Fr. Jim Gallagher, campus ministry director and pastoral resident of Mehling Hall, is leaving UP after being selected by the Province of the Congregation of Holy Cross to serve as Rector of Moreau Seminary at the University of Notre Dame. His last day at UP will be May 2.
“There's an exciting aspect of anytime one has a new opportunity but there's also a sadness,” Gallagher said. “I enjoy being here. Working with the students, staff and faculty here at the University of Portland has been quite wonderful and living in the Pacific Northwest has been very nice.”
Gallagher’s first encounter with UP was in 2001, as an intern seminarian. However, it wasn’t until 2006 that he took on a campus role, serving as the pastoral resident of Villa Maria while during his first year priesthood. He would later serve various other roles at UP — including assistant hall director and hall director of Shipstad — which led him to his current position in Campus Ministry in 2015.
Fr. Jim is well known for his pastoral event “breaking bread”, which happens every Monday night in Mehling Hall.
“Fr. Jim has been one of the most foundational people in my life and my experience here at UP,” Mehling Hall Faith and Formation Ambassador Kate Seddon said. “He has always created a safe place for me and gone the extra mile on every occasion. Fr. Jim was the first person to be a constant support in my life and be a pastoral listening ear no matter the day or time. The loss of his presence here on campus will leave a significant impact on our community and personally within my own life.”
At Notre Dame, Gallagher will train men for priesthood and to be a brother in the Holy Cross Congregation.
“It wasn't something that I went looking for,” Gallagher said. “It was something that they asked me to do. A lot of what I've learned here at UP about the stories and realities of young people in particular today, I am going to make sure that the guys we're entering into ministry are aware of that.”
Gallagher hopes to continue to foster relationships with students and bring a vibrancy to campus life, something he says he wants to see UP continue working on in the future.
“He has been there for students, faculty and staff, especially during difficult times,” Fr. John Donato said. “For me personally, Fr. Jim has been an outstanding colleague and supportive fellow of Holy Cross. His life and ministry inspire me and make me so grateful that we have been blessed with his presence these past seven years.”
UP will be hosting a special farewell mass on April 28, at 4 p.m. in the Chapel of Christ the Teacher for students and faculty to see him before he leaves.
“It's been very enriching, to live in the midst of the students in the faculty and the staff here,” Gallagher said. “I have a very narrow experience from my own life. So, to hear their stories I’ve learned more about how different people encounter the world today. Their trust to share their stories with me, it's just really expanded my awareness of some of the joys and sorrows that people are encountering in the world today.”
Kimberly Cortez is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.