Welcome to King’s!

“Welcome to King’s!” I have been saying that a lot the past couple of weeks as we have started a new academic year and welcomed all of our new students, faculty and staff to King’s College. In my role as Director of Campus Ministry and College Chaplain, I have the privilege and honor of being one of the first voices that speaks a word of welcome to our mission, ministry, Catholic and Holy Cross identity at the College. I say it is a privilege and honor because it puts me in front of all of our new community members to welcome them into something that has been happening long before me. I am at the beginning of my third year in this position and every day I learn of a new name or figure in whose footsteps I walk! It’s not lost on me that I join a long line of CSC priests and brothers and lay collaborators here at King’s who have made this such a special place. 

Since this is my first blog post for the Vocation’s Page, I thought I would use the opportunity to welcome you to King’s College, as well!

At the start of each academic year, I meet with every one of our first-year students in our College Chapel through their Holy Cross Experience (HCE) First Year Seminar Class. We use the art and architecture of the Chapel of Christ the King to orient the students to the Catholic Identity, Mission, and Holy Cross Tradition of King’s. One of the main items that we speak about is the Anthracite Coal Altar — the principal altar in the Chapel.  

Many students notice the altar as soon as they come into the Chapel. It strikes a large and imposing presence in the middle of the sanctuary. When I press students about why this stands out, many mention the prominence and the unusual material, but they also mention the engraving on the center of the altar. Two perfect “in’s” for me to welcome them! 

King’s College was founded in 1946 by Fr. James Connerton, C.S.C., at the invitation of the Bishop of Scranton. Long a region dominated by coal mining, following World War II, coal mining was less profitable and in lower demand, and people returning from the war were less inclined to return to mining. In hopes of providing a different future those returning from the war and the other son’s of the coal miners, Fr. Connerton founded King’s College. The mission of providing a transformative education has remained throughout King’s history. Today, a significant portion of our students are first-generation.

Carved in the front of the altar is a cross and anchors, the symbol of the Congregation of Holy Cross. The students are always able to name the cross, but many times, they guess that the carving of the anchors are shovels or pickaxes. While this is a different guess, it makes sense on an altar made of coal!

I use the coal altar to illustrate the connection of the history of King’s College to the history of the region and then to connect what we do here locally with the global family of Holy Cross. When we gather around the altar as a King’s College community, we unite ourselves not only with alumni and friends of King’s College and people from the region, but also with all those in the wider Holy Cross family! Wherever we encounter Holy Cross, we see the cross and anchors and are reminded that God can transform any cross into blessing, darkness into light, death into new life. We’re reminded that our work of education is meant to be a means of HOPE and TRANSFORMATION to all those individuals and communities that we come into contact with.  

It’s an awesome honor and privilege to welcome our students into this mission at King’s College, but it’s an even greater honor and privilege to be able to go about the work of it. Welcome to it!  

Published on September 5, 2023

More Related Articles

Join a Brotherhood of Men with Hope to Bring

Discern your vocation and discover the life God is calling you to live.

Contact Us