PART I: INTRODUCTION
Fr. Provincial John Cecero: From the first days of the Society of Jesus, Jesuits have been involved in the work of education. Ignatius’s early companions, Diego Lainez and Pierre Favre, were lecturing in theology at the University of Rome in 1537. In 1548 the first school primarily for lay students opened in Messina in Sicily. The early Society’s commitment to education was so great that Pedro de Ribadeneira, at the urging of Ignatius himself, in writing to Philip II of Spain on February 14, 1556, said: “All the well-being of Christianity and of the whole world depends on the proper education of youth.” That grand vision of Jesuit education took root in the New York area as in few other places with Regis joining Fordham Prep, Xavier, St. Peter’s Prep, and Loyola School.
As with the presidents before you, your charge goes far beyond budgets and buildings, finances and fundraising. You have as your charge to ensure the Jesuit character of the work – a work that at its core exists Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam—for the greater glory of God. To achieve the ideals of Jesuit education, to keep Regis High School growing several things are crucial for your leadership as president. The first and most essential is for you to be a man of prayer. The Examen, the Spiritual Exercises and the Eucharist must be a regular part of your life. It will be hard to lead well without them.
From your prayer springs two other essential characteristics of good Jesuit leadership: indifference and gratitude. The cultivation of Ignatian indifference allows you to see what is truly important for the students, faculty, staff, alumni and their families so as to always give greater glory to God. It allows you to determine what is most important.
Gratitude was a most important value for Ignatius because it is the only appropriate response to God’s goodness to us and it must be a regular part of who we are and what we do. At Regis it is who you are and what you do as gratitude is at the very heart of the Regis story. Without the singular generosity of the Foundress and her family we would not be here today.
The essence of the world view of Ignatius, stemming from the Spiritual Exercises, sees God present, alive and active in the world, and invites us to be present, alive and active with God co-laboring in the ongoing work of creation. The Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins describes this world as being “charged with the grandeur of God,” a world in which Christ plays “in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his to the Father through the features of men’s faces.” Your work as president through your prayer, your gratitude and your indifference will be a witness to a world charged with God’s grandeur, and will help all at Regis see the Christ playing in ten thousand places. Do this with great courage, respecting the past and venturing boldly into the future.
PART II: PRAYER OF BLESSING BASED ON THE PRINCIPLE AND FOUNDATION
Mrs. Florentine: As St. Ignatius writes in The Spiritual Exercises, human beings are created to praise reverence and serve God our Lord, and by means of doing this to save their souls:
Fr. Cecero: Lord bless Fr. Lahart with a spirit of generosity and a desire to share with the Regis community his many talents and gifts. Give him, too, the eyes to recognize the abundance of gifts and talents present in this community—in the students, faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, and parents and grace him with the ability to inspire all to share their gifts as they strive to educate the Regis students to be persons of competence, conscience and compassionate commitment.
Mrs. Florentine: All other things on the face of the earth are created for human beings, to help them in their pursuit of the end for which they were created. From this it follows that we ought to use these things to the extent that they help us toward our end, and free ourselves from them to the extent that they hinder us from it.
Fr. Cecero: Lord bless Fr. Lahart with the wisdom to choose well and the courage to act justly. Increase in him the graces of freedom, ground him in a strong desire to do your will, motivate him with a deep love for you, and challenge him always to provide the greater service for your greater glory.
Mrs. Florentine: To attain this it is necessary to make ourselves indifferent to all created things, in regards to everything which is left to our free will and is not forbidden. Consequently, on our own we ought not to seek health rather than sickness, wealth rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, a long life rather than a short one and so on in all other matters:
Fr. Cecero: Lord bless Fr. Lahart with the desire to seek first the kingdom of God; grant him the freedom to collaborate, the ability to build collegiality, the openness to listen, the confidence to ask questions, the fortitude to decide honestly, and the humility to learn always from the Regis community which surrounds him. Grace him Lord with the gift of leadership that seeks first to serve.
Mrs. Florentine: Rather we ought to desire and choose that which is more conducive to the end for which we were created:
Fr. Cecero: Lord bless Fr. Lahart and all here present as they begin a new school year. Keep them open to growth, aware of your presence, willing to love, intellectually alive and committed to justice as they seek to be and become men and women for and with others. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.
PART III: MISSIONING
Fr. Cecero: As Provincial of the Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus I hereby entrust the Jesuit mission of Regis High School to Fr. Daniel K. Lahart, SJ and further appoint him as the director of this apostolic work. I hereby charge Fr. Lahart with the responsibility to maintain and promote the well-being of Regis High School and to care for it as an apostolic work of the Society of Jesus in service to the Church.
PART IV: THE APPOINTMENT OF THE 23RD PRESIDENT OF REGIS HIGH SCHOOL
Mr. Peter Labbat, Chair of the Regis Board of Trustees: It gives me great pleasure to announce to the entire Regis community, that today on the occasion of the celebration of the Mass of the Holy Spirit, marking the beginning of a new academic year, by the authority vested in me and speaking on behalf of the entire Board of Trustees, I hereby recognize Fr. Daniel K. Lahart, SJ as the Twenty-third President of Regis High School and officially install him as such by presenting him with the Presidential Chain of Office, a Centennial gift to Regis from Xavier High School. Beginning with Fr. David Hearn, SJ, our founding president, the medallions on this chain contain the names and tenures of all those who have served Regis in the office of president. The chain honors the now 23 Jesuits who for more than a century have sustained the vision of Fr. Hearn and the extraordinary generosity of the Foundress and her family which gave life to that vision. Official notice is hereby given at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, on September 9, 2016 in the one hundred and third year of Regis High School.