Fr. Neil Wack, C.S.C.
Finding a Home in Community
I grew up as the youngest of 10 children just two blocks from Christ the King Parish in South Bend, Indiana, in the United States. Between living so close to my parish and the fact that my great uncle was a Holy Cross priest, I had the chance to know many priests early in life. They were good and holy men who showed me the joy of such a vocation.
My childhood was filled with the happiness of living in a large, Catholic family, where I learned to pray and began my Christian journey. Each night we prayed the rosary, and while there were times when it would have been much more enjoyable to stay outside and play, I learned a habit of wonderful prayer that has sustained me to this day.
After graduating college with a Computer Science degree, I dived into doing what everyone else was doing, trying to work and make as much money as possible. To that end, I spent the next four years working as a consultant in Indianapolis, often working about 70 hours a week. It was good work and paid well, but there seemed to be something missing in my life.
I had been following what my brother (Rev. Bill Wack, C.S.C.) was doing during his time in the seminary, and I had a chance to visit him at his first parish in Colorado Springs. There, I saw his joy for ministry and love of the Sacraments so clearly that it illuminated my own possible vocation.
After a great deal of prayer and discernment, I left my job in business and entered Moreau Seminary at the University of Notre Dame in 1997 for formation as a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross.
Along the way of my seminary formation, there were many challenges that I had to face, knowing I wasn’t worthy of such a call and being uncertain of God’s plan in my life. Then there was the matter of studying philosophy and theology, which aren’t easy parallels to computer science! But the time in formation was important for me, in discovering much more about myself, about my Church, and about my relationship with God. I am grateful that God steered me in this direction, as I have found a home in Holy Cross with a community of men who remind me very much of my family at home.
On August 30, 2003, I professed Final Vows, and then was ordained a priest on April 17, 2004. After a few years in Colorado, I was assigned to my home parish, Christ the King! After two years as an Associate Pastor, I was named Pastor. This is a tremendous joy and honor. Being a parish priest is a wonderful ministry. I live in community with other priests, and continue to develop my prayer life and my relationship with God in the midst of many different ministerial opportunities. There are always people who need prayer, the Sacraments, and perhaps a word or two about how God is working in their lives.
Holy Cross parishes strive to educate the minds and hearts of God’s people, whether they are in the school, the Religious Education program, or the young and old in the congregation. I thank God for my time in Holy Cross, for my vocation, and for His continued patience in forming me to be the best priest I can be, in service to Him and His people.
Fr. Neil Wack, C.S.C., is a member of the United States Province (Notre Dame, Indiana).