Charisms & Tradition
When Archbishop Boland ordered new schools to be built, he invited the Xaverian Brothers to run the Archdiocese of Newark's newest all boys secondary school. That school would become St. Joseph Regional, and it would open in 1962. Although the building was unfinished in our first year, the Xaverian Brothers were deeply connected to the school already. They formed our founding philosophy and structured our identity on the "Vir Fidelis," the Faithful Man. They would also staff the entire administration and teach most of the classes until gradually more lay people took posts at SJR. Our first five principals were Xaverian Brothers, sustaining their indelible imprint on Green Knights throughout four decades, and truly, still to this day. Their motto "In harmony, small things grow," exemplifies the high school experience where our students enter as boys, but leave as men.
The Xaverian Brothers are an order of teaching religious brothers founded by Theodore James Ryken in 1839. Originally a missionary order, they were named after St. Francis Xavier, the great Jesuit missionary. As time went on, they found a greater need to educate the poor children of Catholic immigrants to the United States. In 1854, the Xaverian Brothers first arrived in the United States to found their first school in Louisville, Kentucky. From there, they built and founded many more schools. Today, they are still in 13 Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools in the United States as well as continue ministry in Belgium, England, Haiti, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 1997, the Xaverian Brothers withdrew from running the administration of SJR while a couple stayed with the school. Brother Tom Reidy CFX, the last Xaverian Brother at SJR, passed in 2007.
The Marist Brothers arrived at SJR in 2000, filling posts in guidance and campus ministry. The connection to the Marist world has opened a multitude of opportunities to Green Knights. Through the Marist Brothers' Center at Esopus, there are retreat offerings through the school year as well as service opportunities at the summer camps. Many students take the Marist charism to heart and join the Marist Youth club to continue exploring how the charism helps them live out their Christian faith every day.
The Marist Brothers, or the Little Brothers of the Schools, were founded in 1817 by St. Marcellin Champagnat. Father Champagnat sought to respond to the great need of his world: lack of education for poor children in post-revolutionary France. He entrusted his order of teaching religious brothers to Mary, whom he called his Ordinary Resource. St. Marcellin believed to teach children, you must love them and love them equally. That was the first step to accomplish his goal of "making Jesus Christ known and loved" among all Marist students, especially those most neglected. The Marist Brothers first arrived in North America through French Canada and moved south then west to found schools across the United States.Currently, the Marist Brothers have 11 schools in the United States as well as ministry in 82 countries around the globe. Brother John Dunning FMS, the last Marist Brother at SJR, retired in 2020.