The death of a young priest

The death of a young priest October 4, 2013

This is truly heartbreaking: 

It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Reverend Kevin Lee Kayda. He died unexpectedly at the home of his parents in Carlisle on Thursday, October 3, 2013.

 Fr. Robert M. Gillelan, Jr., Diocesan Administrator said, “The loss of any life is a tragedy, but the death of a beloved young priest is an especially difficult loss to bear.  St. John of the Cross helps us to navigate this difficult passage when he says, ‘And I saw a river over which every soul must pass to reach the kingdom of heaven and the name of that river was suffering … and then I saw a boat which carried souls across the river and the name of that boat was love.’  May we feel the consolation of God’s love for Fr. Kayda and his family.  May God’s love for us be the boat that carries us across the river of suffering to his heavenly kingdom.”

Father Kayda was ordained a Priest of the Diocese of Harrisburg on June 1, 2013 at St. Patrick Cathedral, Harrisburg by Bishop William Waltersheid, Auxiliary Bishop of Pittsburgh and a former priest of the Diocese of Harrisburg. He began his priestly ministry on June 17 with an assignment as Parochial Vicar at St. John the Baptist Parish, New Freedom, Pa.

Biographical Information

Father Kayda was 28 years of age. He was born in 1985 in Lancaster, Pa to Kevin and Laura Kayda. He attended St. Patrick elementary school in Carlisle and graduated from Carlisle High School. He did his college work at Wheeling Jesuit University, Wheeling, WV and St. Vincent College, Latrobe, PA and attended Mount St. Mary Seminary, Emmittsburg, MD graduating in 2013.

From a recent story about Fr. Kayda:

Kevin Kayda said he realized in college that he would only be happy if he devoted his life to God. That realization came to fruition over the weekend when he was ordained a priest.

Kayda, 27, of Carlisle, was ordained on Saturday by Bishop William J. Waltarsheid, the auxiliary bishop of Pittsburgh. He held his first Mass on Sunday at St. Patrick Church in Carlisle. The Mass fell on Corpus Christi Sunday. As a priest, Kayda said he wants to focus on God more, as well as make people feel that God is necessary.

“I’m giving myself over completely to God, and I’m looking forward to it,” Kayda said. “I know it’s an enormous task.”

The church was packed with parishioners, family and friends of Kayda. Among them was Toni Creason, of Carlisle. She taught Kayda when he was a second-grader at St. Patrick School. She said she had no doubts that her former student would do well in his new position, and said that he has impressed many people in his journey to becoming a priest.

Patrick McVitty, of Harrisburg, also spoke highly of Kayda.

McVitty and Kayda were classmates and best friends since kindergarten, according to McVitty. He recalled one day in the fourth grade when Kayda told him he wanted to be a priest. From the conviction in his voice, McVitty said he knew that his friend would go on to achieve that goal.

Waltarsheid delivered the homily at the evening Mass. He said life events are a part of God’s plan and that each person has the choice as to whether to follow through with those plans. He said the Mass served as a celebration of Kayda agreeing to God’s plan.

“Today begins a lifetime of adventure for you,” he said.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him… 

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