Father Bob Jones, S.M. ’98, started at UD as an engineering major. "After a year, I realized it wasn’t for me," he said. So he switched to math and education. After graduation, he taught high school math.
Then he switched direction again, a bit. He became a Marianist. "I enjoyed teaching math," he said. "It was a preparation for the Marianists because the Marianists have a presence in schools."
Before coming to UD in August as University chaplain, Jones was present at Dayton’s Chaminade Julienne High School where he was chaplain and taught math. His office was in the former Marianist residence where approximately 40 brothers once lived. Last year there were three Marianists at CJ, he said, "me, a brother and a sister."
To preserve the Marianist charism, he said, "we have to partner with lay people" and pointed to efforts on campus such as the Marianist Educational Associates, the neighborhood Marianist student communities and the Chaminade Scholars (honors students who take seminars and retreats together).
"We probably do a better job now of speaking about vocation," he said. "We talk in broader terms, not just of religious vocations, and broader than what you want to do with your life. Our vocation is to grow in holiness."
Although vocation can be seen as doing God’s will, Jones said he believes, "God doesn’t have one specific plan for us; vocation doesn’t pigeonhole us but opens us to a wide array of possibilities."
When Jones switched majors as a freshman, his dad said, "Don’t choose a career that will make you miserable." Jones sees young people looking for identity: in their spiritual lives, in their personal lives, in their work.
It’s a search that continues throughout life. This past summer, Jones trekked the famous pilgrimage to Spain, Camino de Santiago, often just called "The Way." He said "it was spiritual and religious, and so much more."
He did see many churches. He met many people. Basically, he said, "I experienced God in the journey."