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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Jimmy Tricco: Magis – Choosing the Greater
9/21/2018

St. Paul puts it this way: “The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings” (Rom 8:26). May these groans be not for our students’ homework load or our teachers’ stacks of grading, but rather for our yearning of a deeper connection and understanding of God’s grace.

In my experience, adversity begins to make an entrance around this time of the year. Tests and quizzes rear their ugly heads, often causing stress and more than a little anxiety. Students feel the weight of any setbacks, yet they feel pressure to do more, to be more. The Gospel passage of the Rich Young Man (Mark 10: 17-22) resonates with what we do at Regis Jesuit. Imagine the students at Jesuit high schools telling Jesus something like this:

“My GPA is over a 4.0, I dominated the SAT and ACT, I’m currently enrolled in three AP courses, I have over 500 followers on Instagram, and I play two sports. What must I do to inherit college?” 

Fortunately, as in the Gospel, Jesus looks at us and loves us in our ambitions and our desire to be more. 

An old friend and colleague once gave me a small keychain decorated with a surly-looking leprechaun. Push the fighting Irishman and the Notre Dame Fight Song danced out of the box.  

It became my oldest daughter’s favorite toy upon visits to my classroom. She’d press the button over and over again taking delight in the funny music. Inevitably, she drained the battery. However, she still loved to play with the keychain. She would hum some rendition of that addicting song, imagining each press of the button produced the old tune.

Striving for the magis reminds me of that keychain. I am not sure there exists a direct, straightforward definition of magis, which is an Ignatian word in Latin meaning “more or to make better.” It does not necessarily mean to do more, to stuff your time full of activities, to keep yourself busy, counting accomplishments or seeking results. A Jesuit brother stated, 

“If God isn't at the center of our definition of the magis, we become the focus of our actions. We fall victim to a warped notion of the spiritual life, as being about producing and doing more. The magis is about making God the focus of all our decisions. It is about choosing the greater...for God.”

My prayer for our students and our community is that we have the courage to do what we feel God desires of us. Availability, discernment and the freedom to obey God’s will remain the heart of Ignatian education. I challenge our community to go deeper still, to collaborate with God in our words and in our actions. May we experience the good type of tired, the feeling that our long day was fulfilling and freeing as we explore the depths of God’s grace. The magis will lead us to Jesus and to one another, “groanings” and all.


This is Jimmy Tricco’s first year as the first co-divisional principal for Regis Jesuit in our new administrative structure. He writes for Inspire & Ignite on the third week of the month. 

Jim Broderick King ’87: The Power of Gospel Thinking
9/14/2018

When I was young and well before I converted to Roman Catholicism, my mother did her best to give me a good, moral, religious upbringing. That was hard for her with our family structure lacking in any real religiosity. She herself grew up in the Dutch Reformed Church, not exactly a place of comfort and serendipity in the first half of the 20th Century—dour, harsh, strict and unyielding. She did, of course, rebel against it and eventually leave that faith tradition. So it was difficult for her to find a spiritual anchor to moor me to. Sometimes it was a Nazarene church, sometimes Catholic Mass with our cousins or a trip to the local Episcopalian chapel. Some of it stuck. Some.

When the usual family tensions came, that is when I was an angst-ridden and cynical teenager, I think my mom got fed up with my attitude, especially the pessimism I carried all the time. She finally reached out in an uncharacteristic way and pulled me aside in one of my more consternated moments. She simply said, “I know life seems hard and things look dim, but I think it would be good for you to read this book.” She handed me a copy of The Power of Positive Thinking by the famed American preacher from the Dutch Reformed Church, Norman Vincent Peale. You can imagine what an excruciatingly loud grinding my mom heard from my rolling eyes and my clenched teeth. But I later did what she asked and read the small treatise by the preacher who connected with millions of Americans, including several presidents, and whose teachings became one important foundation of what is termed today “the Prosperity Gospel.” … Sorry, Mom, God rest your soul, but The Power of Positive Thinking did NOT help me. Not one iota. Frankly, it just made me testier and, as life has gone on, the thought of the book has only become saccharine-like treacle in my memory.

However, I look back and I really do appreciate that my mom tried something, anything in her wheelhouse, to break through to her disagreeable and gloomy kid. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to think positively; I simply couldn’t buy into a framework that suggested salvation in this world was possible by putting on a happy face; it reminded me of little more than a theological version of Professor Harold Hill’s “think system” for learning the “Minuet in G” in The Music Man. But that nudge toward optimism does stick with me. 

I considered this week avoiding the topic of our grave situation in the Catholic Church, or as one friend called it “pathology,” as revelations are made weekly and power plays are made among the hierarchy. As a convert to Catholicism, I knew what I was getting into when I entered the complicated community I was choosing. An easy response for me now would be to throw it all overboard and give in to the pessimism that clouds my days and prayers lately. But memories and senses of things greater than religious cynicism prevail for me most often. While my mother’s misplaced urging didn’t take, I think the image in my prayers of late has her handing me an imaginary book titled The Power of GOSPEL Thinking. This book doesn’t lead me on a course of wishful thinking or to a place where those with gumption and a whistle on their lips will be cherished and rewarded by God. This book reminds me that the Kingdom of Heaven is for all of us, but especially blessed are those who suffer, the meek, the counter-cultural peacemakers, the poor and those who have been pushed aside. This book confirms for me that young people victimized by those in positions of power have suffered, but will be first to enter the Kingdom, well before me and rightly so. This book instructs me in the ways of God’s justice; it is the highest justice that, despite human plans, regardless of obfuscations, heedless of the machinations of imperfect leaders, will act in the properties of water: it will always and eventually find its level. This book, The Power of Gospel Thinking, continues to whisper a truth that too many want to silence: hope and Easter always are victorious.

I have a friend who is converting to the Roman Catholic Church this year. This week he reminded me of an important teaching in our faith that he is growing to appreciate: we as Roman Catholics always hang on to the symbols and words and constant reminders of the Paschal Mystery, the ongoing cycle of life-death-rebirth. As we continue to encounter these very challenging realities in our Church, in our nation, in our families and in our world, and as we all deal with the angsty teenagers in our lives, those in real adolescence and those of us who never quite put aside that cynical edge about a complicated world, let us all try sometime to share that truth and hope from The Power of Gospel Thinking with each other: Easter always wins.


Announcement: If you would like to join in one place of hopeful prayer, join us at the Ignatian Spirituality Program of Denver at St. Ignatius Loyola Parish next month. We will be leading a five-evening retreat in October centered on the upcoming Synod on Young People happening this fall in Rome. The retreat is titled Your Sons and Daughters will Prophesy, and it is a great opportunity for people of all ages to reflect and pray on the future of our faith. You can find more information and registration instructions here: https://ignatianspiritualitydenver.org/retreats/calendar/ 


Jim Broderick King '87 is the Director of Ignatian Spirituality & Formation at Regis Jesuit. This is his 24th year at the school. He is also teaching Latin this year and has taught theology, English and even ancient Greek on occasion.

 

Tim Bauer ’88: Opening Doors
9/7/2018

At the girls Back-to-School Night a few days ago, I had the opportunity to connect with an old friend from the class of 1988 whose daughter is a freshman this year at Regis Jesuit. We were chatting about the passage of time, and how quickly our kids seem to grow, and marveling at how events that happened 30 years ago seem like yesterday in some respects. It was a moment of grace in an evening filled with the many graces of our community. 

A few minutes later, during one of the sessions in which parents visit their daughters’ classes, I took a stroll down the empty hallway, just listening and observing through the open doors the presentations by our gifted faculty. In some of the rooms were teachers who themselves are alums of RJ—men and women from ’98 and ’04 and ’06 and ’08 and ’10, some of whom I taught English or history all those years ago. I hope those parents in the rooms were as impressed as I at the passion and service of our teachers—yet another observable grace in our community.

Opening doors. You may have heard or read about this theme that the Regis Jesuit faculty have committed themselves to this year. We chose this theme to remind us of the uncertainty of our endeavor, of the hope and possibility that we face every time we answer the knock and of the courage it takes to move across the threshold into an unknown space. In a very personal way, this theme brings to mind the inexplicable emotional reaction I have every time I see an artist’s rendition of the face of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Perhaps it is the piercing gaze, or the aquiline nose, or the jutting chin, but I always want to stand a little straighter when I see that face. St. Ignatius, in his posture and his life, invites me to be more courageous, and to cross more thresholds, to be willing to find Christ on the other side. It is the visage of St. Ignatius that I envision when I hear the teachers of Regis Jesuit sharing their vocation with our students and parents.

There were so many teachers here who opened doors for me and others in the class of ’88: Charlie Saulino, Charlotte Read, Dan Sarlo, Mike Doherty, Tim Newton, Sr. Benita Volk, Bob Austin, Tom Robinson ‘64, Ralph Taylor. The memory and impact of their work (and in the cases of Mike and Ralph, their current impact!) inspires me deeply these days. When they met little Timmy at the doors of RJ on the old north Denver campus, they did not greet me as just another kid, but rather they extended the personal invitation to be a part of something sacred, to walk through spaces with courage, to see God in the small things and to carry the mission forward into the world. When I think of those teachers, I stand a little straighter. 

The hallways and doorways of Regis Jesuit are filled with graces every day. Our students strive and grow; our teachers nudge them along with love and challenge; alums return to us with their children, and new families walk through Tradition Hall. I like to imagine that, in our classrooms right now, there is a student who, 30 years in the future, will stand taller remembering the educators who inspired her, and will have the courage and hope to answer the knock on the door.


