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Beauty of liturgy drew Father McCann to the priesthood

By FATHER SEAN McCANN
01/15/2021 | Comments

Editor’s Note: Following is the next installment of the Herald’s monthly series profiling priests and deacons serving in the Diocese of Colorado Springs. Featured this month is Father Sean McCann, who serves as vice-chancellor for the Diocese of Colorado Springs and is currently in residence at Corpus Christi Parish.

I am a Colorado native who attended Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, where I ran cross country and threw discus for the track and field team. My parents reside in Parker, and my father is a permanent deacon serving at Ave Maria Parish.

During my high school years, I also worked at a small ranch in Parker. I took care of the barn work, cleaning horse stalls, moving hay bales, mowing the pastures, etc. I was also active in the Boy Scouts and staffed a youth-run leadership training summer camp at Tahosa near Estes Park.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time at Ave Maria Parish, be it serving Mass with my brothers, helping to usher, or assisting my father, who was a sacristan. We also had many of the newly ordained priests (who were assigned at Ave Maria) over to our house for dinner. I remember from an early age attending daily Mass and going to eucharistic adoration with my mother. The idea of being a priest was always on my radar and openly supported by my parents. 

However, it was not until high school that the idea really gained traction in my life. In many ways, it was the retreat program offered by Regis High School that first challenged me to live my Catholic faith ever more authentically. I was shown increasingly that living the Catholic faith and endeavoring to conform one’s life to Christ is always a “sign of contradiction,” but especially so in our times; to be Catholic and faithful to the perennial teaching of the Church is to be truly counter-cultural in a good way.

During my junior year, a close friend at Regis recommended that I read “The Spirit of the Liturgy” by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (then Pope Benedict XVI). I devoured the book in a few days; it opened my eyes to the vast horizon of Catholicism and I longed for more. That was the start of my pursuit to dive into the great tradition of our Catholic faith.

I began reading more and searching for the richness of Catholicism as lived and passed down across the ages. I wanted to know the faith of my ancestors and come to experience that which could build or give motivation for such grand edifices as the heavenly St. Peter’s Basilica and the ancient Basilica of St. Lawrence Outside the Walls. I was drawn in by the transcendent and timeless beauty of Gregorian Chant and I was awestruck by the incomparable splendor of the Roman Rite seen in its Extraordinary Form.

As my senior year came to a close, I was still wrestling with two choices: 1. Continue my search by studying the Great Books of Western Civilization at a small Catholic college on the West Coast, or 2. Go to seminary to begin discernment and studies for the priesthood of Jesus Christ. In the end, after spending much time before the Blessed Sacrament, I decided to enter seminary. Bishop Sheridan sent me to St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, Nebraska. It was the place I needed to be to grow both in my relationship with Christ and in the intellectual life.

After four years in Nebraska, Bishop sent me to the Pontifical North American College in Rome to pursue my theological studies at the university run by the Personal Prelature of Opus Dei. I was ordained on June 18, 2016, at Ave Maria.”

The summer of my priestly ordination I resided at St. Joseph Parish in Colorado Springs and spent time working in the Diocesan Tribunal. That fall I returned to Rome, Italy, for further studies at the request of Bishop Sheridan. In June of 2018, I completed my studies and received a Licentiate in Canon Law (JCL) from the Pontifical Gregorian University run by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).

Upon my return to the Diocese of Colorado Springs, I was appointed by Bishop Sheridan to serve as the Defender of the Bond for the Diocesan Tribunal and to be a part-time parochial vicar at St. Patrick Parish in Colorado Springs. In the spring of 2019, I took up residence at Divine Redeemer Parish in Colorado Springs and continued my service at the diocesan tribunal. In May of 2019 I was appointed to further assist the Diocesan Curia in the role of Vice-Chancellor. 

As a priest, I most treasure the opportunity to offer Mass and to be able to minister God’s mercy in the Sacrament of Penance.

In my spare time, I enjoy going hiking and doing woodworking projects. 

(Those who feel that they might be called to a vocation as a priest or permanent deacon can contact Father Kyle Ingels at kingels@diocs.org or Deacon Chris Kennedy at ckennedy@diocs.org for more information.)


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