.- A Wichita priest has been named head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat for Consecrated Life and Vocations. Fr. W. Shawn McKnight, 41, is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Wichita, Kansas. He will assume his USCCB position in July 2010.
Msgr. David Malloy, General Secretary of the USCCB, commented in a press release that Fr. McKnight has an “extraordinary background” for the position.
“In addition to parish work, his experience includes years in seminary formation, education of deacons, college chaplaincy and membership on his diocesan presbyteral council,” the monsignor related. “I am grateful that Bishop Michael Jackels of Wichita is permitting him to serve the U.S. bishops in this national position.”
Fr. McKnight, the oldest of eight siblings, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Wichita in 1994. He holds an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Dallas, two master’s degrees from the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, and licentiate and doctoral degrees in theology from the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome.
He taught graduate studies at the Josephinum from 2003 to 2008 and currently serves on the faculty of the St. Meinrad Permanent Deacon Formation Program. Fr. McKnight was a chaplain at Newman University in Wichita from 2000 to 2001, where he also taught theology as an adjunct professor.
Fr. McKnight will succeed the secretariat’s interim director, Fr. David Toups.