March 15, 2022
Dear Members of the University Community,
When I became President of Catholic University in 2010, there was another transition going on. The Franciscans had just named a new head of Campus Ministry – Fr. Jude DeAngelo, OFM Conv.
Fr. Jude has been a good friend to me, and a wonderful chaplain to our students, over the past 12 years. Not being a priest myself, I had to depend on him in many ways my predecessor, Fr. O’Connell, found unnecessary. In my time it has been Fr. Jude, rather than the University President, who has led our community in prayer, prepared students for entry into the Church, celebrated our Masses, brought the sacraments to students, and counseled them in their griefs and troubles, in addition to the daily business of leading Campus Ministry.
We are immensely grateful for this service. Campus Ministry is not what it was a dozen years ago. It has grown in size and professionalism. Opportunities to serve have multiplied. The Days of Service we observe to celebrate Mother Teresa’s feast and Martin Luther King Jr. Day have attracted record numbers of students. The food pantry that serves our local community is an important resource for people experiencing food insecurity. Above all, I want to thank Fr. Jude for meeting our students where they are. He has done this with great pastoral sensitivity, deep faith, and a keen sense of humor. He has been selfless in giving his time to anyone in need, and he was a particular source of insight and solace during the worst of the clergy abuse crisis.
I am writing today to let you know that Fr. Jude will be concluding his time as University Chaplain this summer. In his order it is customary to move priests to new assignments after a set number of years. Those who have been here longer than I will recall that Fr. Jude replaced Fr. Bob Schlageter, OFM Conv., After a similar period of service.
As it happens, the term of our current contract with the Conventual Franciscans also ends this summer. The concurrence of these two events moved us to consider a broader conversation about the future of Campus Ministry, and whom we might ask to guide it.
I appointed a team comprising Larry Morris (Vice President and Chief of Staff), Judi Biggs-Garbuio (Vice President for Student Affairs), Susan Timoney (Undergraduate Dean in the School of Theology and Religious Studies), Emmjolee Mendoza Waters (Associate Director of Campus Ministry), Andrew Abela (Dean of the Busch School of Business), and Tony Crnkovich (an undergraduate junior). They solicited expressions of interest from eight groups: the Conventual Franciscans, the Capuchins, the St. John Society, the Dominicans, FOCUS, the Jesuits, the Benedictines, and the Archdiocese of Washington. We received proposals from the first five.
The process took several months, but it was worth our effort. We learned a lot about how Campus Ministry works elsewhere, and what we might want to have for our students. At the end of the day we have decided to ask the Dominicans to undertake the work. The Dominicans bring with them a rich heritage of scholarship and spiritual guidance, and as our neighbors they are well acquainted with the University and its mission.
We will be arranging an opportunity to thank Fr. Jude and the Franciscans for their service, and the transition will take place this summer. We will have more information about the transition after the end of the academic year.
The University, and I personally, have the utmost appreciation for the work Fr. Jude and his friars have done. I can’t express adequately the debt we owe him and the Conventual Franciscans for the care they have shown our students over the last 24 years.