Cardinal Seán O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap. served as principal celebrant at a Mass of the Holy Spirit Tuesday at which Grace Cotter Regan was officially commissioned as Head of School at St. Mary’s.
Cardinal Seán was joined on the altar by concelebrants Rev. Brian Flynn, pastor of St. Mary’s Parish, Rev. Monsignor Paul V. Garrity, former pastor of St. Mary’s, and Rev. Joseph Rossi, pastor of St. Pius V in Lynn; and Rev. Robert Kickham, secretary to the Cardinal, and Deacon Tim Dempsey of St. Mary’s.
The church was filled with the 600 St. Mary’s students in grades 6-12 as well as faculty, staff, board members, parents and friends.
In his homily, Cardinal Seán acknowledged the difficulty Christians at times face in obeying the Commandments because “often we have to disobey ourselves, which is hard to do.” He reminded the congregation of the “need to discover how much God loves us, and when we do that the most difficult Commandments will become easy and doable.”
Regan said she accepted the call to “serve the church, the archdiocese and the St. Mary’s board as the new Head of School. This call is a response to a vocational invitation to serve and share my gifts with St. Mary’s.”
Regan has spent the majority of her professional career working at Catholic institutions, most recently as executive director of advancement for the New England Province of Jesuits. She replaced Dr. Raymond A. Bastarache ’65, who retired after spending the last six years as the first head of school at St. Mary’s.
“My role is to co-minister with Principal (Carl) DiMaiti and Fr. Brian to help St. Mary’s continue its legacy of excellence,” she said.
Regan served in strategic leadership roles at a national and international level with the Association of Jesuit and Catholic Colleges and Universities (AJCU), as national chair of the U.S. Provincial Jesuit Assistancy Advancement Directors, and as a consult to the Jesuit Curia in Rome. Prior to her role at the N.E. Province of Jesuits, she served as development director at Notre Dame Academy in Hingham and Mount Alvernia Academy in Chestnut Hill; assistant director of the annual fund at Simmons College; executive director of the Boston College Alumni Association; vice president for development for the Boston Public Library Foundation; and in the development office at the College of the Holy Cross.
She is also a partner in Partners in Mission, a Westwood-based consulting firm focused on developing excellence in advancement and leadership in Catholic schools, dioceses, religious congregations and parishes nationwide.
Regan is a cum laude theology and sociology graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences at Boston College. Upon graduation, she spent a year of service with the Jesuits in Belize, Central America. She earned a master’s in Pastoral Ministry and Spirituality from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, a master’s in education from the University of Vermont and a certificate in Catholic Leadership from the University of Notre Dame.
She and her husband, Bernie, a produce broker in Chelsea, live in West Roxbury and have two sons: Luke, a senior captain of the baseball team at Bowdoin College, and Bartley, a freshman at Stonehill who is playing football.