Loyola welcomed Rev. William Rickle S.J., '70, at the beginning of this academic year to serve as alumni chaplain. Fr. Rickle offers his introduction, reflections on Thanksgiving, and how his role as chaplain can serve our alumni community.
Well, fellow Greyhounds, here I am, back at the Evergreen campus. I am a Baltimore native from the first graduating class of Cardinal Gibbons High School. I left Baltimore when I graduated from Loyola College in 1970 to join the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) as a callow novice.
Looking back, the teachers and administrators at Loyola exercised what we now call cura personalis toward me at critical times. In retrospect, they were my inspiration. I'm grateful for a college with the heart and flexibility to help me through tough times. Somewhere along the line, I learned both the basic human and the technical skills that began a Jesuit journey that has taken me into academe, to social and Hispanic ministries, to administration at parish, diocesan, Jesuit local and provincial, and university levels.
Now, 52 years later, I am happy to return as your Alumni Chaplain.
"What or who is an Alumni Chaplain?" you ask. Part of my official job description says that I am to:
- Develop relationships with alumni to build community through worship, dialogue, service, outreach, prayer, ecumenism, and the integration of service, faith, and social responsibility.
- Support the spiritual needs of the alumni community through attendance at Masses, funerals, and other events and ceremonies.
- Reach out to alumni and provide one-on-one ministerial support to alumni, their families, and communities.
That is a broad canvas. More concretely, I would say that I am to be at your service in almost any way you think I might be helpful to accompany you in your life journey toward our fulfillment in God's plan for us.
Spirituality writ large
In short, I'm here to help us all come to a deeper appreciation and experience of what I call "Spirituality writ large." I see it as trying to put into practice St. Ignatius' maxim, to Find God in all Things. Unless we are attentive to those "things," both the ordinary and extraordinary events and people in our lives, we tend to miss God's loving, forgiving, and animating presence for each of us.
That attentiveness at this time of the Thanksgiving holiday can help us move beyond the obvious blessings we normally count at the festive table to the more hidden and perhaps deeper gifts that sustain our families and us in difficult and challenging times. Even as we may have lost loved ones we remember, especially during November, we can be thankful for their love and presence while we had them with us. The depth of our grief reflects the love we shared. Who are the people now—who we may take for granted—who bring joy and peace with them?
Moving forward, I am eager to work with the Alumni Association to develop programs and activities which can sustain us to live our Loyola motto more fully; "Strong Truths, Well Lived" more deeply. We span ages from early twenties to near infinity (just kidding.) So not one size will fit all. In that light, we ask for your ideas as to how we might be of assistance to you and your families.
Bill Rickle, S.J.
Fr. Rickle serves the Loyola University Maryland community as alumni chaplain, collaborating with the office of alumni engagement. Please contact Fr. Rickle here. He can usually be found with his camera at events across campus—check out his photography blog.
Make an Impact
There are a number of ways to engage with Loyola as a graduate and show your Greyhound pride—from volunteering or mentoring current students to serving on a committee or advisory board to attending networking or campus events. Discover the myriad ways alumni can connect—or reconnect—with our University and one another.