During the late 80s and early 90s Fr. Francisco Pérez-Lerena was doing everything he could to address the drug epidemic consuming the City of Miami.
In 1984, as a parish priest in Downtown Miami, he was moved by the plight of Kelvin Minnick who came to confession. The priest struggled to find a drug treatment for the young man, but before he could, Kelvin committed suicide. He realized he had to do something to help Miami’s drug-addicted youth. Finding few resources, he decided to build his own center.
From the rectory of Gesu Catholic Church he began organizing; he called on volunteers to help him and together, they began to build Regis House, a drug prevention and treatment center. Slowly, they raised money, awareness and more volunteers to grow the organization. They built community, life and gathered for weekly masses and potlucks. Then organized working sessions to plan radio marathons, raffles, galas, and luncheons. He knitted together friends, parishioners, the Belen community, concerned citizens, politicians, parents, students and anyone who would listen to work together to help care for our community’s children. People listened and responded. Finally together, he led them in building Regis House.
Today Regis House continues to serve the community with the same intensity and courage that Fr. Francisco Pérez-Lerena started with. Father Pedro Suarez continues to practice the same values as his predecessor as our city grows into a cosmopolitan center in which we are constantly helping those in need such as immigrants, children, and low income families.
Regis House Archives - 2018