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!


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David Card ’87: Magis—Change for the Greater Good
12/8/2017

David A. Card '87Today is a chance to catch my breath following a lot of work on the Organizational Assessment Steering Committee, and especially after trying to communicate the results of that work with equal doses of clarity and assurance. I hope it worked.

As we got started with the process last January, several people heard me comment along the way that were it not for the prompts from the community and the Board of Trustees, I would have never been so audacious as to suggest in my first year as president, “Hey gang, why don’t we evaluate our organizational efficiency and effectiveness? Who’s with me?!”

But as we got deeper in to the work, and as I conducted some 60 one-on-one meetings with faculty and staff from across the campus alongside the committee’s work, I began to see the prompt from the community and our Board of Trustees as a grace.

The deeper I went, the more clear it became that our community is very proud of who we are and what we are doing, but we can be better nonetheless.

Consider the context. All of input we collected from a massive amount of survey data, focus groups and listening sessions indicated that parent and student satisfaction was pretty darned high. Coupled with the fact that we are operating at about 105% of enrollment capacity, these indicators might lead one to wonder if we’re thinking straight. Something is clearly working right.

In my case, I was reminded of Regis Jesuit’s context back in 1999. I had just been hired as the school’s development director, and the Board had determined that it would embark upon a capital campaign to expand the (then all-boys) school. The school was so full and demand was so high, we didn’t know where to put all of them. It was time to expand the building to create more opportunities.

Within a few months on the job, the board chairman sort of casually asked me, “Hey Dave, what would you think if we were to create a girls division?” The short answer is that I was immediately supportive—but this is beside the point, and maybe fodder for a future blog.

The point is, Regis Jesuit was on cruising mode. Things were going great. It was preparing to expand to meet the demand for boys, and yet the trustees paused to consider, “Should we do this?” Their discernment was rooted in an obvious imbalance in the number of opportunities for girls to receive a quality Catholic high school education in the metro area, versus those available to boys. Families desperate for the opportunity to give their girls a Catholic high school education had presented a compelling case to an institution that prides itself on developing the ethic of service to others in its students.

Now, let’s be honest. Regis Jesuit was the least likely candidate to respond to this need. After all, there were two other co-ed Catholic high schools in the metro area, and one all-girls Catholic high school. Can’t they do it? I mean, didn’t these families read our sign?

Well, that Board of Trustees did respond to it, and it was one of the boldest and best decisions Regis Jesuit ever made. Despite the very obvious fact that the school was thriving, it entertained the possibility that it could yet be better. In Jesuit-speak, we refer to this kind of choice as the magis. Where you have two obviously good options, choose the one the serves the larger good—the one that gives greater glory to God.

I don’t mean to compare the magnitude of that decision to the ones we are making today, but the point is, yes, things are going well, but we can imagine something better. And we ought to reach for the better.

Over the last 30 years, Regis Jesuit has demonstrated several times that it is willing to make significant changes in belief that there is something better to be accomplished, and we prepare to do so again. I am convinced that this opportunity is before us now, and it is indeed a grace. 

Together with my colleagues, we will go to work on implementing the best possible organizational structure we can to administer our unique, beloved, co-divisional school—an effort we have dubbed Regis Jesuit 2020: A Sharper Vision. And we’ll do it for the greater glory of God.

AMDG


This is David Card's '87 second year as Regis Jesuit's President. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear once a month, generally on the first Friday, throughout the school year.  

 

Alicia Ziegler: In Line
12/1/2017

Christmastime. It brings out the inner child. Ribbon candy? Snowball fights? Shaking presents? Absolutely! Another year of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Holiday Inn! Charles Dickens himself reminds us, “For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.”  

Being a kid waiting in that line for Santa is exhilarating, boring and perhaps anxious, as you remember the naughty things you have to confess…but Santa already knows. He has presents though so it’s worth the wait! Surrounded by the wonders of elves and snow globes and mounds of cottony snow the excitement swells. A jillion of other kids just like you all shiny faced and wearing their Sunday best waiting to see the red velvet and white fur clad St Nick. 

There’s a quote that reads, “No matter how many kids are waiting to see Santa, you can’t open up another line with a second Santa.” Huh. Ponder that for a moment. Here we all are in line, waiting to see the one Giver of all Gifts, not Santa—Christ the Lord. There is no other substitute. And maybe while we are waiting it is not all about what we are going to get, but it is about what we are doing while we are waiting in this line called life. 

We are, each of us, in a line, “on a road going toward home, but we’re not trying to get there for Christmas. We’re trying to arrive home safely to our loving Father in heaven. He wants us to make it safely there so he sent us a guiding light to follow: a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, the perfect example.” (Margaret D. Nadauld). Some of those in line with us are not having bright days; some are lonely, sad or weary. God gives us this opportunity to be a blessing to those on the road with us. 

In the meantime, it’s okay to be a child in our December days. Author Rosencrans Baldwin reminisces, “As a child I was bonkers for Christmas the month of December. I couldn’t sleep from anticipation.” I say, bring with you joy for those around you, with you, waiting in line. Sing and be merry, have a second cup of good cheer, pray for, and show kindness and love for those who are there in front of you and behind you. 

A merry heart does good like medicine. - Proverbs 17:22

Merry Christmas!


Alicia Ziegler teaches Spanish in the Boys Division. She has worked at Regis Jesuit for 11 years. 

Jim Broderick King ’87: A Huge Scoop of Ingratitude on my Thanksgiving Day Plate
11/17/2017

This is our time of year as Americans to take a long, relaxing weekend with family and friends and spend one of those days offering a personal and communal expression of gratitude. Big balloons in a parade; weird root vegetables that we only eat this time of year; binging on bad football (Really, are the Detroit Lions ever going to be worthy of this day?); televised dog shows; short family reunions with people we begrudgingly see just this one time a year (likely to fight over a meaningless board game); high school seniors answering the question for the seeming 1000th time: “Sooooo, what’s the college plan for next year?” It does seem a bit redundant and slightly, if only temporarily, painful. Yet, we make sure to bring ourselves to the table this time every year, our national day of overindulgence and gratitude—Thanksgiving!

Well, it may seem my enthusiasm for our collective holiday may be waning a bit. Yes, I could show a little more enthusiasm, maybe a more humble posture and an authentic awareness of all that I and we have as gift from family, nation and God. But isn’t my “harrumph” a bit understandable considering what crosses my mental vision these days? Disturbing numbers of mass shootings in recent weeks, daily updates on the latest sexual assault by renowned people, natural disasters, political tensions…fill in the blank. 

Times like this, I actually do hear the words of St. Ignatius in the back of my mind. Our patron wrote to a fellow Jesuit in Portugal in 1542: 

“It seems to me, in light of the divine Goodness, though others may think differently, that ingratitude is one of the things most worthy of detestation before our Creator and Lord, and before all creatures capable of his divine and everlasting glory, out of all the evils and sins which can be imagined. For it is a failure to recognize the good things, the graces, and the gifts received. As such, it is the cause, beginning, and origin of all evils and sins. On the contrary, recognition and gratitude for the good things and gifts received is greatly loved and esteemed both in heaven and on earth.”

Dang it, Ignatius! Not only is my lack of gratitude and crummy attitude sinful, you call my mindset the root of all sin! Seems a bit hyperbolic to me.

Then, Jesus has to dig in. Last Wednesday’s Gospel reading from Luke 17. So, Jesus heals ten lepers. Only one leper returns to Jesus to thank him, a low class foreigner Samaritan no less. (Coincidentally, my students know the story of my own high school theology homework: “Read the whole Gospel of Luke tonight.” And one of the questions on the quiz the next day was: “In chapter 17, how many lepers were there?” I’m still ticked-off that I got that capricious and ridiculous question wrong!) 

Dang it, Jesus! You really want to crush me over the head with a Gospel club this week, huh? Not only does Jesus praise this grateful Samaritan leper, he also seems to just let the other nine go on their happy and healed way without so much as a lightning bolt or the return of just one leprous scab as a punishment for their ignorance.

So, like the leper who didn’t curse God or Jesus for his disease but thanked them for the healing, I supposedly need to let my heart grow beyond the sexual abuse crisis and at least be grateful that women have found an important voice. I have to see beyond the petty political battles in our nation and see the healing union of citizens polarized in opinion find a common ground over a celebratory meal. While I can be overwhelmed by the destruction of hurricanes and earthquakes, I should be gob-smacked with the grace of people who give so much to soothe grave wounds. 

Like many of us, I can get a bit squirrelly about getting up early on a Sunday to go to Mass, and then, when I go, I am reminded of that amazing Greek word—εὐχαριστία = the Eucharist = “well-graced” = “thanksgiving.” I go to the Thanksgiving table every week with Jesus, and that grace is a happily redundant exchange between me and God, in the company of family and community, the both of us saying “thank you” to one another.

Well, lesson learned. My waxing bitterness in this world of war, assault, divisiveness, murder, ignorance, carelessness and hate is itself a sin, but Ignatius was right. My bitterness grew from the source of all sin—ingratitude. Touché, Santo Nacho, touché. 


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 23rd year of teaching at his alma mater and 25th year overall. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear the third Friday of every month during the school year.

PAUL MULLER: A PILGRIM’S JOURNEY
11/10/2017

On the last days of this past February, David Card ’87 sent an email to the faculty and staff about an opportunity being extended to faculty and staff of Jesuit schools in the Central and Southern Province. The Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies at Boston College had space in the experiential learning portion of their certificate program in Advanced Jesuit Studies. The invitation was to join the two-week immersion trip portion of the program that included ten days in Spain and four days in Rome, Italy. Reading the brief description of the trip available online, I immediately expressed interest. A few hours later I received a call from David saying something to the effect of “Do you have a current passport? Because you are heading to Europe this summer.” 

