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Answering the call to holiness: Wilmington’s St. Ann’s has been blessed with its share of vocations

From left are James Gebhart, Brooke Dennison, Father John Mink, Cathy Webb, Deacon Matthew Boyer and seminarian Patrick Klous at St. Ann'n Church in Wilmington.

By Father John J. Mink
Pastor, St. Ann Parish

On October 11, the universal Church commemorated the opening of the Second Vatican Council by Saint Pope John XXIII. One of the principal documents of the council was Lumen Gentium (A Light to the Nations) The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, which was promulgated in 1964.

As Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio wrote in Crossroads Initiative: “The heart of this document is its teaching in chapter five that the call to holiness is not limited to any one state in life but is indeed universal, embracing all baptized Christians. It consists in the perfection of love called charity or agape.”

The document stresses the call to Holy Orders for priests and deacons; consecrated virginity; marriage and family; and the single life of baptized Catholics all working in the world living out the call to further the kingdom of God in holiness and mission.

At St. Ann Parish several parishioners have recently responded to this universal call to holiness.


Answering a call to vocations are, from left, James Gebhart, Brooke Dennison, Deacon Matthew Boyer, Cathey Webb and Patrick Klous.

Patrick Klous, a graduate of St. Ann School, has recently completed his first summer assignment at St. Edmond in Rehoboth Beach and has returned to St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore to begin his second year of pre-theology.

St. Ann parishioner and attorney Matthew Boyer responded to the call to the permanent diaconate and completed five years of formation last summer. Deacon Boyer was assigned to St. Ann’s upon his ordination and celebrated his first anniversary on Aug. 7.

Joining them in formation this past year at St. Ann’s was James Gebhart, a diocesan third year theology seminarian from St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Hockessin, who recently concluded a pastoral year assignment at St. Ann’s and has returned to the seminary to finish his last two years of formation.

Parishioner Brooke Dennison, a former student of the St. Ann Religious Education Program, was confirmed at St. Ann’s in the same confirmation class with Patrick Klous. Brooke is a graduate of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and received the call to be a lay missionary to college-aged women at Tulane University through an evangelization program called FOCUS, a Catholic organization journeying with students during a critical time in their lives. She will begin her missionary assignment this August.

Parishioner Cathy Webb, a librarian for New Castle County Department of Libraries, has been in a discernment process for several years and is ready to make a public promise to live a life of consecrated virginity in the church and has been received as a candidate by Bishop Koenig. She made this public promise before Bishop Koenig in October.

Having five people in one parish committed in different ways to live out the universal call to holiness is an inspiration and example for the parish community, especially young people, to use the gifts of their own baptism for the service of God and his church.