On Thursday, December 1, the Regis community gathered in the Auditorium to learn about this year’s John Francis Regis (JFR) Initiative: “Immigration: Towards a More Just and Humane Future." This longstanding school tradition returned to 84th street in 2017 as a way to inspire Regians to more deeply engage with contemporary social justice issues as Men for Others. Beginning with the initiative’s announcement, the student body and faculty will gather over the course of the academic year to hear talks given by leaders in immigration policy and social justice, participate in school-wide service opportunities organized by the JFR Committee, and discuss and reflect on these experiences with their peers.
The yearly initiative is drawn from the school's namesake, St. John Francis Regis, a 17th century Jesuit known for his passionate love for God, intense devotion to the poor and marginalized, and life of deep prayer. Like St. Regis, this initiative helps to bring alive the gospel in a practical way through encounters with those in need, encouraging the broader community to continue seeking justice and acting as Jesus would.
“Regis has, since its inception, been uniquely tied to immigration,” said Hugh Kane '23, member of the JFR Initiative Student Advisory Committee (JFR-SAC). “This year’s JFR initiative seeks to join that history with a modern approach to the issue. We’re looking forward to guest speakers and, as a new addition to JFR, built-in service opportunities that draw on the student body’s diverse strengths and interests.”
Throughout the year, JFR Initiative programming will present on the vast historical, psychological, personal, and spiritual perspectives of immigration and challenge students to understand its relation to the core tenets of Catholicism and Ignatian Spirituality. Many students have already begun to address the topic of immigration in these ways through their involvement with the Kino Border Initiative, travelling annually to the U.S. - Mexico border to learn from local leaders and migrants about the depth of the issue. “We already know our students want to get out and take action,” said Director of Social Justice Initiatives Mr. Owen Smith, ”so we are putting together an exciting program of activities and service opportunities to engage all of Regis.”