Father Bayard, who was director of Campus Ministry, now serves as assistant for parish ministries by the Oregon and California Provinces. (The provinces are in the process of combining into one entity.)
Since his arrival at SU in 2000, Bayard has served in a variety of roles, first as coordinator of Ignatian retreats. In 2006, he became co-founder and director of Magis: Alumni Living the Mission and in 2009 as director of Campus Ministry.
As he prepared to begin the next chapter of his life, Fr. Bayard spoke about his new role and looks back on his time at SU.
What will you be doing in your new role?
Fr. Bayard: As provincial assistant to the parishes, I am responsible for ensuring the Jesuit mission and charism of each of our parishes. Similarly, I engage parish ministries in a continued conversation about our shared Jesuit, Catholic mission. I also provide support and encouragement for pastors and other Jesuits assigned there, as well as parish staffs and ministries. In addition to the parishes, I am also responsible for the spirituality centers and retreat centers of the entire West Coast.
What are your thoughts about leaving SU?
Fr. Bayard: I have been a Seattle University Jesuit for 14 years. It is who I am and I cannot imagine not being a Seattle University Jesuit. I think it will take some time to let go of this identity and yet, as Jesuits, we are called to take on new ministries throughout the course of our lives. …While at Seattle U, I have grown a lot as a Jesuit and SU has provided me with a number of new skills. I feel ready and confident about this new position.
What will you miss most about Seattle University?
Fr. Bayard: The friendships, the colleagues and the community that is so strong here. I will miss my Jesuit community. I will miss that all of us here at SU—whether Jesuit, faculty, staff, student or alumni—all work together to engage the mission.
As someone who's been on the front lines of working with today's college students, how do you think Pope Francis 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.
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 University at some point in the future!
Mike Bayard, S.J., served at Seattle University for 14 years.