New Director of Campus Ministry Jack Treacy, S.J. ’77 is here to build relationships
In a word, the office of John “Jack” Treacy, S.J. ’77, the new director of campus ministry, is welcoming. The sentiment is not accidental. Karibu, proclaims the carved wooden sign on his wall—Swahili for “you are welcome.” Framed photos spill over onto every horizontal surface, offering a pictorial essay of the many people he’s befriended and the varied roles he’s played, from a first-grade junior altar boy at his sister’s First Communion.
The soft-spoken priest with a sharp wit and easy smile talks about his life in terms of the people he has met, the friends he has made. Treacy is an attentive listener, and he considers questions carefully before responding. When he does speak, it is with an enthusiasm that reflects his passion for life, people, and purpose. He punctuates his speech with fluid hand gestures, often pointing out specific individuals in the photos adorning his office as he speaks.
Though in hindsight his priesthood may seem inevitable, his road from altar boy to Jesuit was never certain. “I had sort of done my rebellious piece in high school,” he says, and laughs. “I mean, I had no idea of becoming a Jesuit when I came to Santa Clara.” Though he began contemplating the idea of a vocation while a history major at SCU, he did not enter the novitiate until a year after graduating. Instead, in 1977 he parlayed his penchant for travel and skill speaking Italian into a job travelling the world as a flight attendant for Pan Am. But after a year, he took his life in a new direction. “I had been speaking with Fr. Jim Torrens for a few years. I finally called him and said that I was ready to apply. I was absolutely open: Maybe this is for me, maybe this isn’t, I thought. Otherwise, I could always go to law school,” he recalls. “That was 28 years ago.”
In his journey back to SCU, the affable priest has worked as a campus minister, a retreat director, an associate pastor, and most recently as rector of the Jesuit Community at the University of San Francisco. “I’m very grateful for the way my life has unfolded, the different opportunities I’ve had. As a Jesuit, I’ve worked in Mexico, Taiwan, Kenya, and the United States. I love being a priest in whatever setting I find myself,” he says.
As Treacy embarks on his newest assignment, he hopes to build on the deserved reputation of the campus ministry program as welcoming and inclusive. He plans to focus on continuing to foster student leadership and on developing more ecumenical, interfaith outreach.
“I thrive on building relationships, which I think helps in campus ministry,” he says. “A big part of what we’re doing here on Jesuit campuses is helping young people discover within themselves their God-given desires to live lives of integrity and lives of service.”