Saint Francis Xavier was one of Saint Ignatius Loyola’s first companions. The two met as students at the University of Paris where, in the midst of their studies, Ignatius shared with Xavier the Spiritual Exercises. Moved by this experience, Xavier joined Ignatius and five others, and founded the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). Together, these first "companions" courageously ventured into the world with the words of Jesus sending them forth, “ignem mittere in terram,” “set fire upon the earth.”
Inspired by Xavier's extraordinary example of encountering the world, preaching the gospel, and working for a more just society, the McQuaid Jesuit community annually celebrates our patron saint through the recognition of “Xavier Day.” The Feast of Saint Francis Xavier is December 3, and Xavier Day is typically held on the Friday closest to this special feast. This year, due to special circumstances, Xavier Day was rescheduled for Friday, March 3, 2017.
The philosophy of Xavier Day is rooted in the experience of the saint. It is a day in which students leave the comforts of their physical classrooms to venture out and encounter the world in all its grandeur as well as in its struggles, and thus embrace "a faith that does justice." Mr. Adam Baber, principal, has stated, "While we cannot all go to Japan or India as Xavier did, we can challenge our students to stretch themselves and expand their understandings of their world.”
The program for Xavier Day has been modeled on the Jesuit high school "social justice summit" experience. Jesuit high schools across the country sponsor similar opportunities, and these play an important role in achieving the goals set forth for Jesuit high school graduates: open to growth, intellectually competent, religious, loving and committed to doing justice. Recently, Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon focused on "Environmental Justice," while Saint Xavier in Cincinnati, OH, reflected on "The Opportunity Gap." About half of Jesuit high schools in the United States sponsor "social justice summits" where students may take time to reflect on their world and to consider how they are called to challenge injustice.
Xavier Day - 2017
In 2017 we were blessed to have Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J., founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, and author of the New York Times bestseller, “Tattoos on the Heart,” as our keynote speaker. Fr. Greg spoke to our students about the importance of reaching out and trying to be in kinship and solidarity with those on the margins of society. Students also heard from various local organizations that serve those in need in the Rochester area. To see an interview by "60 Minutes" about Fr. Boyle and Homeboy Industries, click here. To see an example of the transformative power of Fr. Boyle's work with a former gang member, click here.