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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

    Getting to know campus ministry’s new director

    Fr. Patrick Nolan, SJ will return to Eye Street as director of campus ministry starting the 2023-24 school year.

    Before 2008, Fr. Patrick Nolan, SJ thought that he seemingly had the life he always wanted–a big-time sponsorship coordinator with a lovely apartment in New York City, a nice car and a job that allowed him to interact with the most famous athletes in the world.  Now, almost 15 years after he started his journey to discover what life truly is, he is preparing to fill the previously-vacant position of Gonzaga’s director of campus ministry.

    About 48 hours after deboarding a plane coming from South Africa, Fr. Nolan, a tall, Long Island-born Jesuit was shuffled around Gonzaga for two days to get acquainted with his new community  He became immersed in the brotherhood that Gonzaga is, and he plans to do everything he can to contribute to our already vibrant culture.

      Until last Summer, campus ministry was directed by Mr. Stephen Szolozi, also known as “California Steve” by some, who now directs spiritual formation at the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University.  Senior Matthew Gregory Shumaker believes that introducing a Jesuit to the Campus Ministry team will add to the already-rich culture of change in campus ministry.

    “I think this will continue to be a different, yet enriching vibe in campus ministry,” Shumaker said.  “The current students on campus have never experienced having a Jesuit being part of Campus Ministry.  We have a group of all-women this year, which has been fantastic, so the spirit of the ever changing campus ministry lives on.”

    As mentioned earlier, Fr. Nolan wasn’t initially interested in joining the Jesuits, yet he had always been deeply religious and his role model and uncle was also a Jesuit, so he was always curious about what a life serving God could entail.  Little by little, he kept on receiving signs that a life in the Jesuits was for him, and in 2008, he decided to literally take a leap of faith.

    Upon entering, Nolan was deemed a novice and was spiritually guided by Novice Master Fr. Joseph Lingan, SJ Gonzaga’s current president, so he believes he has a thing or two in common with Gonzaga students.  His life thus far comes full circle, as he entered with Fr. Lingan and he now gets to work with him at Gonzaga.

    “He was our role model and our mentor,” Fr. Nolan said.  “In the Jesuit Constitutions, the novice master has a very revered and special role because he’s the first person that’s really introducing you to what this life is really like.”

    After his time at the novitiate (and a short retreat in Micronesia), he traveled to Loyola University–Chicago to study philosophy for two years.  Then, he traveled back to the Pacific island federation to teach at Yap Catholic High School to have a global experience added to his formation.  He then returned back to the United States to teach at Boston College High School, a Jesuit preparatory school, where he taught Church history.  He had a brief mission to South Africa and now gets to return to the nation’s capital to be in our community.

    “Fr. Pat Nolan is a very young and very exciting Jesuit to be around,” said Fr. Harry Geib, SJ, rector of Gonzaga’s Jesuit community.  “We are lucky to have someone that passionate about spreading the Lord’s message coming to our community.”

    He lived here briefly for the summer of 2012 and is excited to be a part of our community because of his reputation among Jesuit educators.  He doesn’t want to change the core of campus ministry, but simply wants to help it flourish and continue to have an impact on the Gonzaga community as it already does. 

    “My goal is to do so much good work and also be an extra set of hands for the team,” Fr. Nolan said.  “I hope to continue integrating essential Jesuit elements into Gonzaga students’ lives and form them into good fathers, good husbands and even maybe good Jesuits someday.”

    All in all, Fr. Nolan also enjoys going for morning runs as meditations, eating a good slice of New York pizza and listening to music.  He hopes to continue these during his time at Gonzaga and maintain the strong purple spirit that allows Eye Street to shine.  He has accepted the call and will now continue his service for and with others at Gonzaga.

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