Slán Leat, Father Kilian

Slán Leat, Father Kilian

By Alice Huth-Derrah

The parishioners at St. Elizabeth Seton will be saying a heartfelt “Slán leat,” a Gaelic expression meaning “Goodbye (health) to you,” to Father Kilian at the end of June. Father Kilian will officially take up his duties as pastor at the Blessed Sacrament Parish in Scottsdale on July 1 after serving six years as St. Elizabeth’s parish pastor.

It has been a bit of a journey from his native homeland in Ireland. Born in Dublin City, Father Kilian is the third of six children. Baptized in the Catholic faith at the Church of St. Andrew in Westland Row, Dublin, he was raised in a family that always emphasized “’faith and church’” as the bedrock for a life well-lived. After graduating from Dublin City University with a degree as an electronics engineer, he pursued his career working in Dublin, London, and eventually made his way to Detroit and Phoenix after moving to the United States in 1994.

Father Kilian’s discernment to the priesthood began almost 25 years ago when he started attending Blessed Sacrament Parish where, Father Kilian says, he “’discovered his vocation.’” He applied to the Office of Vocations in the Diocese of Phoenix, and was soon enrolled at Mount Angel Seminary in St. Benedict, Oregon, the oldest seminary in the western part of the country. While at Mount Angel, Father Kilian befriended a fellow seminarian named Stu Long, whose life story would be made into a recently released biographical movie titled “Father Stu.” Their relationship and his knowledge of his classmate’s life struggles have been the inspiration for some of Father Kilian’s homilies, as well as a healing Mass recently offered at St. Elizabeth’s. After completing his studies, Father Killian was ordained on June 3, 2007, in a ceremony held at Saints Simon and Jude Cathedral and officiated by then Bishop Thomas Olmsted.

An accomplished griller and cook, Father often lends his talents at various parish events. He made grilled delights during Mardi Gras and, to help raise money during St. Vincent de Paul’s Chili Cook-off held this past February, Father volunteered to prepare a dinner for ten which was then auctioned off. He also routinely contributes recipes to the parish newsletter. Father Kilian has regularly officiated on other occasions such as the annual St. Francis Day Blessing of the Animals ceremony, gladdening the hearts of pet loving parishioners and their animal companions alike.

With Father Kilian returning to his “home parish,” the same church he first attended after moving to the area, the St. Elizabeth community will reflect on their time with Father as their spiritual guide and support. Some parishioners may remember Father Kilian best for his charming, light Irish brogue, his fun wit, his willingness to put himself out there for the sake of community outreach and Christian discipleship, his homilies linked to personal experiences, or his coming to St. Elizabeth Seton at a time of sadness due to the sudden death of the former parish pastor, Father Joe in 2017. Some may also find themselves thinking about the not so distant turmoil brought on by the COVID pandemic, when the world seemed to come to a standstill, emptying stores, schools, work places, and churches during a fearful, strange time in the world. Throughout this fog, Mass was offered on-line and at the helm, and parishioners witnessed the light of a good shepherd, Father Kilian, smiling and calm, praying for us and with us. He strengthened our faith and reassured us that our hope should remain intact because God is with us always, especially when our need is greatest. The parishioners, staff, and volunteers of St. Elizabeth Seton Parish wish Father Kilian a blessed journey and bid him a fond “Slán leat!”

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2 thoughts on “Slán Leat, Father Kilian

  1. The reason I came to Elizabeth Seton was because you worked so hard to keep the parish open and functioning during the Pandemic. Most of the other parishes kept their doors locked. You gave me the opportunity to receive the Eucharist which I desperately missed for 2.5 months. I have been blessed by joining this parish, and I never want to be separated from Jesus in the Eucharist that long ever again! Thank you. Connie Manak

  2. Father,
    I appreciate your guidance and holiness that you have shown us in your time here. You have made this parish a growing, friendly, happy place to live in God’s love. You have supported our music programs and they are in my humble opinion the best in the valley. I pray that your journey in your life will be filled with love, growth, gentle holiness.

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2 thoughts on “Slán Leat, Father Kilian

  1. The reason I came to Elizabeth Seton was because you worked so hard to keep the parish open and functioning during the Pandemic. Most of the other parishes kept their doors locked. You gave me the opportunity to receive the Eucharist which I desperately missed for 2.5 months. I have been blessed by joining this parish, and I never want to be separated from Jesus in the Eucharist that long ever again! Thank you. Connie Manak

  2. Father,
    I appreciate your guidance and holiness that you have shown us in your time here. You have made this parish a growing, friendly, happy place to live in God’s love. You have supported our music programs and they are in my humble opinion the best in the valley. I pray that your journey in your life will be filled with love, growth, gentle holiness.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *