Fr. Shawn McKnight named head of USCCB’s Secretariat for Clergy

Blessed Sacrament’s pastor going to D.C.
Father W. Shawn McKnight, pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish, Wichita, will be packing his bags next summer for a job with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
He has been named head of USCCB’s Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. He succeeds Father David Toups, a priest of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Fla., who was serving as interim secretariat director.
Fr. McKnight, 41, said it will be difficult to leave Blessed Sacrament Parish, but added that he is excited about his future service to the conference of bishops. “I love being a priest, have a special enthusiasm for the ministry of deacons, and I have a great respect for those in religious life. I pray that my love, enthusiasm and respect will help me to serve the church well in my future position. ”
The USCCB’s General Secretary, Msgr. David Malloy, made the appointment.
“Father McKnight brings extraordinary background to the position,” he said. “In addition to parish work, his experience includes years in seminary formation, education of deacons, college chaplaincy, and membership on his diocesan presbyteral council. I am grateful that Bishop Michael Jackels of Wichita is permitting him to serve the U.S. bishops in this national position.”
Father McKnight taught graduate studies at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, from 2003 to 2008, where he also served as director of liturgy, dean of students, director of formation in the school of theology, and vice-president for development and alumni relations. He currently serves on the faculty of the St. Mein-rad Permanent Deacon Formation Program.
He served as chaplain at Newman University in Wichita from 2000 to 2001, where at the same time he was an adjunct professor of theology and visiting scholar at the university’s Bishop Gerber Institute of Catholic Studies.
Father McKnight holds a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry from the University of Dallas, master of arts and master of theology degrees from the Pontifical College Josephinun , and licentiate and doctoral degrees in theology from the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm, in Rome.
Father McKnight is the son of Mary Elizabeth (O’Reilly) and the late William Thomas McKnight and is the oldest of eight siblings. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Wichita in 1994.
Father McKnight has been published in the Deacon Reader and the Newman Review and has spoken at assemblies of the National Association of Deacon Directors, National Diaconate Institute for Continuing Education as well as at arch/diocesan programs in Wichita; Wheeling, West Virginia; Lafayette-in-Indiana; Houston; Ogdensburg, N.Y.; Phoenix; Denver; Charleston, South Carolina; and Dodge City.

What will Fr. McKnight be doing?
The Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations serves the USCCB’s committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations which provides leadership regarding priestly life and ministry, and responds to the needs and concerns of priests.
Current projects relate to presbyteral councils, preaching, several public concerns about priesthood, and the promotion of a positive and distinct understanding of the ministerial priesthood. The Secretariat also assists the Bishops’ Committee on Child and Youth Protection.