Meet my friend, Fr. Vinny

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Fr. Vinny

Meet my friend, Fr. Vinny McKiernan, associate pastor at the Newman Center at Ohio State University. That’s him in the photo, with my wife, Deb.

I don’t know how he does it, but he seems to be incapable of fatigue. At age 86, Fr. Vinny recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of is ordination. Being a priest for 60 years isn’t that big of deal. Lots of professionals can point to the day 60 years ago when they began their careers.

The big deal with Fr. Vinny is that he’s still hitting it—and hitting it hard. He’s as active as any of the priests at Newman—or anywhere else, for that matter.

Fr. Vinny regularly says Mass and gives wonderful homilies, conducts prayer services and retreats, hears confessions, counsels those in need and is a strong advocate for interfaith outreach. He’s also written three volumes of Mega Vin-A-Mins, books that reflect his wit and wisdom through thoughtful puns and quips. Here’s an example: “More or less … More may be less… Less may be more… The lesson may be to lessen.”

Few start on a career path, as did Fr. Vinny, at the tender age of 13 when he entered a high school associated with the seminary. The story goes that Fr. Vinny’s affinity for the priesthood actually started even earlier. At age 8, when he was at death’s door with pneumonia, a priest from the local parish visited young Vinny to anoint him. Vinny was promised that, upon his recovery he could become an altar boy, as opposed to waiting to the requisite age of 10.

Lucky for us, young Vinny survived, was ordained, and after a series of assignments, arrived at Newman Center in  1990 where he has served ever since.

Fr. Vinny is committed to his work and the people he serves. He’s soft spoken yet confident. His convictions are strong, but his message is gentle; he knows how to reach people. He has an understated sense of humor but is serious about what is important.

How many people do you who have a real zest for life? How many do you know are committed to serving others? How many people do you know who act selflessly?

And he doesn’t stop. Fr. Vinny is like the Eveready Bunny but with a Roman collar. He’s a treasure. If I live to be 86, I hope to be just as vital as he is.


Jack D’Aurora writes for 


Also published on Medium.

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  1. Mary V. Counter  May 30, 2017

    Great words for our word worker, Fr Vinny. Thanks, Jack.

  2. Charles Rodenfels  May 30, 2017

    As an occasional visitor to The Newman Center at OSU, I always look forward to the pleasure of Father Vinny celebrating Mass! A fine man he is!

  3. Fil Line  May 30, 2017

    Very nicely done, Jack. Fr. Vinny is a treasure and his story is pretty amazing.

  4. Johnny  May 30, 2017

    Knowing you as I do Jack, I am sure you will be as vigorous as Father Vinny is when you reach 86! The Catholic church needs more like him. God bless him…and you and your wonderful family. Hope the healing continue to progress.

  5. Donna Hubis  May 31, 2017

    What a pleasure to read about someone so dedicated to serving others! It is nice to know that people like that still exist. Great job on the article, Jack.

  6. bob gorman  May 31, 2017

    Vinny is Super Duper. Gentle as God.
    Another of my favorite Vinnamins: There is the experience of religious authority and the authority of religious experience. Both are necessary.

  7. Peter  May 31, 2017

    I always sense Father Vinny’s deep spirituality when I attend Mass that he celebrates. And I always appreciate the nourishment that his homilies provide. Thanks for the article, Jack!

  8. Steve Hunziker  June 2, 2017

    I do enjoy ‘good news’. Currently, with loads of misguided politicians & black on black violence making “Dispatch” headlines, this is indeed breath of fresh air.

  9. Elvah T. Donald  June 4, 2017

    Oh, I love this article. Even though I don’t personally know Father Vinny, I feel like I do from reading this article. He’s the kind of person one could sit with for hours and gain so much wisdom. Thanks for sharing, Jack.


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