On Friday, September 9, the Regis community reunited on 84th Street to celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit, begin the 2022-23 academic year, and usher in a new era of leadership at the school. In front of hundreds of students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, trustees, and friends at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, Rev. Christopher J. Devron, SJ, was missioned and installed as the 25th President of Regis High School.
The Very Rev. Joseph M. O’Keefe, SJ, Provincial for the USA East Province of the Society of Jesus, served as principal celebrant. Fr. O'Keefe and Board of Trustees Chair Mr. Tony DiNovi ’80 spoke from the altar as they officially entrusted Fr. Devron with Regis' sacred, noble mission.
“I now invest you with the office of President, and bestow upon you the Presidential Chain of Office, which signifies your leadership," Mr. DiNovi said. “Together, we, as the entire school community, ratify your selection and offer you our prayers, support, and very best wishes."
“We pray that you are guided in your work by the principles of the spirituality of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, and the core values of Catholic and Jesuit education, which includes an integral commitment to the service of faith and the promotion of justice.," Fr. O'Keefe added. “We pray that your care of the school's students, faculty, staff, parents, trustees, alumni, and friends may be in imitation of Christ the Teacher, whose own selfless love models the vision of Saint Ignatius of Loyola: ‘Love shows itself in deeds and not merely in words.' May you keep the Catholic and Jesuit identity of Regis High School alive and vibrant."
In his homily, Fr. Devron reflected on the larger purpose of this Mass as a celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit, bestowed on each of us as part of God's creation. “This day, and for the rest of this year, may you and I allow this Spirit into our heart to transform us, to change us, to make us men and women that God most wants us to be: men and women for others, who dedicate their lives to God's greater glory."
Fr. Devron and Fr. O'Keefe were joined on the alter by History Teacher Rev. Arthur C. Bender, SJ, '67, Director of Mission and Identity Rev. James Ferus, SJ, and a number of fellow Jesuits: Rev. William Bergen, SJ, '49; Rev. James Carr, SJ; Rev. Kenneth Gavin, SJ; Rev. Thomas Massaro, SJ; Rev. Mario Powell, SJ; and Rev. Dennis Yesalonia, SJ.
Members of the student body offered up their many talents throughout the Mass, serving as Eucharistic ministers, lectors, altar servers, ushers, cantors, musicians, and gift bearers. Students and faculty delivered the Prayers of the Faithful in a variety of languages, representing the diversity of the Regis community.
Fr. Devron, who previously served Regis as the founding director of the REACH Program from 2001 through 2006, returns to 84th Street with 16 years of highly successful experience shepherding Jesuit high schools. For the past nine years, he served as president of Fordham Preparatory School, where he oversaw a period of dynamic growth. Prior to Fordham Prep, Fr. Devron was the founding president of Christ the King Jesuit College Prep, a Cristo Rey high school on the West Side of Chicago focused on providing a quality Catholic education for families that otherwise could not afford private school. He served on the Regis Board of Trustees from 2014 to 2020.
Fr. Devron grew up in Palatine, Illinois and graduated in 1989 from the University of Notre Dame, where he majored in philosophy and government. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1991 and was ordained to the priesthood in 2001. Fr. Devron holds a Master’s in Philosophy from Loyola University Chicago as well as a Master’s in Divinity from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology. He also earned a Master’s in Theology in African American spirituality through coursework at the Harvard Divinity School and the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University in New Orleans.
Please see below for a recording and pictures from this year's Mass of the Holy Spirit.