Christendom College has been blessed with so many wonderful priests over the years, with that tradition continuing in an expanded direction this past year. With alumnus chaplain Fr. Stephen McGraw at the helm, the chaplaincy has grown to include four priests who are in service to the Christendom community, making the spiritual life of the college both richer and even more fulfilling.
Fr. McGraw was appointed head chaplain this past summer, taking over from Fr. Donald Planty, and he is joined by three other dynamic priests: Fr. Mark Wenzinger, O.S.B., Fr. Mark Pilon, and Fr. Seamus O’Kielty. The boost provided by having four priests on campus has already been felt, with students taking full advantage of the additional opportunities for confession and spiritual direction and other liturgical activities.
“Our goal is to personally accompany each student in their spiritual life. The need is there, and the existing personnel are working to fulfill that need,” says Fr. McGraw.
Serving as head chaplain, Fr. Stephen McGraw, who was ordained a priest in 2001, graduated from Christendom in 1988 with a B.A. in history. He earned his law degree from the University of Virginia before working for the United States Department of Justice from 1991-97. He has served as parochial vicar in several parishes in the Diocese of Arlington, and most recently as the Parochial Administrator at St. Anthony of Padua in Falls Church, Virginia.
Fr. Mark Wenzinger, O.S.B., serves the college as Assistant Chaplain, after most recently teaching philosophy at St. Vincent College and Seminary. A 1981 Christendom graduate, Fr. Wenzinger was ordained in 1995, receiving his master’s in theology in 1994, and his master’s in divinity in 1995. In 2007, he received his Ph.D. from the Catholic University of America.
Native Irishman Fr. Seamus O’Kielty has been a member of the Christendom community since 2002. Before coming to Christendom, Fr. O’Kielty served in Bolivia in 1966, becoming the temporary chaplain to the Boliivan army during the Che Guevara emergency. Upon coming to the United States, Fr. O’Kielty earned his master’s in education, and then a master’s in linguistics. He served as a Navy chaplain beginning in 1979, serving in Libya, Lebanon, Turkey, and Morocco. He retired from the Navy in 1995.
As an associate professor of theology for the Christendom Graduate School, Fr. Mark Pilon has been involved with Christendom for many years. He earned his doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, and a Licentiate of Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Lateran University and the John Paul II Institute. Fr. Pilon is the author of Magnum Mysterium: The Sacrament of Matrimony, and the translator of Candido Pozo’s Theology of the Beyond.
With the enhancement provided by four available priests, the Christendom community is strengthened, offering a rich spiritual life that complements the rigorous academic life.