Fairfield University announces new University Chaplain


Image: Fr. Blaszczak Fr. Gerry Blaszczak, former pastor of St. Ignatius Loyola Parish in Manhattan, who has served as both University Chaplain and Vice President for University Mission and Ministries at Fordham University, has been named Fairfield University Chaplain, effective July 1.

In making the announcement, Rev. Jeffrey von Arx, S.J., university president, said, "I am delighted to be able to fill this critical position with one of the most talented Jesuits I know. Fr. Blaszczak is very familiar with university life and has worked effectively with students, faculty, alumni, and staff.  He is a man of great pastoral experience and sensitivity and deeply familiar with Jesuit spirituality. He has extensive experience as well in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue, which will be an important part of his responsibilities at Fairfield." Fr. Blaszczak will also assist Fr. James Bowler, S.J., University Facilitator for Mission and Identity, in his work with faculty and staff.

Fr. Blaszczak said he has long admired the work of many of Fairfield's distinguished faculty and is eager to get to know them and to collaborate with them and the administration and professional staff. "I am energized and inspired by the University's strategic plan, and eager to develop the Office of University Chaplain in such a way as to contribute to its realization."

Among his top priorities is getting to know the students at Fairfield where he plans to live in a residence hall and even teach, if his other duties permit. He said he would like to join students in their local and international service projects.

"I feel fortunate to be joining a young and dynamic University," he said, "one that is strong and clear about its founding tradition, and open and creative in responding to new challenges and opportunities. I appreciate that Fairfield enjoys the enthusiastic support of its alumni/ae and that of the local community." He said he is committed to using his position to strengthen Fairfield's bonds to the cultural, religious, educational and social institutions of the county and region.

As the University Chaplain, Fr. Blaszczak will minister to the entire Fairfield University community and have responsibility, in collaboration with Fr. Michael Doody, S.J., Director of Campus Ministry, for all public liturgical events, such as the Mass of the Holy Spirit and the Baccalaureate Mass. He will also be responsible for the 11 a.m. Sunday mass in the Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius of Loyola, helping to serve and to build the Fairfield congregation. He said he will be reaching out as a representative of the University community, helping to express Fairfield's distinct mission and identity as a Jesuit and Catholic University.

Fr. Blaszczak earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in New Testament and Early Church History, with a secondary field of Islamic Studies. He has taught at Le Moyne College, Syracuse N.Y., Hekima College in Nairobi Kenya, and in the Theology Department at Fordham, among other places. He was also the Rector of the Jesuit Community at Fordham from 1998 to 2001.

Fr. Blaszczak is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and a Danforth Fellow. He is proficient in reading, writing and speaking French, German, Spanish and Kiswahili and also in reading Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, Aramaic, Coptic, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese and Swedish.

He has served on the board of trustees of several universities, including at present Loyola College, Baltimore, and Loyola University New Orleans. He is also a member of the board of Colavita Foundation for Children in NewYork and Regis High School.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 9, 2009

Vol. 41, No. 212

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