Tim Bauer ’88 is the Acting Girls Division Head. He has worked for Regis Jesuit for 19 years, serving as a teacher, coach, mentor and administrator during that time. 

 

 

Catherine Cole: Open the Eyes of my Heart
8/31/2018

It often happens that song lyrics get stuck in my head and when they persist I realize that it becomes my prayer for that moment. This song Open the Eyes of my Heart, Lord became a persistent prayer this summer and a rather appropriate one in light of our theme of opening doors for this year. 

This prayer carried me through the coordination of Camp Magis, a three-week summer program with middle school students from St. Therese Catholic School that took place here at RJHS. I worked with an amazing team of teachers and students including Adam ’98 and Jamie Dawkins, Chuck Childs from St. Therese, and three of our RJ students: Amber McBorrough ‘19, Jaden Daher ‘19 and Joseph Crouch ‘19. We worked to offer the students a summer experience that helped reduce the effects of the summer slide by keeping their math and English skills fresh. More importantly, we had the opportunity to engage with our students from an Ignatian perspective and encourage them to come to know themselves and come to see God in our midst. 

I wanted every detail to run smoothly. I wanted the work I had done to be seen and appreciated. As it goes, one day a student asked me, “I know Mrs. Dawkins teaches English, what do you do?” I left that encounter feeling a bit disheartened. But that very same afternoon I walked into English class and watched Mrs. Dawkins challenge the students to investigate the meaning of their names. Each student was not only engaged but full of pride when asked to share about his or her name. At that moment my eyes were opened to the most important reality: in the midst of logistics, planning and details, the most important thing I can do here this summer is build relationships with the students and my colleagues.

“Open the eyes of my heart, Lord, I want to see you.” The words spoke to me differently this time—behind the details of the camp, that is where God was waiting to meet me, in the faces of the students, in the faces of our RJ camp counselors, in the faces of whoever was in front of me in the moment.

Relationship building is messy. It involves vulnerability on both sides, but the by-product is steeped in reward. Our God of surprises is always waiting to show us His face in the most unexpected places. Watching the boys play soccer together at lunch became a sign of God’s presence. A moment when a student looked me in the eyes to tell me about her favorite book, or an expression of gratitude from a student and colleague were all tangible signs of God’s presence in that moment. As each student finished his or her final project video they ask me to watch it with them. That was the biggest gift of the summer—being invited to watch their personal creations. Standing next to a student while his or her video played on the screen and listening to their own story about who they are filled my heart with the power of that moment. I felt connected, not only to the student but also to the presence of God in our midst. 

“Open the eyes of my heart Lord, I got to see you!”

Thank you!

Camp Magis campers in front of the St. John Francis Regis statue on campus


Catherine Cole is in her 13th year of teaching at Regis Jesuit. She teaches theology, coordinates the girls sophomore and senior retreat programs and works on a team that is developing the Community Partnership Initiative. 

David Card '87: KEEPING THE FAITH
8/24/2018

Over the last couple of weeks, I have found myself utterly sickened by the recent scandalous revelations of pedophilia, sexual impropriety, abuse and deceit within our Church’s leadership and clergy. I’m sure I’m not alone. I am ashamed of the history of this behavior, and this shame is renewed once again with the charges against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, which then were followed by the horrific grand jury report which detailed abuse within six Pennsylvania Dioceses involving more than 1000 victims. 

Personally, I was beginning to develop some confidence that the American Church’s efforts to deal with this crisis head-on was, in fact, making a difference. Today, I find this confidence deeply shaken.

At the same time, I grieve. I grieve for victims of abuse and their families. I grieve and I’m frustrated and I’m angry about the confusion this causes inside a wonderful mission like Regis Jesuit. And I grieve for the scores of clergy who are forced to disrupt legitimate ministry in order to answer for the sins of their brothers or worse, their superiors. I grieve for the ordained people who have earnestly and honestly delivered the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ and who have no responsibility with this scandal. Truly, there are many. 

I am conflicted, no doubt. Because I also remain passionate about the opportunity to help our students encounter the living Christ in our midst, who continues to offer us abundant hope in his mercy. My confidence in the transformational impact of our Ignatian mission and programs has been forged through personal experience and direct witness. These experiences are real and they aren’t going anywhere.

Our focus right now at Regis Jesuit is to determine what the needs of our community are in light of this scandal, beginning with our students. We also want to be responsive to the needs of our faculty and staff, and of our families. 

Where do we begin? Listening, I suppose. Listening deeply. Listening to each other, and listening for the spirits moving inside of ourselves. At a time like this, we must be especially purposeful in listening for the good spirits. Let’s begin with listening and allow this to inform our actions and ministry.

For readers of this space, I’d like to hear from you. What is it that you need from Regis Jesuit today?
Email presidentsoffice@regisjesuit.com


Additional Statements:


David Card '87 is in his third year as Regis Jesuit's president. His posts for Inspire & Ignite generally appear once a month, usually on the first Friday, throughout the school year.  

Jimmy Tricco: Missionaries to the Heart
8/17/2018

Several of my heroes include the early Jesuit missionaries: St. Jean de Brebeuf, St. Francis Xavier, Matteo Ricci, St. Peter Claver and more. When they traveled to Goa, South America, Canada and Japan, these missionaries met people in their context. Jesuits spoke the local dialect, practiced diverse customs and built relationships. When my parents dropped me off at orientation for my first year at a Jesuit high school, I met a few of these “missionaries.” The teachers spoke my dialect. They built relationships. Their care was infectious. They genuinely inquired about me. I felt affirmed for who I was. Challenged and loved. Affirmation, raising self-esteem, developing talents and establishing an overall healthy self-concept are all evidence of cura personalis

I once heard a Jesuit university president say that he can always tell a new freshman on campus who is from a Jesuit high school. These students are not necessarily the brightest; they are occasionally the hardest working; yet, they are always friendly and comfortable with their identity. From my earliest days at Jesuit institutions, affirmation remains a constant. I fell in love with this way of proceeding, so much that my family likes to tease me. When my wife, Jacqui, is more than a little frustrated with me, she tells me, “You should have become a Jesuit.” I have to remind myself that she doesn’t always mean it as a compliment. Anyway, I attempt to love my students with the same affection, genuine concern, and affirmation that my teachers loved me. To paraphrase Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, “We see in our students what they don’t see in themselves until they do.” Few things in my ministry are more uplifting than observing our students fall in love with their identity, their community and their God. 
I’m overwhelmingly grateful and indebted to the group of parents in Italy in the 16th century. When the folks living in Messina in Sicily asked Ignatius to open a school for their children, he created an educational experience aimed at forming the minds and hearts of those who would come to transform the world. This spirit and mission of Jesuit education continue today, most evident in our graduates and current students. Consolation abides when I think about the young people being cared for in Fairbanks, Alaska; Tampa, Florida; New York, New York and all over the world. 

An old mentor constantly reminded me that we require two important traits while ministering at Jesuit schools: courage and humility. I would humbly add a third: patience. We (myself especially) seem eager at one point or another to experience Regis Jesuit as it could be, often without fully realizing what it is now: a people and place where we are free to express compassion. One of my prayers for this year involves us reflecting on Regis Jesuit’s development to the present day, and to continue—always together—dreaming and building a community committed to truth, the freedom to discern God’s will and to simply love. How may we better reach the depths of our students’ hearts? 


This is Jimmy Tricco’s first year as the first co-divisional principal for Regis Jesuit in our new administrative structure. He will write for Inspire & Ignite on the third week of the month. 

Sajit Kabadi: Opening Doors
8/10/2018

Hello everyone and welcome back as we embark on another school year together. I want to express my heartfelt gratitude and excitement to all of you in serving as your Acting Assistant Principal in Mission, Ministry & Diversity. I ask that you keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I look forward to engaging with all of you as we together continue to animate our wonderful, Catholic Jesuit mission.

Our theme for the upcoming school year is opening doors. We prayerfully seek to be intentionally mindful this year in opening doors for each other and to the stranger, something Jesus always teaches us to do. We can do this by greeting someone with a smile, taking time to direct them if lost, eating with them, or simply being present to them. As St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta said, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can all do small things with great love.” Our community continues to open doors in so many ways, whether it is through our efforts of inclusion, serving the underserved, building new relationships through our Community Partnership Initiative and, above all, in our student-teacher relationships. We are so blessed.

This year, we also prayerfully seek to be open to entering new doors this school year by building relationships with our new students and their families, engaging in new activities or simply placing ourselves in unfamiliar places. Opening doors to something new or to change is an opportunity to experience metanoia, the Greek word meaning “change of mind.” Theologians such as Karl Rahner viewed metanoia as a spiritual transformation and conversion of the heart spurred by being open to change. According to Rahner, metanoia can be a reorienting of ourselves when looking at someone or a situation. We are transformed if we are open to it.

At Regis Jesuit, we have been inclined throughout our history to opening doors to change. From moving from Las Vegas, NM to Morrison to Denver to our present day location on Campbell Campus to expanding our mission 15 years ago to offer Jesuit education to young women in a new and unique model, metanoia is a motivating force for our institution. This year is no exception as we continue with our restructuring process. 
The process of change can be challenging. As he has engaged with faculty and staff, our new principal Jimmy Tricco has referred to liminal spaces as “those in-between moments, the sacred fuzziness between what we have known and what is yet to come. As he noted, there is both fear and excitement within these liminal spaces, and yes, tremendous opportunity for metanoia and transformation, if we possess the grace in proceeding to open these new doors and entering through them. 

