Father John Fogliasso will serve his last day as Newman University Chaplain on June 17, 2019, beginning a new chapter in his career as pastor at St. Jude Catholic Church.
Fogliasso has helped transform students at Newman both in and out of the classroom since June 2014.
He said that he is continually learning about his purpose and the approach he should take to discuss faith.
“My first semester, I had a student approach me three weeks in,” Fogliasso explained. “They told me, ‘You haven’t convinced me yet. I don’t believe what you’re teaching.’ I realized at that point I had to make an announcement to the students in the course, and really all the courses after that one, saying the purpose was not to convince, but to allow to learn what the Catholic church teaches and why.”
Alumna Maureen (Hogan) Smith said that understanding is one of the key elements Fogliasso taught her during her time at Newman.
“One of the most important things he taught me — and the one that I’m most grateful for — is how to live and talk about the Catholic faith in a way that’s genuine and real, without being condescending or judgmental,” she said. “Father is ridiculously smart, but he’s also one of the most practical, down-to-earth priests I know.”
Fogliasso said that he loves being able to have “conversations outside of the classroom or office.”
This is most evident in the annual winter service trip that Fogliasso said is one of his favorites.
“It’s a blessing to be able to serve communities in need alongside our students,” he added.
Senior Lauren Keith said that one of her favorite memories of Fogliasso happened during the 2018 winter service trip.
“We all went on a hike and Father decided that we should have Mass over the canyon,” she said. “It was gorgeous and so incredibly powerful. I was so appreciative of his ability to be adventurous and flexible, especially on that day.”
Alumnus Brandon Gollhofer said the best times with Fogliasso were the casual, everyday moments.
“My favorite memories would probably have to be the time spent just hanging out in the campus ministry office with Father Fog and his dog, Tucker,” Gollhofer said. “It was a great place to relax with friends between classes, receive valuable advice or snack on the unlimited M&Ms.”
Smith said that Fogliasso is a unique mix of knowledgeable and down-to-earth.
“When you first meet Father, he’s a little reserved. Then, you find out he’s a total nerd, with all this random knowledge about everything from Chesterton to Harry Potter and Star Wars — but who still can’t eat a vegetable or say ‘Chipotle’ correctly. He’s a delightful mix of oddities and the very best of people.”
Fogliasso said that he is grateful for all of the people at Newman that have helped him, especially Monica Borger, campus ministry administrative assistant.
“She did such an unbelievable job accomplishing so much in the past five years.”
One of these projects is the ongoing chapel renovation that father said will be complete in mid-August.
Along with spearheading the renovation project, leading campus ministry and sitting on various boards and committees, Fogliasso was active in Student Life activities, Gollhofer said.
“Father Fog actively participated in campus life and regularly attended events, which made him a familiar face on campus that anyone could go and talk to — Catholic or non-Catholic.”
Fogliasso said he is most proud of the relationships that he has developed with the Newman community, including the sisters. He continues to show his support for Newman students and alumni in various ways. Most notably he has married several pairs of Newman alumni, including Smith and her husband, Luke, and Kylie (Werth) Hampton and her husband, Alex.
Smith said that Fogliasso has always been there for her through every step of her life, even more than just during her wedding,
“He has supported me through so many of my major life decisions and moments, from applying to grad school and careers to graduating college and getting married,” said Smith. “He’s such a wonderful, selfless individual. Newman has been so blessed to have had his leadership, and I know many students — myself included — who have become better people because of the time they spent with him.”
Father Adam Grellinger will be taking over for Fogliasso beginning June 18, 2019.
Grellinger is a 2011 Newman graduate who most recently was Parochial Vicar at Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Wichita.
“I’m very excited with the choice of Father Grellinger as the next chaplain,” said Fogliasso. “I believe he will do an incredible job. I am excited to see where he takes the Newman campus ministry office.”
Fogliasso said moving from a college campus to a preschool through eighth-grade school will be a fun experience he is looking forward to.
Fogliasso will be working with approximately 175 students at the new school.
“I have very much enjoyed the last four years of ministering to the adult population at Newman but I have also missed the interaction with the small children,” he said.
Once at St. Jude’s, Fogliasso will live in the clergy house on the church campus and said, “Tucker is quite excited to have a backyard.”
Fogliasso said he is most looking forward to “helping the people of God live the faith in the ordinariness of our lives. I’ll be working with people at births, baptisms, first communions, in sickness, death, funerals, weddings, confirmations. It’s helping people live the faith in difficult times as well as very blessed times.”