New Chaplain joins Mercy Center staff

Fr. McHugh

Saint Joseph’s College has appointed Rev. John McHugh, O.F.M., Cap., as campus chaplain. An ordained Catholic priest and Capuchin Franciscan Friar, he has a long history of serving on college campuses. Father McHugh spent 17 years at Dartmouth College, first as an associate chaplain and then as director of the Catholic Student Center. After leaving Dartmouth in 2002, he was a parish pastor and later became a vicar provincial minister for the Capuchin Order from 2008-2011. From 1975 to 1985, he was a faculty member at St. Anselm College.

Father McHugh earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Anthony College Seminary, and his graduate divinity degree at the Capuchin Theological Seminary. He earned a master’s degree in theology from Maryknoll Seminary, and his doctorate degree in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame.

“My main goal is to get to know students and for students to get to know me,” he says of his priorities this year. He would also like to identify and develop student leaders. “Many don’t realize they have ability to be good leaders in the church, so I’d like to give them some opportunities to develop leadership skills.”

Father McHugh says students are open to engaging in meaningful conversations because they’re setting a course for their lives. Although he does faith formation with Catholic-oriented students, he is available to help students of all faiths.

Because he wants to give students the awareness that they can and should help others, he hopes to be part of the conversation in how Catholic higher education plays out beyond celebration of the Eucharist on campus. It’s about leading a moral life in the setting where you are, he says, whether that’s the dorm, the basketball court or how you greet a visitor. It’s about “making the world a better place, not just making yourself a success,” he says.