VOLUME 44 NUMBER 3
Katherine M. “Kim” McElaney, longtime director of the Office of College Chaplains, died May 3, 2010, in West Falmouth, Mass., after a long illness, at 55.
During her career, Ms. McElaney served 25 years as a chaplain at Holy Cross. Joining the staff in 1985, she was named director of the Office of College Chaplains in 1992, the first layperson and first woman to hold this position. In fulfilling her duties as chaplain and director, she was deeply committed to mentoring students and educating for social justice, advancing her vision for campus ministry and the Catholic Church.
Starting a chapter of Pax Christi on campus at the beginning of her tenure, Ms. McElaney subsequently implemented the Mexico Immersion trip—a faith-based program enabling students to work for peace and justice—and, in 1999, the Magis program, an initiative designed to assist students develop into leaders in ministry and the Church.
Receiving her degree from Holy Cross in 1976, she had been a member of the first class of women who enrolled in 1972, the year the College became coeducational. Following graduation, Ms. McElaney served with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and earned her master of divinity degree at the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass. She then became a chaplain at Fairfield (Conn.) University, a position she held until returning to Holy Cross.
A longtime chair of the board of JVC East, Ms. McElaney had also been a member of the boards of International Partners in Mission and Pax Christi.
In 1994, the Weston School of Theology honored her with its Pedro Arrupe Medal for Excellence in Ministry.
A strong feminist and a vocal advocate for social justice, she had a profound interest in and fondness for Latin American culture. Her interests included gardening, quilting, knitting, travel, and cooking and baking.
Most recently a resident of Douglas, Mass., Ms. McElaney was born in Boston and raised in Newton, Mass., and West Hartford, Conn.; a graduate of Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford, she spent many summers in Pocasset on Cape Cod, Mass.
Ms. McElaney is survived by her husband, Tim Cox; her mother; four sisters, Margaret “Meg” Woolley ’77, Ann McElaney-Johnson ’79, Jane M. Peterson ’81 and Julie McElaney-Gorman ’87; four brothers-in-law; several in-laws; Steph Marcucci and Paul Debendictis; and 16 nephews and nieces and their spouses.
The funeral Mass was celebrated on May 7, at Christ the King Church in Worcester, with Holy Cross President Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J., presiding. Following is an excerpt from the homily delivered during the service by Rev. James Hayes, S.J., rector of the Holy Cross Jesuit Community and associate chaplain:
“Kim’s spirit lives on. She has been transfigured in light, into power, into love. She missions us just as Jesus sent Mary — Tell my friends to go out and spread the good news. The good news that Kim shared with others is that each of us matters. Each of us is the beloved of God. Each of us has a special dignity, a purpose and a mission in the world. Let us claim our gifts. Let us rejoice in our greatness. Let us live our Christ self and share it with others.
“Kim had the amazing ability to make the one to whom she was listening feel like the most important person in the world. Let us give that same quality of presence to everyone we meet in honor of Kim.
“As the evangelist John wrote, there are many stories that could be told of Jesus, but no book could contain them all. The same could be said of Kim. Like Mary, she assumed the role of apostle to the Holy Cross community. She exercised a priestly, regal and prophetic role among us. May we strive to live our vocation as faithfully as Kim lived hers.”
Note: A memorial Mass for Kim McElaney, open to the entire College community, will be celebrated on Oct. 2 at 4:30 p.m. in the Mary Chapel, with Holy Cross President Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J., as presider and homilist. Also, the Alumni/ae Colloquium, “Vision for the Church: Celebrating Kim McElaney’s 25 years of Ministry at Holy Cross,” originally planned for May 15, 2010, has been rescheduled to Oct. 2. Booked to capacity, with a waiting list, the colloquium will be limited to prior registrants only.