A New Semester Welcomes Three New Faith Leaders to Holy Cross

The fall semester is well underway at the College of the Holy Cross, and the campus is full of excitement with the addition of new students, new faculty, and three new faith leaders welcomed to campus. Rev. William R. Campbell, S.J. ’87, Rev. Michael Rogers, S.J. ’02 and Karla Alvarado will have much to offer the Holy Cross community when it comes to faith, spirituality, and leadership on Mount St. James.

In August, Fr. Campbell, vice president for mission, returned to Holy Cross. He serves as a member of the president’s Executive Leadership Team and Cabinet, chairs the College’s campus-wide Mission and Identity Committee, and oversees the work of the chaplains’ office and all mission-related initiatives. Fr. Campell graduated from Holy Cross in 1987 and says he is a proud alumnus and that his “vocation as a Jesuit priest was born on this campus.” Prior to coming back to Holy Cross, Fr. Campbell was president of Cheverus High School, a coeducational Jesuit secondary school in Portland, Maine. Learn more about Fr. Campbell’s appointment.

Fr. Rogers and Karla Alvarado started their new positions in the chaplains’ office at the College in August.

Fr. Rogers, assistant chaplain and fellow at the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture, is happy to be serving as a Jesuit at Holy Cross, a place that offered him so much as a student. He graduated from Holy Cross in 2002 and said that his path to becoming a Jesuit was solidified during his time at the College. As a student, Fr. Rogers was on a spiritual retreat at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, where he had a significant moment when he felt God’s presence and knew he needed to follow his faith.

After graduation, Fr. Rogers entered the Society of Jesus in August of that same year. He obtained his M.A. degree in philosophy from Saint Louis University and then headed back to New England to teach theology and coach tennis at Boston College High School from 2010-12. Fr. Rogers then headed to Rome to attend the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he received both S.T.B. and an S.T.L. While in Rome, Fr. Rogers participated in the Mass that began the conclave and also had the once in a lifetime opportunity to be in St. Peter’s Square when Pope Francis was elected. “I think my time in Rome, and particularly studying at the Gregorian and wandering around the Vatican, has helped me to appreciate both of those experiences through the eyes of faith,” says Fr. Rogers.

In 2013, Fr. Rogers served as coordinator for the U.S. for World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro.

At Holy Cross, Fr. Rogers will be a strong voice on social media for the chaplains’ office. Fr. Rogers references the Ignatian concept of reaching people by entering “through their door but be sure to leave through your door.” He explains, “My plan for the chaplains’ office is to engage with students using social media. We are going in the cultural door of our students' lives, in the hopes that they will find the joy and peace that faith can bring, and the passion to live a life with integrity, seeking the dignity in all people.”

Fr. Rogers is also leading a trip for students in January to Nicaragua in conjunction with the International Partners with Mission. The students will learn about the social, economic, and political reality of the country through a variety of experiences.

When Fr. Rogers is not tweeting 140 characters at a time he is writing thought provoking articles on his faith and experiences. His work has been featured in America Magazine and Huffington Post and is also an occasional commentator for Vatican Radio, Euronews, the Catholic News Service, and the Canadian Broadcasting Company.

Karla Alvarado, assistant chaplain and director of domestic immersion, a Los Angeles native, comes to Holy Cross with the intention of helping students connect to their faith through service. Alvarado’s main role in the chaplains’ office is to coordinate the fall and spring immersion programs at the College. These programs bring together students from all class years and disperses them throughout communities in need across the U.S. Alvarado has first-hand experience when it comes to being involved in immersion programs as she served as a year-long volunteer with Rostro de Cristo, an immersion program in Durán and Guayaquil, Ecuador. Alvarado, who previously taught high school Spanish and was a social worker working with homeless families in Southern California, sees this new venture as the right fit for her expertise. “I am excited for the opportunity to accompany students on the journey to opening their minds and hearts to their faith,” she says.

Alvarado will be accompanying a group of students to Guatemala in May with a trip facilitated by Education and Hope, a small nonprofit education foundation. The organization provides scholarships, housing, and after-school tutoring for high-need children in the western highlands of Guatemala. The students will be primarily working with children in the after-school program and will also be able to explore the natural beauty of the country through visits to local attractions. Most recently Alvarado accompanied Holy Cross students to Philadelphia to see Pope Francis preside over the Mass held at the Festival of Families on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. “To be able to say we participated in such a landmark event is incredible, ” says Alvarado. “What’s more, to have had the opportunity to witness the strong positive emotional reaction of students left me feeling really hopeful for the future life of the Church.”

Alvarado received her B.A. in English and Spanish literature from Loyola Marymount University and her M.A. in both counseling psychology and pastoral ministry as part of a dual degree program at Boston College.