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Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

Columbus recalls ‘Father Vinny’ McKiernan’s decades-long presence at OSU Newman Center

By meerna Jun12,2024

Those who knew him say the Rev. Vincent McKiernan was a gentle and loving person who remained in Columbus for more than 30 years.

Known as “Father Vinny”, he has been ministering to the local population since 1990, when he began serving at the St. Vincent Center. Thomas More Newman at Ohio State University.

McKiernan died on Monday morning at the age of 93 at the Mohun Health Care Center in the city’s east after a battle with prostate cancer.

Reverend Vincent McKiernan, known as "Father Vinny," served for over 30 years in St.  Thomas More Newman Center at Ohio State University.  He was a Paulist father and died on June 10, 2024 at the age of 93.Reverend Vincent McKiernan, known as "Father Vinny," served for over 30 years in St.  Thomas More Newman Center at Ohio State University.  He was a Paulist father and died on June 10, 2024 at the age of 93.

The Reverend Vincent McKiernan, known as “Father Vinny”, served at St. Vincent for over 30 years. Thomas More Newman Center at Ohio State University. He was a Paulist father and died on June 10, 2024 at the age of 93.

He served at the local parish from 1990 until 2022, when the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus appointed new parish leadership and the Paulist Fathers, the order of priests to which he belonged that ran the Newman Center for decades, left.

McKiernan remained in Columbus and maintained contact with the families and individuals he served in the parish.

Deb and Greg Stype met McKiernan in 1990 when he came to the church they had attended for years.

“It’s a huge loss,” said Deb Stype, 69, of McKiernan. “God is love and Vinny was love.”

Say goodbye: Paulist priests celebrate the last Holy Mass. at the Newman Center in Ohio

McKiernan focused on children during his time at the Newman Center, said Greg Stype, 68.

He would invite children to come up to the altar and sit around it during Christmas Mass while he told the Christmas story, Greg Stype said.

“He was almost invisible on the steps of the altar to all the children who came up to him, but that was one of his special gifts,” Greg Stype said.

Reverend Vincent McKiernan, known as "Father Vinny," served for over 30 years in St.  Thomas More Newman Center at Ohio State University.  He was a Paulist Father and died on June 10, 2024 at the age of 93.  Here he gives his blessing to those joining the Catholic Church.Reverend Vincent McKiernan, known as "Father Vinny," served for over 30 years in St.  Thomas More Newman Center at Ohio State University.  He was a Paulist Father and died on June 10, 2024 at the age of 93.  Here he gives his blessing to those joining the Catholic Church.

The Reverend Vincent McKiernan, known as “Father Vinny”, served at St. Vincent for over 30 years. Thomas More Newman Center at Ohio State University. He was a Paulist Father and died on June 10, 2024 at the age of 93. Here he gives his blessing to those joining the Catholic Church.

Deb Stype stated that McKiernan had a strong desire to be with people in times of need and joy. He reached out to people struggling and his presence was calming, pastoral and gentle, Greg Stype said.

He also focused on reaching out to other faith communities, believing that God loves every person on earth regardless of their religion or faith, Deb Stype said. In 2022, Columbus-based Spirituality Network honored McKiernan with its first Enduring Hope Award.

“We had a saint among us,” she said. “We had a true role model in what our faith believed God was for us, and he was a living example of God’s love.”

According to Paulist Fathers, an independent order of priests based in New York, McKiernan entered the seminary at age 13 and was a priest for 67 years.

Before coming to Columbus, he served in New York, New Jersey and Boston. While in Columbus, he led retreats and a ministry of centering prayer, a meditative form of prayer.

He loved language and was a “punster,” Greg Stype said. McKiernan called his own quotable sayings “Vin-a-mins”, which is a play on words on vitamins. He collected them in three spiral-bound books and shared them on social media.

After the Paulists left the Newman Center in 2022, like many parishioners who no longer felt welcome without them, McKiernan stayed local as “the embodiment of the remaining Paulist presence in Columbus,” Greg Stype said.

Reverend Vincent McKiernan, known as "Father Vinny," served for over 30 years in St.  Thomas More Newman Center at Ohio State University.  He was a Paulist father and died on June 10, 2024 at the age of 93.Reverend Vincent McKiernan, known as "Father Vinny," served for over 30 years in St.  Thomas More Newman Center at Ohio State University.  He was a Paulist father and died on June 10, 2024 at the age of 93.

The Reverend Vincent McKiernan, known as “Father Vinny”, served at St. Vincent for over 30 years. Thomas More Newman Center at Ohio State University. He was a Paulist father and died on June 10, 2024 at the age of 93.

“He remained very connected to our community no matter where we were,” he said. “He was just always willing to be there for us wherever and whenever we gathered.”

He loved people and shared God’s unconditional love with everyone, Deb Stype said.

“I always felt that emanating from this man: a kind of unconditional acceptance and willingness to love us and meet us where we are,” she said.

Summer 2022: Ohio State Catholic Student Ministry will have new leadership at the Newman Center

Visiting hours for McKiernan will be June 14 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Egan-Ryan Northwest Chapel, followed by a vigil service at 7:30 p.m. The funeral mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. on June 15 at the church of St. Elizabeth with visitation at 9:00

More information about the findings and McKiernan can be found at www.paulist.org.

[email protected]

@DanaeKing

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Rev. Vincent McKiernan, who served at Newman Center, dies at 93

By meerna

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