Saturday, October 05, 2002

Faith Matters

More seek to become priests

By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

        When Kevin Scalf left high school, he thought he was going to become a broadcast journalist. Now, at 27, he's entering his first year of seminary at the Athenaeum of Ohio, Mount St. Mary's Seminary, and taking his first steps toward becoming a priest.

        “I felt called to explore seminary life, and for the next few years, the church and I will decide if the priesthood is right for me,” he said.

        Mr. Scalf is not alone in his journey. Ten students started at the seminary this year, one of the largest classes the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has seen in nearly a decade, said Walt Schaefer, communications director for the Athenaeum. There are 42 seminarians at the Athenaeum and one studying in Rome.

        Another nine students from the archdiocese are in undergraduate training at the Pontifical College Josephinum, and five of those are in their first year.

        “In the wake of the church's recent scandal, I think the people who are really devout know the church is in need of them right now,” Mr. Schaefer said. “Also, after Sept. 11 people turned to the church; that could have had an effect.”

        But Mr. Scalf's reasons for entering the seminary have more to do with his life experiences. After graduating from the College of Mount St. Joseph, he taught theology at Summit Country Day and earned a master's degree in theology from Xavier University.

        “I thought, "What in my life is going to make me the happiest?' and everything that I enjoyed was spiritual in ministry and education,” he said.

        Now he's in classes with men ranging from their early 20s, fresh out of college, to their mid-40s. There's a seminarian who used to work in information technology for Cincinnati Bell, and a widower with children.

        The Cincinnati archdiocese is not alone in seeing these increases. More than 3,400 men are studying for the priesthood in the United States, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and that doesn't include men studying for a particular order, like Jesuits or Franciscans, which account for a third of the total number of priests in the country.

        Concerts at cathedral

        Organist John Cummins will perform at Music Live With Lunch, a free, biweekly, 30-minute concert of classical music at Christ Church Cathedral at Fourth and Sycamore streets downtown, at 12:10 p.m. Tuesday. Patrons may bring their own lunch or buy one for $3.50. No reservations are necessary.

        For more information, call 621-1817.

        Bishop to sign book

        The Most Rev. Daniel E. Pilarczyk, archbishop of Cincinnati, will be signing copies of his newly revised book, Twelve Tough Issues and More: What the Church Teaches and Why, at 10 a.m. today at the Innervisions Religious Books and Gifts, 8556 Beechmont Ave. in Cherry Grove.

        The original 1988 book sold more than 70,000 copies. Four other authors will join Archbishop Pilarczyk until noon and will sign their books 2-4 p.m. at the St. Francis Bookshop, at 1618 Vine St. in Over-the-Rhine.

        Bible conference set

        The Grace Christian Fellowship, at 723 Gholson Ave. in Avondale, will host a Bible conference, including two guest instructors. At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, Elder Johnny James of Detroit will talk about “The Walking Bible.” At 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Bishop Robert Sabin of St. Paul, Minn., will talk about “Oneness Ministries.”

        For more information call 527-4567.

        Send religion news to, or fax to 755-4150.


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