A brief moment of panic struck me. I am married and the father of two young boys under the age of five and being away from home for more than a few hours with our feisty and inquisitive boys is a large ask. Let alone two weeks on the other side of the Atlantic. When I explained to my wife that I had been offered this opportunity, she was so very excited for me. We both knew the implications for us and our family, but in her words, “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, you have to go.” 

Fast-forward a few months, I hop a red-eye flight to meet the rest of this cohort in Boston, and several hours later we are stepping off a transatlantic flight in Madrid. The pace of the trip was incredible; we were in 13 different towns and locales in the first nine days all across northern and eastern Spain. The pace of travel ‘slowed’ in Rome where we visited more than 15 locations during our four days. We explored larger cities like Burgos, Pamplona, Manresa and Barcelona, along with small villages like Azpeitia, Javier, Zaragoza and Verdu. We even found ourselves in national parks and reserves in Aranzazu and Montserrat. 

The entire trip was amazing. But in the hopes of providing a clearer glimpse of the overall experience, I am going to focus on the time spent in the town of Loyola, the ancestral home of St. Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits.

Loyola is located in the heart of the autonomous Basque region of Spain about 75 miles due east of Bilbao and about 30 miles southwest of San Sebastian. During the five-hour drive trip from Madrid, we drove through agricultural lands of north-central Spain before beginning the climb into the hills and mountains of the Basque country. This drive felt quite familiar; it was eerily similar to the mountain highway drives of Colorado, including the two lane switchbacks. As we climbed through mountain passes, I remember thinking, “I need to share with people back home just how similar the terrain was to so many locations in the mountains of Colorado.” 

Loyola itself sits in the Urola River valley, on the west side of the town of Azpetitia. The Urola River was chock full of plainly visible wild trout and had me wishing I had brought my fly rod, but I digress. Our accommodations were in Hotel Arrupe, which is located ten yards from the Loyola family castle, now enclosed within the walls of the Basilica de Loyola. It was a steamy summer evening, and the hotel was without air conditioning. 

That proved fortuitous, as I was able to capture the picture to the right from my hotel window with a few of the orchards and hillsides nearby. 

The view would have been the exact landscape that a young Ignatius would have seen from his bedroom window during his convalescence from his now famous cannonball injury that sparked his conversion and started him down the road to founding the Jesuits. 

We spent the next morning touring the Loyola family castle and celebrated Mass in the conversion chapel now located in the bedroom space where Ignatius first acknowledged his calling from God. The afternoon found us visiting the Bascilica de Loyola and the adjoining library that also housed the Loyola family archives, where we were able to peruse and page through 500-year old documents like the ones pictured to the left below.

Following dinner and seminar discussion we were free to walk the grounds and visit the town of Azpetitia. We enjoyed the evening in the city square, tried to learn a bit of the Basque language and to better understand the current politics of the area. The following day, we visited the church where Ignatius was baptized and the hospital where he served the poor and sick. We celebrated Mass in the same chapel of a 13th century hermitage where Ignatius attended Mass. 

At every location, we had unfettered access. Our tour guides and the scholars from Boston College shared remarkable insights with us on the historical significance of these places for Ignatius and the impact that could be traced to his later life. The trip proved to be part historical exploration of the life of St. Ignatius, as we traced the significant stops of his life and part pilgrimage through the foundation of the Jesuits and the lives of Ignatius and his early companions. 

For me it also provided a wonderful opportunity to grasp better the significance of the historical places I have long heard so much about—walking the grounds of Loyola; sitting quietly in the cave at Manresa; visiting the church of the Gesu and Jesuit Curia in Rome; even attending Mass in St. Peter’s square celebrated by Pope Francis; along with exploring new and less familiar places like the strikingly beautiful mountain town of Aranzazu with its box canyon and granite peaks; the remarkable ancient and modern city of Barcelona and La Sagrada Familia and the breathtaking Montserrat; visiting the Vatican observatory, St. Paul’s Outside the Walls and Santa Maria Maggiore, the Pantheon, Forum and Coliseum in Rome—all expanded the scope and enhanced my experience well beyond the life of Ignatius and founding of the Jesuits.

As I reflect back on this trip, I am so very grateful for the people who journeyed with me, for the guides and scholars who provided so much color to the experience, for those here at Regis Jesuit who made it possible and for my wife who created the space and time for me to go. I would whole-heartedly recommend the Certificate in Jesuit Studies program to anyone, in any walk of life, striving to learn more about faithful leadership through the lens of the Jesuits. 


Paul Muller is the Director of Admissions in the Boys Division and has worked at Regis Jesuit for seven years. He also previously worked in admissions at Boston College High School and his alma mater, St. John’s Jesuit in Toledo, Ohio. 

Maria Lynch: What Would Jesus Do? He’d Rip Off the Roof
10/27/2017

“Some men took a man who was not able to move his body to Jesus. He was carried on a bed. They looked for a way to take the man into the house where Jesus was. But they could not find a way to take him in because of so many people. They made a hole in the roof over where Jesus stood. Then they let the bed with the sick man on it down before Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the man, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” Luke 5:18-20

A professor in college once explained Jesus as a person who constantly broke down power dynamics he encountered, inviting the marginalized and misunderstood (lepers, tax collectors, prostitutes, the divorced and those with disabilities) back into community. As a searching college student full of questions about power dynamics in the world and the Church, this image of Jesus as a radical crusher of these disparities was totally captivating. 

Jesus doing just that in order to hear the paralytic’s confession has particularly stuck with me as I parse out what it means to follow Christ’s model as a student and a teacher. I ask myself:

  • Whom have I not made room for—in my class, in our school, in society? 
  • Whom have we made our patients rather than our teachers? 
  • Who in our community isn’t known or loved? 
  • How can we rip off the roof to invite them in? (Don’t worry, Rick Sullivan, I mean (mostly) metaphorically!)

These questions are at the heart of the mission of Catholic and Jesuit schools, and I’ve been lucky in my short time here to see them being asked and answered by our students, faculty, staff, administrators and parents. 

I see it in the students who showed such love for our bus driver and guides on the Guatemala trip and in the kind words of encouragement and appreciation offered by parents on Back-to-School Night. I witness it in the acceptance of prospective and transfer students and the thoughtful planning of Advisement activities for their peers by the Diversity Action Group. I marvel at it during the Elevate publishing nights and Special Olympics basketball games, where passionate teens work for social justice. I see it in teachers’ careful differentiation of lessons, and the Admissions and Financial Aid teams’ tireless efforts, all to reach more students. I see it in the reflection, “How can we do better?” posed by both students on the Homeless Plunge and RJ’s own administration. I feel it in the welcoming of a new(ish) Spanish teacher who wasn’t sure what to expect in an all-boys environment.

As we continue to define how our school’s mission can answer the needs of today’s world, let’s keep “ripping off the roof” and inviting more people—more of Christ—in. 


Maria Lynch taught English and Spanish in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, before recruiting and helping form new educators in the University of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education Teaching Fellows program. This is her second year at Regis Jesuit. She teaches Spanish and helps with Elevate magazine, Rowing Club and the Diversity Action Group.  

Jim Broderick King ’87: My Principle and Foundation
10/20/2017

Ignatian spirituality—it’s what I do. I do it here at Regis Jesuit. I do it in my work outside of Regis Jesuit. If I’m really good, I do it at home, in family and with friends. Most of all, I try to do this whole thing with God through Ignatian spirituality influencing my prayer.

I use the word “do” in reference to this endeavor because I really think of it as action – choices, experiences, movement – as St. Ignatius says, “Love is shown more in DEEDS than in words.”While Ignatius’ spiritual outlook and program infuses so much of my life (and I hope for many of you as well), I need to remind myself “To what end?” I need to answer that “why” question more and more frequently as life goes on.

I find the ready answer in Ignatius’ own words at the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises, in his words of the “Principle and Foundation” where he lays out why we exist as creatures of God and how we should approach that existence in our freedom and relationship with God. Ignatius’ 16th century language is heady, even in translation. It can be intimidating, abstract and frankly strange for our modern ear. One thing I sometimes do and encourage others to do as well is to “translate” Ignatius’ intent into my own language and experience. Below I list on the left hand side the more traditional translation of the “Principle and Foundation” and on the right hand side, my own articulation of it as I have come to know it in my life. I offer it to you, not as a real and reliable translation but as an example of how you might translate it for yourself.

The Principle and Foundation, from St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises - Traditional Translation by Eldar Mullan, SJ        The Principle and Foundation, from St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises – BK’s Individualized Adaptation for Reflection
Man is created to praise, reverence and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul.And the other things on the face of the earth are created for man and that they may help him in prosecuting the end for which he is created

 

  God, I know that you created me, not at all to satisfy your own need for magnification, but to know you more deeply through praise, love and service. You show me that your greater glory is when my fellow human creatures and I are most fully alive. All of your creation is your gift to point me more closely toward you and to help my soul.
From this it follows that man is to use them as much as they help him on to his end, and ought to rid himself of them so far as they hinder him as to it.   When I find you, Lord, in all the created world around me, I inch closer to communion with you. When I encounter any part of your good creation that doesn’t help me directly to know you better, I leave it aside, not simply as an evil but as unnecessary and an object of distraction.
For this it is necessary to make ourselves indifferent to all created things in all that is allowed to the choice of our free will and is not prohibited to it; so that, on our part, we want not health rather than sickness, riches rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, long rather than short life, and so in all the rest; desiring and choosing only what is most conducive for us to the end for which we are created  

In all that I encounter—things, relationships, tasks, emotions, thoughts—I try to set myself as a needlepoint of balance. You well remind me that I have duties—raise a family, meet obligations, work hard. But you also invite me to a freedom that surpasses. My freedom isn’t in choosing my favorite ice cream from 31 flavors. My freedom isn’t in the absence of others asking or telling me what to do. My freedom isn’t in playing tennis without a net. My freedom isn’t predicated on a perfect life of fulfilling simple desires, nor on a life as victim in abject humility.
My freedom is in finding my deepest desire and knowing that it truly is your deepest desire too. Until I know that freedom for certain, I will continue to choose what seems most to help my soul and leads me to help other souls know you as well.

