Campus Ministry Introduces New Staff to FCLC this Semester


Campus Ministry introduces new faces to the Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) this semester. With the departure of former assistant director, Father Damian O’Connell, S.J., and former associate director, Joan Cavanagh, the office welcomed two new members to its department: Carol Gibney, M.S.W. and Fr. John P. McDonagh.

FCLC’s Campus Ministry is located in LL 217 and is there to support students of all faiths. According to their mission, the office encourages students “to embrace their own religious faith traditions and experience spiritual growth during their formative collegiate years.”

After 13 years at Campus Ministry, Father Damian O’Connell, S.J., departed from his position as assistant director late June of this year.  He now begins a sabbatical year at Jesuit’s American House on West 56th Street in New York City.

In addition, Joan Cavanagh was assigned the new position, director of Campus Ministry at the Westchester campus.

“I will absolutely miss the students, faculty and staff at Lincoln Center,” Cavanagh said. “I’ve enjoyed my work for 14 years and I’m looking forward to working at Westchester.”

Fr. John McDonagh, the new director of Campus Ministry at FCLC, studied urban economic development at Boston College High School where he prepared for a career in urban planning at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. It was after graduation that he went to seminary in Rome and became ordained in 1982 for the Diocese of Springfield. McDonagh said that while attending Boston College High School, he was “captivated by the call to be a Christian for others.”

In recent years, McDonagh has ministered in the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst College, Western New England College,and Duke University. He has also co-taught an undergraduate course at Smith College.

“I think Fordham is very welcoming, and it’s an exciting and stimulating place to be,” Fr. McDonagh said. “I see my mission in life is to enable people to trip over the presence of God in their life, not telling them where God is, but inviting them to think and explore what God might think of life.”

Alexander Lupo, FCLC ’13, said “[Damian and Cavanagh] really accepted me when I came into Fordham so I they will be missed in a special way.” Lupo said he felt insecure when he first arrived at FCLC. but, “I went to a Jesuit school before this one so they made me feel at home.”

Carol Gibney, M.S.W., the new associate director of Campus Ministry at Lincoln Center worked with the Campus Ministry at the Westchester campus for eight years before moving here. She is currently on a pilgrimage for World Youth Day 2011, a worldwide encounter with the Pope that is celebrated every three years in a different country, and will return when the new school semester begins.