Mike Bayard, S.J., reflects on time at SU while preparing for next adventure

(story continued)

The Commons: As importantly, is there anyone in the Jesuit community ready to step up and fill your role as social media guru?

Fr. Bayard:  I am not so sure about that. Many of our older Jesuits do not engage with that technology. Perhaps, it is time to set Fr. Sundborg up with a Facebook account. I am sure he would have quite the following.  You can still follow me on Facebook, as I will continue to post.

The Commons: Having followed some of your posts, I sense that you're an admirer of the new Pope. As he moves into his second year, what do you see as his most significant contribution so far? 

Fr. Bayard:  Pope Francis has certainly shaken up the church. And, outside the Church, he certainly has many people talking. Recently, I was out with some friends, and a non-Catholic couple that were sitting next to me struck up a conversation. When they found out I was a Jesuit priest, they became visibly excited and immediately started talking about Pope Francis. They spoke of their admiration for him, as well as the ways in which he has approached people-with kindness and no judgment-that the church in years past had kept at a distance-gays and lesbians, divorced Catholics, people of other faith traditions. Pope Francis meets people where they are at without judgment. He is respectful. 

The Commons:  As someone who's been on the front lines of working with today's college students, how do you think his papacy is resonating with young people? 

Fr. Bayard:  Young people are excited. Many are returning to the church. I think they find a man who they can connect with. He can speak their language and has encouraged them in their faith. He has certainly sparked vocations among young people as they consider again the possibility of a committed, religious life. 

The Commons: Anything else you'd like to share?  

Fr. Bayard:  I am grateful for being a member of the Seattle University community over the last 14 years. I will sincerely miss all of the colleagues I have worked with from across the university. And, I look forward to visiting when I return. And, who knows, maybe the Jesuits will reassign me to Seattle U at some point in the future! (Smile)

A farewell reception will be held for Father Bayard 3:30-5 p.m., Tuesday, April 29, in Casey Atrium.

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Mike, What an exciting opportunity for you. Thank you for all you gave to St. Anthony over the years and for your friendship. Peace! Gary
(4/24/2014 3:56:44 PM, Gary Zender )