That’s my way. Maybe you should find your own expression as well.

For the good of the order, some resources and some announcements:

  1. C'mon Ignatius—Finding God in EVERYTHING? A Talk with Kathy Coffey—NOVEMBER 7
    Check out the details in SignUpGenius, where you can also RSVP to attend, for this exciting opportunity to hear Ms. Coffey, a good friend of RJHS and nationally-known Catholic author. 

  2. Looking for more opportunities yourself to explore Ignatian spirituality in general? 
    Look to the Ignatian Spirituality Program of Denver to see their offerings for this year. Also, don’t hesitate to contact me directly!

  3. Don’t forget our community celebration of First Friday Mass
    Our next one is actually on the first Friday of the month—Friday, November 3 at 7:00 am in the Blessed Rupert Mayer Chapel in the Girls Division. This Mass is also our Remembrance Mass when we remember in a special way those who have gone before us. In our Masses and prayers, the community of Regis Jesuit High School celebrates the legacy and cherishes the memory of our loved ones who have passed away. If you have someone you would like our community to remember in this way, please complete and return the form on this page of our website.

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 23rd year of teaching at his alma mater and 25th year overall. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear the third Friday of every month during the school year.

Matthew Nguyen ’18 and Gigi Pacheco ’19: Plunging with Purpose
10/13/2017

The Homeless Plunge is a collaborative event organized by the Diversity, Service, Activities and Pastoral Offices of both Divisions that engages the students in an overnight, interactive and reflective homelessness and poverty simulation. Before and following the Plunge itself are a greater set of programs intended to assist the entire student body in wrestling with what it means to “love the least of your neighbors,” to which Jesus calls us in Matthew 25. Students engage in issues concerning access to food, shelter and companionship. 

This year’s Homeless Plunge took place earlier this week (October 11-12). In this week’s Inspire & Ignite, two of the students who participated share their reflections on the experience. 

Gianni Gigi Pacheco '19Gianni “Gigi” Pacheco ’19 

In our world today, we all struggle for belonging, for recognition, for love. These inmost desires link individuals from all walks of life and contribute to what it means to be "human." I cannot believe that it took me 16 years and two Homeless Plunges to fully grasp this concept, especially in relating to people experiencing homelessness. After reflecting on my plunge as a freshman, terrified to be embarking upon the physical and spiritual journey with upperclassmen, I began to develop a true passion for serving, restoring and making known our brothers and sisters in Christ whom we label as "the homeless." This most recent plunge has been unique for me, as I fought to completely immerse myself in the lives and circumstances of people experiencing homelessness.

I, along with 18 other students and five Regis Jesuit staff, began our journey by navigating through the ever-complicated Denver public transit system. After getting turned around, missing our bus and arriving downtown a few hours after we anticipated, we received our first glimpse into the struggles of relying on public transportation. Being on time is of utmost importance in maintaining a job, participating in school, or receiving a bed for the night in a shelter when the only asset one has is oneself. This insight was only the beginning of a life- and perspective-changing experience.

We toured a small section of Denver, belovedly known as Larimer Square and nearby Cherry Creek; however, we observed this affluent neighborhood through the eyes of a person without a home. We observed how the City of Denver engineers various projects to dehumanize people experiencing homelessness in an effort to "protect" the well-to-do residents of Denver. 

We heard the clamor of the multitude of trains, cars and trucks pass overhead, while imagining what it would be like to try to sleep for even a few hours under the cold, empty bridges of the city. We felt the loss of dignity in our hearts of people whom society tries to shut out, to criticize, to shy away from. We understood the process of society chipping away one's identity, and in a complete loss of self-worth, turning to substances that prove one is valueless. We experienced the hope that society tries to swindle among people who are the most innovative, yet underestimated thinkers of our time. We encountered the redemption of Jesus Christ, who calls us to imitate Him in believing in the power of the most vulnerable, restoring the dignity of the broken, and building relationships with our struggling brothers and sisters.

If I had all the time and space in the world, I would not stop talking about the fulfilling experience of the Homeless Plunge. Walking in someone else's shoes for a day is uncomfortable, even terrifying, but so incredibly rewarding in helping us become Men and Women with and for Others. My heart is completely full of love, joy and understanding of my new friends.

Matthew Nguyen '18Matthew Nguyen ’18 

I didn't know much about the Homeless Plunge prior to hearing about it. A friend and I were feeling really spontaneous, especially with it being our senior year and decided to sign up. It seemed like a unique opportunity that isn't readily available on a daily basis. With such a large chunk of our nearby neighbors being connected to the streets and often living on them, we believed it was essential to experience firsthand what exactly occurs in Denver by receiving knowledge that is often unseen when walking around Larimer Square and the roads of downtown. We frequently see homeless people whether it be in the roads of Denver or on our way home, but that physical image only offers us a minute piece of the whole picture—that of a human created in God’s image and love.

When we began the experience on Wednesday afternoon, we had no idea what was coming or what would be happening through the rest of the trip. All we knew was that we were getting on an RTD bus to go into downtown to experience and learn about homelessness. Unfortunately, we missed our first transfer due to a delayed bus, and we had to wait for 30 minutes for the next one. As students who are incredibly privileged in all sorts of areas in our lives, economically to academically, waiting an extra half an hour was no big deal. Our delay would only result in insignificant consequences. Usually, I wouldn't have given it a second thought, let alone even be forced to take public transit. However, during this retreat, one of the teachers really placed into perspective the common struggles an average homeless person has to withstand on a daily basis. That half an hour delay might as well have cost a homeless man his job.

What if he had a job interview? No one would want to hire a late interviewer, not to mention someone who wasn't lucky enough to have daily access to something as basic as a shower. As a homeless person relying on public transportation as their main mode of getting around, that person is at the disposal of the city; whereas many of us on the Homeless Plunge could've just called an Uber or hopped in our cars in a similar situation.

There's a whole other world that society tries to hide away to replace with a more physically appealing city. This sends a message to all residents that people experiencing homelessness are “dirty” or “not good enough”. After missing a meeting with Urban Peak, an organization that focuses on youth homelessness, due to our RTD delay, we were brought along on a tour with another homeless organization called Dry Bones. The tour offered a new lens on the booming city of Denver and a penetrating look into the reality of homeless people behind the luxurious shops and the hipster coffee spots of downtown Denver.

As we ventured through various tunnels and staircases, our guide pointed out some physical features that were purposely engineered to prevent homeless people from sheltering in such palaces. Along Cherry Creek, at first glance, the upscale apartments and the multitudes of joggers along the creek path filled the scene. The sun was setting, and the water provided a tranquil evening tune as bikers traversed down the left side of the creek. It wasn’t until our guide pointed out some obvious construction techniques—placing jagged rocks where grass would’ve been or barring up crevices within the tunnels—that I realized just who was welcome here and who wasn’t. Those crevices are often the only place some people call home. In a bustling city, a homeless person can’t just take a break in their room and close the door. They don’t have a nice memory foam mattress waiting for them upstairs. Their bed is the grass, and when that grass is replaced by rough rocks, we are literally taking away people’s shelter. We can’t just simply put up barriers to conceal these people from view, acting as if they no longer exist or aren’t important enough for our time and effort. These are people just like us. Just as deserving of the same love we receive. Just as deserving of a home, of a meal, of a simple shower. 

The next time I am eating a nice meal downtown or taking a hot shower, I will keep in mind and be grateful that I am not begging outside of the Cheesecake Factory for someone’s leftovers. Not only that, I will remember those who are begging for those leftovers are the same as you and me; perhaps not in the sense of economics, but in the sense of love.

Craig Rogers: Animating the Ignatian Vision on the Golf Course
10/6/2017

I’ve been blessed in myriad ways at Regis Jesuit. I get to work with an immensely talented faculty as Assistant Principal. I’ve been able to teach theology since the mid 90s, and though I’m down to one class now, it is one filled with talented young men who repeatedly go out and build up the Kingdom.

Another privilege is coaching golf. It’s easy to feel good about that right now—we just secured our seventh state title in the last eight years. But I learned 22 years ago from Rudy Brada, one of my heroes in life, that golf at Regis Jesuit is not about having the lowest score. 

At the beginning of the season we gather for lunch with the players and parents. I speak to why we have a golf team and why they are on it. The team exists to help them become better men in life. We make clear to the boys the essential truth that golf can and should secure within them the ability to grow into the people God put them on earth to be. The course is a proving ground for honesty, perseverance, prudence, perspective, selflessness and much more.

As their coach I have seen things that humble me. Our young men habitually call penalties on themselves that no one else would have known about. They correct scorekeepers. “No, I had a 5 not a 4…” Underclassmen have offered their spot for post-season to a senior. They have cheered on opponents. Golf can be gut-wrenchingly brutal on the soul, but our players have learned how to handle well the negative emotions that inevitably arise. And before teeing off, they never fail to remind me, “Hey Coach, it’s time to pray.” 

Earlier this week, I received this from the coach at Cherry Creek, the team that finished second at State.

I wanted to say congratulations on your State Championship yesterday. Much deserved, you have set the bar high for golf programs around the state. Secondly, I wanted to tell you how impressed I was with Calvin McCoy. He was paired with our number 4 on Tuesday in the second to last group. Our player was probably out of his league playing with that group, but Calvin made him feel welcomed and displayed nothing but class the entire round. He helped our player with the rules, looked for lost balls and never complained about having to play with him. Calvin displayed such maturity, and it was noticed by more than just me. Please pass this on to Calvin. It is refreshing to compete against a great program like yours, and even more impressive to see you and your players doing it the right way!!

