Tag Archives: Kansas

From Kansas to the Emerald Isle

The Dublin Chapter’s Fr. Aaron Vinduzka hails from small-town Kansas . . .

Fr. Aaron Vinduska

Fr. Aaron Vinduska

Fr. Aaron Vinduzka, LC
Dublin Chapter

Hailing from a small town in Kansas north of Wichita, Fr. Aaron Vinduska’s blood does not run green, but now he calls the Emerald Isle home. Again. He spent two years in novitiate there before taking a “worldwide tour” along the priestly path, having spent time in Spain, Italy, then back in the States and Canada. In addition to serving as Legatus chaplain, he is director of Dublin’s Faith and Family Centre, which provides retreats, formation courses, and youth activities directed toward leavening Irish society one soul at a time.

Tell us about your call to the priesthood.

When I was 14, a good friend invited me to join him on a week-long Easter retreat at Immaculate Conception Apostolic School, run by the Legionaries of Christ in New Hampshire. Long story short, I’m the one who ended up going, and now I’m a happy priest and he’s a happily married man back in Kansas.

My vocation was nurtured by a very strong family life. My parents were very loving and supportive of my decision to enter the priesthood. My sister and brother, too. Both of them are older than me. I’m 34.

How did you become acquainted with Legatus?

When I was in San Jose, Calif., a fellow priest introduced me to the mission and ideals behind Legatus. It has a lot of similarities with our own spirituality — namely, that we’re given gifts and talents and we’re going to be held accountable for how we’ve used them. And one of those gifts is our faith and how we pass it along to future generations. That perked my interest in Legatus.

Was there a Dublin chaplain before you?

When I returned to Ireland last July, I followed in the footsteps of Fr. Michael Mullen, who returned to the States to continue his studies in theology. I’ve been on the job since last September.

What impact has Legatus had on the Dublin archdiocese?

The men and women involved have a great desire to do positive things for the archdiocese and the whole country. Many are very active in important initiatives, especially in the areas of pro-life and supporting marriage and the family.

How would you like to see the chapter progress?

We typically have 20 to 30 people coming to chapter events. My hope is that numbers continue to grow. But the most important kind of growth isn’t quantitative. It’s the degree to which each member realizes and brings to fruition his own call to holiness. And there’s a big problem in Irish society regarding a lack of trust in the Church and the credibility of her message. We have to build up that trust once again.

My mission with the chapter is to encourage members in their spiritual lives and support them in any way I can: if there’s a death in the family, for example. And I want to invite more people for membership among those I know.

You have a vocation, of course. Any avocations?

I strive to foster a love for scripture. And I very much love Chesterton and Tolkien, who teach us that life is an adventure, a love story between us and God. That informs my preaching, too.

Can you recommend any particular devotions?

Eucharistic adoration. If we’re called to be like Christ, we need to be with him.

Do you have any advice for business leaders?

Never lose your identity. Knowing that we’re created by God gives us clarity about who we are and informs the choices we make. Will those choices bring me and those around me closer to Christ? That clarity is fundamental. Simple, but fundamental.

MATTHEW A. RAREY is Legatus magazine’s editorial assistant.

Kansas chaplain loves the heartland

Despite his Irish roots, Wichita’s Fr. John Sherlock feels at home in Kansas . . .

Fr. John Sherlock

Fr. John Sherlock

Fr. John Sherlock
Wichita Chapter

It’s a long way to Tipperary, but Fr. John Sherlock “feels very much at home” in Kansas. After beginning his priesthood with the Legionaries of Christ — serving in Mexico and Spain — he was incardinated in the Wichita diocese in 1981. “The Legionaries had their apostolate, and it was very concrete. But I felt I had to be more among the people, the regular Joes in the parishes,” explains the rector of Wichita’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. In Kansas, his cups of Joe “runneth over” with earthy good sense tipped heavenward.

Tell us about your call to the priesthood.

When I was young, there were certain sentiments that I liked about the priesthood, and certain signs and inspirations that this was how I would serve the Church and the Lord. Coming from Ireland, I had a desire to serve the Church in the missions, particularly in Latin America. When I visited with recruiters from the Legionaries of Christ, I saw a way of getting to help there. I visited their seminary in Dublin for a weekend to see what it was like and never came out.

How did you become acquainted with Legatus?

Bishop Michael Jackels asked me to become his assistant chaplain back in 2008. Then when he was appointed Archbishop of Dubuque, he made me full chaplain last April.

What impact has Legatus had on the Wichita diocese?

The members are really trying to reach a higher level of intimacy with the Lord, to serve the Church, and to be good stewards of their goods. Some are important leaders within their parishes. In a way, our members are simple folk. They’ve got a wisdom from the years, as well as from on high. Being in contact with the Lord and with reality forms a rich spirituality.

How would you like to see the chapter go forward?

I’d like us to continue bringing in a variety of speakers, enriching us from different points of view — spiritual, social, or addressing pressing issues of the day. I think one of the upcoming speakers will talk about how the corporate world can reach out to the world today. I think that’s something we need to do a little bit more, to talk about stewardship.

You have a vocation, of course. Any avocations?

I really love traveling. I visit my family in Ireland twice a year, I’m ashamed to say! To celebrate my 25th ordination, I went around the world in a month: from Wichita to Australia to Asia, India, London, Ireland, then back to the States.

It’s fascinating to see the richness of humanity, and how we can all learn from each other. My ultimate goal is to get to the Holy Land.

Can you recommend any particular devotions?

I love to read the Gospels: What did Christ do, how did he react, how can we imitate him? And then the Marian devotions. I love praying the Memorare. I’ve been somewhat “contaminated” by devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe from my time in Mexico and seeing the devotion of the people.

I also remember once going to Lourdes with my mom. It was three o’clock in the morning, and we both went to the grotto. There I was with my Heavenly Mother and earthly mother, just the three of us. It was a unique experience, a unique blessing.

Do you have any priestly advice for business leaders?

If you can be instrumental in bringing others closer to the Lord, become that bridge. If members of Legatus can be a bridge that can serve as a help to bring Christ to others, I think that’s the best advice I’d give.

MATTHEW A. RAREY is Legatus magazine’s editorial assistant.