Father Sawyer’s going back to the seminary

Father Ben Sawyer was pastor of Christ the King Parish in Wichita before being assigned to Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. (Advance photo)

Father Benjamin Sawyer spent four years studying for the priesthood in major seminary and two years studying for a licentiate in dogmatic theology. But his tenure as pastor of Christ the King in Wichita was just as valuable, he said.

“I learned more in the last three years than I learned in any of the other years of my priesthood,” he said Tuesday, June 9, from his rectory office.

“I think that being a pastor of a parish was the most helpful preparation for me to do seminary work, possibly even more valuable than the licentiate in Rome because I can speak on a very practical level about the demands of the priesthood today.”

Father Sawyer was ordained in 2009 and taught at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School for four years before he began studying at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. After earning his licentiate he was named pastor of Christ the King.

Once again, though, academia is calling. This time, however, he won’t be a student.

Father Sawyer is on loan effective June 16 to Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He will serve on the formation faculty at Bishop Carl A. Kemme’s alma mater and will teach theology to those in the seminary’s upper-division.

“God has his hand in this and I do think that he is calling me to this kind of work,” he said. “So I’m very much looking forward to it and excited to get started.”

When school starts, he will be a formation advisor to 20 to 25 seminarians and will teach a Sacrament of Matrimony course to third-year theologians.

About seminary formation in the Diocese of Wichita

Seminarians study for eight years before they are eligible to be ordained to the priesthood.

In the Diocese of Wichita, the first four years are spent at the St. Joseph House of Formation located on the campus of St. Joseph Parish in Wichita. While there, the first- through fourth-year college seminarians study for a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Newman University in Wichita.

After that, they are sent for four years of theology at either Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, or Mundelein Seminary in Chicago. Upon the completion of their third year, seminarians are eligible to be ordained to the transitional diaconate. A year later they are eligible to be ordained to the priesthood.

Studies are modified for seminarians who have appropriate college credits.

Men interested in discerning a vocation to the priesthood are invited to contact Father Chad Arnold at 316-440-1714.