Dominican Friars Take on Campus Ministry at Catholic University of America

Left to right: Fr. Joseph Martin Hagan, O.P. & Fr. John Paul Kern, O.P.
Photo by George Goss

Dominican Friars Take on Campus Ministry at Catholic University of America
By BlackFriars Staff

After months of searching for the next leaders of campus ministry at Catholic University of America, a committee formed by CUA president John Garvey selected the Dominican Friars for the job.

“The Dominicans bring with them a rich heritage of scholarship and spiritual guidance, and as our neighbors they are well acquainted with the University and its mission,” said Garvey upon announcing the decision.

The search committee considered eight groups, a mix of religious orders and other Catholic organizations, before deciding on the Dominican Friars.

Fr. Joseph Hagan, O.P., and Fr. John Paul Kern, O.P., were appointed chaplains, with two additional friars expected to be appointed in June.

According to Fr. Kern, who previously served as chaplain at the University of Louisville, the Dominicans bring to the ministry “a strong desire for the salvation of souls, reliance upon God’s grace, and an appreciation for the Catholic intellectual tradition, which understands the light of faith as assisting and elevating reason’s pursuit of the truth about God and all created things.”

A harbinger of things to come, Fr. Thomas Joseph White, O.P., delivered CUA’s 2022 commencement address. Fr. White, Rector Magnificus of the Angelicum, the Dominican university in Rome, told CUA graduates, “You are not atoms in the void. There is something like atomic power in you, but it is not just the power of the stars and the sun; it’s the power that moves the stars and the sun; it’s that mysterious power of dynamic persons who are free, creative, and intellectual.”

Fr. Thomas Joseph White, O.P.

When asked about the greatest need of today’s college students, Fr. Kern replied, “To know their true identity as beloved sons and daughters of God, which they discover in coming to know Jesus Christ.”

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