In the season of giving, Regis students find joy through Father Woody’s service projects

Trevor Hopkins never met Monsignor Charles B. Woodrich – better known as Father Woody. But like many Regis students, he feels like he’s come to know the late, beloved Denver priest through the hours he’s spent in the basement of St. John Francis Regis Chapel organizing food and clothing items, wrapping toys and knitting hats, working in inner-city schools and nursing homes, and through his countless trips around town picking up and dropping off donations.

“I strongly believe that this is what Regis stands for,” Trevor said. “And I get a lot of joy in helping people out.”

Now a senior, the San Diego native and business marketing student is one of generations of Regis students who have embraced the cause dearest to Fr. Woody’s heart: helping the community’s poor, neglected and forgotten. Since Trevor was a freshman he has involved himself in Father Woody’s service projects, a campus-based initiative that supports Denver-based efforts serving the homeless and indigent.

It’s encouraging to see the many ways, big and small, such work is making an impact, he said.

While Father Woody’s service projects stretch year-round, they culminate with the Christmas season when, for the last 32 years, those in need are welcomed to the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel where they are treated to a traditional Christmas dinner, gifts of winter clothes and for the kids — toys. Last year’s party drew nearly 4,000 people along with hundreds of volunteers from Regis and elsewhere.

Seeing the legacy of her beloved parish priest live on overjoys Professor Victoria McCabe, who since 1992 has directed Fr. Woody’s service projects at Regis.

“I am here to see young people grow in their faith and in their hearts and to follow in Fr. Woody’s footsteps, which are really the footsteps of Christ,” McCabe said.

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