We tell them every year, “We can win and still lose.” I’ve yet to see these boys lose at that most important aspect. 

Occasionally I’ll joke with them on the first tee box asking “What are we playing for fellas?” The freshmen will look surprised that I’m suggesting a wager, but the older guys know the answer—“The greater glory of God.”


Craig Rogers has worked at Regis Jesuit for 18 years. He serves as the Assistant Principal for Faculty and Curriculum in the Boys Division, teaches senior theology and coaches the boys golf team. 

JOHN JOHNSON: A REMINDER
9/29/2017

This summer, I received a much needed reminder about Ignatian education.

When I was asked to teach summer school at the end of the school year, I met it with some trepidation. I then found out that it was going to be teaching middle school students, and my concerns escalated.
Turns out, I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity. 

The summer school program was an enrichment camp, Camp Magis, for St. Therese Catholic School through the Community Partnership Initiative. I taught the English component and worked with a St. Therese teacher who worked with the students’ math skills.

I met some pretty remarkable children this summer. There was Dana, a soon to be eighth grade student, who always had a book handy and liked to wander through museum field trips on her own. I met Ignacio who was gregarious and friendly with everyone and who loved to tell some jokes in his free time. There was Kale, who was new to the school. Shy at first, he soon opened up to the other students. I met Kelly, a diligent student and equally adept athlete, who led the soccer games at lunch. 

Part of the focus of the camp was on story-telling, and every student had an incredible story to share. I was impressed by the students’ eagerness to be at the camp during their summer break, the generosity that they showed one another and the overall intellectual curiosity that they possessed. Not to mention, they had better skills than myself with public transportation.

The days were filled with fine-tuning their math and language skills alongside field trips to various places like the Denver Zoo, Denver Museum of Nature and Science and even a Rockies game. The students would craft short essays on the places, and the math teacher had projects correlated to the places. During the last week of camp, the students were at Regis Jesuit every day participating in a STEM camp and working with Adam Dawkins ’98 on creating blogs involving the stories they had to tell.

Here was the reminder that I needed. Ignatian education is about going out into the world. It’s about expansion, not seclusion. It’s about sharing your talents with others while having others share their talents with you. I had become isolated in the daily routines and habits of my classroom and my curriculum. This was a reminder of what we were all about: challenging ourselves to grow as we challenge others and being engaged with the larger community and world.

Camp Magis students enjoy a game of flag football on McNicholas Green


John Johnson has taught English in the Boys Division at Regis Jesuit for 12 years. He also coaches cross country and is currently finishing his MFA in literary fiction.

 

 

Paul Miller ’04: The Life-long Impact of the Raider Experience
9/22/2017

“You can take the boy out of the Jesuits, but you can't take the Jesuits out of the boy.”

Speaking at her beloved husband’s funeral Mass last month, Alanna Kimmel captured the essence of Regis Jesuit High School in that one powerful statement. A graduate from the Class of 1961, Neil Kimmel was a soft-spoken, kind-hearted, gentile-giant who always spoke fondly of his alma mater. In fact, until the final few months of his life, Neil would gather with his old classmates monthly, shooting the breeze with his life-long friends and reminiscing on their Pink Palace days. Listening to Alanna describe her husband in that way, albeit she was referencing her husband’s discernment about a vocation to the Jesuits, I can’t help but relate those words to the enduring value Regis Jesuit truly has. 

Last year, I was invited by the Class of 1959—guys who graduated high school 58 years ago—to join their monthly breakfast. They wanted to hear about the state of their alma mater, at 6:00 o’clock in the morning, after which they passionately voiced their opinions both good and bad. It was inspiring to listen to guys so far removed speak with such conviction and care.

Last spring, I crashed the Class of 1969’s monthly lunch and found myself in the middle of a heated discussion about the all-time greatest RJ football team. Unfortunately long-time teachers and football coaches Guy Gibbs ’47 and Dick Giarratano, who frequent their lunch, were not in attendance to settle the argument. 

What makes me smile about my visits with these alumni classes, and the countless others that take place, is how the cadence of their conversation replicates exactly what takes place in the RJ cafeterias today. Granted as time passes, idle chatter about Stranger Things and Chipotle’s disappointing queso evolves to discussions about doctor visits and how long it takes to drive across town, but the juvenile chummy passion remains the same. 

As the Alumni Director and a graduate from the Class of 2004, I am fortunate to be in a position where I’m able to experience the incredible RJ impact on a daily basis. The number of stories I hear of alums connecting with each other in all walks of life is remarkable. It’s a connection we’ll always allow time for and are proud to share. 

As current parents and students, the sacrifice you have made to be a Raider is not a four-year decision. It certainly does not end with a stellar ACT score and diploma. The evident joy that you’re experiencing now somehow only strengthens with time. I’ve lived it; I’ve witnessed it and even though your time here will pass by in a blink of an eye, you cannot take Regis Jesuit out of you. 

RAIDERS REUNION 2017 is taking place next weekend in conjunction with Homecoming. I am excited to welcome alumni back to campus next Friday for our annual Homecoming BBQ. I also am honored to celebrate only the second 10-year reunion of the Girls Division—the Class of 2007! The success of the Girls Division today is a testament to their class and the legacy they helped establish and continue to perpetuate. 


Paul Miller ’04 has worked at Regis Jesuit for six years. This is his second year as the Director of Alumni Relations. 

JIM BRODERICK KING ’87: ORNITHANATOPSIS – CAN WE REALLY FIND GOD IN ALL THINGS?
9/15/2017

“Ornithanatopsis” - I made up that word. An explanation will follow below.

Certainly, one of the central points of the spirituality of St. Ignatius is growing in our impulse to “find God in all things.” Anyone familiar with Ignatius’ way and the Spiritual Exercises has a familiarity with this concept. One may feel a confidence in knowing this experience, but I often find my limit in expressing the core of this point to the ultimate skeptic—the adolescent.

As I’ve been teaching theology to seniors the last couple of years; reviewing Ignatian spirituality is a major part of the effort. Whenever I do, this hallmark of “finding God in all things” becomes a sticking point. The young minds I converse with know how to analyze, question and poke holes in our assertions. “BK, if we can find God in all things, can we find Him in a baseball? Can we find Him in a sandwich? Can we really find Him in a broken arm?” (Sometimes they come up with even more mundane and seemingly obscure, ridiculous examples.) And, at some point, it becomes a challenge to answer “yes.” Sometimes, the examples extend to “Can we really find God in the time my girl/boyfriend broke up with me? In the death of my grandparent? In the Holocaust?” How do I confirm the truth with such challenging examples?

Well, my first step is always to remind us that Ignatius’ famous encouragement to “find God in all things” is NOT a step toward pantheism; he was not encouraging a theology of finding divine spirit in all objects in our world, objects worthy of worship, as people of ancient religions might. No. Ignatius suggested to us that we might discover in any single thing, event or person an opportunity to see, experience and communicate with God. I usually then move on to say, “Sure, we can appreciate God in his creation – the beauty of trees, the sound of water, the taste of honey. These are fine places to connect with God. But ‘all things’ also means our history, our memories and our experiences. Many of those things bring joy, but we may associate some of those things with loss, sorrow or challenge.” Then, somewhere along that line of argument, my students and I have to reconcile, beyond simply looking at God as a cause of sad times or the death of a loved one, we search for the way God desires to communicate with us.

This year, I found an odd example. While trying to move beyond the simplicity of finding God in a beautiful thing or a pleasing sense, I suggested to my students, “Can we find God in the delicate bird?” Those listening dutifully agreed. “OK, then can I find God in the rotting corpse of a dead bird?” That got their attention; they paused and wondered whether to contradict this line of reason.

I then shared this strange experience I had observed for the beginning weeks of school. Every morning and every afternoon, I walk from the parking lot at school along the sidewalk separating McNicholas Green and the Boys Division building. Not many people walk this path; it is not a well-trod route. I told my students that several weeks ago, just before school began, I noticed a small bird lying dead on the sidewalk. As anyone would, I passed by a bit aghast and even saddened by the sight but with absolutely no intention of picking up the tiny corpse to dispose of it. The experience soon left my mind as a trifle, until I walked by again later. Each day I walked by this bird twice. Sometimes it had clearly been moved and picked a bit apart by a scavenger. Perhaps a pedestrian had unknowingly kicked it to the side. I mentioned to someone on the grounds crew, “Maybe a JUG kid could grab a shovel and take care of it?” He said that he'd take care of it, but, with no blame directed at him, he forgot about the insignificance soon after, just like anyone else passing by. Each time I passed by this poor bird, some new level of decay or abuse was noticeable. It eventually became a part of each day; sometimes the bird was gone, sometimes kicked back to the sidewalk, sometimes moved by a crow or, sadly, kicked up by the blades of a mower. I began to point out this anomaly to my daughters or my wife on our way to the car. I mentioned it to colleagues who passed by. We all found it curious, but we all shared a revulsion to actually picking it up. But every day that passed, I found myself contemplating the simple reality of this rotting bird. I had this long repeated meditation on this bird’s death—a bird-death-view—an “ornithanatopsis,” my somewhat stolen and made-up word from Greek roots.

