March 2, 2021
Appointments for the leadership roles begin June 1
St. Mary’s University today named the Rev. John Thompson, S.M., Ed.D., as Vice President for Mission; and the Rev. William J. Meyer, S.M., D.Min., as Rector.
Both appointments begin June 1, but Thompson will delay transitioning to campus until July 1 as he finishes fulfilling his commitment as pastor of Holy Rosary Parish, which is adjacent to the University.
As called for in the St. Mary’s Bylaws, the appointments of the Vice President for Mission and the Rector are made in consultation with the Marianist Province of the United States and confirmed by the Board of Trustees.
“Because we have two outstanding professed Marianists with significant leadership experience, including in Marianist higher education, I and my colleagues are delighted that the Marianist Provincial Council and the St. Mary’s Board of Trustees have approved these appointments,” said President Thomas Mengler, J.D. “Father Thompson and Father Meyer will enable the University to continue its strong commitment to educating for formation in faith in significant new ways.”
In recent years, Thompson has worked closely with the University to build the local community’s Catholic faith and to integrate St. Mary’s students into that outreach.
“Father John Thompson will bring much energy and excitement to his role as the Vice President for Mission,” said Rev. Oscar Vasquez, Chancellor of St. Mary’s University and Provincial of the Marianist Province of the United States. “His experience at Holy Rosary gives him the background and experience to help move the partnership forward.”
In 2014, the Most Rev. Gustavo García-Siller, M.Sp.S., Archbishop of San Antonio, approached Mengler with an idea to strengthen both St. Mary’s and Holy Rosary as well as the surrounding neighborhoods. Holy Rosary Parish had dealt with an aging population and declining membership. García-Siller asked the University and the Archdiocese to join together to build up Holy Rosary for youths and young adults.
Thompson has helped spearhead this effort, which includes building a larger team at Holy Rosary to create opportunities for young adults — especially Hispanics — to become more involved with the parish. For instance, the parish has offered free summer camps at Holy Rosary, run by St. Mary’s students, with Catholic Charities providing educational, training and support resources. Thompson has also served on the University’s Board of Trustees, which he will step down from as he takes on his new role.
“I am very excited to bring my gifts and talents to further the mission at St. Mary’s University,” Thompson said. “As a member of the University’s Board of Trustees and the pastor of Holy Rosary for the past four years, I’ve had numerous opportunities to see the Marianist charism at work on the campus of St. Mary’s. I look forward to working with so many good, faith-filled faculty, staff and students, who are just as convinced as I am about the value and importance of the Catholic and Marianist identity of St. Mary’s. I hope to bring my energy and passion for the Catholic faith to this very important position at St. Mary’s.”
More about Thompson
For the past 30 years, Thompson has dedicated his life to education, not just as a teacher, but also as a minister, chaplain, pastor and president. He has experience working in secondary and higher education, in parishes and with the poor in Mexico. He spent 12 years at Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory school in Florida serving as chaplain and president, and at Chaminade University as a chaplain and an assistant professor in education. Before accepting the role of pastor for Holy Rosary Catholic Parish four years ago, Thompson was in Mexico doing missionary work and serving as the liaison to the Marianist Provincial Council.
At St. Mary’s, Thompson will be responsible for promoting and fostering the Catholic and Marianist identity of St. Mary’s and its mission. He will ensure the orientation, education and formation of trustees, faculty, staff and students related to the University’s mission. He will provide opportunities for connecting the University community with the Catholic Intellectual and Marianist educational traditions. These opportunities include building on the University’s many successful traditions, such as the MacTaggart Catholic Intellectual Tradition Lectures, Marianist Heritage recognitions and celebrations, Chaminade’s Birthday Party, Marianist Founders Day, and the daily 3 O’clock Prayer.
“I look forward to working with so many good, faith-filled faculty, staff and students, who are just as convinced as I am about the value and importance of the Catholic and Marianist identity of St. Mary’s.”The Rev. John Thompson
Thompson will establish and lead a Mission Council to develop and implement strategies to promote the University’s Catholic and Marianist character. He will oversee the Office of University Ministry, and work in collaboration with others, including the Rector and directors of the Center for Catholic Studies, Marianist Leadership Program, Marianist Educational Associates and Marianist Lay Communities. He will continue the good work he has started by leading the partnership between the University, the Marianists and the Archdiocese of San Antonio to promote and advance the shared vision for Holy Rosary Parish. Thompson has had tremendous success in growing Holy Rosary Parish and engaging St. Mary’s students in partnership opportunities and leadership experiences.
Thompson was born and raised in New York, entered the Society of Mary (Marianists) in 1990 and was ordained a priest in 1999. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Binghamton University and a master’s in Divinity from the Franciscan School of Theology. He also earned his Doctorate of Education in Catholic School Leadership at the University of San Francisco.
More about Meyer
Meyer has served the Catholic Church and the Society of Mary in various ministries — secondary education, university campus ministry, retreat master and as directors of vocation, formation and spiritual ministries. For five years, beginning in 1997, he served as director of the St. Mary’s University Ministry Program. He has taught at Boston College, Chaminade University, Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio and St. Mary’s.
Meyer also served on the Province Council as the Provincial Assistant for Religious Life from 2010 to 2018. He returned to St. Mary’s in 2019 as the Associate Vice President for Mission and Rector. For the past year, Meyer has been assisting with rector responsibilities and the Marianist Educational Associates. He has plans for reviving the Marianist Forum Program for faculty and staff, implementing programming that may include one-time offerings, semester-long workshops and reading groups and retreats, as well as spiritual formation for individuals.
Meyer will serve on the Mission Council and work collaboratively with the Vice President for Mission and others to promote understanding and appreciation for the Marianist charism and Catholic identity and character of St. Mary’s.
“Father Meyer brings a breadth of experience in formation ministry and spirituality,” Vasquez said. “His passion for the Marianist Charism will be evident within the university community.”