Fr. Daniel Moloney says Mass on a trial basis as University looks to remodel structure of Catholic chaplaincy
As of this past Sunday, Father Daniel Moloney of the Archdiocese of Boston has begun saying Mass on campus on a trial basis for the next few weeks, Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment Andrew Flagel and Jewish chaplain Rabbi Elyse Winick confirmed to the Justice.
But while Moloney may become the permanent replacement for Catholic chaplain Father Walter Cuenin, who left Brandeis last month due to unspecified health concerns, the role he inherits may look a little different from Cuenin’s, according to Flagel and leaders of the Catholic Student Organization.
“Brandeis is a unique place when it comes to hiring a priest,” explained CSO member Elena Insley ’15 in an email to the Justice. “Fr. Walter previously served as a full time Chaplain here at Brandeis. ... His role extended beyond a weekly mass and into the daily lives of students as he would offer spiritual guidance, traditional Catholic services, and also mentorship to all students.”
Since Cuenin resigned, however, the CSO has requested that Brandeis consider “a new type of structure,” wrote Insley, who has spearheaded the efforts to remodel the Catholic chaplaincy. Namely, the CSO suggested splitting the roles of a chaplain, who would “offer spiritual guidance, lessons in catechism and mentorship to students,” and a priest, who would assume the traditional duties of saying Mass. The chaplain, for example, could be “a nun, a lay person [sic]” with a formal Catholic education or an “other religious figure” such as a priest, according to Insley.
Flagel, whose office oversees the Interfaith Chaplaincy, indicated in an email to the Justice that he had met with leaders of the Catholic Student Organization to discuss the possibility of implementing different “models” for the Catholic chaplaincy on campus. While he declined to discuss any of the potential models in detail, Flagel said that schools like Babson College, Bentley University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are possible sources of inspiration for the chaplaincy structure.
While the archdiocese has proposed Moloney as a candidate to be Brandeis’ new Catholic chaplain, Brandeis has not officially decided whether or not to accept. “The Archdiocese [sic] has authority over the appointment of any priests, while the University has final say on who fills roles as Chaplains on campus, so this is by its nature a collaborative process,” wrote Flagel in an email to the Justice.
In an email sent to the Catholic students Listserv, Flagel wrote that he had met with Moloney on Jan. 26 and that they had “had a robust and frank conversation.” Moloney “seems passionate about serving a university community and has extensive academic credentials,” the email continued.
Insley said that Moloney stayed behind after Sunday’s Mass to speak with students and that he was “well spoken, friendly, and eager to be on our campus.”
“He has a passion for serving students and is excited at the chance to work at an intellectually robust campus such as Brandeis,” Insley added.