June 30, 2020
Dear Members of the McQuaid Jesuit Community:
In the spring of 2012 while in town for a meeting of the McQuaid Jesuit Board of Trustees, a few of the other trustees and I visited John Crowe, McQuaid’s retired board chair and father of five alumni Knights. While John had suffered a debilitating stroke a few years earlier, he remained mentally very sharp and was a wise and venerable man. As we were concluding our time together, John called me over to his wheelchair and whispered, “Don’t forget McQuaid.” As history has proven, I was smart enough to follow his advice.
On Wednesday, July 1, I will leave Rochester after having served the McQuaid community for seven years as priest, teacher, president, and friend. As I reflect on our many accomplishments together throughout the years, and recount more than a few happy moments, I am reminded once again of John Crowe’s fateful words. Please know, I will never forget McQuaid. As I prepare to leave, I wish simply to say, “Thank you.” There are no words more appropriate. I echo Saint Paul in his First Letter to the Thessalonians, who says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
After a sabbatical this fall, I will move to Washington, DC, where I will become the Executive Director of the Jesuit Schools Network. The JSN is a membership organization of eighty secondary and pre-secondary Jesuit schools from across the United States and Canada. As such, I look forward to supporting Jesuit education in a different way while maintaining my relationship with McQuaid, long after I have departed.
In the gospel of Luke, Jesus tells his disciples that he came “to cast a fire upon the earth.” That was his mission. As we know, Saint Ignatius Loyola used these same words whenever he sent his men – particularly Saint Francis Xavier – into the world. As I leave 1800 South Clinton, I take these words with me, but I also leave them with you. Like our forbearers, together let us embrace this mission of Jesus Christ, and make a difference in a world that right now is suffering. Together, let us commit to casting a new fire upon our earth in whatever way our futures will call.
Ignem mittere in terram!
Rev. Robert E. Reiser, S.J.