Aug. 17, 2016: Welcoming 5 Jesuits to Campus
With the new academic year commencing, I am pleased to welcome five new Jesuits to our campus. They come to us with unique backgrounds and extensive experiences, and I look forward to them becoming an integral part of our community. Brief information about their lives and work with us is shared below. Please join me in extending a warm welcome.
The Rev. Charlie Baumann, SJ
The Rev. Charlie Baumann, SJ, comes to Creighton most recently from the Wisconsin Province office of the Society of Jesus in Milwaukee, where he was serving as an administrative assistant for social and international ministry. In addition, he held a number of volunteer positions at the Adult Learning Center’s GED program; the Beyond Abuse division of Sojourner, Inc.; and the Ignatian Spirituality Project, all in Milwaukee.
Fr. Baumann holds a BS in chemistry from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and an MS in chemistry from Iowa State University.
During his time at Creighton, Fr. Baumann will be volunteering at the Siena/Francis House and assisting at St. John’s Church when needed. He is not a newcomer to the Creighton Jesuit community. From 2007 to 2012, he was a hospital chaplain at Creighton University Medical Center and one of the chaplains for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. He left Omaha then for Kandy, Sri Lanka, where he helped with the Jesuit tertianship program.
Mr. Tim Breen, SJ
Mr. Tim Breen, SJ, is a Jesuit regent who will be the director of operations for Creighton’s men’s and women’s soccer teams. Mr. Breen has been coaching soccer for the past four years and holds a USSF (United States Soccer Federation) National E License.
Most recently he was serving in Spokane, Wash., at Gonzaga Prep, as a Spanish teacher, soccer coach, and assistant athletic director. Prior to that, he was on the staff of the men’s soccer team at Loyola University Chicago. Mr. Breen, a native of Redondo Beach, Calif., holds a BA in philosophy and Spanish from Loyola University Chicago.
The Rev. Thomas Merkel, SJ
The Rev. Thomas Merkel, SJ, BA’85, is the assistant vice president for University Relations. Fr. Merkel was president of Creighton Prep from 2003 to 2012, and previously was superintendent of schools at Red Cloud Indian School (1997-2003). He taught at Red Cloud High School (1990-1993) and Boys Town High School (1992-1993). He entered the Jesuits in 1985, pronounced his first vows in 1987, and was ordained in 1997.
Fr. Merkel studied at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at the University of Indiana. He earned a master’s degree in private school administration from the University of San Francisco in 1997; an MDiv in theology from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley in 1996; a PhL in philosophy from Gonzaga University; Ponficia Facultas Philosophica Sancti Michaelis in 1990; and a BA in theology from Creighton University in 1985.
Fr. Merkel has served on numerous boards of Jesuit and Catholic organizations, including as chair of the board for St. Augustine Indian Mission and the Jesuit Secondary Education Association. As a student, he received the Spirit of Creighton Award in 1985 and in 2011, the Archdiocese of Omaha honored him as the Administrator of the Year.
The Rev. Ben Osborne, SJ
The Rev. Ben Osborne, SJ, the new chaplain for the School of Medicine, grew up in Winthrop, Minn., and entered the Society of Jesus in 1997, after graduating from Marquette University.
Fr. Osborne was ordained in 2009 and comes to Creighton with a wealth of experience in pastoral ministry. After completing another year of study, he was assigned as associate director of the Jesuit Retreat House near the Twin Cities, and was superior of the Jesuit community in Minneapolis. For the past six months, Fr. Osborne has been engaged in the Jesuit tertianship program, a phase of formal preparation for final vows as a Jesuit. He was based in Nairobi, Kenya, and assigned to pastoral work in South Sudan.
During his training, Fr. Osborne taught for three years at Creighton Prep. He has served parishes in Rapid City, S.D., and in the Boston area.
Br. Marco Rodriguez, SJ
Br. Marco Rodriguez, SJ, has been assigned to Creighton for special studies in spirituality and theology, and to work with the Rev. Larry Gillick, SJ. Most recently, he was at the Campion Renewal Center in Weston, Mass., where he served in retreat ministry as a spiritual director. Br. Rodriguez was also a volunteer chaplain for the Middlesex County House of Correction and Jail in Billerica, Mass.
Prior to entering the Jesuits in 2009, Br. Rodriguez worked in international education for 20 years, for the University of Texas System and at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is a native of South Texas and a graduate of Texas Tech University.