New Xavier Director: Fr. Dennis M. Baker, SJ

March 25, 2016

Hoops-Priest

Photo: Xavier High School, Manhattan

March 23, 2016

Dear Friends and Families of Xavier,

I write with important news. Very Rev. John J. Cecero, S.J., Provincial Superior of the United States Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus, has appointed Fr. Dennis M. Baker, S.J. as the next Director of Xavier High School, Chuuk. Fr. Baker’s term will begin on July 1, 2016.

Our current Director, Fr. Robert J. Pecoraro, S.J., will step down at that time for reasons of health. His service to Xavier began in 2014 and has been especially noteworthy with regard to financial leadership, teacher recruitment, and the identification of scholarship opportunities for our graduating seniors. We will miss him a great deal, and he has assured me of his continued prayers and his commitment to Xavier and its mission in the years to come.

Fr. Baker completed his undergraduate study at Fordham University in 2002. He holds a master of science degree in criminal justice administration from Niagara University, a master of arts in philosophy from Fordham University, and a master of divinity from Boston College. In May, he will complete a master of education degree from Columbia University’s Teachers College through the Klingenstein Center for Private School Leadership.

Fr. Baker has worked at several Jesuit schools in various capacities. Most recently, he taught history at Xavier High School in New York City. He sits on the Board of Trustees at Fairfield University in Connecticut and Regis High School in New York City. He also serves on the Board of Members of the Nativity Middle Schools of New York City.

Fr. Baker returns to Mabuchi Hill after a ten-year hiatus. He first worked at Xavier as a Jesuit novice in 2006, when he spent the second semester of the school year teaching freshman religion. This new position will mark Fr. Baker’s third assignment in Micronesia, as he also worked at Yap Catholic High School’s summer program in 2014.

Please join me in wishing Fr. Pecoraro well and in welcoming Fr. Baker back to Xavier!

Sincerely, and with our prayers for you and your families as the hope and promise of Christ fills our hearts as Easter nears,

Rodney J. Jacob
Chair, Board of Directors

Fr-Dennis-Baker-SJMeet Fr. Dennis M. Baker, SJ

Fr. Dennis M. Baker, SJ, 35, was born and raised in upstate New York. As a student at Canisius High School in Buffalo, Fr. Baker was a dedicated athlete and member of the cross country, baseball and basketball teams. His time at Canisius had a tremendous influence on Fr. Baker because he came to know the Jesuits, and it changed the way he looked at the world. He was impressed by these men who could quote Shakespeare, say Mass and even drive a snowplow while influencing young lives and forming men for others. At Fordham University in the Bronx, New York, Fr. Baker found that the seeds of intellectual curiosity planted at Canisius flowered, and he earned a bachelor’s degree in history in 2002. Interested in a career in criminal justice, he went on to earn a master’s degree in criminal justice administration from New York’s Niagara University in Lewiston, while also teaching history at Canisius. He entered the Jesuits in 2004, and as a novice spent six months in Micronesia teaching at Xavier High School in Chuuk. Returning to Fordham, Fr. Baker earned a master’s degree in philosophy in 2009 and was then missioned to Xavier High School in Manhattan, where he taught history and coached basketball and baseball. At the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, he earned a Master of Divinity degree while serving as a deacon at St. Eulalia Parish in Winchester, Massachusetts. He also volunteered at the Franciscan Food Center and served as a clerk for the Archdiocese of Boston’s Marriage Tribunal. A member of the boards of trustees of Fairfield University in Connecticut and Regis High School in Manhattan, Fr. Baker’s lifelong love of sports helped inspire his recent report for the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities on mission, identity and athletics at Jesuit schools. After ordination, Fr. Baker will pursue a master’s in educational leadership. His first Mass as a Jesuit priest will be celebrated at the Church of St. Francis Xavier in Manhattan. (Photo and bio borrowed from Jesuits.org)

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