Opening doors to change at Regis Jesuit will call for both cura personalis and cura apostolica. Cura personalis, the personal care of the person, is paramount in Jesuit education when working with our students and each other as a community of God—first and foremost we love and care for each other. Cura apostolica refers to the care and love we have for the entire apostolate as a whole—placing our faith in a mission larger than ourselves. It is the laboring with and for God, often not knowing or seeing the culmination of our efforts. It is a commitment of faith. Let us pray that both are in abundance this year within our community as we open doors to experience God’s grace in change. 


Dr. Sajit Kabadi is the Acting Assistant Principal for Mission, Ministry & Diversity. He has been at Regis Jesuit since 2000. 

 

 

David Card ’87: No Late Lazy Days of Summer Here
8/3/2018

Welcome to the 2018-19 school year first-timers, long-timers and everyone in between. As the calendar turns to August, the countdowns have officially begun. Our newest Ignatian educators including our principal, Mr. Jimmy Tricco, arrived this week to begin their training and formation. They will be joined by the rest of their colleagues next week.

We will welcome our freshmen—the class of 2022to Compass Day on Monday, August 13 and register them on Tuesday, August 14. Sophomores, juniors and seniors register on Wednesday, August 15. Then on the 16th, nearly 1700 Raiders will grace the campus for our first day of school. We remain humbled by our families’ interest in and attraction to a Regis Jesuit education.

What’s new, you ask? Lots! I’m glad you asked.

As noted earlier this week in the safety and security email, we’ve completed our new vestibules at the primary entrances to the Boys Division, which now match the security features of the Girls Division. Visitors will check in in either of these vestibules with a driver’s license and have an ID badge printed on the spot. We will also be hiring two new security team members who will monitor our exits at the end of the school day and into the evening.

Our cafeterias have received a small facelift as we welcome Flik Independent School Dining as our new food services partner. They will manage cafeteria operations in both divisions, the Steele Center Café and for many of our special events and activities. With this change, we will provide our students with healthy cooking from scratch and locally sourced ingredients in order to bring high-quality food to our students. We think our students will love it. So while the queue-line process will change and hopefully move more quickly, we will use the same point-of-sale process that our students are used to and maintain similar pricing structures. You can read more about this change here.

The Foster Quad on the south side of the Girls Division is now accessible thanks to a 90’ ramp that was constructed this summer. The new accessibility ramp will deliver you to the wonderful red oak tree that was planted to honor Gretchen Kessler as she completed her tenure as founding principal of the Girls Division. 

Our newly formed centralized administrative team, including Mr. Tricco and assistant principals for Student Life, Faculty & Curriculum and Mission Ministry & Diversity, have set up office in the Steele Center. College Counseling has moved to the Boys Division, just inside the north entrance. I’ve written quite a bit about our restructure in this space, which readers can refresh themselves with here. The new office locations will give our new centralized team a wonderful opportunity to gel as a team and to lead our institution to its goal of strengthening the identity of Regis Jesuit overall, among several others.

I’m pleased to share that we are already feeling the benefits of this change! We are experiencing unprecedented levels of communication and coordination between our two divisions, and many of our faculty described the summer’s curriculum institute as the most productive they have ever attended. These kinds of accomplishments will translate directly to the classroom, and we are better prepared than ever to drive innovation in our academic programming. It’s exciting to imagine the opportunity we now have to make what has been undoubtedly good, even better as we move forward.

While our administrative and academic departments are combining, we will preserve and strengthen our single-gender focus – one of the defining characteristics of a Regis Jesuit education. More of our teachers will teach in both divisions this year, which we believe will help them sharpen their skills as single-gender educators and elevate our collective sense of cura personalis – the care and concern for every student on our campus.

As for me…well, no rest for the wicked, but I did manage to sneak away to the Grand Tetons for a week. Imagine my delight when I learned that my Snake River raft guide was none other than Hayden Fitzpatrick ’09. I’ve always had confidence in the capabilities of our graduates, but entrusting one with your safety (and that of your family) certainly brought this feeling to an entirely new dimension. Great Raiders are quite literally, everywhere. 

I hope you and your family had a blessed summer, and I look forward to seeing you on campus this fall.


David Card '87 is beginning his third year as Regis Jesuit's president. Posts for Inspire & Ignite written by him or members of his team appear once a month, generally on the first Friday, throughout the school year.  

 

Recharging for the Summer
6/1/2018

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!

Kristin Repaci: Moments for the Hall of Fame
5/25/2018

Wow! It is hard believe that we are at the end of the school year. It seems like just yesterday I was welcoming a new group of students into my classroom. Last weekend was a whirlwind. In the short span of 72-hours, Regis Jesuit won two State Championships (Boys Lacrosse and Boys Swim & Dive), were State runners-up in Boys Rugby and graduated 231 young men and 175 young women. 

As an assistant coach for the both swim teams, it is hard to find words to describe the feeling on deck when it became certain that the State Championship belonged to our gentlemen. I will have to borrow the word a colleague keeps using, “euphoria.” Euphoria. Do my hands need to be shaking as they were at the end of that final race to experience euphoria? Do there need to be tears? How about the inexplicable loss for words? To me, the answer to all these questions is, no. Euphoria also comes in moments of watching the young men and women whom we educate walk across the stage to receive their diploma, helping a student realize their potential, the start of a new school year, etc. The experience of euphoria is a joyous part of being a team. Being part of a team also means that you share the low points as well. Our graduating class of senior swimmers knew the feeling of placing second at the State Meet for the past three years. Until Saturday, these gentlemen were the only senior class without a State swim title since 1992. 

Throughout the two-day meet, our swimmers demonstrated the importance of perseverance, hard work and heart. With points to make up going into finals, nothing less than our best would suffice. Stellar swims and lifetime bests put us in contention for a State Championship. It all came down to the last race of the meet. Our 400-free relay team found themselves in a high-stakes situation: win the relay and win the State title or come in second for a fourth straight year. In a matter of three minutes, two seconds and 67 milliseconds, our relay team gave everything they had to capitalize on the team effort and win the touch-out by a mere three-tenths of a second. You can watch the race here

The State Swim Meet gave me a good opportunity to reflect on what it means to be part of a team. I consider myself a member of several teams: my family, my colleagues, my classes, etc. A few people do not determine the success of a team. Every action contributed by team members either helps or hinders the team as a whole. One race and four swimmers did not win the swim team a State Championship. Hundreds of hours of practice, thousands of laps swum, every point scored and every touch-out won earned them the title. 

Here at Regis Jesuit, we are a team striving to provide an excellent Jesuit education to the young men and women on our campus. Every interaction we have, class we teach, sport we coach or club we moderate contributes to the fulfillment of our mission. As we move toward a new structure of leadership on our campus next year, the Regis Jesuit community—teachers, faculty, students, parents, alumni—will be the team that works and learns together, ad maiorem Dei gloriam


Kristin Repaci is finishing her second year teaching math to boys at Regis Jesuit. Before coming to RJ, Kristin taught in DPS for three years. Along with teaching, Kristin is an assistant coach for both the girls and boys swim teams. 

Jim Broderick King ’87: “WWJD?” – Not a Question That Helps Me
5/18/2018

You’ve seen the bumper stickers, wristbands and banners: “WWJD?” / “What Would Jesus Do?” Since that interrogative slogan became popular years ago, I have bristled upon encountering it every time. Don’t get me wrong--I’m okay with those who rely on that question for meaning and purpose, a way to guide their moral decisions and daily actions. But something about it always seemed theologically incomplete or misplaced. I continually had a difficult time putting words to my discomfort. Why does it bother me? This spring, I think I happened upon an answer.

For me the question “What WOULD Jesus do?” doesn’t reflect my experience with Jesus. The questions phrased as “What IS Jesus doing?” or “What does Jesus WANT?” better fall into theological flow for my spirit. It’s the Easter season. Jesus IS resurrected, IS ascending, IS loving, IS acting, IS seeking. Everything about this time reminds me that Jesus is in the here-and-now, not a past standard or a future possibility to ponder. When I encounter a way to see the world or to make a decision or to lead my life, I feel it so much more helpful and accurate to examine closely what Jesus desires right now and how He is acting, laboring and moving at this moment. 

Thus, I approach these lofty thoughts of Ignatian discernment more commonly now with a simpler attitude. Too often, we fall into the misguided mentality that Ignatian discernment is solely a modern take on an ancient form of “decision making.” I think it is both much more and much simpler than that. If we are discerning as Ignatius suggested, we should be frequently asking ourselves—asking GOD—“What is Jesus doing with this moment in my life?” or “What is the Holy Spirit showing me right now about what God desires for us?” If I can discern in this way, I can begin to see with clearer vision what choices lead me closer to friendship with Jesus, I can feel better what attitude I need to have in my relationships and I can sense when my desires God and I share.

What does this look like in everyday life? Well, my current examples sound like this: 
Things at RJHS are sometimes tough and even tense this time of year. Maybe we can have some levity with Cannonball Day freshman activities or create a fictional controversy out of thin air falsely and fun-lovingly accusing our rival Mullen stealing RJ Raider’s armored leg; that might lighten the mood a little. 

Like a lot of senior parents, I’m feeling the strange joy and fear of my own senior graduating this week. Perhaps I can respond to my own graduate with more affection and encourage the celebration of graduation successes instead of focusing on my own uncertainty.

This morning I am slowly hearing the details of the tragedy in Santa Fe, Texas. Do I give in to my usual fear and anger or do I choose to pray more deeply and engage the teenagers around me today with just a hint more compassion?

