Father James Sheehan
James Sheehan’s Irish accent and clerical collar may set him apart a bit at Hostos Community College, but for 15 years his gospel of understanding and inclusiveness has helped people from all walks of life find peace together on their educational journey.

Born and raised in the Bronx, Father James Sheehan was ordained a Roman Catholic priest by the Archdiocese of New York in 1979. Since that time he has traveled all over the world, spreading his own gospel of tolerance. He joined Hostos in 1999, after the former Archbishop of New York, the late Cardinal John Joseph O'Connor, decided he could be useful on CUNY campuses, specifically Hostos Community College and Bronx Community College.

“I didn’t know much about Hostos back then. I had heard about the struggle to save the College back in the 1970s, but that was about it. What I did love about the college, and still do, is the values of diversity and inclusiveness that Hostos embraces. I love the bilingual world of Hostos; it is truly unique.”
Father Sheehan, who also speaks Spanish, Italian (and as he sometimes jokes) “sometimes English,” can be found at Hostos on Tuesdays and Thursdays. As the chaplain and campus minister, he provides a spiritual voice to public functions, offer counseling, and teaches students about religion and faith.
He also recently represented Hostos and The City University of New York (CUNY) at the National Conference on Higher Education and Faith-Based Communities in Washington, D.C. on September 22 and 23. This “Presidential Campus Challenge” was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, and Father Sheehan joined 450 participants—including administrators, student life directors, campus ministers, and students—to foster intelligent interfaith dialogue in today's changing cultural context.
At Hostos, Father Sheehan has been busy with his own projects. He has started blessing pets online, and his “Day of Stress Reduction” is offered as a mental break to all on campus. These “conversational retreats” typically revolve around diverse social and personal topics, from dealing with one’s own feelings, to interpersonal relationships, to caring for elderly parents. Father Sheehan believes the retreats offer an important opportunity to seek peace through conversation, meditation and bonding.

The next Day of Stress Reduction is scheduled for November 21. All are welcome, and those seeking more information can contact Father Sheehan at jsheehan@hostos.cuny.edu or by calling 718-518-6873).
“I love to explore ways we can help complete the total education of our students. Just like there are many different nationalities at Hostos to celebrate, there are also many different religious beliefs that our students and faculty share,” Father Sheehan said about his role at Hostos. “Understanding and tolerating all of them is important, particularly today. We have to help people reduce the fear of the unknown and the next horizon."
More about Father James Sheehan:
James Sheehan has advanced degrees from the Gregorian University and the Alphonsianum Academy in Rome and a Master of Arts in Media Studies from the New School for Social Research. In addition to his clerical role, Rev. Sheehan also teaches courses in the Department of Humanities at Hostos.

Father Sheehan is the author of the book, “The Father Who Didn’t Know My Name,” a personal account of his father’s battle with Alzheimer's disease.

About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. It serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique "Student Success Coaching Unit" provides students with individualized guidance and exemplifies its emphasis on student support services.  

Recently named one of the top 10 finalists for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, Hostos offers 27 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 480,000 students at 24 colleges.