Kevin Ripley

Kevin RipleyParish: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Pulaski

Birth Date: October 10

Seminary: Mundelein Seminary

Seminary Address:
1000 E Maple Avenue
Mundelein IL 60060-1967

Theology III

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Patron: St. Thérèse of Lisieux

 
 

Are you a dog person or a cat person?
Shout out to Maxwell, my Shih Tzu who settled me as a dog person. Dogs learn tricks more easily, love praise, and will remind you about that walk you mentioned earlier.

Tell us about a great experience you had during the summer of 2018.
I spent the summer completing a chaplaincy internship at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. It was a very impressive facility. However, what impressed me more was the faith demonstrated by the patients I visited, who typically had many diagnoses and had been in the hospital before, many traveling long distances. They were often able to see God working in their lives, even in those most difficult times. Every one of them had a mission. Whether it was to get home to family, to get back to church, or to share his or her story with others; for them God was often at the center of it.

Who influenced you the most to think about priesthood?
Certainly the priests in my life had great influence on me, especially those who suggested the priesthood to me. However, I think my friends had a stronger influence. During college at UW-Madison, I was in a small group Bible study all four years with the same men. We were in different majors, but we really clicked well together. Our leader consistently got us together every week for an hour. Over time as a group, we began to have a general openness to the idea of priesthood being a possibility for our lives. I didn’t think much about it until a few of the other members started to actively discern their vocations. Part of their influence on me was just seeing them around campus doing normal things, knowing that they were praying about the priesthood. I secretly began considering it, too, until I joined a discernment group during Lent one year, where I could openly discuss the possibility with others. Two of them are now ordained, and a few are in seminary.

Pope Francis recently wrote a document entitled Gaudete et Exsultate on holiness. What does holiness look like to you?
First, am I baptized? Yes, which means being set apart by God, brought into his family, seeking to do his will, accepting each day and all in it as coming from His hands. Furthermore, holiness is to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Every day we have to say “yes” to God, for he said “yes” to us at our baptisms and even before we were formed in the womb. In everyday actions, holiness means to accept the people, places, events, and opportunities that God presents to us in His Providence. It means doing that even when it doesn’t feel good, for God makes all things work together for good for those who love God, called according to His purpose. I think especially about the “Imitation of Christ” by Thomas à Kempis. He breaks holiness down very simply by rephrasing the two great commandments: to seek only the pleasure of God and the welfare of our neighbor. Those are two things I often fail at—or I add other stuff in—so it’s a good thing that holiness is a journey. Thankfully, our faith, hope, and charity come from God, not from ourselves, so acknowledging our place before Him as in need of Jesus our Savior can help simplify our intentions and purify our desires, helping us to embrace and enjoy God.

What is your dream car?
Firstly, my dream would be to have a car that could also fly, as flying and piloting fascinate me. Since those aren’t for sale yet, red Jeep Wranglers have always caught my eye. They’re rugged and are a good reminder that life is an adventure.

What aspect of your home parish is the most meaningful for you?
It’s the tall double steeples. Growing up I was amazed by how immense the church is, and I would look for it from miles away as we drove back to town.