By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer
Deacon Shayne Duvall, who will be ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville on May 30, took a unique path to the priesthood that included a brief enrollment in the police training academy, teaching at Holy Cross High School and a long-running gig as an announcer for the Louisville Bats.
Deacon Duvall will be ordained along with Deacons Peter Bucalo and Jason Harris by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz at 11 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Assumption May 30.
For Deacon Duvall, “It’s been a journey of twists and turns and ups and downs,” he said during an interview in early May.
One thing Deacon Duvall said he knows for sure is that God has been with him at every step.
Deacon Duvall, a graduate of Holy Cross High School, grew up in Shively and attended St. Lawrence Church on Lewiston Drive. He always loved going to Mass, he said, noting with a laugh that, as a child, he used to borrow a missalette from church and invite neighborhood kids to “play Mass” in his basement.
He said he always loved the church and knew since high school that he had a calling to the priesthood, but the decision to enter seminary wasn’t an easy one for him.
He graduated from the University of Louisville in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in justice administration. He thought initially that he wanted to be a police officer like his father, Randy Duvall.
He entered the Louisville Metro police training academy and left after only two days.
“I had a terrible feeling,” he said. “I would have been a good police officer, but that wasn’t what God was calling me to do.”
Responding to that call, Deacon Duvall said, he entered seminary in 2007. He earned a master’s degree in theological studies at St. Meinrad School of Theology in 2010. But then, he decided to leave the seminary.
“I didn’t close the door completely,” he said. “I just needed to discern on the outside.”
Deacon Duvall believes that decision ultimately strengthened his vocation.
During his time outside seminary, Deacon Duvall served as the Archdiocese of
Louisville’s coordinator of evangelization from 2010 to 2012. In 2012, he began teaching at Holy Cross and became the school’s director of advancement. Later that same year, he returned to St. Meinrad and to the life of a seminarian.
In the midst of his journey to the priesthood, Deacon Duvall has been an announcer for the Louisville Bats. He also served as a counselor and case manager at Dismas Charities, a local non-profit correctional facility from 2006 to 2007.
“God was always tapping me on the shoulder. I always saw myself doing each of those jobs as a priest,” he said, adding that he was always where God wanted him at the time. “God wanted me to figure it out.”
Deacon Duvall said he is happy and at peace with his decision to be ordained. His family too, he said, is happy that he has found his way.
He also said his assignments in seminary have strengthened his vocation and brought wonderful people into his life.
Deacon Duvall has served at several parishes during his formation, including Immaculate Conception Church in La Grange, Ky.; St. Margaret Mary Church and Holy Spirit Church.
“So many people have greeted me and shared stories,” he said, noting that people have told him how proud they are.
Deacon Duvall said he believes God works through people. Over the years, he said, many people told him he’d make a good priest. And he’s grateful for their encouragement.
He graduated with a master’s degree in divinity from St. Meinrad on May 9 and has been assigned to St. James Church in Elizabethtown, Ky., where he will serve as associate pastor. He will also be associate pastor of St. Ambrose Church in Cecilia, Ky., and St. Ignatius Church in White Mills, Ky.
Deacon Duvall said he’s most looking forward to being with parishioners. He said he wants to bring God to them, not only through the sacraments, but by being part of their lives as well.
“I can’t wait to be a priest for everyone,” he said.
Deacon Duvall also hopes people will pray for him.
“They got me here and I need their prayers now more than ever,” he said.
He will celebrate his first Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Lawrence Church, 1925 Lewiston Drive, on May 31 at 2 p.m.