SFU President becomes Minister Provincial


Saint Francis President Father Malachi Van Tassell became Minister Provincial of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus on Jan. 20, following the resignation of the previous Minister Provincial, Father Richard L. Davis.

The president’s role as Minister Provincial will last until July, when a previously scheduled election for the new Minister Provincial will take place. Father Malachi has removed his name from consideration for this election.

While the role of Minister Provincial will include additional responsibilities, Father Malachi’s said his role as president of SFU will not change. He assured students and faculty that the University will remain a high priority.

“Saint Francis is where I belong,” Father Malachi said. “And I feel like I’m still getting revved up here.”

As the previous Vicar Provincial, Father Malachi said he knew there was a possibility that he would assume the role of Minster Provincial. However, he said the move still came as a surprise to him.

Typically, the Minister Provincial also serves as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Saint Francis and Franciscan universities. To avoid a conflict of interest, Father Malachi has appointed Larry Gianonne, who previously served as the Vice Chair of SFU’s Board of Trustees, to the role of Chair at Saint Francis.

The Saint Francis president will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Franciscan University.

As Minister Provincial, Father Malachi will work as a spiritual father, helping to serve the spiritual and temporal needs of the 101 friars within the province.

Father Chris Dobson will serve as Vicar Provincial. Father Malachi has appointed Father Joe Lehman as Provincial Econome (Treasurer). Both will also continue in their current roles at SFU.

Father Dobson is the Coordinator of Liturgy and Music within Campus Ministry. Father Lehman serves as Vice President for Mission Integration at the University.

“I am energized by this opportunity,” Father Malachi said.