Whatever the current moments are, I hope we are listening deeply for what God really desires, looking toward the direction the Holy Spirit is truly pointing toward and paying close attention to “What Is Jesus Doing?” “W I J D?” Then we can know how much He wants to love us and be loved by us.

Blessings to all of our 2018 graduates, to all of our students finishing up the semester, to our harried but hopeful faculty and staff and to all of our families waiting for the beginning of a great summer! See you back here in August!


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.

 

Hailey Johnson: RJ’s Wonder Women
5/10/2018

As my first year of teaching comes to a close, there are countless student stories or “a-ha” moments I could speak of, but I feel that many of them would not have happened without the support I received from my colleagues. The beauty of the first-year-teacher struggles is that all teachers have experienced them: the difficulties and uncertainty, the self-doubt and worry and the joy of experiencing the first glimpse of success within your students. Throughout my first year, I had a strong community keeping my head above water and supporting me as they empathized with me through the mountains and valleys of my first year. 

I was graciously mentored by many colleagues; however, my female colleagues played monumental roles in helping me learn how to both teach and empower young women. These women undoubtedly assisted with my success this year. Danielle Brigman and Megan Langfield ’10 patiently helped me with classroom management techniques. Leah Malm and Anna Gough ’07 continually reminded me to find joy and relish the small victories. Natalie Baldasare celebrated alongside my students’ accomplishments, as well as reminded me to keep my head up through the lulls of the year. Caroline Howard was a necessary wealth of knowledge and comic relief within the walls of the social studies office. Jenny Lynch and Jamie Dawkins held me hostage in my classroom, ambushing me with hugs asking how they could support me at the start of second semester. Leslie Diedrich and Kati Dorais were blessings. Leslie was a constant confidante, listening and offering advice. Kati went above and beyond as my wonderful mentor, helping me navigate my way through this new experience. However, it was not only Kristi Dindinger’s support throughout the year, but observing her perseverance and strength during a time of immense tribulation that truly inspired me to do my very best for my students. These women encouraged me to use my gifts and constantly reminded me of my passion for teaching and teenagers. 

It is important to know that RJ students are in a place where their teachers take care of one another, which in turn translates to how well teachers take care of their students. As a first year teacher, this was imperative for my success inside the classroom. I believe it is imperative for the success of all teachers, regardless of their experience level. 

I cannot state how thankful I am to have started my career at Regis Jesuit. I am grateful for the depth of empathy, understanding and kindness I received at RJ this year and want to express thanks to those who believed in the fresh-faced, looks like she’s 18, new teacher. 


Hailey Johnson teaches girls social studies and is also the varsity assistant coach for girls tennis. This is her first year at Regis Jesuit, as well as her first year teaching. She was honored with the Cura Personalis Teaching Award by this year’s girls freshman class.

David Card ’87: Seasons, Metanoia and Gratitude
5/4/2018

David A. Card '87A wise man (Fr. Jeff Harrison, SJ) used to quip, “The school year doesn’t wind down; it just one day stops.” I’m sure no one is feeling that sentiment right now as sharply as our students. They will be concentrating with all of their might to finish end of year projects, study for AP and final exams, then poof! The entire paradigm shifts, especially for our seniors.

No wind down, just an abrupt change. In these times, it’s important for us to be patient with ourselves and with each other. Sure, we know what these last few weeks of school are all about, but intensity and change try us. The emotions we experience signal that something important is going on. (Sometimes that something is just plain fatigue.)  

Hang in there RJ!

As an institution, we too are heading in to a change of paradigm, and not just for the summer. As this school year comes to an end, we will begin to operate with our new administrative structure—the result of a ten-month discernment process that concluded last November. Many on campus are already wading in to the change paradigm. Academic departments are identifying their leadership and beginning to imagine and articulate their way of proceeding, and our acting administrative team has been meeting together for weeks identifying the roles and responsibilities of their new positions. 

Our current principals, Ms. Gretchen Kessler and Mr. Alan Carruthers, are entering in to a change paradigm of their own. Ms. Kessler will step down from her tenure as founding principal of the Girls Division, and transition back in to the classroom, as well as the Alumni Office. And Mr. Carruthers will head east on I-70 until he sees a giant arch next to the mighty Mississippi, where he will begin his tenure as president of St. Louis University High School—one of our Jesuit province’s best.

Together, Ms. Kessler and Mr. Carruthers have been exceptional school leaders. As Regis Jesuit begins to evolve itself once again for the greater glory of God, it does so only because these two leaders have been able to help us imagine an even greater presentation of a co-divisional school. They have helped us replace fear-based worry about a ‘slippery slope towards co-ed,’ with a single-gender excellence proposition, and with more and more discovery about the opportunities for, and the value of, togetherness. I am tremendously grateful to them.

As we celebrated her at LARK, Ms. Kessler is a true pioneer who courageously moved herself across the country to launch an exciting, yet un-tested vision. She did so with humility, faith, persistence, caring and loyalty. Her compass is and has always been the Ignatian vision, the characteristics of which are so plainly obvious in the programs she has developed and in the people she has hired. Hers is a story of breaking through the glass ceiling. She is a wonderful example for our students, and I am so glad that I will be able to continue to draw upon her experience and wisdom. 

With Mr. Carruthers, I will miss his leadership presence, his keen instinct in delicate situations, his experience, his interest in every element of school operations and his faith-anchored approach to everything he does. Mr. Carruthers is a strong Ignatian leader and it’s no surprise to me why a Jesuit school would seek him as its president. I’m sad to lose him from Regis Jesuit, but I’m glad to keep him as a colleague in the context of our Jesuit province. I look forward to our continued work together in that realm.

So, change is on the horizon for all of us over the next few weeks. May God bless Ms. Gretchen Kessler and Mr. Alan Carruthers. My God bless our students and their families. And may we all—our students, our families, our faculty and staff—be  patient with each other and with ourselves, and may we continue to remind ourselves that we are never alone in our journeys. 

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.  

Gretchen Kessler: The Face of God
4/27/2018

Gretchen KesslerEvery day at school, I walk by the portraits of our graduates, and I pick two or three to say a prayer for and to see what I remember about their high school years. I know that during their time with us we planted the seeds….we provide opportunities to open hearts and minds, to help them find a friendship with God, to spark passions….and by doing so, we have had the opportunity to see their goodness, their deep sense of caring, their hopes and dreams….the face of God! It is in the little, daily opportunities for joy, support, learning, healing and caring that we find the beauty of the human spirit in each member of our community. 

Since we opened the Girls Division in 2003, I have been blessed to work with some of the finest Jesuit educators I have ever known; ones who care deeply about our students and each other; educators who support one another and have fun with one another. I see the face of God in them and their work at Regis Jesuit. 

While it’s easy to see the goodness in the big events in life, I think we shortchange ourselves if we don’t pay attention to the everyday interactions and happenings. I ran into this poem the other day that I thought was worth sharing:

Make the Ordinary Come Alive

Do not ask your children
To strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
But it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
And the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to crywhen pets and people die (and to celebrate their lives).
Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand
and make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.
- William Martin

I cherish the ordinary and the extraordinary. I never want to take anything or anyone for granted. Over the past 15 years here at Regis Jesuit, it has been my joy to be able to see the face of God in the more than 2000 young women and the young men who have walked through our doors. I look forward to many more years here in the classroom and working with alumni, and I know that God will always be found in our work.


Gretchen (front row just off center to the right) with members of this year's faculty & staff at a celebration of her years of leadership


Gretchen Kessler is the founding principal of the Girls Division. After more than 15 years at the helm, she will step down from that position to return to the classroom and will also support our efforts with our alumni, especially our alumnae whom she knows so well. We are grateful for her years of leadership and pioneering spirit. 

Jim Broderick King ’87: Embracing the Unexpected
4/20/2018

When I was stumped for a topic for this month’s Inspire & Ignite, I mentioned to a colleague that I was trying to figure it out but figured it would be an Easter theme. He said, “Too predictable. Don’t write about Easter. Do something unexpected.”

So what has been unexpected in my world lately? Hmmmm. 

  • Meeting with potential principal candidates, some of whom have been unexpected reminiscences with old friends (25 years in one case).
  • The profound, unanticipated relief for my daughter and for our family when she chose her college for next year.
  • Seeing how an alum was deeply committed to serving others several years after RJ – surprising because I never knew that person in that way as a student.
  • The news from left field that some friends or colleagues are moving away, leaving ministry, changing jobs and called to different modes of vocation. I can think of at least four that I didn’t expect.
  • A friend who just surprised me with the news he is feeling called to convert to Catholicism. 
  • My sister passing away – not entirely unexpected but strangely out of the context I was in.
  • A friend who, after almost 30 years of struggle and waiting, has officially been approved as a resident and on her way on the path of American citizenship.
  • Snow in April – OK, that’s not that surprising, but it sure wasn’t my plan for our staff retreat on Manresa Day.
  • Receiving a ‘no’ when I really anticipated a ‘yes.’
  • My family giving me the coolest birthday present of all time – hanging out on a goat farm for a morning and feeding baby goats. So weird and unexpected, but just the best! 

We all have these unbidden, unexpected and unimagined circumstances and life events. Some are gloriously fun or consoling. Some are unsettling or confounding. What do we do with these unexpected moments and how are we to judge them? I don’t know, but I do think we learn a lot about ourselves and others by the way we react to the unexpected.

