Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 23, 2003
Gallagher named Newman president
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Newman Theological College has appointed Basilian Father John Gallagher, the current pastor of St. Anthony's and St. Agnes parishes, as its new president.
A theologian, author and administrator, Gallagher, 69, will guide the Catholic college on St. Albert Trail for at least a year beginning Aug. 1.
He replaces Dr. Christophe Potworowski who resigned his position May 28 to resume his academic work. Potworowski was a Scripture scholar at Concordia University in Montreal before becoming Newman president in 2001.
"I'm happy to help the archdiocese any way I can," Gallagher said of his new position. "It's an exciting job. The education of seminarians and lay ministers is something that has always interested me."
When asked about his plans, the priest said it is too soon to know. "I don't know because I haven't had a chance to talk to people at the college yet." Whether he will also teach at Newman will depend on the needs of the college, he said.
Born in Yorkton, Sask., in 1934, Gallagher joined the Basilians in 1951 and was ordained in 1960.
What attracted him to the Basilians from an early age, he said, was the opportunity to study and teach, something he has done extensively over the past four decades.
Gallagher has taught at the post-secondary level for nearly 40 years, including at St. Michael's College in Toronto from 1967 to 1978, at St. Joseph's College at the University of Alberta from 1978 to 1982 and at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, first from 1987 to 1989 and again from 1993 to 1999, when he returned to St. Joseph's College in Edmonton to teach theology on a part time basis.
Gallagher also has an extensive experience as an administrator, having served as superior general of the Basilian Fathers from 1989 to 1993. He also served as director of the Toronto Bioethics Centre, a research centre sponsored by the Ontario bishops.
Gallagher returned to Edmonton in 1999, following his retirement as dean of theology at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. But retirement is easier said than done, for the priest started teaching theology part time at St. Joseph's College soon after his arrival.
He stopped teaching in 2001 when Archbishop Thomas Collins appointed him pastor of St. Agnes and St. Anthony's parishes, his first experience as a pastor. He will leave his position as pastor Aug. 1, when he takes over as Newman president. Father Tesfu Kelati, currently of St. Michael/Resurrection Parish, will replace him.
Gallagher is also a prolific writer and author, having published two books and over 25 articles in the areas of moral and pastoral theology over the years. His first book, The Basis for Christian Ethics, was published in 1984 and the second, Is the Embryo a Person? the following year.
Franciscan Father Don MacDonald, the college's senior vice-president and dean of theology, will run Newman until Gallagher takes over in August. He said Gallagher would guide the college until September 2004, when a permanent president will be appointed.