At the conclusion of the 2018-19 school year, Fairfield University will be saying goodbye to Campus Ministry director Fr. Mark Scalese, S.J. On Oct. 11, students were sent an email explaining that Scalese will be taking on a new position of superior of First Studies and vice-superior of Gonzaga House Jesuit Community in Chicago, IL.
Though some Stags may have never met Scalese personally, many saw him as more than just the director of campus ministry – but as a friend and mentor.
“Fr. Mark has been a great part of Campus Ministry in my time at Fairfield,” said Seamus O’Brien ‘20, Eucharistic Minister, Former Co-Chair of Fairfield Challenge, Immersion Trip Leader and Interfaith peer minister. “I know he has an amazing opportunity ahead of him but he will be missed by many students, including myself. Not only did he make Campus Ministry incredibly welcoming to all students, but he also always put forth a strong effort to have his finger on the pulse of the student body.”
Scalese contemplated his experiences as director of Campus Ministry.
“For students who go to mass regularly, they have an experience of church that is quite positive and unlike anything they’ve experienced back home,” reflected Scalese. “For students who go on our service-immersion trips to other countries and parts of the United States, their lives and perspectives on life are changed forever. And for students who go on our retreats such as Kairos, they have such intense experiences of faith and community, that they tell all their friends that they have to go as well.”
Scalese came to Fairfield University in 2004 as a member of the faculty in visual & performing arts. In 2010, he was promoted to associate professor and, in 2015, he entered his current position. Before he pursued his Masters of Fine Arts and became a professor, but after he was ordained as a priest, Scalese was an associate producer for Frank Frost Productions in Washington, D.C. There, he helped the film company to produce “religious, spiritual and educational documentaries and videos for public television and cable TV.”
“I remembered how much I had enjoyed teaching high school video production several years earlier and the kind of impact I had on my students, and thought I would be able to take that to the next level working with college students,” explained Scalese.
While at Fairfield, Scalese contributed to a plethora of campus needs centered around Campus Ministry including: renovation of the Egan Chapel, the development and hosting of the Fairfield Challenge, an increase of hospitality to students by providing coffee and snacks in the McGrath Commons and a greater online presence. Scalese also aided in the expansion of ministry influence to seniors living at Fairfield Beach with an outdoor Mass as well as Prophets, Pints and Pizza.
“As someone who as been actively involved in Campus Ministry for over three years, Father Mark has been helpful to my spiritual growth and has wanted to get to know me on a personal level. He enjoys engaging with students and being involved with campus life. He will be greatly missed in Campus Ministry,” said Kristen Yost ‘19, a coordinator in the Eucharistic Ministry community, employee of Campus Ministry and previous director of the Escape retreat.
Junior Margaret Morrell, coordinator for Eucharistic Ministers, program coordinator for Kairos and member of Lord’s Chords, echoed Yost’s sentiments.
“I wish him the best of luck. He was a great campus minister and mentor for a lot of us and he will be missed,” said Morrell.
The email announcing Scalese’s departure explained that the new director of Campus Ministry will be selected by the University in conjunction with the Society of Jesus.