Father Keith Maczkiewicz (Mac), Fairfield University’s Director of Campus Ministry and University Chaplain, is dedicated to the Jesuit standard of availability. This commitment is why, when was asked by The Provincial to apply for a position at the College of the Holy Cross, he readily applied and accepted his relocation.

“We’re Jesuits, we’re meant to be available,” he said. “I’m available for whatever they need.”

Shortly following Fairfield’s commencement ceremony in May, Fr. Mac will begin a new chapter of his Jesuit career, working as the Associate Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Holy Cross. While he admits the transition will be difficult, he looks forward to the opportunity and hopes to maintain the Jesuit need for availability, which exemplifies the practice’s “one foot raised” motto: always on the move.

Fr. Mac confessed that if asked twenty years ago whether he’d be working as a Jesuit at Fairfield University, he would have said, “No.” He attended Emerson College for one year as a musical theater major, then transferred to Fairfield University to finish his four years as a Stag. Working at his alma mater, the Jesuit discussed his bittersweet feelings regarding his upcoming move.

“Because it’s my alma mater that I will miss,” he declared. “Being here, as an alum, as a Stag, was special in a way.”

Despite calling Fairfield University a home, and graduating in 2004, Fr. Mac is no stranger to Holy Cross. From the years 2013 to 2015, then again from 2018 to 2021, he worked for the college’s Campus Ministry before transferring to Fairfield in 2021. 

Ever since he graduated college, Fr. Mac has worked in Campus Ministry. He became a Jesuit in 2008 after lengthy schooling and was ordained as a priest in 2008.

Although he never planned on becoming a Jesuit priest, it is something that Fr. Mac claims God called him to do. According to him, God, along with “the people,” wanted him to be a priest. “I think this is the way I’m called to live by, by God,” he affirmed.

He continued to explain that a substantial value of Jesuit practice is the showing of love. Especially on a college campus, he notes that Jesuits are countercultural, and that “the value of Jesuit life and the value of Jesuit witness is love.” Fr. Mac is gratified by the opportunity to show love through Campus Ministry.

Arriving at Fairfield University in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the campus met Fr. Mac with masks and remote settings. Throughout his time at the university, a goal of Fr. Mac was to bring Campus Ministry back into an in-person force, a place of influence. This work grew into many different initiatives, one being a return of Campus Ministry on the Case Management Committee, which provides holistic outreach for students struggling with issues on and off campus. To Fr. Mac, it was important for Campus Ministry to be a part of those conversations. 

Fr. John Mulreany is the Superior of the Fairfield Jesuit Community. He praises Fr. Mac for all the work he has accomplished at Fairfield University and throughout Campus Ministry.

“As director of Campus Ministry, [Fr. Mac] has expanded our Mass and confession offerings. His love for liturgy is self-evident. He is an inspiring preacher,” Mulreany stated. He added, “He has breathed new life into the Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu, and made valuable contributions to the Ignatian Residential College. Fr. Mac leaves a solid legacy at Fairfield for his successors to build upon.”

Something left undone at the time of Fr. Mac’s transition is a ministry at Fairfield’s Bellarmine campus. He disclosed that Fairfield’s Campus Ministry had been “trying some things,” and that other initiatives will have to be redone next year due to added cohorts at the Bridgeport school. 

Nonetheless, he holds sure content for his time at the North Benson campus.

When asked about what he will miss most about his time as a Fairfield Jesuit, Fr. Mac was quick to highlight the work he has fulfilled with students. Through various retreats, masses and student confessions, he credits the ability to “walk with people” as extremely rewarding.

Living in a residence hall during his three years as a Stag adds to the list of things he will miss about his recent work. “That has been a joy and just a way to be with students,” the priest assured. 

Fr. Mac explained that he often kept his door open for students to walk in whenever, whether they needed support or simply a listening ear. He commented on the fact that there is no “normal” day in his occupation; he never quite knows who will walk through his door, and with what.

Despite this uncertainty, he contended that each day is filled with grace. The Jesuit has learned a lot about God through observing how He is present in the lives of others. “Walking with them” allows Fr. Mac to achieve this religious growth. 

Furthermore, Fr. Mulreany shared the inspiration he holds for Fr. Mac’s “pastoral care of students and their families.” The Campus Ministry director’s dedication to students is also demonstrated in the large and small changes he has made to campus masses, as described by Fr. Gregory Konz, Assistant to the Dean of Dolan School of Business.

Fr. Konz attested that Fr. Mac made attending mass more convenient for students. He changed the time of daily mass to 12:30 p.m. and initiated nighttime masses on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Moreover, he established a discernment group for young men considering entering the Jesuits. 

Fr. Mac’s work at the university would not be complete, however, without mention of his fellow Jesuits. “In this role, I’ve helped my staff do their ministry, which has been worthwhile,” he stated.

Because of his previous work at Holy Cross, Fr. Mac is not arriving there completely blindsided. He noted that the college has experienced “just enough” changes since he was last there for the transition to feel new, yet he will still know some familiar faces.

Earlier this semester, the Provincial asked him to apply for this position. Essentially, while Jesuits are allowed input towards where they are moved, they do not have a choice over it. He will move into Holy Cross around mid-to-late June.

Fr. Mac admitted that he thought he’d be at Fairfield University for about six or seven years before leaving. While that hope is now not the case, he hopes to continue striving to be available for the Jesuits whenever they need him.

“I think the sense of availability is something I want to hold on to…I never want to get ‘stuck,’” he confessed, deterred by the vision of becoming so established in one place.

In his three short years in Stag Country, Fr. Mac made an incredible impact on those around him. Fr. Kevin O’Brien S.J., Vice Provost and Executive Director at Fairfield Bellarmine as well as a professor in the Department of Religious Studies, reminds the community of Fr. Mac’s devotion to Jesuit teaching and impact on Fairfield’s campus.

“Fr. Mac has a unique blend of being an exceptional educator, administrator, and priest,” O’Brien said. “He exemplifies the best of ‘cura personalis’: caring for each person, in their uniqueness, in mind, body and spirit. As a friend and Jesuit brother, I will miss him a great deal.”

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