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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Father Michael to Leave Deis

Published: November 11, 2005
Section: News

Father David Michael, the Catholic priest at Brandeis, will leave the University this semester in order to serve in a nearby community.

The move was decided by the Boston Archbishop Sean OMalley due to the pressing need within the Archdiocese of Boston at this time for parish priests, Father Michael wrote in an email to the Catholic Student Organization (CSO) on November 4.

The Archdiocese asked Father Michael to work at Saint John Chrysostom in West Roxbury, a neighborhood of Boston.

Father Michael first came to Brandeis in August of 1997 after working for 11 years as a parish priest in the Boston Area. He told the Hoot that he started to do inter-religious relations work for the Archdiocese [when I] was asked to chair a program that involved inter-religious relations Thats how I connected to [Brandeis].

The Father decided to come to Brandeis for the opportunity to be in a university environment and the intellectual stimulation of being in a university environment and certainly because of the inter-religious work that I was doing.

Father Michael is looking forward to being given a full range of priestly responsibilities, he said. The life of a parish community is much fuller in the sense of life cycle and needs of the people. [Brandeis] is a [more] focused world.

Anny Jones 06, a director of the CSO, stated that the CSO will be sad at his loss, but we support the Archbishops decision as well as [the] Fathers decision to answer that call. His leaving will affect the Catholic community at Brandeis in almost in every way. It will force us as a community to be more self-independent[and we now] have to do a lot on our own when normally weve had his guidance.

In regards to still being involved at Brandeis after his leave, Father Michael stated that my hope is to participate in the Rome pilgrimage in May 2006 and to offer commencement weekend mass this year.

The University will be hiring another priest, but there is currently no one set to take Father Michaels place. I will work very closely with Vice President Jean Eddy and with the Archdiosesan Office of Campus Ministry to create a transition plan, said Father Michael in his email on November 4.

In the meantime, Jones said that the CSO will do everything in our power to continue [masses], [although] theres no guarantee.

My hopes for the next priest are [that] he will value collaboration with the other students and especially with other chaplains here and will value Brandeis for Brandeis, and to accept it on its own terms

Collaboration is the key to being able to work well at Brandeis and outreach and availability to the whole community, said Father Michael.

He certainly has big shoes to fill whoever he is, said Jones. The blessings of Father Michael were so many and varied. One [was] that he stimulated us intellectually as well as on a faith basis. He is very personable he would always go out to ice cream with us or something. And that went far in terms of building a community, so things like that I would hope to see in a new chaplain or priest.

Im very grateful to the Brandeis community, said Father Michael. It can be a very challenging place, but Im deeply grateful… My heart will be with Brandeis and my prayers are that the wonderful work of the chaplains will grow and be appreciated and will continue to be an integral part of the Brandeis community, especially for the sake of the students.