I shared this with my students essentially to say, “Yes, even the mangled corpse of this tiny bird becomes a place to encounter God. How so? For me it became a daily and fleeting reminder of mortality, of the brevity and fragility of life. Corny, I know. But it became this unexpected place where God ‘spoke’ with me—through my senses, through my memories and through my experience.” I told my students some of the passing feelings I had as I had this “ornithanatopsis.” I told them the memory that came to me of how I got in trouble with my father when I was young for shooting sparrows with my pellet gun. So much trouble! He chastised me for shooting these poor, small and innocent birds. (Lest we paint a picture of my father as a pacifist and humanitarian, he did encourage me to shoot all the crows and magpies I wanted. He really hated them.) It was a short trip for my contemplation to consider Jesus’ exhortation to consider the birds in the sky and how they need not reap or sow or worry for their sustenance but that God provides for them (Matthew 6). It lead me immediately to remember Jesus’ words that even the insignificant sparrow does not fall to the ground without the Father’s knowledge (Matthew 10). My observations and memories rolled with every pass by this lifeless bird. One day it was the childhood memory of my father finding a undernourished sparrow in our yard, working for days to feed it and care for it and then weeping (one of the very few times I witnessed my father cry) when, despite all of his efforts, that sparrow died. Another day I would recall the many times growing up on a farm and watching a dozen or more chicks hatch in an incubator and still seeing one chick each time not survive the process. My heart beat a little faster another time on my daily “ornithanatopsis” when the collective memories brought me to the memory of my father’s last days in hospice care. Even away from my daily walk, I was reminded of this little bird when I spent a moment considering a hawk that had perched itself on the edge of the roof of the Girls Division library. And so it went each day.

This week, the remains of this sad little creature were finally gone, maybe by someone’s intervention, perhaps simply carried or blown away by a force of nature. Can I really find God in all things, as Ignatius teaches? This was one time that assured me that I can, even in the most unpleasant of sights, let God use my senses, emotions and memories to point me gently to an eternal truth and to speak to me of hard realities and the sureness of His attention and the constancy of His love. Yes, even that can be a thing where I find God and a potent place for prayer.

Some resources and some announcements:

  1. Looking for more opportunities yourself to explore Ignatian spirituality in general? Look to the Ignatian Spirituality Program of Denver to see their offerings for this year. Also, don’t hesitate to contact me directly!
  2. Don’t forget our community celebration of First Friday Mass. Our next one is actually on Friday, October 13 (second Friday), at 7:00 am in the Blessed Rupert Mayer Chapel in the Girls Division.
  3. A reminder of our invitation to join www.Formed.org from my colleague, theology teacher and fellow RJ alumnus, Alex Crane ’05. 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 can create a personal account and access these materials for their own use, perhaps in a small community on campus or individually at home. 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 23rd year of teaching at his alma mater and 25th year overall. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear the third Friday of every month during the school year.

ANDY & BETH INHELDER: THE LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE OF DAY FOR OTHERS
9/8/2017

When our daughter Kelsey was an incoming freshman at Regis Jesuit, we were looking for a way as a family to get involved and give back to the community. It was 2012, and the first year for Day for Others. We signed up to serve at Boys Hope Girls Hope to weed, paint, clean and meet other RJ families. 

Who would have thought that in six years, we have come to think of this event as our favorite and see what it has become to Regis Jesuit High School. RJ Day for Others brings students, alumni, parents, faculty and friends together in prayer and service in the Denver community. To now have more than 1000 participants making small and big changes is awe inspiring. To our family, this day is what Regis Jesuit is all about. Our school community shows others what it truly means when we say that we are Men and Women with and for Others. To see a community of a 1000+ volunteers united, all wearing the same color t-shirt still takes our breath away. 

An additional blessing is the many friendships we have gained from the core team with whom we have worked throughout the years. These are the many people we consider friends: Charisse and Jim ’87 Broderick King, Brendan Love ’04, Anthony Mattacchione, Amanda Shepherd, Bethany Carmellini, Paul Miller ’04, Liane Cattelino, Elizabeth Paynter, Sarah Neylon, Jeanne Maloney, Sara Booker, Elizabeth Quinn, Frank DeLuca, Molly Cohen, Kristen Kraus, Joey Lechuga ’03 and Nick Fagnant ‘02. This group of friends and so many others have helped our two girls and family get through Regis Jesuit High School.

If you are new to Regis Jesuit, or you have never volunteered, Day for Others is a great place to start. As instructed by Pope Francis, “Among us, who is above must be in service of the others. This doesn't mean we have to wash each other's feet every day, but we must help one another.” We thank you for the opportunity over the last six years; it has changed our lives for the better. We have been blessed with many graces from this life-changing experience. 

Love and Blessings,
Andy & Beth Inhelder

DAY FOR OTHERS TIMELINE AND GROWTH

  • September 8, 2012 – 600 Participants and 32 Sites
  • September 7, 2013 – 700 Participants and 40 Sites
  • September 6, 2014 – 800 Participants and 45 Sites
  • September 12, 2015 – 875 Participants and 58 Sites
  • September 10, 2016 – 1035 Participants and 55 Sites, plus five Alumni Sites
  • September 9, 2017 – As of today in anticipation of tomorrow’s event: 1068 Participants and 55 Sites


Andy & Beth Inhelder have been stalwart supporters of and volunteers for Regis Jesuit High School throughout their daughters’ time here, including chairing Day for Others the last three years. They were recognized with the John Francis Regis Outstanding Service Award in 2016, a well-deserved honor. 

Tomorrow (September 9, 2017) is the sixth annual Day for Others all-community service event, which is shaping up to be the largest service event in school history. Thank you to the parents, students, alumni, faculty, staff and other friends who will serve.

Mark your calendars for Day for Others 2018, which will take place Saturday, September 8, 2018!

 

David Card ’87: Ambitions, Complications, Tragedies and Wonder—A Month in the Life of RJ
9/1/2017

David A. Card '87As I sit down to write my monthly blog and try to give the Regis Jesuit community some idea of what’s on the president’s mind as we head in to September of a new school year, my overwhelming thought is, “Where do I begin? So much has already happened, and it’s only September 1st!”

“Back-to-School” undoubtedly carries some level of excitement and hopefulness for everyone. We’ve had some time to regenerate ourselves, and at Regis Jesuit, we’ve had time to regenerate areas of our campus too. That always feels good. 

In my case, I’ve had some time to reflect on the last year and to identify what I want to accomplish in the coming year. As we welcomed the faculty back on August 8, especially after our opening liturgy and the testimonials presented by four of our folks who reminded us all of the grace and privilege of being an Ignatian educator, it was ‘all systems go!’ 

And today, while it still is ‘all systems go,’ there is also a dose of ‘boy, ain’t life complicated?’
Yes, life inside and outside of Regis Jesuit is complicated. From Charlottesville, to Harvey, to real-time academic and relationship challenges, to local tragedies involving the death of children by suicide, life continues to happen. It happens, and it touches us deeply. 

We have our vision, our goals and our plans, and then life happens. Through this first (partial) month, one of the most recurring questions on our minds has been, “What are the needs of our students today, in this moment?” Sometimes it takes every ounce of our concentration, care and creativity to even begin. And it takes all of us.

It’s not all that different from parenting, really. We have to live and work and educate and parent, in the moment. Sometimes, it’s daunting.

I imagined this blog being more about things like Compass Day, our record enrollment, the opportunities we are imagining and planning for our students, or the beautiful Mass of the Holy Spirit we celebrated together in our brilliant reds and whites (and it was beautiful), but it’s simply hard to ignore everything else that’s transpired since August 8th.

In our Ignatian tradition however, we remain hopeful. The Gospel is, after all, a story of great hope. As we enter our 140th anniversary year, and we consider all that has transpired in the life of our school, our state, our nation and our world during that time, why wouldn’t we be hopeful? I’m not sure all those preceding generations had it any easier, and yet, here we are.

Yes, life is complicated. It always has been. But I remain excited and hopeful, even as I am reminded of, and challenged by, these real needs of our students and their families. Since August 8th, we also had that amazing 20-minute window, that brief moment where we all were confronted by our oneness and our smallness and by our wonder in our universe as we quietly gazed in geeky glasses at the eclipsed sun. 

Thank God for moments like that.

We will live and work and educate and parent in this complicated moment, we’ll make sure to pause and appreciate the graces along the way, and we will also keep our eyes on the horizon, on that destination we have imagined all along.

I hope you and your family have a blessed and restful Labor Day Weekend.

AMDG


This is David Card's '87 second year as Regis Jesuit's President. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear the first Friday of the month throughout the school year.  

Dustin Dvorak and Emily Glenn '08: More Than an Eclipse–Why We Teach Science
8/25/2017

Photo of totality during the 1979 Eclipse; courtesy of John C. Hartney

On Monday, August 21, 2017 an interesting sound gripped the Regis Jesuit campus; for just the briefest moment all that we heard was…silence. Teenagers, you might guess, are rarely quiet—especially in large groups. A dull cacophony of chatter, giggles and shoving sounds tend to follow their herds as they move from class to lunch, or from the parking lot into football games. But, on Monday the sheer magnitude of nature rendered our students momentarily and almost reverently, silent. As midday turned to twilight and the air temperature dropped, our students had no choice but to stand in awe of the natural forces that surrounded them. As science teachers, it’s moments like these that remind us why we do what we do, and emphasize what a privilege it is to show our students the wonder of God’s gifts to us. 

Dustin's Reflection

Solar eclipses, such as the one the occurred earlier this week, hold a special place in my heart. I have yet to see a total solar eclipse in person, but I will always know what one looks like thanks to my grandpa. John C. Hartney, my grandpa, was a lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force. While flying for the 4950th test wing stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, he was part of a mission that flew over Montana in 1979 to photograph and study the solar eclipse that was occurring there at that time. This picture, shown above, even made the cover of the World Book Science textbook (below). 

To me, this image is something a little bit more. I always remember it hanging above my grandpa’s desk. I am still filled with a sense of awe every time I see it. It is now hanging in my house, and I still am struck by its beauty every time it comes into view. 

Twelve years after this picture was taken in June 1991, we had a partial (25% totality or less) solar eclipse in Aurora. My grandpa, who moved with my grandma to Aurora not long before, invited us over that day. Being only six at the time, my memory is a little fuzzy of that day, but I do remember him getting out an old sextant that he had, using it to project the eclipse on his fence for my three year-old brother and me to see. We could clearly see the sun being partially covered by the moon, which was fascinating to me. The image of the sun on the fence with a shadow over it is something I very clearly remember to this day. 

