Editor’s Note: Below is the second installment of the Herald’s monthly vocation series profiling a priest or deacon serving in the Diocese of Colorado Springs. This month’s article features Father Erin Kochivar, who was ordained June 18, 2016, and currently serves as parochial vicar at Ave Maria Parish in Parker.
Let me just start by saying that I might be an unfamiliar name to many readers of The Colorado Catholic Herald, something that I hope to rectify! Following my presbyteral ordination, I spent two incredible years at Holy Apostles Parish in Colorado Springs. At the conclusion of those, Bishop Michael Sheridan asked that I pursue an advanced degree in biblical theology at the Gregorian University in Rome. So, while Colorado never left my heart, I left Colorado. Now, after two years of study, I am back in the diocese!
A Colorado native, I was raised by my parents in Kiowa, where they taught me the rudimentaries of the faith and the sacraments. It is fair to say that I heard the call to the priesthood relatively early. After graduating high school, I became a seminarian for the Diocese of Colorado Springs. Bishop Sheridan sent me to St. Gregory the Great Seminary and then the University of the Holy Cross for formation. At those places I had some incredible formators and professors who greatly assisted me in maturing my vocation to the priesthood — and, some of them initiated me to the world of Bible nerdom! May God reward them for all their work.
What am I doing now? I am the parochial vicar (a.k.a. the assistant priest) at Ave Maria Parish in Parker. In other words, I do all the regular priestly activities like Mass, confessions, visits to our school and the local hospitals. I also spend a significant amount of time trying to go a little deeper into the Sacred Scripture, both for my edification and for the edification of those whom God has placed within my purview.
I love being a priest; I love our Catholic Faith, and sharing it with others is one of my greatest joys. I cannot help feeling like the Gerasene demoniac (but without the demon!). After Jesus heals this man, he tries to join Jesus in his ministry to the surrounding towns and villages. But then, unexpectedly, Jesus tells the man to return to his hometown and declare how much Jesus had done for him.
Like this man, Jesus has asked me to remain in Colorado. Colorado is my home. It is where I heard the call to follow Christ as one of his priests and I am overjoyed that he has asked me to remain here and pastor those who too call this place home.