Quick anecdote: I had a religion professor in college who was certainly one of my favorites—an amazing intellect, a man who challenged what we thought we knew about scripture, someone who could really leave me unsettled about interpreting scripture, and could confound me with a translation of a New Testament verse from Greek. The reality that he pretty well stripped us down of our preconceptions of Christian faith and made us question the very foundation of our theology absolutely did not jive with the other reality that he was a devout Southern Baptist. All in his courses could not put the deconstructionist skeptic of religious tradition we saw in class with the devout Christian who sang in a choir and taught Sunday school. We students were flummoxed by this dichotomy.

A group of us had an informal occasion to speak with him outside of an academic context and cornered him with this question: “When you are so critical about faith traditions and analytical of scriptural nuance, you seem to have presented a case that questions the basis of faith; so why are you still a Christian?” His response left me dumbstruck and sticks with me still after three decades; he replied, “Yes, I can undermine historical assumptions and draw doubt regarding the sources of a Gospel, and there are many logical reasons I would question my faith. But there is one experience that I can’t build an argument against and can’t simply explain away with objective evidence: on the day of Christ’s Resurrection, many people had a profound experience that was entirely non-rational and still led to a profound shift and commitment, so strong that they were willing to put their lives on the line for a truth they couldn’t deny. The communication of that truth has persisted for millennia. I am deeply moved by that and won’t contradict it.”

So, yes, I brought it back to Easter. All of those unexpected outcomes continue to leave us perplexed and dumbstruck, most of all the inexplicable but palpable authenticity of Jesus resurrected. That’s where my prayer has been in this transition from Lent and Holy Week to the Easter season. It continues to be a seeming contradiction that persists in my soul.

Therefore, I leave you this month with a prayer I try to say as often as I can, because it always shows me that unexpected truth and highlights for me that juxtaposition of experience and revelation, of suffering and glory. It is the traditional, centuries-old Anima Christi prayer that was important to Ignatius, here in a modern interpretation by Fr. David Fleming, SJ:

Jesus, may all that is in you flow into me.
May your body and blood be my food and drink.
May your passion and death be my strength and life.
Jesus, with you by my side enough has been given.
May the shelter I seek be the shadow of your cross.
Let me not run from the love which you offer.
But hold me safe from the forces of evil.
On each of my dyings shed your light and your love.
Keep calling to me until that day comes.
When with your saints, I may praise you forever.
Amen


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.

Madeline Broderick King ’18: Counting with Purpose
4/13/2018

It seems like every time someone asks how many days we have left until graduation. I hear drastically different answers. In the last week, I think I’ve heard estimates ranging from 20 to 60 days and counting. I have no idea where everyone’s getting their numbers and how, but I know that it’s coming up way too soon. I’m as excited to graduate as the next senior, but I don’t know that I’m ready. 

Of course, there are a million things that still have to be done; Capstones to complete, finals to take, AP tests to study for. But there are other things too, more abstract things, that I don’t know that I’m ready to leave behind. I’m not ready to leave my sisters and their smiles or my teachers and their enthusiasm. I’m not ready to leave this place that holds so many memories for me. I have had the privilege of calling this school my home away from home for my entire life, and I’m not ready to close that chapter. 

No longer am I looking forward to my time here. Now I have to look back. I look back and see myself and my baby sister trying on hard hats when the ground was first broken for the Boys Division—an occasion that helped ensure our eventual arrival as students here. I look back and see my five-year-old self running up and down the halls, looking for anyone to color with. I look back and hear the cheers at the football games as I rode around drinking hot cocoa in the back of the gator. I see myself taking the entrance exam, getting my confetti-filled acceptance letter and arriving on my first real day of school at the place I’d already known for more than a decade. 


Madeline '18 (age 2) with dad, Jim '87, holding sister Amelia '21, excited as can be 
at the groundbreaking for the boys building 15 years ago this week

Looking back on my four years of school here is even more poignant for me. I remember the big things of course—retreats, Service Projects, immersion trips—but when I look back, I really relish the smaller moments. I remember trips to Sonic after football games, slaphappy fourth periods and weird noises made to acknowledge each other while running down the hallways. I remember small compliments given when everyone looks nice on Mass days and bonding over stressful weeks of three papers and one project to finish by Friday. These are the memories that I'm not ready to leave behind, but I guess I have to be. 

According to my calculations, there are 38 days left until graduation; 38 days to make those last memories. I’m not ready, but I have to make them count. 


Madeline Broderick King ’18 is part of what we believe to be the first family ever in school history to have all members at Regis Jesuit at the same time. Her parents, Jim and Charisse, both work at the school and her younger sister, Amelia, is a freshman this year. Madeline will be heading to Georgetown University in the fall to study political science. 

David Card ’87: In Gratitude for Tim Newton
4/6/2018

David A. Card '87I’m a little hesitant to share what I did over Spring Break. I’m self-conscious that people will find it extravagant or too glamorous and pass judgment on me.

I went to Kansas. By car. But I digress. I actually have some important sentiments to share.

We have a tradition at Regis Jesuit. As we welcome our faculty back after the summer hiatus, we invite members of our faculty and staff to share how the mission of Regis Jesuit inspires them. Three or four members of our professional community agree to share how they have internalized the mission, and how they convey it through their work. It’s our way of winding ourselves up, and it’s tremendously effective.

As we kicked off the 2016-17 school year, my first year as president, one of the speakers was Mr. Tim Newton who, at the end of this year will retire after a 42-year career at Regis Jesuit. Since Mr. Newton is one of the three remaining teachers whom I had when I was a student at Regis Jesuit, I was particularly interested in what he had to say.

I was struck by his description of his career, and I hope I can relay it with some level of accuracy from all those months ago. He talked about how he started his teaching career as an artist hired to teach art. And then gradually, he felt like he had become an art teacher who used to be an artist. This was a long journey with an increasing feeling of desolation. We’ve all been there at one point or another, but Mr. Newton was so honest and generous in sharing his vulnerability. It was a gift.

He applied for and was granted a sabbatical—a change of scenery, and a time to rejuvenate his craft. He became an artist again! It was a renewal, and he returned to Regis Jesuit with a fresh passion for the gifts he had to share.

I don’t know where he was on that continuum when I had him as a teacher. I simply remember the anxiety I would feel with the challenge of creating something artistic with the two appendages I have at the end of my arms. I loved asking for advice, mainly because he was happy to dive into my medium and offer it some shape. I would joyfully think to myself, “Oh! Now it actually looks like something!” 

As I interact with our alumni, I know he has several protégés. I’m just not one of them, at least as far as being an artist is concerned. If it’s good to be challenged by something you aren’t comfortable with, it’s even better when someone lends a helpful hand. Mr. Newton has done just that for students and faculty over the past 42 years. Thank you Tim.

But there was something more profound he shared that day. He talked about Regis Jesuit being a place where he could live his Christian faith. It was so clear that his faith is a motivating passion for him. It reminded me of the Gospel reading we had on Wednesday this week. Two of Jesus’s disciples were headed to Emmaus from Jerusalem—confounded and lost in the aftermath of Christ’s crucifixion. After realizing that they failed to recognize him, even as he was walking and talking with them, they lamented, “Were our hearts not burning within us as he spoke to us on the way?”

Tim Newton’s heart is on fire, but in his case, he does recognize that the risen Christ is accompanying him on his journey. He has shared this with his colleagues and his students in so many ways, including that day in The Z Theatre, when he inspired me in how to live and convey the mission of Regis Jesuit. Maybe there is hope for me becoming a protégé after all. Thank you Tim.

The next sabbatical is just around the corner. I hope you will continue to share with us the fruits of your renewal.


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.  

Garrett Loehr: To Give and Not to Count the Cost
3/23/2018

“I did the math, and we are about 75% done with our ASC year.” My housemate, friend and fellow ASC Evan Jenkins shared this fact with me and our friend, housemate and fellow ASC Kurt Thiemann at dinner this weekend. It made me think, “Has it already gone by that quickly?” It has. 

I moved to Denver on a rainy, summer evening in July. Since then I’ve done a million new things. I’ve gone hiking almost every weekend. I’ve been to Pike’s Peak, Mt. Evans, Estes and Rocky Mountain National Park. I’ve shopped at Trader Joe’s (I know that’s not unique to Denver, but it might as well be). I joined a parish. I announced boys hockey matches. I’ve done all these amazing things, but one sticks out to me the most—I have been changed like never before. 

Because of the maternity leaves of two colleagues, I will have taught nearly full-time for both semesters – Spanish 1, Spanish 3 and Honors Spanish 3 in the Girls Division. I have loved every single second of it. I love my students; they are the reason I get up for work in the morning. I have been blessed to go on retreats, lead retreats, coach, teach, mentor and grow with students in both divisions. I am a varsity assistant soccer coach co-divisionally, which has allowed me to get a taste of the full RJ experience. I work in girls pastoral, and oversee the Kairos home team. I led the Freshman Retreat Grounds Crew. I am leading a delegation of rising seniors to Belize for a mission trip in June. I have subbed for almost every single class offered in the Girls Division. My heart has been pulled and placed in so many different things. Thank God it has because I have been able to work with so many teachers, coaches, administrators, but most importantly, with so many students. 

If you were to walk around the girls halls, you’d most likely here a variation of “Hola, Maestro!” “Hello, Mr. Loehr!” “Hey, Coach!” even “Bonjour!” from students. It makes me smile just to think of it. I’m writing this on a Sunday and actually am not bummed out that tomorrow is Monday because that means I’ll get to be around students tomorrow. 