Being fortunate enough to witness events like this and being exposed from a young age by many of my family members, to how amazing the world around us is no doubt played a pivotal role in who I am today. That feeling of being amazed and in awe of how the world around me worked is what drove me to pursue physics in college. Maybe it is no accident that my senior project in college centered on stellar evolution. As a physics teacher, I am always trying to bring that sense of awe to my students. While I know the experience of Monday’s eclipse was not the same for everyone, it was certainly a reminder to me of why I was called to do what I do every day. 

Emily's Reflection

I think there’s something incongruous in thinking about space; it has a way of making you feel insignificant, and like a miracle all at the same time. On the one hand, it’s not really possible to understand how big the universe is, and how devastatingly small we are. As a scientist I can say that we are a momentary evolutionary life form that nears its carrying capacity adrift on a tiny blue life raft, floating in the vastness of an every expanding universe. But, as a Christian scientist, I can say that we are the evolutionary culmination of God’s plan for our species, and for our world. As a species we have the power within us to cause pain and injustice, but also the power to heal and create. 

For me, when face to face with the wonder that we experienced on Monday, it’s easy for the usually dominant, analytical side of my brain to fade away, and to simply slip into the glorious wonder of God’s creation. Honestly, first and foremost it makes me feel thankful.

I feel so fortunate to be at Regis Jesuit during this exciting time of growth and expansion, and to be surrounded by a faculty that is wildly talented and generous. I feel so thankful to have a family that is healthy and safe. Ultimately, I feel lucky that every day I get to come to school and geek out with my students over the coolest stuff we’ve figured out as people. I also get to do it all without shying away from the Source of All. In the Ignatian tradition we tell our students that we ought to seek to, “find God in all things.” Frankly, some days that’s pretty easy. 


Dustin Dvorak is chair of the Boys Science Department and Emily Glenn '08 is chair of the Girls Science Department. They collaborated to plan the viewing of and related activities around the August 21st eclipse for all of our students, faculty and staff. 

Jim Broderick King '87: Ignatian Leadership in our Community
8/18/2017

Welcome to a new school year, and a special welcome to all of the students and families that are new to Regis Jesuit High School! You are likely reading this at the end of your first week of the school year. Congratulations on a successful and busy week! I trust we all will sleep well this weekend.

For those that are new or don’t know me, I am Jim Broderick King (RJHS Gold Medal Class of 1987), a veteran teacher here and the Ignatian Identity Coordinator at Regis Jesuit. That last bit is difficult to define, but suffice it to say simply for this short space that I work with a variety of groups, including our Jesuit community,  to promote the Ignatian spirituality and Jesuit charism of our school in any number of venues, including once a month in this blog. Thanks for reading!

This week’s topic: Ignatian leadership in our community.

First a contextual clarification: Some will jump to the conclusion that I am directly or obliquely referencing national politics by discussing leadership. No! Our current political climate is worthy of many discussions in our school context, but I am not addressing it here. I landed on this idea weeks ago, and I’m committed to writing about it here as a positive element to start our year!

The most direct inspiration for my thoughts on Ignatian leadership came from last week’s news from Girls Division Principal Gretchen Kessler, who announced that this will be her last year as principal and that she will move on to other endeavors for and with Regis Jesuit next year. I’m sure there were a variety of responses to that news – “Good for her!” or “Aaaahhh! What will we do now?!” My first response was deep gratitude – the appreciation for all that Ms. Kessler has done for my alma mater, for my daughters who attend, for her deep care for our community members, and most especially for all she has done for me influencing my work and my teaching and encouraging attitudes of servant leadership in me and my colleagues. Ms. Kessler is one paradigm for Ignatian leadership.

Ms. Kessler’s momentous decision particularly illustrates an aspect of Ignatian leadership that I think characterizes many of our school leaders. She made this decision in devoted prayer and reflection, dare I say in conversation with God; that is the essence of Ignatian discernment. Great leaders in our Ignatian context make good decisions not simply based on what is expedient, what is cost-effective, what is traditional or what is easiest; they choose at least in part based in how they discern God’s spirit moving and where God’s desires meet our desires. So our great leaders pray!

We are blessed with many great leaders at Regis Jesuit High School, from president and vice presidents, to administrators, to directors and department chairs, to student leaders, to the ‘rank-and-file’ teachers and students who exhibit profound leadership by example. I observe that all these Ignatian leaders exhibit some common qualities:

  1. They do more than manage. While often their concerns might be schedules and allotting resources, they do more than manage; they lead with encouragement, with clear vision, with collaboration and with inspiration in a mission that is rooted in the Gospel.
  2. They serve. Every institutional organizational structure seems to show managerial leaders and responsibility situated at a top or peak position on a chart, with several individuals or departments reporting to them. While that image may be traditional and even necessary for functioning, great servant leaders flip that paradigm by mentally and spiritually seeing themselves as supporting from below, fading into the background when necessary, serving from humility and measuring their effectiveness by how many new leaders they have helped and inspired.
  3. They are indifferent. In the sense that Ignatius teaches us, this doesn’t mean ‘apathetic.’ It suggests that great leaders are free. They are liberated from unreasonable constraints. They are open to possibilities beyond their assumptions or experience. They are willing to hear and sometimes to be swayed by contradictory views. They are free enough to put aside ego and self-interest in order to seek the common good.
  4. They love. Great managers are efficient. Great leaders love beyond the ordinary, beyond the expectation. They love those they serve. They love their mission. They love their God who created these relationships with others and provided a shared purpose in building the Kingdom.

Those have been my reflections these past weeks on how Ignatian leadership has, does and can infuse our school community. We have so many examples to admire and learn from, but we also have so many opportunities to live out that leadership in our own work and choices as well.

Finally, have a great new academic year!

Some resources and some announcements:

  1. If you want to learn more about Ignatian perspectives on leadership, I encourage you to secure a copy of Heroic Leadership by Chris Lowney. It is full of anecdotes from the history of the Jesuits but also packed with perspectives on Ignatius’ spiritual desires in leading one of history’s greatest and long-lasting missions.
  2. If you want to know more about the program of Ignatian leadership run by the Jesuit Schools Network, see this description of the Seminars in Ignatian Leadership. We are fortunate to have 17 graduates of this multi-year program on our staff serving RJHS in a variety of capacities and a few more in the pipeline, and we currently have two RJ employees who are adjunct faculty for this international program.
  3. Looking for more opportunities yourself to explore Ignatian spirituality in general? Look to the Ignatian Spirituality Program of Denver to see their offerings for this year. Also, don’t hesitate to contact me directly!
  4. Don’t forget our community celebration of First Friday Mass. Our first one is coming up on Friday, September 1, at 7:00 am in the Blessed Rupert Mayer Chapel in the Girls Division. Find details about this devotion to the Sacred Heart at www.regisjesuit.com/FirstFridayMass

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 23rd year of teaching at his alma mater and 25th year overall. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear the third Friday of every month during the school year.

CHRIS KELLERMAN, SJ: MEETING JESUS
8/11/2017

I’ve read a lot of theology books. Maybe too many. During my last couple years of college and my two years of grad school, I constantly read books in order to learn more about theology. I devoured biblical commentaries, Church documents and great works by theologians such as Augustine, Aquinas, Karl Rahner, Henri de Lubac and Joseph Ratzinger. I was proud of my very large library of books (this was before I took a vow of poverty), and I was always looking for more. 

When I joined the Jesuit novitiate in 2011, less than a week after having submitted the final draft of my master’s thesis, I knew I’d be taking a break from theological study. The first two years of training of the Jesuits have a little bit of academic coursework, but most of the work done in the novitiate is spiritual work. We’re trained to pray for 60 consecutive minutes every day—and this is in addition to about 30 minutes for one’s daily examens and another half hour for daily Mass. 

Then, of course, there’s the 30-day silent retreat called the Spiritual Exercises, in which the retreatant spends five hours in prayer every day. There’s not much time (or energy) for reading theology with that schedule!

Thank goodness. I needed the novitiate, and I needed those hours of prayer every day. Instead of reading about Christ, I needed to spend some time getting to know the Lord on a personal level. St. Ignatius popularized a form of prayer that is perfect for building that relationship: imaginative contemplation. In imaginative contemplation, the person praying imagines him or herself within a biblical scene. St. Ignatius encourages the person praying to use all five “senses” in doing so. If I’m imagining the call of Peter and Andrew, for example, I’m asked to imagine the call of gulls flying overhead, to taste the salt coming off the sea, to smell the fish and to watch Christ as he approaches these two fishermen. And then, after watching this scene play out, the retreatant is encouraged to go up to Jesus and talk to him. If that sounds a little weird, it certainly feels that way at first. 

But it’s through this type of prayer that I developed a personal relationship with Jesus. It’s a far different thing to read that Jesus loves you than it is to watch and hear him say it directly to you. And now, as a theology teacher at Regis Jesuit, I love teaching this form of prayer to my students. I’ll often spend 30-45 minutes with them in the chapel asking them to imagine themselves as Peter walking on water toward Jesus, or to be Moses approaching the burning bush, or to place themselves among the crowd at the Sermon on the Mount. I’ve been amazed by their written reflections afterwards. Over and over again, they write that they didn’t know they could pray this way.

Neither did I. But I’m glad St. Ignatius and the Society of Jesus taught me how. Often the best thing I can do for my students—and for myself—is to stop teaching about Jesus and to spend some time meeting him instead.  


Chris Kellerman, SJ is a Jesuit scholastic in his third year of regency (one of the stages of priestly formation for the Jesuit order) here at Regis Jesuit. He teaches theology, serves as chaplain to several athletic teams and moderates the Cannonball Club. 

