May 1, 2023 | Local News, Vocations
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

Deacon Christopher Kight leads the prayers of the faithful during a Mass at Owensboro Catholic High School on March 1, 2023, during which fellow seminarian Conrad Jaconette was installed as acolyte. ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD | WKC

Deacon Kight grateful for multiple priests’ witnesses, examples, in his own discernment


Deacon Christopher Kight, who will be ordained a priest on May 20, 2023 at his home parish of St. Thomas More in Paducah, first sensed a call to the priesthood “as a little kid.”

“I enjoyed going to Mass; I didn’t understand everything that was going on but I knew something important was happening,” he told The Western Kentucky Catholic in an interview ahead of his ordination.

He said his mother enjoys telling the story of when he was a child, that as their pastor at the time, Fr. Jerry Riney, celebrated Mass, “I would mimic what he was doing” in the pew.

Deacon Kight said some of the most supportive people in discerning his vocation were his parents.

“My dad died before I went to college, but he knew I was interested in the priesthood,” said Deacon Kight.

He said that he was in college studying to be a music teacher when he called his mom to tell her he was thinking about going to seminary.

“She was surprised, but supportive,” he said.

Deacon Kight also credits the support of his friends and of the many priests in his life, such as Fr. Pat Reynolds, Fr. Jerry Riney, and Fr. Jamie Dennis.

He is also grateful for the encouragement of Fr. Daniel Dillard – the now-director of vocations for the diocese, whom Kight met shortly after Fr. Dillard’s ordination when the new priest was made an associate pastor at St. Thomas More.

“In high school I attended the Christian Leadership Institute (CLI),” said Deacon Kight. “Fr. Andy Garner was the chaplain at the time. He was the first priest who asked if I’d thought about the seminary. It caught me off guard!”

He said that during his pastoral years of serving in parishes, he had the chance to help in the classroom and teach sacramental prep. Spending a summer doing his Spanish immersion in Guatemala was also highly formative for him.

“I walked away from those experiences being more confident in my calling than before,” said Deacon Kight.

He said he looks forward to “presiding at Mass and being with people in their everyday lives – both the sad realities and joyful realities. Being with the people as a representative of the Church to bring the light of the Gospel and the faith into their lives, is a great privilege.”

Originally printed in the May 2023 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

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