Joan Regan Pilot photo/ Courtesy Joan Regan
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MILTON -- Connecting young people to their faith is what Joan Regan is all about.
As the religious education director for her parish, St. Mary of the Hills in Milton, Regan works hard to bring young people to Christ. Aside from coordinating the parish’s religious education department, she also has been instrumental in establishing the EDGE program, an offshoot of the LifeTeen program for middle school students, which is run by the parish’s youth minister, Frank Connell.
“The EDGE program is a type of religious education program, but in a very different format,” Regan explained. “It’s a great way to build community--the young people are very excited about it. They’re singing about their faith; they’re learning about their faith; they’re excited about their faith. It’s great!”
Several years ago, Regan also had a hand in bringing a summer camp to her parish, known as the Christ As My Personal Savior (CAMPS) program.
“I wanted to bring that back to the parish as soon as I heard about it,” she explained, “because I felt that the Milton youth would benefit from it.”
Not only has the program taken off, there is now another version of the camp, known as the Snow Camp program, for teens to participate in during the winter months.
“We have been dedicated to the youth for a long time in our parish, and we’re trying to build youth ministry here,” she said.
“There are things available here for young people that you don’t often find in other parishes,” continued Regan. “That’s one aspect of the parish that I really enjoy.”
Regan, 56, believes her parish is so dedicated to the youth because of the leadership of her pastor, Father Arthur Wright, who is always “very supportive of new ideas.”
“He’ll sit and listen to any ideas we may have, and he lets us try new things, even if we aren’t 100 percent sure they’ll work.”
A native of South Boston, Regan and her husband of 30 years, Buddy Regan, have been parishioners at St. Mary of the Hills since 1982. It was here that they raised their nine children: six girls and three boys.
It was also to their parish that the couple turned at challenging times in their lives. One of the couple’s children was born with Down syndrome--a time Regan admits was very difficult for the family. Then a few years later, one of their daughters died when she was just four years old.
“It is at times like these that you have to ask yourself very profound questions--Is God there? Is he watching over us?--It’s a journey that you are forced to undergo,” she recounted. “And I am happy to say that for us the answers to all the questions we asked ourselves were found in our faith.”
For Regan, her faith means everything to her.
“It’s who I am. I can’t separate myself from my faith,” she said. “I feel so good knowing that God lives inside of me, I just want everyone else to feel this good, especially the young people I am called to care for.”
St. Mary of the Hills, Milton
Year established -- 1931
Pastor -- Father Arthur Wright
Religious Education Director -- Joan Regan
Business Manager -- Janice Powell
Music Director -- Peter Watchorn
Youth Minister -- Frank Connell
Elementary School Principal -- Pamela Vista
Middle School Principal -- Lisa Fasano