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Fr. Collins Announces Return to Pastoral Ministry

January 19, 2017
By Bethany Hanley

Edward W. Haley, chair of the Cheverus High School board of trustees, with Very Rev. John J. Cecero, S.J., provincial of the USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus announced that Rev. George E. Collins, S.J. will complete his tenure as president of Cheverus High School on June 30, 2017 to return to pastoral spiritual ministry.

Rev. Robert J. Pecoraro, S.J., has been selected to serve as the interim president as the board of trustees conducts a national search for a permanent successor. Fr. Pecoraro currently serves as a member of the spiritual formation team at Christ the King Seminary for the Diocese of Buffalo. He is a member of the Jesuit community at Canisius College, one of 28 Jesuit colleges in the nation, and performs pastoral work for campus ministry at Canisius. Previously Fr. Pecoraro served as the president of Xavier High School in Chuuk, Micronesia, a Catholic accredited high school sponsored and operated by the USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus. Fr. Pecoraro will begin his transition to Cheverus in the coming weeks, and will assume leadership as president on July 1, 2017.

In a letter to the Cheverus community, Fr. Collins expressed his personal call to ministry, “Serving as president of Cheverus High School for the past eighteen months has been a singular honor for me….[however] my deepest passion, call, or ‘vocation’ has always been for what Jesuits refer to as ‘ministries of the word.’ I have a passion for doing retreat work, spiritual direction, sacramental ministry, preaching, and the giving of the Spiritual Exercises. Simply put, I long to do more explicitly priestly ministry.” (Read Fr. Collins' letter.)

Regarding Fr. Collins’s service to Cheverus, Haley stated, “We are forever grateful for the effective leadership Fr. Collins has provided during his tenure as he launched a successful search for key senior leaders and he has developed many strong relationships with our faculty, students, alumni, and members of the local community. We will all miss his presence at Cheverus, but understand and appreciate his call to serve others --the very mission of Cheverus is to cultivate our students to become ‘people for others,’ and we know that Fr. Collins will serve others in a meaningful way in his new pastoral work.”

Fr. Cecero also commended Fr. Collins, “As president, Fr. Collins continued to foster Cheverus High School’s strong mission and commitment to service to the Church and the greater Portland community. Fr. Collins has emulated the Jesuit commitment to the ministry of education in his strategic work with the board of trustees, the administration, and the faculty to provide a program that fosters the development of each student’s potential and achievement, and their relationship with God. As provincial, I am grateful for Fr. Collins’s vocation and his availability to continue to serve the work of the Province in promoting the ministry of the Gospel and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. I am equally pleased that Fr. Pecoraro has been chosen by the board to serve as the interim president at Cheverus. Fr. Pecoraro will also share his passion, his deep commitment for Jesuit education and his broad experience in the Society of Jesus and Jesuit schools -- both here in the US, and in Micronesia -- with the Cheverus community. Cheverus is a valued ministry as a Jesuit school in the Northeast Province.”

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