• D.Min., Chicago Theological Union
  • M.Sc.A., Notre Dame University
  • M.Div., University of Toronto, St. Michael’s College
  • B.A., St. Mary’s University


  • Pastoral Ministry
  • Spiritual Direction
  • Hispanic/Latino Theology
  • Sacraments
  • Personal Religious Transformation
  • Marian Affect
  • Foundations of Reflection: God


Father Rudy Vela passed away Sept. 29, 2020.

Rev. Rudy Vela, S.M., D.Min., served St. Mary’s and its Catholic and Marianist mission from 2009 to 2015 as the Vice President for Mission and Rector. For years he worked collaboratively with our community to ensure the Catholic and Marianist identity of St. Mary’s, and was responsible for overseeing the Office of University Ministry and Marianist Educational Associates.

Vela, a 1976 graduate of St. Mary’s, has been an Assistant Professor of Theology and Director of the Study Abroad Program in Spain, and served on the Core Curriculum Review Committee, Strategic Initiatives in International Education Committee and the President’s Peace Commission.

He has served on numerous boards, including the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops Commission on Certification and Accreditation, U.S. Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians, and our Board of Trustees. Vela has published extensively on the importance of mission.

While Vice President for Mission and Rector, he focused on expanding and enhancing programs that foster and promote the University’s Catholic identity and Marianist charism, and under his leadership the Catholic Intellectual Tradition Lecture Series became one of St. Mary’s signature lecture series.

He supervised renovations of Assumption Chapel, making the space a more inviting place of reverence for all people, and restoring its significance as a center of spirituality and community on campus. In addition, he has worked with Trustees, faculty, staff, students, Marianists and local community leaders to ensure the Catholic and Marianist character of St. Mary’s.

Vela participated in a Biblical Archeology Program in Israel in Fall 2015, based out of Jerusalem and sponsored by the Catholic Theological Union of Chicago. During Spring 2016, he participated at the Jesuit School of Theology’s New Horizons Sabbatical Program in Berkeley, California.

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