Mario Powell, S.J., ’03, M.Div. ’14
director of the reach program at regis high school (new york)
A convert to Catholicism, Mario Powell, S.J., entered the Society of Jesus three months after he graduated from Boston College in 2003. Seven years later he was back on the campus of his alma mater as a Jesuit—it was “kind of a surreal experience at first,” he says. This time, Powell was pursuing his Master of Divinity—a rigorous curriculum that deepened his theological, ministerial, spiritual, and practical formation and significantly influences his sacred and pastoral life.
Powell’s intensive study of Scriptures in the M.Div. program gave him touchstones he now relies on when preparing sermons and saying Mass. The M.Div. courses were rigorous, says Powell, but balanced. “I had the privilege of being taught by incredible professors who encouraged us to look beyond the academic study of the Scriptures and ask, ‘How is this going to fit into the ministry that I’m going to end up doing?’”
His study of Church history in the M.Div. program has helped him in his work as director of Regis High School’s REACH program, which prepares Catholic boys from low-income families across New York City to get into Jesuit high schools, he says. “Being able to understand the history of the Catholic Church within this country in the context of other religions and American culture provides a lens through which you can see the people you’re serving … and serve those people better,” he says.