DAVID CARD ’87: THE EXERCISES OF OUR HISTORY
8/4/2017

David A. Card '87Fitting for Regis Jesuit’s 140th anniversary year, we will celebrate our history and heritage throughout the coming year. I can trace my own earliest RJ memories to about 40 years ago, or maybe a little more. My dad was a teacher and a coach and I loved to be anywhere on that north Denver campus. I remember chasing rabbits in the dark with some of the other teachers’ kids, picking up the soiled football jerseys to bring to the cleaners on Saturday mornings (and hoping the coaches left just one extra soda pop in their cooler from the night before). I remember being part of standing-room-only crowds for Regis-Mullen basketball games in the college fieldhouse, collecting autographs from my favorite Raider stars, and generally just watching every move the “big kids” would make. Please take that to heart, young Raiders. 

There was no doubt, I wanted to be one of them someday.

The years passed quickly from there—at least from this vantage point—and soon enough I had graduated from Regis Jesuit. High school was fun. Difficult and challenging at times, but fun. The friendships and shared experiences mark some of the most lasting among my memories. And yet, today I recognize that even those fond memories do not represent the essence Regis Jesuit.

As I really dig in to the history and heritage of Regis Jesuit, I find that it is a bit akin to peeling back the layers of an onion. Always, there is more.

I would call myself a late bloomer in the Ignatian tradition, because while important seeds were planted early, it would take a while for me to really understand, internalize and embrace the meaning of the four Latin-referencing letters—AMDG—to which we dedicate all of our thoughts, words and actions: Ad maiorem Dei gloriam—for the greater glory of God.

This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to go deeper “into the onion” by engaging more deeply with the true gift of our patron, St. Ignatius: the Spiritual Exercises. Through his own patient reflection, meditation and prayer, St. Ignatius determined that if he engaged in a purposeful and structured process of prayer, reflection and meditation, he could discern the spirit of God moving within him, and begin to understand God’s will for him. Eventually, he recorded his process and methods—his spiritual exercises—and shared them with others. And sure enough, they too found what St. Ignatius called “consolations:” the sensation of the growth of love or faith or mercy or hope. These sensations, St. Ignatius concluded, are signs that we are interacting with God’s presence. Practicing this discernment would become the purpose of his schools—of our school.

I say it was a wonderful opportunity now, but in truth, as I approached this week-long silent retreat, I was intimidated. It was not easy for me to enter into an experience that seemed so opposite of my daily routines and experiences, which can generally be described as busy-ness. Fast moving, busy-ness. The feeling of never having enough time. It took some adjusting. I found it especially awkward, at first, to be sitting across from some of the 35 people in my retreat group at meal times, in silence.

And then, I reveled in it.

With the help of our retreat directors, we proceeded though the Exercises. One of many consolations I experienced during that week was that finally, there was enough time. Not too much, and not too little. This glorious time provided me with multiple moments of grace, connection and consolation. I really didn’t want to talk with anyone. I didn’t want to be interrupted. Later I learned that everyone in my group shared similar transformative experiences.

As the week was nearing the end, I spent some time writing down the graces and consolations that I could recall from the experience, stopping along the way to reflect on them and revisit them. And true to the example of the onion, the peeling of layers produced tears from the overwhelming sensations of love, faith, mercy and hope that I felt. Before I knew it, I had filled six solid pages in my notebook. The obvious feeling was and continues to be one of fullness and of gratitude, and a strengthened understanding of my own unique mission to convey this tradition.

This begins to describe the legacy of St. Ignatius, and the enduring mission of Regis Jesuit High School. The essence is these Exercises. And proudly, today we are more purposeful than ever in sharing them with our students. 

But hey, there’s no reason why we can’t still endeavor to beat Mullen too.

AMDG


This is David Card's '87 second year as Regis Jesuit's President. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear the first Friday of the month throughout the school year. 

Recharging for the Summer
6/2/2017

Inspire & Ignite is taking the summer off to allow its contributors to rest and reinvigorate their creative spark. If you are interested in contributing to the blog next school year or would like to recommend someone to write for it, please contact communications@regisjesuit.com

Have a blessed and restful summer, Raiders!

Colleen Daly: What is an ASC volunteer?
5/26/2017

As an Alum Service Corps (ASC) volunteer, we live together in a house out here on a monthly living stipend in order to not only live simply together, but to learn what it means to live in community with one another. This year, I am one of 15 volunteers who are pursuing a year of service at a Jesuit school in Kansas City, St. Louis or Denver, in gratitude for their Jesuit education received in college or high school. 

It is a little hard to pick one specific reason of why I chose to do this program. I am still in awe of the education I received, and the aid and scholarships I was granted to do so. I am in awe of the people I met in college who have helped shape me into who I am today. I am in awe of the passion I have grown to have for education, nutrition and the wellness of others. Most of all, I had no idea what being Jesuit meant until college, and to be honest, my idea of it was not incredibly strong until this year. 

This year has given me a glimpse into the incredible opportunity we have to work at or attend a Jesuit school. It has allowed me to come together with people from a multitude of backgrounds for the greater good of the people we serve and serve with. It has also allowed me to actually get to know Jesuits outside of Mass, by having a meal together every Monday night at the Jes Res. 

For the ASC blog, I have written a few posts about my time here at RJ, and wow it is so hard to sum up in words for you as a whole, but I will try…

I find it so funny. Every time I go outside, my students will ask “what are you doing?” as they see me taking a picture of the mountains because I still am not used to the beauty I’ve seen here in Colorado. As the year progressed, I would see more and more students or teachers taking photos of them as well. They would say, “You’re right, we do live in such a beautiful place, I'm just so used to it.” I would tell them, “Let's stop and just take a break for five minutes. Take in the beauty and graces that surround you.”

I am so grateful to say that I continuously see God’s graces here at RJ every single day, and if not in the classroom, then in a conversation with a student or in a soccer game out on the green. So remember to find the graces in your life. Celebrate the small victories because you deserve that, your kids deserve that and our students deserve that. It has been my biggest source of joy this year.

The goal this year was about meeting people where they are at. It was about the students and not the curriculum. It is about being there for people no matter where they are coming from, and being intentional about it. It is about reflection and sharing. It is about learning from the people around you constantly. 

Then, during Lent, I was able to reflect in a post about my time leading senior Service Projects to Belize. I wrote this:

I want to invite you to remember what it means to live in solidarity. We made a promise to one another to continuously strive to simply always want the greater good for those around us and live in solidarity with those we met in Belize, for good. Solidarity goes way beyond this year of volunteering and this Lenten season, but it is something I hope me and my students continue to learn more about and live out throughout our whole lives.

Solidarity has allowed me to look past myself and immerse myself in others and what they need. The past year was filled with many firsts for our band of three ASCs: from chaperoning our first high school dance, taking Colorado road trips, attending retreats, working football and hockey games, Kairos, a trip to Belize, changing multiple flat tires, my first trip to Kansas City for our ASC retreat, coaching basketball and soccer, conquering a semester of grading, subbing and ‘dabbing’ – the firsts have been endless.

As the year comes to a close, I have come to see it has really been made by the people, not the place. The people are what make Regis Jesuit so great, and the people are what built up our community of ASCs. Everything we are doing is because of someone else who inspired, drove or taught us, and we need to remember that. 

So in the wise words of my freshman girls, “This isn't too bad after all.”


Colleen Daly is completing her ASC year at Regis Jesuit High School where she taught PE and helped with numerous student programs. She graduated in 2016 from Saint Louis University with a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and nutrition with culinary arts and entrepreneurship. Colleen will be heading back to St. Louis next year to work with AmeriCorps at EarthDance Farms, a non-profit, working with food security, nutrition education and marketing as the development associate. When not at RJ, you can find Colleen whipping up food for her blog Thymeofmylifesite.com.

Alum Service Corps is a work of the Central and Southern Province of the Jesuits. Their mission is to offer graduates of Jesuit high schools and/or universities an opportunity to give back in gratitude for their Jesuit education by committing a year of service as faculty members in Jesuit middle or high schools. 

Regis Jesuit has been blessed to have ASC volunteers serve in our school every year since the program’s inception. Learn more about Raider alumni who have gone on to serve as ASCs and former ASCs who still teach at Regis Jesuit, by visiting: www.regisjesuit.com/alumservicecorps

Jim Broderick King ’87: Cannonball Day
5/19/2017

May 20, 1521. The Castle of Pamplona, Spain. 

“Until the age of twenty-six he was a man given up to the vanities of the world, and his chief delight used to be in the exercise of arms, with a great and vain desire to gain honour. And so, being in a stronghold which the French were attacking, and with everyone being of the opinion they should give themselves up and save their lives, he gave so many arguments to the commandant that even then he persuaded him to make a defence, though against the opinion of all the knights. These, however, were taking heart at his spirit and vigour. And, the day having come when the attack was expected, he made his confession. And, after the attack lasted a good time, a shot hit him in one leg, completely shattering it for him; and because the cannonball passed between both legs, the other was badly wounded too. And so, with him falling, those in the stronghold then gave themselves up to the French.”
Reminiscences of Ignatius Loyola (translated by Philip Endean)

So begins the autobiography of our St. Ignatius, and thus initiates his path to a conversion of life, a new spiritual way and a pilgrim journey. If you watched the film Ignatius of Loyola with us last week, you’ll note how they really misrepresented this. (If you didn’t see the film but want a copy of the DVD, see my announcement in this week’s issue of the Red & White.) We commemorate the 496th anniversary of this event tomorrow. At Regis Jesuit we celebrate with our freshmen by hurling black water balloons at an armor-laden classmate in the stadium and doing “cannonballs” en masse in the pool (postponed this week for snow and, hopefully, rescheduled for next week).

