Classic car hobby helps soon-to-be priest reach others

Classic car hobby helps soon-to-be priest reach others

Deacon Andrew Gaffney stands with his father John and his prized Victory Red 1969 Chevy stepside pickup truck that he performs on as a pastime. COURTESY Picture

by Joe Bollig
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KANSAS Metropolis, Kan. — Deacon Andrew Gaffney’s start out in ministry was not an auspicious 1. His pastor at the time, Father Jerry Volz, fired him from being an altar server.

“In fourth quality, every person [at St. Matthew School in Topeka] became an altar server if they wanted,” said Deacon Gaffney. “While I was in the sixth grade, I was so undesirable that they questioned me to not provide anymore. I retained falling asleep and seriously didn’t spend interest or treatment also a great deal at that stage.”

It is a thing they chortle about now. Father Volz — who is a distant cousin — will vest Deacon Gaffney at his ordination Mass on May perhaps 28 at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Kansas Town, Kansas. He was ordained a deacon on May possibly 22, 2021, at St. Matthew Parish.

Deacon Gaffney is the son of John and Lori Gaffney. He has three sisters — two more mature, 1 young — and they ended up members of St. Matthew. They were “a regular, run-of-the-mill, modern-day Catholic household,” reported the deacon.

Other than his pastor, the person who affected his religion the most although expanding up was his mom.

“She is a very holy and devout particular person to this incredibly day,” explained Deacon Gaffney. “She had the eucharistic adoration hour at the parish on Tuesdays at 11. She was the rock [of faith] for my relatives.”

The two diaconal candidates prostrate by themselves on the floor ahead of the altar all through the Litany of the Saints. Photo BY JENNY FRAZEE

It wasn’t until eventually he was at Hayden Higher School in Topeka that his religion really took off and he commenced to consider about the priesthood.

“During my sophomore 12 months of large college, I realized that I hadn’t made my faith my own,” he stated. 

“[That year,] I went on a retreat, and I encountered Christ for the 1st time in my lifestyle in the confessional, and it had a quite massive influence on me,” he recalled.

He began assisting out on retreats, serving on the retreat teams. He found out he cherished serving to other folks experience Christ in a own way. In his junior calendar year, he began paying out time in the college chapel, inquiring the Lord what he preferred him to do soon after higher faculty.

“He was quite concerned in our youth group,” explained Father Volz. “He was one particular of the leaders, so much so that we created a CD of the rosary to ship to homebound individuals and he was just one who prayed one particular of the a long time.”

“I obtained to the issue where by I couldn’t thrust it away,” stated Deacon Gaffney. “I talked to Father Jerry Volz . . . and I said I needed to give it a shot for a calendar year. The Lord verified a single calendar year and that turned into nine a long time.”

His mother and father were being shocked when he instructed them.

“It was never talked about,” he explained. “The primary assumption was that I’d go to higher education, get a degree and get married. But they hardly ever pushed me one particular way or one more.”

From remaining, Andrew Edward Gaffney and Sudeep Kodigandla switch and deal with the congregation as they prepare to be ordained to the transitional diaconate. Image BY JENNY FRAZEE

There was some worry for the reason that he was so young — just out of higher college — when they assisted him shift to Conception Seminary in northwest Missouri. Assembly the other seminarians put them at simplicity.

“I remember my mom and dad leaving that day,” said Deacon Gaffney. “My mom informed me, ‘This is a fantastic place. You will be joyful listed here.’”

Deacon Gaffney graduated from Conception with a bachelor of arts in 2017. He went to St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver for a yr of spirituality and to study for a master’s degree in divinity. At the conclude of his first year, he designed a 30-working day silent retreat.

“At the close of that retreat, the Lord manufactured it known that he called me,” he explained, “and I’ve been at peace at any time since.”

He’s even found methods for his hobbies to serve his ministry.

1 of his longtime pursuits has been doing the job on more mature autos, and he has two undertaking vehicles: a Victory Pink 1969 Chevy stepside pickup truck and a British Racing Green 1969 MG Midget sporting activities auto. He’s uncovered a way to use his mechanical talents for ministry.

“I think I have the capability to reach specified persons that a whole lot of other monks battle to relate to,” he stated.

“I’m a vintage auto man. I appreciate restoring cars and trucks and receiving my palms soiled. In my summertime assignments . . . I’d carry my car and invite fellas in the parish to work on the motor vehicle,” he claimed. “I realized a large amount of the men I labored with aren’t the form of fellas who’d just stroll into a priest’s office environment and established up a conference. There’s a little something about performing on a automobile . . . that provides down a barrier in some adult males. You’re able to talk with them when ordinarily that would be a battle.”

It is pretty a discussion starter when he goes to a classic automobile fulfill and actions out of his truck carrying a Roman collar. It’s gearhead evangelization.

Father Volz is seeking forward to Deacon Gaffney’s ordination. He appreciates the enthusiasm and electrical power he brings to ministry.

“He’ll be a wonderful priest,” stated Father Volz. “He has a want and enthusiasm for the church and ministry, and a adore for the church and for men and women. He likes to be all-around people — he’s a big extrovert.”

Deacon Gaffney’s tips to other men discerning the priesthood can be distilled into just one phrase: Trust.

“Trust in the Lord and wherever he is leading you,” claimed Deacon Gaffney. “It’s extremely straightforward to get lost in the working day to day, and it can be challenging to see the foreseeable future the Lord is contacting you to. But the Lord has a plan, and that is the way of legitimate gentle and genuine pleasure, and he will give for you. He will not abandon you.”

Personally Speaking

Deacon Andrew Gaffney

Age: 27
Born: Topeka
Raised: Tecumseh and Topeka
Mom and dad: John and Lori Gaffney
Siblings: 3 sisters: Elizabeth Crane, Morgan Kaufman and Emma Heinen
Property parish: St. Matthew, Topeka
Training: Hayden Higher College in Topeka, 2013 bachelor of arts diploma from Conception Seminary College in Conception, Missouri, 2017 master of divinity degree from St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, Denver, 2022
Preferred food items: Chick-fil-A
Minimum favourite meals: Olives
Most loved childhood toy: Tractor
What I wished to be escalating up: Nurse
Worst position I have ever had: Baskin Robbins
Best task I’ve at any time experienced: Aboud’s Catering
Reserve advice: “The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoevsky
A spot I’d like to go: Rome. I’ve under no circumstances been there, and I’d love to working experience the natural beauty and history of the faith.
Favorite devotion: The Sacred Heart of Jesus due to the fact the heart is a position of encounter
Most crucial lifetime lesson so considerably: I am not Jesus.
If I could do it all about once more, I’d: still want to be a priest.
My finest adventure/most intriguing knowledge: seminary
Most inspirational Christian I have satisfied: Father Jim Thermos
Finest vocational information I acquired: Relationship is messy, newlyweds are messy, the priesthood is messy, baby monks are messy — embrace the mess.
Beloved seminary class: “Dante as Theological Aesthetic.” We read “The Divine Comedy” by means of the lens of attractiveness. It was an outstanding way to finish my theological experiments and mirror on all the things I realized.
My advice to vocational discerners: Trust exactly where the Lord is foremost you. He will not abandon you, even when the light-weight is hard to see.
What I’m searching ahead to as a priest: Currently being again with the people of the archdiocese, celebrating Mass and hearing confessions.