CSW Profile: High school experience nurtures vocation to priesthood
By Eileen Connelly, OSU
The Catholic Telegraph
As a student at Carroll High School in Dayton more than a decade ago, Father Scott Wright’s call to the priesthood was nurtured through the faith-filled example of his teachers and the values instilled by a Catholic education. Now the young priest, ordained in 2011, has returned to his alma matter, where he hopes to witness to current students the joy of responding to God’s call.
Father Wright recalls that his own call came early in life, but took years to come to fruition. In the second grade, he was asked to illustrate what he wanted to be when he grew up and he drew a picture of a priest. Growing up at St. Peter Parish in Huber Heights, his future vocation took a backseat to his interest in science and he went on to become a volunteer at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, a local science museum.
A couple of things happened during his years at Carroll that fostered his vocation. At the time, his father, Deacon Charles Wright, was finishing his studies in the deacon formation program prior to his 2001 ordination and brought his son to visit the Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. The “pro-vocation culture” at Carroll also played a significant role.
“During my time at Carroll, I began to think about serving the church as a priest. Mrs. (Jean) Nickelman and Mr. (Dennis) Brun brought in speakers to talk about vocations to religious life. It was through their prayerful witness to the Christian life that I began to consider my own religious vocation. A little over a decade later, I have served the Archdiocese of Cincinnati at Incarnation Parish in Centerville, and am currently assigned to Holy Angels and St. Anthony parishes in Dayton. However, no matter where my priestly assignment sends me, it was the foundational love of Jesus Christ that I learned at Carroll that sustains me in my ministry,” Father Wright said in the summer edition of Reflections, a publication of Carroll High School.
After graduation from Carroll in 2002, Father Wright attended the Pontifical College Josephinum and Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. During summer vacations from the seminary, he served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve as a chaplain candidate. Over the years, he returned to Carroll to celebrate Mass for the school community.
In 2014, Father Wright joined the football program at Carroll, attending practices, team meals and functions, as well as being on the sidelines for Friday night games, and serving as chaplain for the football and basketball players. He brought previous experience to the role, having worked with numerous athletic teams, including the Cincinnati Bengals. Beginning this term, Father Wright is also teaching basic morality to Carroll sophomores.
“I’ve really enjoyed being back at Carroll, walking the halls and walking with the kids on their academic and faith journeys,” he said. “There’s just something about being in the Catholic school environment, the good solid morals being taught, the character being built. The students have the opportunity to study their faith and live it out.”
Father Scott said several students have already approached him and expressed that they feel called to the priesthood or religious life. Just as his former teachers did, “I want to encourage and support them.”
“It’s important to witness to the next generation that it’s ok to be a priest or a sister,” he added. “I’m so excited and humbled that I might be able to inspire a young person to consider a vocation to the priesthood or religious life.”
“I think sometimes our students take for granted the opportunities and experiences they are afforded that empower them to pursue careers in any field they choose, and especially in STEM fields,” said Saint Ursula Academy principal Craig Maliborski. “I am thrilled that our school and its mission are making an impact across the world and empowering more young women to dream about pursuing their interests and dreams by breaking though some of the stereotypes in their own counties.”
This profile of a Catholic high school graduate originally appeared in the February 2015 print edition of The Catholic Telegraph.