Get to Know Your Campus Ministers

 

Fr. Edward Ahn 

Fr. Edward Ahn Picture

 

What is your professional/ministry/theological training background?

I completed my philosophical/theological formation in preparation for the Sacred Priesthood in Rome (2005-2012): the Pontifical Lateran University for degrees in Philosophy and Sacred Theology (STB), concluding with a Licentiate degree (STL) in Moral Theology at the Alphonsianum Academy (a Pontifical university). During my time of formation in Italy (2005-2013), I was trained in direct evangelization & engaging youth, young adults, and adults in & outside of parish settings, preaching parish missions, accompanying married couples in enrichment groups, as well as assisting individuals on their Faith journey in the context of spiritual direction. Since Ordination to the Sacred Priesthood in 2011, I have dedicated myself to the ministry of evangelization & parish missions, concluded graduate studies, been an associate pastor for 3 years in Lenexa, KS, completed a 3 year program for spiritual direction through the Institute of Priestly Formation (IPF) and served as a full-time spiritual director/confessor at Kenrick Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO for 4 years.

 

How would you describe your role at Donnelly?  

I am a Catholic Christian campus minister. I am here to spread the Gospel message of Jesus Christ, directly or indirectly: bringing God to others through my prayer; through the Eucharist, the Holy Mass, Confession; through my presence, service, listening, love, and conversation. Being new here, it is important to build a foundation of basic human rapport with students, faculty and staff. It is only after rapport and trust have been established that one can begin considering any subsequent conversation regarding deeper questions on the purpose and meaning of life or explicitly "religious" matters. Everybody desires to be loved for their own sake and similarly, everyone detests the prospect of being "used" and on the receiving end of unwelcome proselytism.

 

Why did you want to serve in this role at Donnelly?

I am always grateful to fulfill the role the Lord has entrusted to me in participating in the mission of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the opportunity to work under Msgr Stuart Swetland, who has long been a mentor priest for me; I have been delighted to work alongside Aaron Williams who I greatly respect & admire: for his personal witness of life & for how he has placed himself & his God-given talents in service of God & to all.

 

What are you most excited about in your role?  

I am excited about the opportunity the Lord has given me in ministering to students & faculty amidst the various challenges posed to campus ministry at a commuter campus during a COVID period. At a time when isolation is rampant and further exacerbated during the pandemic, it is necessary to witness to the unique power of human contact expressed through personalism: recognizing the inherent dignity & goodness of each person, who deserves to be loved for their own sake and who ought never be used as a means. A personalism expressed in taking genuine interest in the other & how they are doing, in gratuitous & attentive listening, wholehearted presence, willing the good of the other & proactively pursuing it.

Aaron Williams, M.Div.

Aaron Williams Picture

 

What is your professional/ministry/theological training background?

I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri, majoring in history and minoring in philosophy, taking a particular interested in the history of religion, especially Christianity in early modern Europe and America. After graduation, I remained in Columbia for another three years doing campus ministry at Mizzou and Columbia College. From there I spent a year in North Carolina as an Americorp VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America) helping at risk youth transition from high school to college. I continued working with Americorp in other capacities while in seminary at Redeemer Seminary, now Reformed Theological Seminary, in Dallas, TX. There I was ordained a deacon in the Anglican church and remained so for five years. However, quite quickly, as I began to discover the beauty of the historical Christian liturgy and ask questions about the meaning of the human person, I was drawn towards the Catholic Church and so decided to do my doctoral work at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. This summer, having completed my course work in D.C. and returned to Kansas City to finish writing, I was received into the Catholic Church.   

How would you describe your role at Donnelly?   

In a certain sense my role at Donnelly is what it would be anywhere, to simply and humbly incarnate the love the Christ and serve those around me in whatever ways are needed. Concretely, here at Donnelly that takes a twofold form: first, in the classroom teaching philosophy and theology, freeing students to think and wonder about the world and the God who made it, without some utilitarian end in mind, but simply contemplating the goodness, beauty and truth of reality for its own sake; second, on the campus more generally, discovering the spiritual needs of our students and accompanying them in their journey towards Christ and his Church. Hopefully, this latter role will eventually mean the facilitation of discussion groups, bible studies, RCIA, pilgrimages and other activities for our students.

Why did you want to serve in this role at Donnelly?

Since the latter half of seminary, where the study of theology and philosophy really began to transform my thinking (metamorphosize my mind, as St. Paul would say), I've wanted to teach and serve in an academic context, not so that I could disseminate all the information I have accumulated over the years to students (as if knowledge is information anyways!) but to gaze with the students, assisting them to see the perennial, transcendent and eternal things, divine things, which often give themselves to us through the most earthly and fundamental human experiences. The Catholic Church teaches that God by nature is an eternal life of logos and love, and that he made the world in logos and love and continues to uphold as such. As Dante said, it is "love that moves the sun and other stars". I want to teach and serve at Donnelly because I want to help students gaze at the stars and through the stars behold the One who made them.  

What are you most excited about in your role?   

I am most excited about helping our students, faculty and staff fulfill our mission at Donnelly, serving students who are often underserved and doing so within a faithfully and joyfully Catholic context. If we are to fulfill our unique mission, we must continually reflect upon what it means to be a Catholic college and root ourselves in our identity, not polemically, but eucharistically, so to speak, receiving the eternal life Christ wants to give us so that we might be able to give ourselves, as Christ, for the life of the world, that is, for our students and the surrounding community. Conversely, we receive every student, as Christ and as a gift from Christ, making the question - what are we inviting them into? - fundamentally important. I know our Catholic identity is of great concern of Msgr. Sweatland, and I am eager, as a campus minister and lecturer, to cultivate this identity so that it might bear fruit in the lives of our students.       

Father Edward Ahn

Campus Minister

My desire for this school year at Donnelly: "This is my 10th year of Priesthood, b...

Aaron Williams, M.Div.

Campus Minister

This site provides information using PDF, visit this link to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC software.