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Parish Life for the Seminarians

Jan 14

Written by:
1/14/2018 12:00 AM  RssIcon

I think I am getting a reputation for being a home for orphan seminarians, as I am glad to welcome another man in formation towards the priesthood to our pastoral region! Mr. Stephen Codekas is currently completing his undergraduate studies prior to enrolling full time, God willing, in First Theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary this coming fall. He had been living at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Anderson Township over the last several months, but the sabbatical of Fr. Thomas Kreidler necessitated a temporary change of location for Stephen; so he will be with us for the months of January, February and March.

Why do I say, ‘orphan’ seminarians? Like Isaiah Callen and Scott Morgan before him, Stephen is also not originally a native of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He hails from southern California, where his mother still lives. He pursued the seminary there, but a series of health concerns prevented him from completing his studies there. However, Archbishop Schnurr agreed to bring him on here. In the year or so that he has been here in the Archdiocese, it has proven to be a wise decision, as he is manifesting many good gifts already in his time with the Diocese, gifts I know he is excited to share with these two parishes over the next few months.

Happily, he shares my love of All the Things in the kitchen, so I am sure he and I will have some cook offs during his time here. He has worked in wine and cigar shops prior to moving to Cincinnati, so again, more for he and I to bond over. He has a down to earth personality that makes it easy to get to know him. And he has a desire to ‘get his hands dirty’ in the work of the Lord’s vineyard, as well.

However, his primary responsibility is his studies and preparation for First Theology this fall. So while you will see him at Mass and other events, he may not be as present as some of the past seminarians.

For me, though, it is always a joy to have men preparing for the priesthood in residence at the parishes. I remember Fr. Ted Ross, SJ, telling another priest friend: ‘the work of forming a man into the priesthood is too important to leave to just the seminary!’ It is important for the men preparing for the Diocesan Priesthood to have experiences in parishes, and especially now, in multiple parish settings, as this assignment is becoming the norm, not the exception. They need to know what they are signing up for!

Yet, Stephen, as all the men in the seminary reflect, has a desire to spend himself for the Kingdom. And to be honest, these young men inspire me to be a better (and hopefully holier!) priest. It is also my hope that having seminarians present in the parishes inspires our young people to consider a vocation to the priesthood and/or religious life.

I cannot think of another path in life that would bring me such joy as I have found in the priesthood. And I hope to share that joy not only with Stephen and the other seminarians who make their way through the parish rectory, but with all of my parishioners as well!

God Bless
Fr. Kyle Schnippel

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