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Faculty Profile: Rev. Mike Raschko, Ph.D.

October 31, 2018

Father Michael Raschko was born in North Dakota. Luckily he escaped the flat lands of the Midwest when his parents moved west when he was a year old. After a bit of time in exile in Oregon, he finally found his true home in Seattle at the age of five. He has called Seattle home ever since. His education began in St. Teresa parish school, which is located a mile or two east of the Seattle University campus. After eight years of grade school at St. Teresa, he entered the minor seminary at the tender young age of 14. He spent his high school and college years at the diocesan seminary (St. Edward’s and St. Thomas) at the north end of Lake Washington.

After one rather dead year of graduate theological study at the same seminary, a light finally went on, and he decided it was not a good idea to get one’s entire education from the same institution. He escaped the system for two years which he spent doing a Master’s degree in theology at Harvard University. There he was able to study with such luminaries as Bernard Lonergan, Otto Pesch, Gordon Kaufman, and Richard Niebuhr. After a summer wandering Europe on less than $5.00 a day (that was possible in the early 70’s), he returned to the seminary where he began teaching college students while finishing his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by Archbishop Hunthausen in May of 1975. During his years of college and theology study, he spent his summers working on track gangs for what is now the BNSF railroad. There are many great stories to be had from those summers, but he is supposed to keep this short.

Doctor Raschko then spent three years as an Associate Pastor at St. Francis Cabrini Parish in Lakewood, just south of Tacoma. It was a diverse parish that included both the home of George Weyerhauser as well as three military bases. He was fortunate to work with a wonderful parish staff headed by a fine pastor, Father Andrew Squier. By some sort of process of osmosis, he picked up a fair amount of pastoral wisdom from Father Squier and the rest of the staff as well as from the varied pastoral experiences he underwent.

After his years at Cabrini, Doctor Raschko and Archbishop Hunthausen agreed that some further graduate work might be useful. The Archbishop had his eye on the need for lay ministry in the Archdiocese of Seattle and knew he would need trained theologians to educate those lay people. So off Father Raschko went to the University of Chicago, where he gained a Ph.D. in theology in four years (still something of a marvel given the average time for a doctorate at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago was eight years). While at Chicago, he studied with such fine theological minds as David Tracy, Langdon Gilkey, Ann Carr, James Gustafson, and Bernard McGinn.

Upon his return to his one true home (Seattle), he was deeply involved in the planning and implementation for the founding of the Institute for Theological Studies at Seattle University, which began its work in 1985. He has taught at Seattle University ever since, a career now in its 34th year. His main area of teaching is Systematic Theology. He also teaches in the area of Religion and Science and in the area of the History of the Church. He received Rank and Tenure in 2003 and was promoted to Full Professor in 2010. He was named the McGoldrick Fellow for the academic year 2007-2008 and has held the Robert and Mary Bertch Professorship in Systematic Theology in the School of Theology and Ministry since its inception in 2003.

Professor Raschko has published two books, A Companion to the Gospel of Mark and To Hunger For God, A Christian Understanding of Human Nature. A third book on how God works in a Trinitarian manner in the Eucharist and in human life is currently searching for a publisher. He has also published numerous articles. Professor Raschko is currently in his third year of phased retirement and will be fully retired at the end of June 2019. He no longer leaves Seattle unless it is clear to him how he is going to get back.