When I was an Alum Service Corps (ASC) volunteer a hundred years ago, we proclaimed Cannonball Day our “official” feast day with just a touch of gallows humor. (A quick pause to wish our own current, past and future ASC volunteers a blessed feast day and offer deep gratitude and good hopes for this year’s RJ ASC volunteers – Ms. Colleen Daly, Mr. Riley Peick and Mr. Sam Herbig!) Perhaps it seems strange that we do this; acknowledging the day Ignatius was desperately wounded may seem a bit grisly. Yet, there is a bit of that odd dichotomy in much of what we do as Catholics. We remember our saints and their miracles and holy works often by remembering their martyrdom. We extol great Christian lives not only by their good works and devotion but also by their tales of suffering. We acknowledge the centrality of our Lord’s resurrection by remembering the torturous image of the crucifixion.

And, as I watch our seniors graduate and younger students advance, as we prepare to welcome new freshmen and new staff members, as we enter into a summer of adventures, as we say goodbye to educators moving on to other adventures and retirement, I believe there is also a lesson in St. Ignatius’ transformational moment on May 20. That lesson is to be prepared for the unexpected turn. Ignatius certainly didn’t anticipate his future pilgrimage and spiritual transformation, and an incredibly dramatic setback opened a different path than the future he envisioned. Our students continue to discern future possibilities and desires, but they will encounter some profound detours or even obstacles on their journey. We all likely can look to a past or anticipate a future that includes a moment that upended our expectations. I still don’t believe that God overtly wills or causes these challenges or sufferings, but I am convinced that He knows how to work with them, to work with us and all of our flipped hopes and broken parts. I will not wish for any of our “Cannonball moments,” but I will pray for and look forward to what our God of surprises will do with each of our lives afterwards.

Be safe and happy this summer and blessings on your adventures!


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 completing 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 during the school year.

Abby Freimuth ’17: Sculpting a Sturdy Base
5/12/2017

The thing about ceramics is that it’s a lot harder than it looks. There are the basic techniques and shapes—wedging, pinch pots, coil pots, slab pieces—that every ceramicist needs to learn just to guarantee that their piece makes it through the kiln, not to mention beginning to work on a potter’s wheel. 

But the same principle applies to life: it’s a lot harder than it looks. There are a lot of basic foundations we need first to build a greater life on, and Regis Jesuit has helped me find my basic foundations to build my life on.

I didn’t actually take a ceramics class until last year—my junior year. And to say the least, it was one of the hardest art classes I have ever taken. Every other day I would come home with another pair of clay-dusted pants and aching arms because of how much I had wedged that day. But the odd thing was, I loved it! I could feel myself getting stronger and more confident in my abilities, and spending an hour or two a week after school throwing on the potter’s wheel or glazing my almost finished pieces is now one of my favorite things to do. An overwhelming sense of peace always accompanies my time in the ceramics room because I know I’m creating something meaningful. I always have a purpose in that room. And that is how I want to live my life—full of purpose.

The first step I take when throwing on a potter’s wheel is centering my enormous mound of clay on the silver spinning wheel. This simple act of finding the center is actually the most foundational part of throwing. Without it, well, my bowls would look more like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. And much like when throwing, finding the center of my life—the foundation to who I am—is the most important thing to me.

At Regis, I have had so many amazing opportunities to build upon who I am and discover what I love to do. From trying new things, such as cross country and lacrosse for the first time, to walking down the “Dungeon” hall to my freshman year first period class, I’ve found my passions and foundations for life in and outside of the classroom.

I discovered my love of languages and cultures when I went on the 2016 delegation to Granada, Nicaragua. I felt unconditional love when going on Kairos and then leading it this year. I met God, not as a mysterious man in the clouds, but as my best friend on Silent Retreat. I experienced joy when playing my ukulele and peace when building my coil pots. But at the center of all of these skills and foundations is my desire to be a Woman with and for Others. It is my driving force—being in solidarity while working for the greater good and greater glory of God. 

My passions and hobbies may change and grow and build upon one another like the walls of my bowl, but my center will always stay the same. And I wouldn’t have found it without the formative education and incredible compassion of the Regis Jesuit community.


Abby Freimuth ’17 is finishing up her final year at Regis Jesuit. She plans to study neuroscience at Saint Louis University in Missouri next fall.

 

 

David Card ’87: Godspeed, Fr. Jeff Harrison
5/5/2017

David A. Card '87Soon the Regis Jesuit community will say goodbye to Fr. Jeff Harrison, SJ for the second time. At the end of this school year, he will complete his term as Superior of our Jesuit community, step down from his educational, ministerial and Board of Trustees posts, move to St. Louis and begin a well-deserved sabbatical. This was his second assignment here.

How does that work, you say? Well, I’m glad you asked!

The Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, are made up of about 80 geographical “provinces” throughout the world, including seven provinces in the United States. Regis Jesuit is a member of the Central and Southern Province which is bordered by Colorado on the west and Florida on the east. Our province is headed up by a Provincial, Fr. Ron Mercier, SJ, who reports to the central Jesuit government or "curia" in Rome, headed by the Superior General. (You may remember that Fr. Mercier formally missioned me as President of Regis Jesuit back in December in the Blessed Rupert Mayer Chapel.)

One of the jobs of the Provincial is to assign Jesuits to the various ministries (or “works”) inside, and sometimes outside, his province. Assignments can vary in length, but in this case, Fr. Harrison’s six-year term as Superior and his tenure with the ministry of Regis Jesuit will conclude concurrently.

Jesuits take four vows when they are ordained: poverty, chastity, obedience to their order and obedience to the Pope with regard to mission. As part of their vow of obedience, they move on when their Provincial asks them to move on. And so it is with Fr. Harrison.

And we’ll miss him!

In addition to serving as Superior (director) of our Jesuit community, Fr. Jeff has served Regis Jesuit in a number of capacities, official and unofficial. He has taught social studies and theology, has presided at hundreds of Masses, staffed dozens of retreats, served on the school’s Board of Trustees, hosted six Pig Roasts…. 

You get the idea. 

Our Jesuits serve the mission of Regis Jesuit in every imaginable way and several ways unimaginable. They teach lay people like me how to be Ignatian educators. They help students, faculty, staff and parents to grow in their faith. And they are also simply friends and colleagues who experience many of the same trepidations, stressors and joys of their lay peers.

Educators don’t often know of the impact they make in the lives of their students and colleagues, but I can tell you what a few folks had to say about this one:

  • “Fr. Harrison exemplifies the values of Regis Jesuit. His compassion and care for his students is evident in all that he does... Without him I would not have been able to navigate the sometimes murky waters of being a high school student.”
  • “Jeff is an advocate for the kids. He cares deeply about them as children of God and cares about the physical, mental and emotional health. His homilies touch the hearts of many of our students and speak to where they are and where they want to grow in their relationship to God.”
  • “In the classroom, Jeff helps students understand what our nation has been through, how it has struggled and grown and he forces them to think about such topics as prejudice, racism and injustices that are realities in our history.”
  • “What I see when I watch Jeff minister is a gentleness and compassion. The girls are drawn to him in reconciliation. They instinctively know that he will take his time and listen. That is true gift.”

Yes, a true gift.

Godspeed Fr. Jeff, and thank you for the many gifts you have given to the Regis Jesuit community, especially the gift of your vocation.

During the 2016 Mass of the Holy Spirit,
Fr. Harrison led the community in a blessing of David Card '87 as the new President.


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 throughout the school year. 

LAURA HALL: NIE CAPSTONE PROJECT
4/28/2017

As I have the opportunity to observe senior Capstone projects in both the Boys and Girls Divisions this month, I am inspired to reflect on my own experience here at Regis Jesuit. I look to the Grad at Grad and remember those first days when I wondered what students had to do to be a “Graddit Grad.” Was Graddit a person? A thing? What were the requirements? I recall googling AMDG because it was embroidered on the arm of my pullover, and I didn’t know what it meant. I remember one of the first Masses hoping I could follow the script and sit/stand when I was supposed to. NIE stands for New Ignatian Educator, but I felt like a New Ignatian Everything.

If I were doing a Capstone project now, I would use the transformation of my office to illustrate how I’ve seen and exhibited the tenants of the Grad at Grad. When I first arrived, adorning the walls of my office were a pennant pinwheel and a University of Vermont framed poster left for me by the previous occupant. The bookcases were empty; bulletin board was bare; and all that was on my desk was a phone and computer monitor for a laptop I hadn’t even received yet. Looking around now I have additional rows of pennants from schools I’ve just this year had the opportunity to visit; schools where my friends and colleagues work; and schools where I, myself, attended, graduated and worked. The foundation for my commitment to doing justice is through these colleagues who are champions for students at high schools and campuses across the country. The building blocks to that foundation are here at RJ in the students, faculty and staff. I have witnessed the learning moments, the action and the desire to be better than we already are. I don’t see the chairs in my office as chairs, but the emotions of the bodies who have sat in them. Tears (including a few of my own), laughter, worry, doubt, nerves, excitement…the list goes on, but I won’t leave out love. We can definitely check the Loving box here at RJ! I have been loved in those exchanges, and I hope through my office, I’ve created a space for its visitors to feel the same. 

From my crises of faith and intellectual competence to my embrace of the same, I have grown professionally and personally in my first year here. Over time, things were revealed. AMDG became more than an acronym, Mass became more than a procedure to follow, and I’ve about run out of space to decorate my office. 

As I wrap up this year and sign my name on the line to do it all again next year, the Grad at Grad speaks to me as a comfort and a call. A comfort in that this is a place that celebrates my journey through education, faith, service, struggles and joys. The call is for me, for all of us, to contribute to the journeys of all who walk our halls. 


Laura Hall is completing her first year at Regis Jesuit High School as part of the College Counseling team. Previous to working at the school, she worked 12 years in college admissions at Missouri University of Science and Technology and The Ohio State University. When not at RJ you can find Laura hiking, crafting or at the dog park with her Golden Retriever/Chow, Buddy.

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