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Jessie Fenton

CHICAGO (March 27, 2023) - Today, the Cristo Rey Network (CRN) announced the appointment of Rev. James G. Gartland, SJ as the organization’s Chief Mission and Identity Officer, effective September 2023. As a founder of the Cristo Rey movement, Fr. Gartland brings 30 years of local and national leadership to the role, which will strengthen and promote the Catholic identity of all Network schools.

As a delegate from the USA Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), Fr. Gartland will be joining the national office team after serving as Pastor of St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI for the past five years.

“We are grateful to Provincial Fr. Karl Kiser for missioning Fr. Gartland to Cristo Rey. Our mission guides our actions, and we are delighted for the opportunity to welcome Fr. Gartland back to Cristo Rey to guide this essential work,” said Cristo Rey Network President and CEO Elizabeth Goettl. 

Fr. Gartland is the second individual to serve in the position, succeeding Chair Emeritus John P. Foley, SJ, who retired in January 2022. As Chief Mission and Identity Officer, Fr. Gartland will develop pastoral and inclusive school support strategies to meet each campus’ evolving needs; support mutual accountability of all schools to the Cristo Rey Network Mission Effectiveness Standards; lead the faith formation for the CRN national office staff; and broadly promote a shared understanding of the Cristo Rey Network mission and Catholic identity.

“Fr. Gartland’s decades of knowledge and commitment to this mission is unmatched,” continued Goettl.

In 1993, newly ordained Fr. Gartland undertook the original feasibility study that led to the opening of the movement’s flagship school, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, in 1996. As a member of the founding team, he taught theology at the school from 2000 until 2004 and then served as Cristo Rey Jesuit’s second President from 2004 to 2012. 

In 2012, Fr. Gartland was named Rector of the Blessed Peter Faber Jesuit Community at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry but sustained his leadership in the organization as a Director on the Cristo Rey Network Board serving three consecutive terms from 2012-2021. Currently, Fr. Gartland has resumed his tenure on the Cristo Rey Network Board of Directors.

“Going back now to work for the Cristo Rey Network feels like a bookend to what began long ago. I have always been passionate about educational equity and the right to quality education for all,” said Fr. Gartland. “I feel blessed and thrilled to be returning to the amazing mission of Cristo Rey.”

Fr. Gartland earned a bachelor’s degree from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, a master’s degree in philosophy and religious education from Loyola University Chicago, and a master’s in divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California.



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