The College welcomes Dr. Kevin Magas as Assistant Professor of Theology. Magas and his family – wife Victoria, and sons, Benedict, 3, and Ambrose, 1 – come to Manitowoc from Indiana where he completed his Ph.D. in Theology at the University of Notre Dame. Magas recently sat down to introduce himself to us.
Q: What drew you to Holy Family College?
A: I was drawn to the College because of its renewed commitment to strengthening its Catholic identity and integrating faith into the intellectual and spiritual formation of students. I am excited to join the College in this time of transition back to its original name, Holy Family College, which symbolizes a renewal of the Franciscan values etched into the very DNA of the institution. I think of myself as a theologian at the service of the life of the Church and the formation of missionary disciples, and I valued the College's strong ties to the local Church in the Diocese of Green Bay.
Q: Tell us about your background.
A: I grew up in a suburb of Chicago. I went to college in another suburb of Chicago, Lewis University, which is run by the De La Salle Christian Brothers. Their commitment to education helped shape my own understanding of teaching as a vocation to serve others and introduce them into a transformative relationship with Christ. I then moved to South Bend for my Master of Theological Studies degree and stayed on for a Ph.D. in Theology, specializing in Liturgical Theology. At the beginning of my Ph.D. program, I got married and we moved to Munster, Indiana (Northwest Indiana) because my wife taught at a Catholic school in a suburb of Chicago. This is where we’ve lived since then.
Q: What classes will you be teaching?
A: I am teaching Foundations of Theology, the required introductory level class in the general education curriculum. I also am teaching two upper-level classes entitled, “Theology of the New Evangelization,” and a class on Christology, “Jesus Christ: Human and Divine.” In addition, I am teaching a class on sacramental theology in the Emmaus Program, a program of lay formation the College offers in conjunction with the Diocese of Green Bay.
Q: What do you see as the future for the Theology Program here at Holy Family College?
A: I believe the Theology Program here has an excellent curriculum in place that is both dogmatically sound and pastorally sensitive. My long-term plan for the future of the Theology Department is for it to serve as an anchor for the vision of Catholic education the College is seeking to renew. I want prospective students and their families to know when they come to Holy Family College, they will receive a solid theological education that will strengthen their faith and introduce them to the richness of the Catholic intellectual tradition.
Q: What is your goal for your first year here?
A: My short-term plan (in the next year) is to increase the visibility of the Theology Department within the College and attract new theology majors and minors to the program; build upon the already strong partnerships between the department and the local Church, which includes Catholic high schools in the region, the Diocese of Green Bay and the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity; and bring greater attention, not only regionally but nationally, to the excellent work the Theology Department has done in preparing students to be servant leaders in the Church and in all aspects of their daily lives.
Q: Tell us about your family and some things you enjoy doing together.
A: During my graduate studies, while I was working on completing my dissertation, I was also a part-time stay-at-home Dad. While this was a difficult time for our family, when looking back, I can see how blessed I was to be able to spend so much time with my sons and develop a strong relationship with them during a stage of their lives that flies by so fast. One of the central themes of the Franciscan spirituality sustaining Holy Family College is a respect and concern for persons, which can only be sustained in the context of life in a community. I'd like to think this extra time with my sons has given me a renewed appreciation for this Franciscan value and can contribute to the family-spirit of the campus community.
Q: Could you share the inspiration behind your sons’ names?
A: Both of my sons are named after saints and Fathers of the Church. While these names aren't as common these days, my wife and I wanted our sons to be named after great men to give them an example of virtue and holiness to imitate and who could intercede for them in a special way. In case you were wondering, we also have two “papal” cats named Francis and John Paul so I have all my bases covered.
Q: Being new to Manitowoc, what do you enjoy most about the area?
A: I really enjoy the beauty in nature that I see throughout Manitowoc. The location of the College offers a serene, peaceful environment that serves as an antidote to a noisy and distracted world. In the silence of this place, we can more clearly listen to the voice of God and respond generously to his plan for our lives.