I have grown so much because of these young men and women. I’ve learned how to be a better role model and mentor, while still being relatable to our students. I’ve learned to keep my emotions in check and really be present to them. I’ve learned how to be courageous and authentic because our students just want to be loved and known, just like we do. In short, I have allowed myself to give completely and freely. Not having much money has been fine because I have been made rich in experience, faith, respect and love. I feel loved by the staff, my co-workers, but I especially feel loved by my students. Could you ask for much more in just nine and a half months of being in a place? 

I’ll conclude with these quotes from St. Teresa of Calcutta and St. Ignatius of Loyola:

“Do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa

“Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous; 
teach me to serve you as you deserve, 
to give and not to count the cost, 
to fight and not to heed the wounds, 
to toil and not to seek for rest, 
to labor and not to seek reward, except that of knowing that I do your will. 
Amen.”
– St. Ignatius Loyola

I am fulfilled in knowing that I am doing God’s will. 


A graduate of Rockhurst University, Garrett Loehr is one of three Alum Service Corps (ASC) volunteers serving at Regis Jesuit this school year. He teaches Spanish and works in the Pastoral Office in the Girls Division. He also helps coach soccer for both the boys and girls. Following his volunteer year, Garrett will stay on at Regis Jesuit, teaching French full-time for the boys.

Jim Broderick King ’87: When ‘More’ is ‘Less’
3/16/2018

When I was studying my nerdy Greek philosophy in college, I became enamored with the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus. Often, I will tease my students with some whack-to-the-head in the form of a short, but perplexing fragment handed down from his philosophy. For example, “You cannot step into the same river twice,” “Donkeys prefer garbage to gold” or (one of my favorites) “The barley-wine drink falls apart unless it is stirred.” Heraclitus was always pointing to paradoxical truths in seemingly simple but really challenging ways.

I write and speak a lot about the paradox of my Lenten experience—it is joyful and sad simultaneously, it is a season I anticipate with excitement and dread. This year, a new paradox has been haunting my thoughts. I was reading an essay by former Superior General of the Jesuits, Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, SJ. His essay The Passion According to Saint Ignatius delves into the intricate dynamics of the “Third Week” of the Spiritual Exercises, where a person doing the retreat prays deeply, slowly and methodically over the passion of Jesus from the Last Supper to the Cross. One line of Fr. Kolvenbach’s has repeatedly come to mind for me this Lent:

“Ignatius presents the gospel account of the passion as a paschal journey of mysteries which all proclaim, in the last analysis, that the path of the magis is that of the minus – ‘to be accounted as worthless and a fool for Christ’ [Sp Ex 167].” Kolvenbach, The Road from La Storta

In our context with Jesuits, we often think we know the magis—“the Ignatian more.” Maybe we think of it as a call to more engagement, more activity or more investment. Maybe. But we have to be careful to remember that the magis is a qualitative more—deeper, better, further, greater. We should often remember it as the root of striving for a “greater good.” That’s the basics; but I continue to turn in my head this idea of Kolvenbach’s—the way to the magis (the more) is the same as the way of the minus (the less). How can this counterintuitive statement be true? Kolvenbach reminds us that Ignatius and Christ want us to know and trust that the true path to the greater good is to become less. We will find spiritual freedom in humbling ourselves to wash others’ feet and being servant to others. We will find resurrection from the crucifix. We will know God’s embrace in the rejection from others. We know the All-Powerful in becoming powerless and empty.

I still don’t know what this means for me or how I can bring this contradiction into focus. But I know God keeps calling me to find truth in this paradox this Lent. And my college friend Heraclitus may have been previewing this when he wrote: “The road up and the road down are one and the same.” 

May you have a blessed journey on the road toward Easter!

Peace!

Upcoming: See the calendar of the Ignatian Spirituality Program of Denver for details on a five-week Easter retreat series.


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.

Bernie Sauer ’97: The Power of a Song
3/9/2018

Out of his strength I now have life
Out of his tears I now have joy
Out of his soul I now see God
Heart sing softly, softly to me

- Homage by Z. Randall Stroope

B Sauer 2017-18Since its publication in 2007, Homage has been performed by hundreds of honor choirs around the world, receiving several different interpretations of its message, especially of the word, “his.” When I first introduced the song to the Canta Belles in 2008, our accompanist discovered that “his” was referring to the three fathers of students at the Cypress Lake Vocal School in Florida who had suffered tragic, unexpected deaths. According to the school, Stroope composed the song as a meditation to “help us transcend our sorrow while we observe the spirit of humanity in this music.”

I will always remember when one of our sopranos connected “his” to Jesus Christ and the sacrifices he made throughout the Passion. Because the connection was so relevant and inspiring, we ended up using the song in our Easter Vigil. There wasn’t a dry eye in the Blessed Rupert Mayer Chapel that evening.

In 2012, I was recovering from a very dark and challenging period in my life. A small group of friends, family members and coworkers came to my support; one of them was Gretchen Kessler. Gretchen’s grace and caring support transcended boss/administrator to friend/role model. It had been four years since Homage was last performed at that time, and as the Canta Belles filled the echoic ceilings of the chapel with the song’s melody, I thought of “Gretch” and how much she gave me life and hope.

This year, I’ve unearthed Homage from its six-year hiatus to have the Canta Belles perform it at this year’s Easter Vigil on March 22. It’s only fitting that this is Gretchen’s last year as principal of the Girls Division. My hope is that this song reminds us of anyone in our lives who made sacrifices for us. Through the words I share with you here, you only get a sense of this song’s power through its lyrics. Wait until you hear the music! Please join us.


Bernie Sauer ’97 has directed the Canta Belles choir since its inception. He also directs the other two girls choral groups, Regis Chorale and Girls Chorus, as well as the co-divisional Concert Band. This is Bernie’s 15th year teaching music at Regis Jesuit. 

 

 

David Card ’87: Welcome New Raiders!
3/2/2018

David A. Card '87By the time you read this, we will have welcomed over 400 new Raiders to the Regis Jesuit community during New Raider Night, which took place last night. For some, it will no doubt represent the night that students and families have been hoping and dreaming for; for others it will represent a leap of faith! In either case, it’s an exciting night that I look forward to each year.

To be honest, I can’t recall whether we had any kind of New Raider Night way back in 1983. That’s when I would have been approaching Regis Jesuit as a matriculating eighth grader, but I surely would have been in the former category. For me, coming to Regis Jesuit represented the culminating moment of a lifetime–short as it was to that point. For as long as I could remember leading up to that moment, my Friday nights revolved around whatever Regis game happened to be on the schedule that week. With my dad being athletic director and a coach here, that’s just what we did as a family. I even collected autographs of the players. I loved it! 

Of course, as I actually became a Regis Jesuit student myself, the star-power of the athletes began to fade. Don’t get me wrong, as a 92-pounder on the freshman wrestling team, they all seemed big to me, but maybe not as big as when I was a star-struck second grader. More importantly, they became my fellow students, my friends, my brothers. They provided as much to my education as any other part of the experience.

As I traveled deeper in to the journey, Regis Jesuit became about so much more. When commencement finally arrived, my gaze backward was startling, really. I remember thinking, “Wow, all of that just happened.” And I remember feeling completely and totally prepared for that next step.

As a Regis Jesuit parent myself, New Raider Night took on an even deeper dimension over the last two years. More than anything, I want my children to grow up to be well rounded, faith-anchored adults. I want them to be presented with opportunities to discover themselves more deeply and to become practiced in discerning their interests, gifts and talents as a primary sign of their own calling. I want them to be loved and to be happy. 

My favorite things to talk about with my young Raiders is the formation activities we present to our students—our retreats, our service experiences and our theology courses. We think we know our children, but these types of conversations always feel like unwrapping a new gift to me. It’s why I wanted them here, among so many other incredibly important reasons, and it’s so gratifying to watch it unfold.

As president, New Raider Night represents the beginning of the aspirational journey we have proposed to new students and families. We have a vision of an Ignatian education and the graces it can provide to a young person for a lifetime. This night represents the first step of fulfilling that. 

It’s also that night where we simply turn on the porchlight, swing open the front door and exclaim, “WELCOME!” I love it.


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.  

 

José Chalit ’13: God in Diversity; God in the “Other”
2/23/2018

Since graduating from Regis Jesuit in 2013, I have had the opportunity to see and experience the world from vastly different places and perspectives many of us do not get the fortune of knowing--especially compared to what I was first exposed to during my time at Regis. I say this, of course, with an abundance of gratitude for my educators, peers and community at RJ because if it weren’t for the experiences I had there, I would not be able to share this reflection and prayer.

Today, I hold a bachelor of arts in film studies and theology from Seattle University. Through these disciplines, I have been able to draw significant wisdom from my experiences at RJ to pursue my passions for social justice and art professionally in the years since graduating. I’ve had the great fortune of creating award-winning films that hone in on issues like migrant farmworker justice, gender inequality or environmental justice since graduating RJ. Yet, this was not a career path chosen out of thin air.

It wasn’t until the end of my sophomore year in high school that I became truly invested in the “cultural clubs” and service opportunities at school. I specifically remember going on the Homeless Plunge, thinking it was strange that students willingly paid money to participate in this when we could have given our money directly to people on the streets, or to an agency that provided direct relief services to people in poverty. But it wasn’t until after this experience, enduring the cold, sleepless night on McNicholas Green that I learned to empathize and understand deeply what it meant to live in a world full of complexities and contradictions—I began to think about the societal problems that cause these conditions for people living on the streets.

