Charleston, West Virginia

Mr. Kevin Kayda

Kayda I am originally from Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  I am the eldest of three children, having two younger sisters. I first thought about the priesthood when I was six years old, but I thought that priests only had to work one day a week and got to watch cartoons the rest of the week. As I grew older I kept thinking about the priesthood, but I never received any real encouragement for it, especially from my parents, who wanted me to pass on the family name and find a job that paid well. After high school, I went to West Virginia University for my freshman year to study pharmacy.  However, after my first chemistry class, I realized that I didn't like chemistry and looked to change my major and my search led me here.

The two priests from St. John’s University Parish at that time, Fr. Victor Udechukwu and Fr. Donald Higgs, encouraged me to apply to this Diocese instead of going back home to Harrisburg. After this, I was in Wheeling for two years studying at Wheeling Jesuit University under the tutelage of the Diocese. In the fall of 2007,  the Diocese sent me to St. Vincent Seminary to finish my college degree and to obtain my pre-theology credits. I hope to be ordained around the year 2013. I believe that the person who influenced my vocation the most was the late deacon of my home parish.  I did not realize it at the time, but what he taught me about the faith stays with me to this day.  Every week he would come into our classroom for an hour, and either answer any questions we had or go over a difficult area of the faith.  However, I think just his living out the Catholic Teachings was what would later set me on the path to the priesthood.

I am a die-hard Pittsburgh fan: Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates in that order. I love to go hiking and fishing, something that I do not get to do enough during the seminary year or the summer.  I also enjoy learning about history and of course praying. The thing I like best about the seminary is all of the opportunities there are to grow in ones spiritual life. There are plenty of priests for confession or different prayer groups going on.  In a parish, a priest has to struggle sometimes to find time to pray, but that time is built into the Seminary’s schedule.

During the summer of 2008 I had a great opportunity to continue working on the Spiritual aspect of my development, as Tom Gallagher and I attended the Creighton University Institute for Priestly Formation Program in Nebraska. We had a 10-week course on deepening our prayer and spiritual life, something I enjoyed greatly.

The spring semester of 2009 will be my final semester of college at St. Vincent's. Then I will advance to major seminary.