Thank you to all who have assisted this ministry
The life of a vocation director seems to be straight out of the Parable of the Sower that Jesus tells in Matthew 13. Having held this position for eight years, only this year am I finally able to witness men whom I first worked with to discern the seminary and the priesthood finally achieve that goal of ordination to the priesthood.
The seeds planted so long ago are finally sprouting! In so many other ways, there are seeds that I hopefully planted along that way that I will never really know how and when they will sprout. Maybe some will still enter into the seminary and approach the priesthood. Some, I am sure, are already married. Many others are still searching to find that unique path to holiness that God is laying out before them. No matter the results, the seeds must still be sown!
As a priest, and especially as vocation director, so many of the seeds that are planted throughout ministry grown and are harvested by someone else, as we hand off our ministry to another. It is a constant reminder that the work that we do as priests is not about ‘me,’ but always about trying to lead others to Christ, in whose name we work.
With that recognition, for the priest, there seems to always be a state of transition, never getting too comfortable in once place because we know we will move on, eventually. What has been built will always be entrusted to another; just as Jesus built the church and handed her off to the Peter and the Apostles and on down the line to our very own day.
With that recognition, it is with great joy that, after eight years, I hand the reigns of the Vocation Office off to the next priest-director. Fr. Dan Schmitmeyer takes up the mantel on July 1, as I head full time into parish ministry, and I am very grateful to be followed by such a wonderful priest-friend who will do extraordinary things for the Vocation Office and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
Before handing off this column as well, I wanted to take one last opportunity to say thanks to those who have helped make my time in the Vocation Office fruitful:
Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk and Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr: to both appointing me to this position, then keeping me here! Working in such a close relation with the shepherd of the local Church has been a true blessing for me!
Fr. Ed Smith and Fr. Benedict O’Cinnsealaigh, rectors of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary: in talking with other vocation directors from around the country, it is a quick realization to how blessed we are to have a world class seminary in our own diocese and how the men in formation quickly become the best witness of the joy of the priesthood for other men.
The Vocation Office staff: Wayne, in particular, as associate director has helped launch so many good things in the Vocation Office, and he does so with a wonderful humility and grace, it has been a blessing to work with him for the last seven years. Also, the entire staff at the archdiocese is a true blessing. Moving back out into ‘the field’ will be quite different for me, but I certainly have a greater respect and knowledge of what happens downtown, now!
Early on, as I was still trying to figure out how to do this task, I had an advisory board that helped me greatly. I still reach out to them occasionally, even though we long since ceased having regular meetings. I am certainly grateful for their contribution! (I include many, many friends in this list!)
The Catholic Telegraph has been an invaluable asset to reach out to families and parishioners across the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Thanks to the editors for letting me take up space!
Finally: the seminarians are an impressive group of young men who could do so many other things, but are laying it all down at the foot of the cross. They have driven me to be a better priest and vocation director. Pray for these young men to be good and holy priests one day, as I know that they will!
This edition of Father Kyle Schnippel’s The Catholic Moment originally appeared in the June 2014 print edition of The Catholic Telegraph.
Please pray for Father Schnippel as he begins his new position as Parochial Administrator at St. John Neumann Church in Cincinnati.