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BC In Talks with St. Ignatius Parish About Deepening Relationship

This article is being updated.

Boston College and the Jesuit Parish of St. Ignatius of Loyola have begun discussions “to explore deepening the partnership” between the University and the parish, according to a letter addressed to parishioners on Sunday. 

“The benefits to the parish range from collaboration on spiritual and educational endeavors to help with parish facilities and operations,” reads the letter, which is signed by the parish pastor Joe Costantino, S.J., and the Parish Pastoral Council. “With the support of the Jesuit Provincial, the pastoral leadership of St. Ignatius Parish and Boston College have opened discussions to explore deepening the partnership we already enjoy and bringing it to a new stage.”

Since its founding in 1926, St. Ignatius Parish has operated as an entity separate from BC, falling under the leadership of the Archdiocese of Boston. Despite this separation, there has been much collaboration between the two institutions, Costantino said in an interview with The Heights.

“BC uses the church for all sorts of programs, classes, [and] masses,” he said. “Many of the weddings and baptisms we do are also of BC alums. And all our internet, our emails are all BC. They help with our buildings and help with consulting about different things. … So there are so many ways in which we have collaborated with these different programs and offices here at the school.”

The parish has selected five parishioners who will serve as representatives in discussions with the University, according to the letter.

“At this time, discussions between the two teams are only just beginning,” the letter reads. “We are mindful of both your likely desires for communication from us as well as our need to have your input concerning this partnership.”

In a statement to The Heights, the University confirmed the preliminary discussions with the parish regarding the possibility of a deepened partnership.

An even closer, more formalized relationship with the University could have many benefits for the parish, the letter reads. With the support of BC’s resources, the parish could increase its impact on its surrounding community, improving its efforts to address poverty, environmental, and justice issues in the Boston area, the letter said.

Costantino said that many already assume the church is a part of BC and that a partnership could be mutually beneficial to both parties.

“We’re an independent diocesan parish, but we’re the gateway to the campus, so most people think we’re part of BC,” he said. “And BC has the resources to help us with certain aspects of this. And also, perhaps, maybe expand how we collaborate together more.” 

The letter also details some of the potential financial benefits of partnering with BC, such as building repairs and the addition of offices and other facilities.

“We also see the financial strength of BC could provide new options for our community, including upgrades to our facilities,” it reads. “Although the parish has been able to attend to the ongoing maintenance of the buildings, it is obvious that significant capital repairs or improvements have been well beyond our reach.”

Though the discussions will most likely take months, Constantino said the potential agreement could take many forms.

“So we’re exploring those things in the months ahead,” he said. “Maybe one day this would be a joint campus ministry-parish center associated with the church. … Not that this would become a University chapel, it would still remain a parish but, you know, have even more connection than we do.”

Update: 2/7/22 at 10:50 a.m. This article was updated to include the University’s confirmation of the discussions.

Featured Image by Madeleine Romance / Heights Senior Staff

February 6, 2022

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