Reverend Louis V. Iasiello, OFM, PhD, has officially assumed the presidency of the Washington Theological Union, a Roman Catholic Graduate School of Theology and Ministry.
Last month, Fr. Iasiello retired from the Navy after 25 years of service. Retiring at the rank of rear admiral, he served most recently as Chief of Navy Chaplains, the community leader for almost 2500 chaplains and enlisted personnel serving the Navy, the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard in the Department of Defense and Homeland Security.
Fr. Iasiello is a member of the Order of Friars Minor, commonly referred to as the Franciscans. He entered the Franciscans in 1973 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1978. Fr. Iasiello is an alumnus of the Washington Theological Union having received his master of divinity degree from the Union in 1978. “I’m indebted to the Union for empowering me for ministry,” he said.
But Fr. Iasiello acknowledged that the education he received in the 70s is quite different from the education that ministers – lay and religious – need today. “Things have changed since my graduation three decades ago. Students are now trained to preach, to celebrate and to do theology in an integrative way. And for that, I thank God.” He speaks passionately about the need for students not only to receive “a superior orientation in theology” and have “a lifelong thirst for knowledge and a true love of theology,” but also to be “well-prepared to preach, celebrate the sacraments, and to lead a congregation.
“I am humbled and honored to have been selected to serve as President of this great institution – one that prepared me so well for positions of pastoral ministry and leadership in the Church and in the government. I can think of no task more critical for the Church than to prepare its clerical and lay students for 21st Century ministry. I look forward now to working with the great staff and faculty of the Washington Theological Union, and assisting them in that critical task.”