Manhattan College Searches for a New Chaplain

By Megan Dreher & August Kissel, Staff Writers

After the loss of Father George Hill, Manhattan College’s chaplain of nine years, the school has begun the search process to find another chaplain that will cater to the needs of Manhattan’s Lasallian community.

“Depending on the person that we get, they will never be like Father George, but we are hoping that we get someone who has similar disposition with students,” said Lois Harr the Director of Campus Ministry. Harr is leading the search along with four other members to find Manhattan College their new chaplain.

This committee will meet together to partake in the interviewing and the selection process’. It is a handpicked group composed of people who represent Manhattan College as well as those who will be working closely with the new priest chaplain in the future. Members include Conor Reidy, the school’s campus minister, Dr. Kevin Ahern, a professor of religious and peace studies, Andrew Bower, the director of music ministry, and Kaitlyn Von Runnen a student representative.

Another faculty member of Manhattan College working closely with this group and the candidates is Vicki Cowan the Director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator.

“I’m responsible for seeing over the process from beginning to end. So my responsibility is to make sure that the position is posted, I help the departments get the pool of candidates that they’re looking for, I advertise for them, I make sure that the job is approved, and when I advertise I try to do so in places that will get them the most qualified candidates,” said Cowan.

Cowan chose to advertise with America magazine, which is a publication that attracts Catholic priests, Catholic New York, and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. The team has already received resumes and applications from interested candidates.

The job description posted gives an overview of the basic requirements that would need to be met by the future priest chaplain. Some of the chaplains duties and responsibilities include celebrating weekly Sunday and weekday liturgies during the academic year, collaborating with the Director of Music Ministry, offering regular opportunities to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation, and being an active member of the Campus Ministry and Social Action team.

Once the application pool is narrowed down to a select few candidates, the interview process can begin.

“You get to where you want to bring two or three candidates to campus and have them meet people, meet students, meet faculty, maybe even the president would like to talk to them. The chaplains job is different than a department head, the chaplain position is considered extra special at a Catholic college,” said Harr

The students at Manhattan College will have to adjust to a new chaplain but they are looking at the situation optimistically. “I feel that a new chaplain will help to create a more inclusive community and encourage greater integration of the Lasallian values within the daily lives of students and faculty. It’s nice to see that spiritual aspect of the school strengthening,” said Freshman Erin McWilliams.

As for the students who knew Father George Hill very well the transition process may be a little more difficult. “I think someone who is a junior or senior who knew father well they might feel a little bad. I think the students will get to love the new guy,” added Harr.

According to the committee, for certain we will have a new chaplain in the next academic year.