Rev. Paul Holland, S.J. named next rector of the Fairfield Jesuit Community

Rev. Paul Holland, S.J. named next rector of the Fairfield Jesuit Community

Image: Paul Holland The Father General of the Society of Jesus Adolfo Nicolas, S.J., has appointed the Rev. Paul Holland, S.J., to serve as the new rector of the Fairfield Jesuit Community beginning this summer. He follows the Rev. Walter J. Conlan, S.J., who will have completed his six-year term as rector of the Fairfield community at the end of July. After a period of sabbatical, Fr. Conlan — who spent many years as a Jesuit serving in Brazil - is hoping to be sent to Africa to work in Mozambique.

Fr. Conlan is a much-loved figure on the University campus and is responsible for guiding the Fairfield Jesuit Community through the process of designing and inhabiting the new Jesuit Community Center at the base of Bellarmine lawn, which opened in December. The Center, which in addition to being a home for Jesuits is also a gathering place for spiritual direction, retreats, and meetings, has received high praise for its environmentally friendly design.

"We will all miss Fr. Conlan," said University President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., who noted that Fr. Conlan leaves a lasting legacy in the new Jesuit Community Center, which he was instrumental in moving forward.  "It was his vision that conceived the design process for this beautiful building and helped to realize it as the environmentally sustainable building that it is. He deserves the thanks not only of the Jesuit Community, but of the Fairfield Prep and University communities for this gift to our landscape and to our spirits."

Fr. Conlan said it had been both a privilege and a challenge to be a rector during the building of the new residence. "I'm very proud of the work that we did together as a community on the new Community Center. It is a wonderful asset for our campus that will help the Jesuits interact with our colleagues, students, and friends at the University, the Prep, and the surrounding region."

The incoming rector, Fr. Holland, has been rector of the Jesuit Community and director of the Campion Center in Weston, Mass., since January 2005. Prior to that, he served for eight years as pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas parish at the University of Connecticut in Storrs and reorganized campus ministry for the University of Connecticut campus. From 1989 to 1996, he served as associate chaplain and instructor in religious studies at Fairfield University.

Fr. Holland said he enjoyed his previous years as Fairfield and is "looking forward to being part of the new initiatives that are now possible as a result of Fr. Conlan's work on the new Jesuit residence, situated as it is at the heart of campus life." He said he is sad to leave Campion Center where he cared for sick and elderly Jesuits - including some who were colleagues when he was last at Fairfield - but is honored that Father General asked him to assume this new responsibility.

Fr. Holland graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 1970, concentrating in international relations. After entering the Jesuits in 1972, he taught secondary school in Zambia, studied philosophy at Boston College, and theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley in California. Ordained in 1980, Fr. Holland then attended the University of Notre Dame for doctoral studies in theology and ecclesiology.

Fr. Conlan graduated from Boston College in 1971, and has done graduate work at the University of Michigan and several other schools in Massachusetts, Brazil, Bolivia, and Italy. He holds a master's degree in social work from the University of Michigan and a master of divinity degree from Weston Jesuit School of Theology.

Fr. Conlan entered the Society of Jesus of New England in 1967 and took his final vows in Salvador, Brazil, in 1983, where he was missioned in 1980 and worked for 17 years. He was named rector of the Fairfield Jesuit Community in 2004. Previously at Fairfield, he was an administrative assistant to the President in 1967 and studied sociology in the summer of 1968. He has had a long career as a spiritual director, teacher, research assistant, and chaplain. In Brazil, he was rector of Igreja de Santo Antonio da Barra in the early 1990s and he was vice president for Student/Community Affairs at the Catholic University of Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil. In 1997, he joined the Boston College Department of Human Resources, where he worked for seven years prior to being named Rector at Fairfield.

Currently, in addition to his work as Rector, Fr. Conlan serves on the Board of Governors of Fairfield College Preparatory School and, until recently as the director of Integrated Ignatian Learning at University College. He served on several committees at Fairfield, including Mission and Identity and the Institute of Retired Persons, as well as hosting various Faculty Learning Groups.

Posted On: 02-11-2010 10:02 AM

Volume: 42 Number: 190