Later, I became more deeply involved in DAG, the student Diversity Action Group. The events we helped put on, like Diversity Day, turned into some of the happiest days I saw on our entire campus (other than the last day before summer break, obviously). This was the day where students and teachers alike could learn about anything we wanted to, from folks we might not always hear from in our day-to-day curricula. Whether it was a workshop on hip-hop dance lessons, a presentation from athletes with disabilities or an African drum circle performance, this was the day where it felt that God was most at work at our school with the gifts of our complex world. 

In a world filled with so much love, yet often plagued with evil and injustice, my experience being involved in DAG taught me to always be open and overflowing with love for “the Other”—the people who might seem different or even strange to us in life. I’ve learned that the only way to practice the Jesuit core values of social justice, the magis and service is with a heart committed to being open and transformed by others, particularly by the poor and marginalized in our society. This, to me, is the essence of diversity. 


José attended Seattle University and graduated in June 2017 with a degree in film studies and theology. He has since continued to work on independent films focusing on a variety of social justice topics and volunteers with a local labor union advocating for worker's rights in the workplace. 

 

 

Jim Broderick King '87: How Shall We Bear the Burdens of Lent?
2/16/2018

Anyone who knows me well already knows that I absolutely love Lent! I won’t repeat my previous Inspire & Ignite entries on the season, but it would be uncharacteristic of me not to acknowledge this time of year.

This week of Ash Wednesday I am spending five days at Ignatius House, the Jesuit retreat center outside of Atlanta, Georgia. I have the privilege of being with 20 other Jesuit educators from around the country deepening their understanding of Ignatian spirituality and how it supports their work as leaders, administrators and teachers. I get to spend a total of 20 days over two years with these folks, and we have built very close relationships beyond the professional development setting.

I mention this because my Ash Wednesday experience was really enhanced by one of these educators. He is a young theology teacher from an elite Jesuit school on the East Coast. I was struck by his intention to share his leadership journey in the context of the liturgical day; he did a masterful job of weaving the themes of Lent into his personal story. The tales he told emphasized his history of teaching in a wide variety of settings: teaching English in Palestine, working in a middle school in the inner city and leading preppy adolescent young men through religion studies at their upper-echelon school. What struck me most was the way he told the hard stories of the students in all of these locations and the profound challenges it brought to him personally. He talked of guilt leaving impoverished Palestinian children he struggled to get to know but finally connected with just as he had the opportunity to return to the U.S., noting his distinct privileged status. He shared about a poor young 8th grader who missed his mentorship as her family faced turmoil. He told of a teenage boy from a family of status who deeply questioned his self-worth.

I was moved by the way this friend spoke of the burdens he carried through all of these experiences—not these young people as burdens, but his own helplessness as heavy weights that he had to sustain as guilt, regret or emptiness. Yet, he shared that he always finds relief in the Lenten experience, such reminders as a cross of ashes on his forehead that memorialize a much greater burden than his with the promise of coming resurrection as relief.

This Lenten season, I pray that you will shoulder your own burdens well, not for the sake of penance alone, but so that you all may know the joy of Easter rebirth to come and bear those burdens away.

Peace!

Upcoming: See the calendar of the Ignatian Spirituality Program of Denver for details on a Lenten day of prayer and a five-week Easter retreat series.


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.

Erin Cassidy-Cernanec: Lenten Sacrifice
2/9/2018

Erin Cassidy-CernanecColloquially speaking, sacrifice is the process of recognizing the “good” and choosing to relinquish whatever is holding us back from the “good.” St. Ignatius of Loyola teaches his friends in the Lord that we are to “assume the good” in others. What am I sacrificing when I assume the good in other people? I am giving up any preconceived notions I have of the other. I am letting go of any stereotypes I have about this person. I am taking away any resentment or bitterness I have for this person due to pervious negative interactions with him or her. This internal battle of what I think of as justice and what is actually a punitive internal response is hurting me more than the other person. But this is the sacrifice Jesus is inviting us to participate in. 

Yes, Lent is a time for sacrifice. But what does that actually mean? What is the purpose of sacrifice? How is Lenten sacrifice countercultural? 

My experience of Lent has changed over the years. When I was a child, I thought I was supposed to give up chocolate as a sacrifice (the struggle is real). As an adolescent, I gave up…well, not much of anything being I was an immature, self-indulgent teen. Growing out of that phase in college led me to take my faith more seriously and to study more deeply the meaning and purpose of Lent. My Lenten sacrifice was more about doing things that I may not want to do for the sake of another: to sacrifice my desires to be more attentive to those in need. 

As I ponder what Lent means for me now, I think about dismantling the ramparts I have built around my true self and how that affects my relationships with my family, friends, colleagues, students, and strangers. Recently, I heard a podcast from Creighton University that mentions that sacrifice is a reconnection to the sacred. As I think about my Lenten sacrifice this year, I consider this time to be a way for me to return to my true self: a return to the sacred. I am considering fasting in the material sense, of course, but also in the spiritual sense. What can I fast from to dismantle the ramparts protecting my heart? I am taking into consideration this quote from Matthew Becklo, “The Christian sacrifice is an inversion of all sacrifice, one which tilts the scales back against the community by mirroring the violence back on itself.” 

Suspicion, anxiety and pessimism only breeds more suspicion, anxiety and pessimism. I fall into this trap, as well. But what if we choose to be people who recognize the good, relinquish whatever is holding us back from the good and seek the good in others? How would this vulnerability lead to better, happier, sacramental living? What would it look like if we fast from suspicion to be free to feast on assuming the good; fast from anxiety to be free to feast on Eternal Truth; fast from pessimism to be free to feast on hope? 

My friends in the Lord, what a joyful celebration the Easter season would be! 


Erin Cassidy-Cernanec is the mother to three beautiful children, a wife to an amazing husband and has had the pleasure of teaching some fantastic students over her 16 years at Regis Jesuit.

 

 

JENNIE SCHAAF: THE IMPORTANCE OF CATHOLIC EDUCATION WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY DAVID CARD ’87
2/2/2018

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

This month, I am delighted to cede my blog space to Regis Jesuit parent Jennie Schaaf. It is National Catholic Schools week after all, and this reflection simply says it all. Presenting Jennie Schaaf…


The Schaaf Family

Uniforms. Weekly Mass. Extra homework in religion class. For younger kids, Catholic school may seem like a drag. There are memes about “You know you’re a Catholic school kid when...” What there aren’t memes for are the gifts received from being a Catholic school kid. What sets us apart and yet unites us all. 

What adds up, in the end, from surviving the uniforms, attending weekly Mass together and studying Christ’s Word is an identity, an integrity, the knowledge of our personal Origin, Mission and Destiny. There is no greater education. 

I’ve witnessed these 16 years of our oldest daughter’s life, being educated in Catholic schools since preschool, a huge surge in personal growth. The accumulation of this growth has peaked during her time at Regis Jesuit, and I feel blessed to regard this. To say that her father and I are tremendously proud of who she has become is an understatement. And we know that the Regis community has played an integral role in that development. To study academics within the framework of a theological foundation and practice it all through the service of others is a tremendous education received. This is the gift of a Jesuit education. 

This year has been a struggle for our family. Our eighth grader has been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and has really been battling. We have been challenged, as individuals and as a family. I have witnessed God at work this year perhaps more than ever before. Our Regis family has enveloped our oldest daughter, and our Ave Maria family has carried our other two daughters. There is strength in prayer, and there is strength in the knowledge that there is something greater than us, that brings us all together. In this experience of having a child fight through an illness, I have truly lived; we all have. We’ve learned to fully appreciate the good times and find good in the bad times. 

The personal growth of our eighth grader has also been a sight to behold, and there is much more to come. We have watched her lose some of her childhood and have to grow up very quickly. To question why God allows suffering in a very personal way when you are a teenager is tough. To be able to ask those questions in school and to experience the good that God brings from the bad is a gift of attending Catholic school. In her essay of application for Regis for next year, We had to answer “Why do you want your student to attend Catholic school?” To learn all these lessons, receive God’s love and support through the community and to learn to grow as a person within this framework; this knowledge of one’s Origin, Mission and Destiny; that’s the why. 
My own education has been placed on hold during this year of struggle. I was studying to become a theology teacher, earning my masters at the Augustine Institute. I’ve never felt a greater calling than when I became a mom. Having to stop and turn all my efforts to studying a disease and changing our lifestyle has been hard. What I have learned is to turn daily to Mary and offer up all of my frustrations, fears and anger to her, as no mother has ever experienced suffering as she did. This year has made me stop and question things; our growth as adults doesn’t stop and the gifts received of being Catholic educated has to kick in. I’ve been forced to re-focus, remembering that God has a plan and trusting that all things happen in His time. The knowledge that I’ve received from my three years studying have been put to good personal use during these hard times. And perhaps the day I begin teaching, I will have knowledge from a personal experience that a student and family may need to lean on. 

God places us exactly where we are supposed to be. It may not be the plan we have for ourselves, but if we are open to His calling, we will receive great gifts along the way. I feel blessed that my husband and I were called to send the girls to the Catholic schools, and that we were given the means to do so. My prayer is that they will take all that they have been given and give back great things in this life, placing Christ at the center—AMDG. We’ve already seen that happening and the greatest moments are watching that all unfold. And of course, we hold the moments of hearing them laugh about the Catholic school memes close to our hearts as well. 


Jennie Schaaf and her husband Dave are the parents of Morgan ’19 and future Raider hopefuls Maddie (age 13) and Mollie (age 11). We are pleased to feature Jennie's reflection as the second parent post for Inspire & Ignite.

