New Rectors Announced for U.S. Jesuit Theology Centers in Berkeley and Boston

Fr. Michael Boughton, SJ

March 13, 2018 — Father Arturo Sosa, SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, has named new rectors for the two Jesuit theology centers in the United States.

Fr. Michael Boughton, SJ, will serve as rector of the Faber Jesuit Community at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (BCSTM), while Fr. Martin Connell, SJ, will serve as rector of the Jesuit Community at the Jesuit School of Theology (JST) of Santa Clara University.

Fr. Boughton replaces Fr. James Gartland, SJ, at the Faber Community; and Fr. Connell replaces Fr. John McGarry, SJ, at the Jesuit Community at JST. Both have served as rectors since 2012 and are finishing their terms.

Fr. Martin Connell, SJ

It’s a homecoming for Frs. Boughton and Connell. Each earned a Master of Divinity degree from the institution he will now serve.

After earning a master’s degree in English from Boston College and finishing theology studies at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology (the precursor to the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry), Fr. Boughton was ordained in 1979. He then served for 10 years at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, as the college’s chaplain and an English department lecturer. For the next five years, he was a lecturer in the English department at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut, while serving as rector of the Jesuit community there. From 1996–2006, he served as president of Fairfield College Preparatory School in Connecticut followed by assignments as the director of the Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Boston College and as formation assistant for the Maryland and Northeast Provinces of the Society of Jesus. In November of 2017, he returned to the Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Boston College, where he currently serves as associate director.

After finishing theology studies at the Jesuit School of Theology, Fr. Connell was ordained in 1994 and began serving as assistant principal for academic affairs at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland. For the next several years, he served as principal at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy before earning a Ph.D. in teaching and learning from the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara. From 2005–2009, Fr. Connell taught in the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and then moved to Dodoma, Tanzania, where he helped co-found a coeducational Jesuit boarding school, St. Peter Claver High School. Fr. Connell returned to the U.S. in 2013 to serve as rector of the Jesuits in Cleveland and currently serves as an associate professor in the Department of Education and School Psychology at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio.

Fr. James Gartland, SJ, outgoing rector at BCSTM

Fr. Timothy Kesicki, SJ, president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the U.S., who has supervisory responsibility for the Jesuit theology centers, said the role of rector is crucially important because rectors are responsible for the formation of Jesuit scholastics in their preparation for ordained ministry and for the formation of Jesuit brothers for pastoral work in the Church.

“The Jesuits studying at our theology centers in the U.S. come from across the U.S. and around the world. They are a diverse community called to a singular mission: to serve the Church for the greater glory of God. I couldn’t ask for two better Jesuits to serve as rectors at our two U.S. theology centers, and I know Frs. Boughton and Connell will bring extraordinary cura personalis (care of the person) to their new roles.”

Fr. John McGarry, SJ, outgoing rector at JST

For their part, both Frs. Boughton and Connell expressed excitement about their new missions.

“It is a grace and privilege to walk with Jesuits from around the world who are preparing for ordination and pastoral ministry and with our new priests who are pursuing further studies in this wonderful community and excellent school. I am honored and humbled by this mission,” said Fr. Boughton.

Fr. Connell said, “I completed my degree at JST 25 years ago, and I'm grateful for the preparation I received to minister in the Church as a Jesuit priest. Pope Francis has repeatedly underscored the importance of discernment for ministers in the Church. JST played an important role in forming me in spiritual discernment, and my time there was marked by supportive friendships with lay students and members of other religious congregations. I look forward to returning to ‘Holy Hill’.”

Fr. Kesicki also expressed his thanks to Frs. McGarry and Gartland for their six years of service as rectors. “John McGarry and Jim Gartland have been exemplary rectors. They are creative collaborators, who created spiritually discerning communities infused with energy and mission, and I know I join Jesuits from around the world in expressing my profound gratitude.”

Frs. Boughton and Connell begin their new roles this summer.

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