College Says Farewell to Fr. Brendan Rolling, OSB | Benedictine College

College Says Farewell to Fr. Brendan Rolling, OSB

Priest to serve with FOCUS

Friday, May 01, 2015

A beloved priest at Benedictine College and a key figure to the school’s success will be moving on to a new assignment.

Father Brendan Rolling, OSB, Benedictine College’s chaplain, has been assigned by Abbot James Albers, OSB, of St. Benedict’s Abbey and will go to work for FOCUS (the Fellowship of Catholic University Students) at the end of the 2014-2015 academic school year. Abbot James will announce the appointment of Fr. Brendan’s replacement as chaplain in the near future.

“I think it is safe to say that Benedictine College would not have the dynamic community and thriving faith life it has today if not for Fr. Brendan,” said Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis. “There are no words to thank him enough for the incredible transformation he has brought to so many lives through his tireless and dedicated service.”

His effect on Benedictine College has been recognized nationally — both in his role in ministry and in student life.

Our Sunday Visitor newspaper recently featured an article about Rolling’s transformative work in its article “Chaplains help bring Catholic identity back to Kansas.” (Find it here.)

He began or encouraged several key practices in Benedictine College ministry, including Eucharistic adoration, the March for Life, pilgrimages, mission trips and a volunteer system that assigns leadership roles to students. Our Sunday Visitor published his “College Mission Checklist” in 2011. (Find it here.)

Rolling’s success in his earlier role as assistant dean of students is described in the 2004 book Young and Catholic by Tim Drake. In it, Rolling explains the positive policies and practices he instituted — policies the Student Life Office follows to this day.

“All resident directors study the virtues, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the Rule of St. Benedict and the Pope's Theology of the Body, and the documents on the dignity of the human person and the vocation of women,” he is quoted saying. “Our hope is that deep friendships will form while students are on campus and that students discover their vocations through those friendships.”

Fr. Brendan is a 1993 graduate of Benedictine College and is a solemnly professed monk of St. Benedict’s Abbey, one of the college’s founding institutions. He attributes his priestly vocation to St. John Paul II’s 1993 World Youth Day in Denver. He holds a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Monastic Studies from St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pa.

He has had a long and varied career serving the students and families of Benedictine College.

•             From 1995-1996 he served as director of tours for the Benedictine College Admission Office.

•             From 2000-2005, following his ordination to the priesthood, Fr. Brendan served as the Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life.

•             In 2005, he accepted his appointment to be Benedictine’s first Director for Mission & Ministry.

•             In 2013 he moved to a more pastoral role working with students as the head Chaplain on campus.

“The most important thing I could be doing right now is helping college students know and love their Catholic faith and follow Christ in their lives,” Rolling said when he became chaplain.

He will now do exactly that for an even larger number of students through FOCUS.

"Fr. Brendan has been a great spiritual father to our missionaries over the years of his service at Benedictine College," said FOCUS National Chaplain Fr. John Lager, OFM Cap. "We are looking forward to the support he will now be able to provide for missionaries on other campuses that FOCUS is privileged to serve."

His new flock will likely grow to appreciate Fr. Brendan’s work as much as the students and alumni who posted messages of thanks on social media. Many thanked him for performing their weddings — a key part of a college chaplain’s ministry when students become married young alumni.

“Fr. Brendan’s hard work made our institution a market leader in building community and spreading the faith,” said Minnis. “We will always appreciate his generosity and extraordinary gifts.”

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.  It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.