Nick Fagnant ’02: We Rise Up—The Impact of Service Projects
1/26/2018

“And so the voices at the margins get heard and the circle of compassion widens. Souls feeling their worth, refusing to forget that we belong to each other.” –Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ

I am not the author of this post for Inspire & Ignite as much as I am the compiler. My goal was to share stories from our recently completed Boys Division Service Projects, while our community eagerly anticipates those upcoming for the Girls Division. However, I quickly realized that these stories are best told by those who have lived them. While I have edited a few of the following quotes and stories for grammar, the relationships, reflections and impacts belong to the authors. My hope is that you can open your heart to these stories and insights, and then invite others during and after Service Projects to share their own.

These stories center on The Rise School of Denver, which “provide[s] the highest quality early childhood education for all children, including children with developmental disabilities.” Each classroom is intentionally comprised of 50% of the children experiencing cognitive and physical differences and 50% of children who are typically-developing. 

Regis Jesuit sends four students to the Rise School during each of the division’s Service Projects. My three-year-old nephew, Diego, is one of the children served in this intimate and compassionate community. Regis Jesuit junior Tomas Montoya ’19 spent his last two weeks in Diego’s classroom. I loved dropping by to witness all four of our boys interact with Rise School kids and reflect on everything from their personal vulnerabilities, to sinful social structures, to finding Christ in the eyes of a child who can’t walk or talk. These two weeks are filled with grace, as you will see in the reflections shared here. 

Meghan Klassen, M.Ed. – Director of The Rise School of Denver

The Rise School is an inclusive preschool—meaning we have students with and without disabilities learning side-by-side in the classroom. We have been partnering with Regis Jesuit as a service site for nearly 10 years. As a former Jesuit Volunteer, sister of four brothers who attended RJ, the aunt of a nephew who attends the school and the wife of an alum, who teaches theology at RJ, I already valued the integration of service into RJ's curriculum. I have always been struck by the impact that Service Projects had on my husband and my brothers. More than 20 years later, they can all still tell you where their respective sites were, and how each site opened their eyes to marginalized populations. 

Although we have much to celebrate at the Rise School—our students take their first steps, say their first words, make their first friends, and work toward overall independence here—we know that many people have not had the privilege of working (or in our case, playing) with individuals who have disabilities. This partnership with Regis Jesuit as a service site allows us to expose young men and women to people who have differing abilities. To come to understand in a very tangible way that every child and person is unique, created in God's image and likeness, possessing different challenges and strengths. And that those differences don't have to be intimidating. We can meet each person where he/she is, appreciate her for who he/she is, celebrate the diversity that exists in our classrooms, and learn to recognize and appreciate that diversity out in the greater world.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work with RJ students, to watch them learn and grow from our students, and hopefully carry this experience with them, as my family members have, to remind them to embrace diversity and treat each person they encounter with respect and dignity. 

Tomas Montoya ’19 – RJ Student Serving in the “Ladybugs” Classroom this Year

Over the past two weeks I have worked at the Rise School of Denver assisting in the classrooms and helping to entertain and watch over the students. Those in my specific classroom were three- to four-years old. 

The first day, I was pretty nervous. The first kid to come into the classroom was a little boy named Wes. He could hardly talk and wasn’t able to walk by himself, but I played with and helped him and showed him kindness and patience (both virtues that I usually struggle with but grew into over my time at my service site). By the end of the day, Wes wouldn’t move more than five feet from me. I believe that this was all due to the growth in my patience and kindness that affected him, and all the other students that I encountered, so significantly.

The thing that made the most significant impact on me, that will stick with me as long as I live, is the way all the teachers and students at my site showed love and kindness to each other no matter what their differences were. I hadn’t had much experience with special needs kids, and little kids in general, before my Service Project. When I started paying attention to how kind the teachers, and even the little three-year olds, were to those who may have been so different to them, it made me think about how I have lived my life, and to wonder if I had been kind enough to those different than myself. In my junior theology class, we discussed a concept called “Sacramental Vision,” which is the ability to view all people as gifts of God’s grace. I believe that in seeing how purely kind those little kids treated one another, I recognized that I should be easily willing to put the effort in to view all those different than me as gifts of God’s love.

This realization is what I believe Service Projects are about. They give us the opportunity to give back to those who are in need of our help, while also giving us the opportunity to think about our privilege and how we can better ourselves to best live a Christ-like life and grow our relationship with God and with our fellow people. I will remember these two weeks as long as I live, and I thank my school, my teachers, my service site directors and teachers and the little kids (who probably won’t remember me next week), because they have given me so much joy and so much knowledge on what it is to grow as a man with and for others.

Diego Tejada – Three-year Old Student in the “Ladybugs” Classroom
(Interview with me; pictured right with Tomas)

Do you like your new friend, Tomas? Yes!”

Why? “Because he play with me.”

What do you like to play with your friend Tomas? “Legos!”

Tomorrow is his last day in the Ladybug classroom. Do you want to draw him a picture? “Yes! A car! But why he go back to your school?”

Because he has to learn too. But don’t worry, he’ll come back to visit. “Good.”

Megan Gallagher, M.Ed. – Lead Teacher of the “Ladybugs” Classroom

As a teacher, sometimes it can be difficult having an extra body in your classroom, especially when that extra body is a high school student who oftentimes doesn’t have much, or any experience, in working with young children. In all honesty it’s a lot of work—telling them what’s happening when, what kinds of things would be helpful, which kiddos need extra assistance (but not too much, because we are looking for them to gain independence in a variety of skills), exposing them to age appropriate language…the list goes on. It’s a balancing act—holding the volunteer accountable for being helpful, while also allowing them to sit back and learn about Rise and why what we’re doing is so important.

This is my third year teaching at Rise and having said all the above, I really do enjoy having the Regis volunteers in my classroom. This time was no different. Tomas was eager to help, completing each and every task I asked of him. These tasks varied from cleaning tables and floors, pretending to eat pizza, tacos and muffins, building sandcastles, reading book after book, to being an extra set of hands during our integrated therapy sessions. Tomas tried his hand at everything, and more times than not, succeeded. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him become increasingly more confident within the classroom, asking many different questions about children’s development; though, I especially loved watching him form friendships with my kiddos.

By the time two weeks comes to an end, I’m always sad to see the volunteers go, due to the great amount of help they are, but mostly because I know my kids will talk about them in the coming weeks… in fact, one of my kiddos today said, “Hey look! Mr. Tomas is in one of our books!” I’m not sure the volunteers know the impact they have on our kiddos, but with each one that comes and goes, I am grateful to have given them the opportunity to make these kinds of connections. 

Nick Sangalis ’19 – RJ Student Serving at The Rise School Last Year with Children now in the “Ladybugs” Classroom

During my two weeks at the Rise School last year, I saw God in places I had not expected. I quickly began to understand that, deep down, these kids are not much different than me. Their lives, too, are fueled with passion, and, unaware of their differences, they view life with unfettered vigor. I was especially inspired by Brady, one of kids with whom I worked closely. He emanated such positivity, not despite his disabilities, but because of them. He taught me the most valuable lesson of all: Godliness lies in such an attitude. Life’s meaning comes from living everyday with the joy of Brady.

Carissa Tejada, LCSW - Mother of Diego Tejada and Co-chair of The Rise School Gala

[Our son] Diego liked to tell us about his friend Tomas and what they did that day at school. I appreciate how Tomas and Nick felt comfortable jumping in to the classroom and playing with the Rise students. I love that Service Projects with Regis students give Diego the opportunity to have a diverse type of role models with boys and girls. The more caring people in our son’s life, the better! I hope that Tomas, no matter the career path he chooses, will remember his time at Rise School and the importance of inclusion.

Evan Case ’19 – RJ Student Serving at The Rise School This Year

Over the past two weeks at the Rise School, I have encountered many things I did not expect. Mainly how quickly I would form relationships with the kids, but also on how I perceived things. During our second week, one of our daily reflections asked me how I saw Christ in my Service Project. I started to reflect during the day and think how I could see Christ. Soon I started to realize the likeness between what we were doing and Scripture. A particular passage came into mind while I was thinking of this. That passage being when Jesus cleanses a leper. In the time of this story, lepers were “the others,” “the outsiders.” The lepers were on the borders of town so they couldn't hurt other people, and they had a mark to let everyone know they were lepers. Everyone either feared, scorned or ignored these people, but Jesus without a second thought approached a leper one day and healed his affliction. 

Although we may not be able to heal the disabilities of the kids at this school, we can't just shove them to the side and ignore them. We must let them pass through our “borders” and not just shove them into a special needs classroom. That is how I've seen Christ in my experience personally, and in the Rise School itself.

I teach theology in the Boys Division. In December, we help prepare our juniors for their first Service Projects by beginning to read Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ. I will let him have the final words: 
“God is compassionate, loving kindness. All we’re asked to do is be in the world who God is. Certainly compassion was the wallpaper of Jesus’ soul, the contour of his heart, it was who he was. I heard someone say once, ‘Just assume the answer to every question is compassion.’”


Nick Fagnant ’02 teaches theology to sophomore and junior boys and English to girls in the Summer Ignatian program, is the moderator of the Rowdies and coaches cross-country. In his nine years at Regis Jesuit, he has also taught Spanish and led the Pastoral and Service Offices in the Boys Division. 

JIM BRODERICK KING ’87: SNOW DAYS--God’s Intrusive Grace, Bidden or Unbidden
1/19/2018