John Francis Regis Day returns to Regis for the 2017-2018 academic year with a twist. This year, the initiative invites the Regis community to study the chosen social justice topic not just for one day in May, but throughout the course of the full school year. The focus of this year’s study will be “Unpacking Poverty in America”.
The motivation for this year’s focus is born from the spirit of St. John Francis Regis himself. A 17th-century Jesuit, St. Regis was a man known for his passion and care for the poor and marginalized. Like St. Ignatius, he understood that encounters with those in need have the potential to make the gospel come alive in a deeply practical way, offering an opportunity that could be enriching for both the receiver and the giver.
“We are ‘unpacking’ poverty because we want to open this up and analyze the issue while recognizing and respecting our different perspectives,” said Carol Remsen, member of the Mathematics Department faculty and head of the JFR Day Design Team. “From there, we want for this year-long dialogue to be an action-oriented viewpoint that possibly inspires a perpetual, impactful behavior.”
Through a variety of media and events, John Francis Regis Day 2018 will present students with insights into poverty in America from historical, psychological, personal, and spiritual perspectives.
The goal is threefold: to increase awareness and broaden understanding of the realities of poverty in America; to inform the way Regis community engages poverty in America; and to recognize our kinship, to deepen our compassion, and to inspire a shift from compassion to action.
“A Regis education at its very best is also about the formation of the minds and hearts of our students through a relationship with Jesus Christ,” said Fr. Mark Lane, CO, Director of Campus Ministry and member of the JFR Day Design Team.
“We hope that by tackling the complex realities of poverty in America, we deepen our knowledge and understanding of this pervasive social issue. And then we hope to move our hearts to empathy, and ultimately inspire us to that action that effects real change. But it is not only about doing good. It is about deepening that relationship with a God who unmistakably identified himself with those who lived on the margins. Through this encounter we uncover the mutual richness of our common humanity.”
The studies and events will culminate on May 16, 2018 with the program’s keynote speaker, Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ. Father Boyle is the founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world. He is the author of The New York Times best-seller Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, which was named one of the Best Books of 2010 by Publishers Weekly and received the PEN Center USA 2011 Creative Nonfiction Award. He is the subject of Academy Award winner Freida Lee Mock’s 2012 documentary, G-Dog. In 2014, the White House named Fr. Boyle a Champion of Change. He received the 2016 Humanitarian of the Year Award from the James Beard Foundation, the national culinary-arts organization. He has been the subject of numerous news stories and profiles, and was the 2017 Notre Dame Laetare Medalist (video embedded below).
A long tradition which was revived in the spring of 2017, John Francis Regis Day offers the Regis community the opportunity to study a current social justice issue together. As a Jesuit school, social justice is at the heart of a Regis education and, in turn, the school takes seriously its call to educate students of faith committed to the dignity of all.
The JFR Day Design Team encourages all members of the Regis community to get involved. Alumni and friends are invited to attend the assemblies or participate in the dialogue. For more information on how to participate, contact Carol Remsen at email@example.com.