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 considerthisbyjd.com
Also published on Medium.
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