New Director of Spirituality Center talks about faith life, career development // The Observer
Rev. Daniel Horan began his tenure as the new Director of the Center for Spirituality and Professor in the Departments of Religious Studies and Philosophy on August 16.
Since arriving at Saint Mary’s earlier in the semester, he explained that he felt a unique connection to the campus community due to his upbringing.
“I grew up in a Catholic family in upstate New York and have attended Catholic schools all my life,” he said. “I am the oldest of four boys. So it’s a pretty cool experience to be a faculty member and principal of a Catholic Women’s College because I didn’t grow up with sisters so now I feel like I’m making up for lost time. with this wonderful higher education community. “
Discussing his journey to become a Franciscan brother, Horan explained the impact of his university experience on his decision to enter the life of faith.
“I went to Saint-Bonaventure University, and there, it’s a Franciscan school – just as Sainte-Marie and Notre-Dame are in the tradition of Sainte-Croix, Saint-Bonaventure is in the Franciscan tradition. “, did he declare. “And there I met the Franciscan friars and at that time I was already making a certain discernment to know whether or not I felt a call to religious life in the ordained life and learned to know the Franciscans and to study. the theology. Over time, I became more and more aware of the fact that I think I was called to join the Franciscan community.
Horan noted that after graduating from college, he didn’t expect to take on the roles he occupies today because of what he studied.
“After I graduated from college, I joined the Franciscans,” said Horan. “I didn’t think I would go to higher education. I didn’t think I was a teacher. I didn’t think it was my path. When I was in college, I studied theology, but I also studied journalism.
Reflecting on his career as a journalist, Horan described his passion for sports photography.
“I worked for my college newspaper for four years and back then sports photography was really my focus,” he said. “So I thought I was going to become a Franciscan friar specializing in photojournalism.”
Explaining the Franciscan tradition, Horan said he had many options in his career path, even after his ordination.
“The Franciscans can do a lot of things,” he said. “They can be parish priests, they can be primary school teachers, they can be college teachers. These could be people who work in a restaurant. The vision of Francis of Assisi was to live together the evangelical life as a community of brothers or a community of brothers and sisters.
Horan recalled the support of his mentors which led him to pursue his studies in theology.
“When I was studying in graduate school to be ordained, I fell in love with theology even more than when I was in undergraduate, and my community, my province and my teachers saw in me a certain potential and gave me encouraged to think about going. on for further studies, ”he said. “I taught for a year at Siena College in Albany, New York, in the religious studies department there, and then I did a doctorate at Boston College.”
Horan explained his goals for the Spirituality Center early in his tenure.
“The first is not only to continue the good work already started by my predecessors and by the 37 years of the centre’s history, but to strengthen these programs [and] these offerings, ”he said. “And then the second part with the center is to expand it to see how the Spirituality Center can have a bigger impact in the best possible way on campus, among the community of the three campuses, but also beyond the colleges. themselves in the community and nationally and beyond. “
As the author of several books, Horan also spoke about how he grew up in his role as a writer.
“I really took to writing because writing is the best way to help me learn,” he said. “It’s the best way to help me understand what I’m thinking and what others are thinking and to engage in it in depth. I like to talk – I’m an extrovert [and] I like to be around people. But there is something about the slow process of having to think, think, and write that cannot be duplicated and you cannot speed it up.
According to Horan, he is interested in many subjects, such as systematic theology and Christology.
“The main area of focus of my doctorate is what is called systematic theology and therefore, these are doctrinal questions… I wrote a thesis on creation theology, so I was interested in this kind of. Questions. I am currently working on a book on Christology – in particular, the reason or the motivation, the divine motivation for which God became human in the Christian tradition, ”he said.
Horan also highlighted his recent passion for exploring social justice issues.
“I am also very interested in questions of social justice [and] peace issues, ”he said. “And so, in the past, I’ve written a lot about non-violence and the importance of non-violence. More recently I have become much more involved in issues of systemic racism and the realities of white privilege and white supremacy, and what that means, particularly from a religious perspective, but also more broadly from a societal or cultural perspective. “
Due to his previous experience in photojournalism, Horan was recruited by Saint Mary’s Athletics to take photos of college games, in addition to his official responsibilities. He expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to return to his roots.
“I was very, very lucky,” said Horan. “I am really grateful to the sports department, to Julie, the sports director, and [Sports Information Director] Sarah, for allowing me and inviting me to be a part of this very important part of the community of Saint Mary’s, which are the wonderful sports teams that we have here.
Horan noted that he had been invited to speak in several religious studies classes at the College in the past and that he was honored to return to a place rich in tradition.
“It’s very moving and humbling to think of it, so to come back to this space that I visited years ago as a speaker, and to be able to be able to help support and continue this legacy. – that’s what attracted me so much to this job.
Speaking about his hopes for the College, Horan wishes to highlight the strengths of the College.
“There is so much to be proud of that if there’s one thing I hope for, it’s to help be somehow a booster or a cheerleader for Saint Mary’s,” he said. -he declares. “We have to go out there and tell the world how great this place is.”