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Catholic Identity

Fr. Kevin Mohan,

Parochial Vicar,  St. Mary’s Church, Gloucester City NJ



Meeting RAMS Wherever I Go!

Three years ago I went to get a haircut from a barber I’d never
met before. As we talked, it came up that I was about to be
transferred to Gloucester Catholic, and it turned out that one
of the other barbers in the shop had gone there. That moment
began a trend which will probably continue for the rest of my
life, and hopefully in Heaven: meeting Rams wherever I go.
More recently, I filled in for Bishop Sullivan’s priest secretary
while he ran the New York Marathon, organized by Mrs. Anne
Heim’s son, Jim Heim ’94. The bishop and I went to St. Clare
Parish in Gibbsboro, so that he could celebrate Masses and
Confirm parishioners. Of course I ran into some Rams.
As I walked down the aisle, I saw a Confirmation candidate
who looked remarkably like Megan McGowan ‘18, a Kairos
rector and Bishop Dennis Sullivan Award recipient during her
senior year. Then I realized that Megan was seated behind
her doppelganger, actually her little sister, serving as her
Confirmation Sponsor. After Mass I had a lovely time catching
up with the McGowan family.
The first Ram I saw that day, however, was current senior,
Drew Venit, a leader of Kairos IX, which was only two weeks
away at that point. Bishop Sullivan also remembered him as a
youth delegate to a meeting he had held a month or so earlier.
“That’s Drew Venit from Gloucester Catholic,” I reminded
the Bishop. “He’s one of the best.” Bishop Sullivan remarked
that Drew had been very vocal at the meeting. He made sure
to invite Drew to our lunch between Masses, and I made sure
to ask Drew what he had been vocal about during that youth
“Jesus,” was Drew’s summary response. I was so proud.
“Basically we need to use the methods Jesus used, going out
to people, rather than just sitting back and waiting for people
to show up.” This kid gets it, I thought. I asked him what
some of the statements were from the other youth that day. I
learned that one of the biggest trends is that youth want to be
considered a part of the Church now, allowed to share their
gifts and perspectives as valid current Catholics, not just the
future of the Church.
When I learned that I was going to transition out of education
and return to parish work, some of my thoughts mirrored the
comments of Drew and the other youth. My mission, broadly
understood, is now that of every Catholic parish: to serve
people of all ages, and assist them in serving others.
I have also been reflecting on the words so often employed by
Fr. Allain Caparas, “Once a Ram, always a Ram” Similarly,
Msgr. Hodge, the pastor of St. Mary’s, has always made it
a point to remind students and adults that everyone who is
connected with Gloucester Catholic also is connected to St.
Mary’s Parish. As my full-time tenure at GC comes to an
end, I nonetheless look forward to a lifetime of random Ram
encounters. I know I will always see GC alumni at every event
at St. Mary’s. But, beyond St. Mary’s, in whatever parish I find
myself, I’ll be sure to encounter some Rams. I hope I never
stop helping Rams to practice our faith.
Throughout whatever time each of us has spent at GC, we have
been made part of a family which is more than just temporary,
and more than just something for children. We can rightly feel
that we will always have a home nestled between Cumberland
and Ridgeway Streets, and we always have a home at St.
Mary’s Church, or whatever Catholic parish we might find
ourselves attached to. This is a moment for me to remember
that the sense of connection I experience through GC is really
just a small part of a larger invitation: to be connected with
Jesus and the Church. In other words, in the words of Pat
Murphy, “See you at Church!

Father Kevin Mohan

Parochial Vicar,  St. Mary’s Church, Gloucester City NJ


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