Regis High School marked the beginning of the 2019-2020 academic year on Friday, September 6 by celebrating the Mass of the Holy Spirit in the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola.
The Mass followed several days of orientations that welcomed the Class of 2023 into the school community and prepared the rest of the student body for year at Regis. Classes begin on Monday, September 9.
In his Mass of the Holy Spirit homily, Regis President Rev. Daniel K. Lahart, SJ encouraged students to seek the help of the Holy Spirit as they pursue their dreams and strive to live as Men for Others. You can read Fr. Lahart’s homily in its entirety below:
2019 Mass of the Holy Spirit Homily
Welcome back to a new year here at Regis High School. As I have said many times this week, I am very excited about this year, and I hope you are too.
Over the last month or so, I’ve attended many of the new student regional parties. Unfortunately, I missed Queens, but I attended the parties in Long Island, Brooklyn, New Jersey, Staten Island, Westchester, and tonight I’ll be at the party here in Manhattan. It is fun to meet the freshmen and their parents, and get a sense of the newest members of the Regis community.
According to Mr. DiMichele, this class boasts a number of impressive personalities and characteristics. From a ball boy at the US Open, to Eagle Scouts, to Broadway actors, to a perfect score on the National Latin Exam, to a student who has already done a Ted Talk, to sports MVPs galore. Impressive.
And while I often said at the parties that I heard that the Class of 2023 was our best class ever, in truth, there is no such thing at Regis, every class here is pretty special. For those of you just starting, some of you might be used to being the top student at your grade school – in everything. Maybe you were best in math, in science, in English, and in Social Studies. As upperclassmen can attest, I think it is highly improbable that any of you will be best in everything here at Regis. And that’s great. That’s part of what makes this place special. Someone will be the best in biology, but someone else will be the top guy in French, or English, or history. Someone will be the best golfer, but another the best goalie, or best extemp speaker. You all know that you made it here on your own, and you all have a variety of talents, gifts, and interests, and you each help make up the mix that is Regis. That is who we are.
St. Paul reminds us in his first letter to the Corinthians that there are different gifts but the same Spirit. Yes, as different as you are, your gifts all come from the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit helps you not only to improve in these areas, but gives you guidance in how to use them. Part of that knowledge comes from something that St. Ignatius called discernment. (More on that another time.)
As you all continue to learn what your particular gifts and talents are — and maybe they are different in high school than they were in grade school, and maybe you’ll develop others as you get older — as you learn this, you also learn where your weaknesses are.
Yes, today we celebrate the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. And probably the least thought of or, quite frankly, the least appreciated member of the Trinity. But these gifts and talents that we celebrate in each of you, from the Class of 2020 to the Class of 2023 and those in-between, these talents of yours are gifts of the Spirit. Who you are, what you’re best at, what makes you who you are, they’re the gifts of the Spirit. More than that, the Spirit makes us better than we could ever possibly be on our own. As we heard from Romans, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness. The Spirit intercedes for us. The Spirit helps us to dream dreams, and for young men to see visions, as Joel says in the first reading. The Holy Spirit who we celebrate today, that Spirit will help make you who you are to become, and desires to make you better.
And it’s not about winning the award in German, or Physics. Those are all okay, but it’s about becoming the Man for Others that you are called to be.
We do hope for and desire that the Spirit will help you to dream dreams of all you can do. Our hope for you is immense in a world so in need of hope.
“Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ … and Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”
Receive the Holy Spirit in order to be sent by Jesus to do the will of the Father. What you do, who you are, what you can become is an instrumental work of the Holy Trinity, powered by the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit could transform the 11 mostly illiterate, scared men who gathered in fear into the ones who started the Church from scratch, imagine what he can do with you!
So here in the beautiful church of St. Ignatius, at the start of this academic year at Regis High School, gifted and graced in innumerable ways — all different from each other — what is it you hope for? What are your dreams? Where do you want the Spirit to help you at the start of this year? Ask for the Spirit. This is what the Spirit does.
There are lots of different gifts of the Holy Spirit, but two are extremely important for St. Ignatius (the man, not the church): the gifts of gratitude and generosity. As you have all heard me say, and will again and again, these gifts of the Spirit will make you a better person, a better student, a better friend, a better son. A better Regian.
I hope that the dream that you dream, the vision that you see for yourself — both this year ahead, and many years ahead — is to be a man filled with gratitude and generosity, aware of his talents and gifts, and driven by a mission to serve others. That is what it means to be filled with the Spirit. That is our hope for you this year. And while it won’t make any of you the best class ever, it will make each of you the best person you can be. Have a great year!