadership patterned after Christ who came to serve and not to be served?

Gulp!

At this stage I imagine I might close my eyes and breathe deeply before committing, “Yes, I will.” 

It’s a big deal for sure. But I’m ready. It won’t be the first time I made such an audacious commitment in our very own Blessed Rupert Mayer Chapel. Almost exactly 15 years ago, my wife Janalee and I stood in front of the baptismal font with our first child and received a similar challenge:

You have asked to have your child baptized. In doing so you are accepting the responsibility of training him (her) in the practice of the faith. It will be your duty to bring him (her) up to keep God's commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor. Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?

We did, and we still do.As every parent knows, it’s not easy, and we’re not going to do everything perfectly. But our commitment is one of immense faith and love, and of knowing that we are not going it alone. It really is a similar commitment after all. 

This evening, the Jesuits will also commit themselves to supporting me and the work of Regis Jesuit High School.

We will work with Mr. Card in helping Regis Jesuit serve many more generations of students in the light of the Gospel, and for the sake of our broken world. We commit ourselves to this cooperation today, and now ask Mr. Card to accept a mission from the Society of Jesus as our sign of support for him in his new role at Regis Jesuit.

Tonight I will prayerfully and joyfully accept the mission of Director of the Work at Regis Jesuit High School. It won’t be an easy mission and I’m sure I won’t do everything perfectly, but I make the commitment in immense faith and love. I hope you will pray for me, for my success in protecting, conveying and growing the mission of Regis Jesuit High School, and for the community our mission will serve.

AMDG


David Card '87 assumed the role as Regis Jesuit's first lay President in August 2016. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear the first Friday of the month.

Jim Broderick King '87: The Expanding and Shrinking (Ignatian) World—The Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice
11/18/2016

While our world is growing (a population now approaching 7.5 billion people, new discoveries in science and technology, increasingly interdependent economies around the globe), one can’t help but realize that our world is rapidly shrinking (swift communication, accessible travel, intertwined global relationships). We see this both in the extraordinary opportunities and tensions that we experience every day and in the media, with last week’s political developments making that even more real.

Whether prepared or not, the world of Jesuits and Ignatian institutions is facing this same dynamic: expanding (number of institutions, greater collaboration with the laity, diversity of mission) and shrinking (interconnectedness across international boundaries, digital engagement, the feeling that we are all just about three degrees of separation from anyone in Jesuit works). I often say, quite anecdotally, that Jesuit education in the U.S. seems to be one of the few places where educational opportunities are rapidly expanding—schools are growing in size, new schools and new models are being opened annually, secondary and college opportunities are expanding to grade schools and beyond graduate schools with Jesuit sponsors, online learning steadily increases to allow American Jesuit universities to offer opportunities to refugees in the developing world, and Jesuits have now broached the realm of community college opportunities in Chicago. With a Jesuit Pope and witnessing perhaps the most internationally diverse General Congregation ever last month electing the first non-European Jesuit Superior General—the Jesuit footprint is growing. But, as Jesuit vocations decrease in most of the world, as more lay people are given the reins to Ignatian efforts, and we more readily encounter the needs and gifts of Jesuit works around the world, there is no doubt that the perceived distance between our worldwide missions is shrinking. In the realm of education, just look at this collection promoted by the Jesuit Schools Network, an initiative called Hemispheres.

I have been keenly aware of this dynamic these past couple of months, as I have travelled the U.S. for a variety of opportunities for dialogue in shared mission with Jesuits, Ignatian educators, and students from around the country and from other nations like Canada, Mexico, Germany and Ireland. This struck me most deeply when I spent some days in Kansas City a few weeks ago and got to spend an evening of conversation with a Puerto Rican Jesuit, now working at Cristo Rey High School in Houston serving mainly Hispanic and African American students—a conversation about the experience of and ministry to LGBTQ+ students in our schools. So many layers to that moment!

Most recently, I travelled to Washington, D.C., for the Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice (IFTJ) with five students (Katie Maxfield '17, Kate McDonald '17, Georgia Ray '17, Matthew Nguyen '18, and Nick Faber '18) and two colleagues (Jamie Cordia and Kirstyn Dutton '08). There we met over 2000 students from Jesuit high schools and colleges from around the country, even middle schoolers, and some from Mexico, Canada, and Central America. The IFTJ, an event that has existed in some form since 1996, is sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network and has always centered around memorializing the martyrdom of six Jesuits and their two women colleagues at the University of Central America in El Salvador in 1989. While in D.C., our delegation shared experiences directly related to social justice: touring the National Holocaust Memorial; hearing speakers of all ages speak about racial conflict in their communities or their local efforts at addressing climate change; meeting Native American students from our high school in Red Cloud, South Dakota, who are learning about and opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline; or rallying on Capitol Hill to advocate for national policy reform in immigration and criminal justice. The RJ delegation made a special connection with Jorge Palacios '14 (a member of the Regis University delegation). Jorge was speaking to the whole IFTJ on the topic of some of his own research and his own family’s experience—Mercy in Immigration: A Systematic Look at Context and Relationship Between the United States and México. Look for an upcoming feature on Jorge’s presentation in RJ Media by our own Katie Maxfield and Nick Faber, who interviewed Jorge. Our students were taken aback by the sheer size of this effort but also the true ‘family’ feel to the exchanges, whether celebrating Mass together or praying for all Jesuit and religious martyrs for justice of recent decades or singing hymns in Spanish. For our five students, the Ignatian world became quite large and quite intimate at the same time last weekend.