Deacon Kenny Nauert to be ordained a priest

Deacon Kenneth Nauert

When Deacon Kenneth Nauert is ordained to the priesthood June 1, he will have answered the call to a vocation that he first felt in the fourth grade.

Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre will ordain Deacon Nauert along with Deacons Matthew Millay, Michael Schultz, Van Tran and Yen Tran at 10 a.m. on the first day of June at St. Michael Church, 3705 Stone Lakes Drive.

Deacon Nauert is looking forward to his ordination and ministry with a mixture of nervousness and excitement, he said in an interview with The Record earlier this week.

“It’s been a calling since fourth grade and now it’s coming to fruition,” said Deacon Nauert. “I feel excited. I’m nervous. It’s a lot of responsibility, the role of a priest is the care of souls. I take that to heart.

“I’m very much looking forward to celebrating Mass and offering the Eucharist to the people of God. Being able to help people encounter Christ in reconciliation is very important to my heart,” he said. 

Deacon Nauert, 28, is the son of Kenny and Dee Dee Nauert. He grew up in Louisville’s south end and is the oldest of four children. He has two brothers and a sister. He is currently in the final weeks of completing a baccalaureate degree in sacred theology at Theological College in Washington, D.C. 

It was at St. Lawrence Church, his home parish, where the question of a vocation first came up. Around the time he was in the fourth grade, his pastor, Father Jeff Nicolas, asked him if he would consider the priesthood. His answer then was: “No. Of course not.”

But the question lingered, he said. 

Deacon Kenneth Nauert, who will be ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville June 1, ministered the Precious Blood during Communion at the archdiocese’s annual Chrism Mass March 26 at the Cathedral of the Assumption. (Record Photo by Marnie McAllister)

“It’s one of those questions that stays with you. It was always in the back of my mind,” he said.

It took until his college years at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Ky., to fully respond to the call. He started discerning then, he said, whether to become a priest for the Archdiocese of Louisville or remain in the Diocese of Owensboro. 

The answer came in 2018 during adoration at a Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) conference. 

“I was overcome with peace and I heard a voice say, ‘Kenny come home. I want you to be my priest,’ ” he said. “I started crying. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. … It’s been a wonderful experience for me to grow closer to Christ who called me.” 

Following his presbyteral ordination, Deacon Nauert, who speaks Spanish, will spend the summer ministering to the Hispanic community at St. Rita Church. 

“I’m not fluent, but having priests who are at least capable of celebrating the sacraments (in Spanish) is important, not only for their sanctification but also so they know they are not alone,” he said. “It’s a ministry I am looking forward to.”

Later this year he will return to Washington, where he will pursue a degree in canon law at the Catholic University of America’s School of Law.

Ruby Thomas
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Ruby Thomas
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