Father Stephen Lundrigan’s journey from the priesthood to his new role as College Chaplain at Anna Maria College was unconventional to say the least.
Born in Springfield, MA, Lundrigan grew up in Brimfield and attended Catholic schools throughout his youth. Originally, Lundrigan attended St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH to become an engineer but switched his major to psychology. He later earned his master’s in counseling from Assumption College. After his undergraduate graduation, Lundrigan began working for a Worcester nonprofit called the Key Program where he discovered his passion for working with at risk youths. Whether as a staff member for a detention center, an outreach worker in the city, or as a caseworker for the MA Department of Youth Services, Lundrigan believed in the power of helping young people find hope and safety.
“That was a fascinating experience, going into the worst neighborhoods in the city and walking into rooms full of gang members,” Father Lundrigan said about making himself accessible to young people who needed guidance and counseling in order to make better life choices.
Lundrigan eventually opened his own practice and founded his own nonprofit to help homeless young adults. While doing this life-saving work, Lundrigan kept feeling a call for ministry. He joined the monastery at St. Anslem in 1997 and became a monk but left to find a religious order that satisfied his calling to serve. He worked as the Clinical Director at the Department of Youth Services in a maximum-security treatment unit before eventually attending and finishing seminary in 2015.
Lundrigan served as Pastor of Annunciation Parish in Gardner for six years. The busy parish encompassed a school, three cemeteries, a prison, a hospital, and several nursing homes.
Lundrigan’s role as Anna Maria College’s Chaplain just began in July. His professional work and ministry show that he is a man of action who helps people whether they are on the streets or need counseling and compassion. His extensive experience with young people and his passion for psychology make him the perfect addition to Anna Maria College’s campus setting. Additionally, Father Lundrigan will serve as an adjunct professor at Anna Maria College teaching both theology and psychology courses.
Lundrigan is excited to have conversations with students and faculty with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
“I am looking forward to interacting with the students and having those discussions as someone who is a priest, but also as someone who has many years as a therapist and has mentored so many people. I enjoy just having the talk and being there for them if they need someone,” he said.
In addition to acting as a mentor, Father Lundrigan and Anna Maria College’s Campus Ministry are exploring new programs and opportunities for students to go out into the world and help others.
“The vision is really to help raise the Catholic identity of the college, the college’s mission through campus ministry, and just really help students in this very secularized time where the culture is being negative towards faith, and to help them give them positive experience of faith and have an encounter with Jesus Christ,” Father Lundrigan said, “Students are going to ultimately make the choice, but I tell my Theology class, ‘Look, I’m not here to tell you what to think or believe, I’m just here to present this to you because you can’t make an informed choice about faith unless you know what the options are.’”
Anna Maria College was founded on Catholic values by the Sisters of Saint Anne, but all are welcome to reflect and take part in the college’s mission of serving others. As someone who joined the priesthood later in life, Father Lundrigan has real world experiences which are very relatable to others.
For any students who are hesitant to delve into their faith, Father Lundrigan encourages young people to be open-minded.
“Give it a try. Ask me any questions you want to and explore religion,” Father Lundrigan said about discovering faith.