Rev. Thomas Looney became the 10th President of the Royal College

WILKES-BARRE – It has been a year in the making, and the President of the University of Marywood Sister Mary Peach drew attention to this fact, speaking on behalf of the academic community during the inauguration of the President of the Royal College Rev. Thomas Looney on Friday.

“You have to be brave and maybe irrational to become college president,” Peach said jokingly. “Father Tom, you had a year to retreat.”

She stopped with exquisite comedic times, claiming she belonged to a religious order.

“You have about 37 minutes left.”

Looney smiled, which he had often done since entering the S. S. Scandlon Physical Education Center, the last man in a long procession of students, dignitaries, political officials, college presidents, and enough caps, dresses, casings, and tassels to fill several wardrobes .

A number of speakers praised Looney’s long commitment to King since 1986, when he made his final vows at the former King’s College King Christ’s Chapel, a chapel that was moved to the former North Street Presbyterian Memorial Church after Looney oversaw renovations and oversaw repairs. venerable house of prayer.

The King’s Vice-Chancellor and Vice President for Academic Affairs Joseph Evan called Looney a “deeply devoted and dedicated priest of the Holy Cross,” referring to the religious order that founded and ruled King’s.

Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown, a graduate of King himself, spoke about how impressed Luni’s participation in many social and city events was, but also offered to dig a little deeper, noting that he had to sit in the rain during the last November. football match “Mayor’s Cup” between King’s University and Wilkes. This fall the game will be on Wilkes ’home field, and Brown said he was promised shelter to keep it dry when it rains again.

“It can affect who gets the trophy,” Brown said, “regardless of who wins the game.”

King’s Vice Chairman Kathleen McCarthy Lambert said one of Looney’s qualities stood out to her the most. “Respect. I’ve always admired how you respect the opinions of others. ” The president of the Royal Association of Student Self-Government, Christian Hernandez, class ’23, noted that “Father Tom demonstrates how he truly listens to everyone”, and called his inauguration “placing the last piece of our puzzle” that makes up student life on campus.

Theology professor Joel Schumann referred to the fact that Looney has long played many King roles. “We know you, Tom, because we worked with you,” he said. “I look forward to the future we look forward to under your leadership.”

Michelle Asha Cooper delivered the keynote address. Now acting Assistant Secretary of Education, Cooper recalled that she worked as the director of multicultural and international affairs at King’s. She thanked the administration for “risking” a person with as little experience as she had at the time.

“Father, you were called to serve at this point in history because you have the ability to lead,” she said. Referring to “the wisdom you have gained over 30 years of service at King’s,” she told Looney, “I urge you to lead with your head and your heart.”

Then King Thomas Smith, chairman of the board of directors, wore a bronze “chain of offices” around Luna’s neck, and the rector of the Holy Cross, Rev. Rev. William Liz, held a rite of passage and blessing.

In keeping with the known tendency to reject praise for others, Looney referred to the support of his family, especially his father, who was in the crowd, “and the mother who intercedes for all of us in heaven.

“I’m so grateful to God, so grateful to them.”

Talking about how King’s was founded 75 years ago to help miners ‘sons get an education so they can improve their lives and avoid their parents’ “unbearable work”, Looney noted that the school is still proud to serve students who are the first in their family to receive a college degree. At a recent event to honor first-generation students, he said students turned it into a ceremony honoring their parents and families, showcasing King’s main goal: “To give them skills on how to make a living and values ​​on how to live.”

And Luni listened even further, to the founder of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, the Blessed Basil of the Sea. Ordained a priest in 1821, Mora’s work eventually led to the official papal recognition of the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1857. He was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007.

“The vision of the Sea was based on diligence,” Looney said, describing it as “hot and hard work”.

The Bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, Joseph Bamber, made some concluding remarks, telling Looney that “your appointment as President of the Royal College is a great joy.” He then said a prayer of blessing.

Although at the start of the inauguration he was the last, Looney led the procession, eventually returning to talk and laugh with members of his family, still standing near the seats in the front row they occupied.

Adhering to his mantra of holding the ministry, when the photographer offered to place some seats in front of the stage so that some people could sit and others stood behind for a large group photo, Looney was one of the first to start moving chairs.

Contact Mark Gaidish at 570-991-6112 or Twitter @TLMarkGuydish

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