New priests replace Father Fred

Posted by on Aug 30, 2001 in All, Fred Byrne, Stephen Honeygosky | No Comments

Anyone who has gone to mass this semester probably noticed one major difference: Father Fred was not leading the service. After nine years as director of campus ministry at Penn State, Father Fred Byrne was transferred this fall to St. Vincent Arch Abbey and is now director of campus ministry at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe.

Father Fred called St. Vincent “my home” because he belongs to the Arch Abbey there. “It’s like I’ve been asked to come back to the home base of my community,” he said.

Though he did mention that as a priest he took a vow of obedience, Father Fred was upset at first with the decision for the transfer.

“I was hoping to stay at Penn State,” he said. “I said I didn’t think it was the best time to go. But they really needed me at St. Vincent.”

Father Fred called his years at Penn State “a great experience” and said being assigned to the university nine years ago was “a dream come true.”

“I’m going to miss Penn State,” he said. “I’m going to miss the sports, the students, the faculty and staff. God called me to Penn State, but now God has called me back here and I’m going to do the best I can.

“People ask me if I’m happy to be back (at St. Vincent), and I am. But how can anybody be happy leaving Happy Valley?”

Taking Father Fred’s place as director of campus ministry is Father Stephen Honeygosky. Father Stephen was most recently a teacher of English literature at the University of Pittsburgh and before that was director of campus ministry at St. Vincent College.

Father Stephen said that so far he has been impressed with the level of student involvement at Penn State. But, he also acknowledged that the transition between pastors has been difficult at times.

“Change is always a little awkward at the beginning,” he said. “People have come up to me and said ‘I miss Father Fred.’ And I say ‘You should miss Father Fred. If you don’t miss your pastor, he hasn’t done his job.’ But at the same time people are excited and enthusiastic about the changes.”

Father Stephen said some of the changes he hopes to make are to get more students active in the Penn State Catholic Community, to increase the number of ecumenical services, to develop a community council of students, staff and local residents and to develop more intellectual and scriptural programs.

Also new to the Penn State Catholic Community is Father David Griffin. Father David also is a former director of campus ministry at St. Vincent.

Some students expressed regret over Father Fred’s departure, as well as optimism for the future.

“I would say that it’s a huge chunk of my life that’s no longer there. He’ll be missed a lot,” said Bryan McKinney (senior-health policy and administration). “But I have extreme confidence in (Father Stephen and Father David) that they’ll be able to meet the challenges of the Catholic Community.”

Becky Thomas (junior-aerospace engineering) echoed this sentiment. “It leaves a hole here in the Catholic community, but we have two new priests that can fill that,” she said.

View Entore Article and Comments… Here

New priests replace Father Fred
By Sarah Rothman
Penn State University Collegian
Thursday, Aug. 30, 2001