Bishop Malooly has announced that the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales will begin to minister at the diocese’s St. Thomas More Oratory at the University of Delaware in Newark this summer.
Oblate Father Edward F. Ogden will be pastor and chaplain at the oratory after the spring semester at the university. Dominican Father J. Ambrose Eckinger, the current pastor at the campus ministry center, is slated for a new assignment by his order.
“I want to thank the Dominicans for their service at the University of Delaware Catholic Community at St. Thomas More Oratory,” Bishop Malooly said in a statement Tuesday.
“I’m especially grateful to Father Eckinger, who has not only served extraordinarily well at U.D., but has also blended in well with all in the diocese. His genuine priestly presence will be missed.”
The bishop also said he is delighted “that our brother Oblate priests,” under the leadership of Father James Greenfield, the order’s provincial, “have once again agreed to take on another ministry in our diocese.”
The bishop said the ministry of the Oblates at the oratory will be “a perfect fit for all of us.
“Ministry in education is their strong charism, as can be seen on the high school level at Salesianum School and at Padua Academy, the high school for their St. Anthony Parish,” Bishop Malooly noted.
The Oblates “also continue to provide outstanding pastoral service on the parish level in our diocese,” such as at Christ Our King Parish in Wilmington and Immaculate Conception Parish in Elkton, Md.
“I welcome Oblate Father Ed Ogden to the diocese and the oratory,” the bishop said. “We met recently when I had the honor to ordain Oblate Ryan Cronshaw a transitional deacon for the Oblates last May at their chapel in Childs, Md.”
“The Oblates of St. Francis de Sales are delighted to serve the University of Delaware Catholic Community at St. Thomas More Oratory,” Father Greenfield said. “We remain grateful to Bishop Malooly for his confidence in our work and thank him for his invitation.”
“Building on our strong foundation of service with and care of the people in the Diocese of Wilmington, we look forward to this opportunity to deepen our pastoral contributions with this ministry,” the Oblates’ provincial added.
“I am especially happy about this relationship with the University of Delaware, as many of the students we serve at Salesianum School and Padua Academy continue their studies there.”
Father Ogden is well-prepared for his ministry at the oratory due to his “experience in campus ministry at the high school level and with young adults at Oblate parishes in Washington, D.C., and in northern Virginia,” Father Greenfield said.
The provincial added that he expects Father Ogden will “build well on the good work of our brother Dominicans” and the staff at the oratory.
“I am really excited to begin this new relationship between the Oblates and the Catholic community at the University of Delaware,” Father Ogden said.
“My great joy as a priest has been in celebrating the sacraments, which I know is a value of the life of the community at St. Thomas Oratory.
“I look forward to working with Kim Zitzner (campus minister) and the student leadership team to advance the great work that has long been a hallmark of the community,” Father Ogden added.
“I hope to bring my gifts and the spirituality of our St. Francis de Sales to this campus ministry. The energy of young adults and the enthusiasm of Pope Francis are a great match to advance the New Evangelization.”
Father Ogden, 56, is currently the director of formation for the Oblates’ North American Provinces in Washington, D.C.
A native of Philadelphia, Father Ogden first met the Oblates when he attended Northeast Catholic High School there.
He entered the Oblates in 1977 and attended Allentown College, now DeSales University in Center Valley, Pa. He holds master’s degrees in theology and pastoral studies. He has served at four Oblate high schools, including Salesianum and he was also the order’s first principal at Nativity Prep in Wilmington.
Father Ogden had served in the Oblates for 25 years as a brother before his ordination as a priest for the order in 2013.
Previous assignments in the Diocese of Wilmington have included ministry at Salesianum and Nativity Prep.