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|Monsignor Michael Hohenbrink|
Conferral speech for the Distinguished Alumnus Award given at the 2014 Saint Meinrad Alumni Reunion
Presented July 29, 2014
Delivered by Fr. Damian Schmelz, OSB
Monsignor Mike Hohenbrink, you have said that you would not be where you are today if it was not for Saint Meinrad. You give credit to the monks who served as your teachers and mentors for preparing, forming and guiding you to becoming the priest you are today. It’s because of the healthy and wholesome environment they created that you say nurtured and sustained your ministry.
All these principles, established by a Benedictine education, are the foundations by which you have shaped, influenced and cared for thousands of souls in the Diocese of Toledo as an associate pastor, teacher, vocations director and pastor in your 40 years as a priest. There is no doubt that these souls would not be where they are today if it were not for you.
You are a three-time alumnus of Saint Meinrad – having graduated from the High School in 1966, the College in 1970 and the School of Theology in 1974. One might say the halls are filled with your insight and influence.
And although the original UnStable you helped construct remains but a memory, it’s the basis for and the legacy of the UnStable which lives on in its new home – a respite for relaxation, reflection and conversation for students, staff, coworkers and alumni.
After your ordination on May 25, 1974, you spent four years teaching and as an associate pastor in Fremont, Ohio. And then, for 15 years, beginning in 1978, you served the Diocese of Toledo as Vocations Director.
One of your writers of support stated, “Mike is a shepherd to his flock. During his long tenure as vocations director, he guided countless men and women through their discernment and formation.”
You served your first stint as pastor at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Toledo, Ohio, and now you have been pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Findlay, Ohio, since 2000. During that time, you have served on many boards and committees including the Board of Overseers here at Saint Meinrad for 19 years – two of which you served as chair of the board. Since 2010, you have been an emeritus member of the Board of Overseers.
Another writer of support noted your impact on his priestly ministry and on Saint Meinrad: “His example helped me fall in love with the priesthood and Saint Meinrad. His wisdom helped guide Saint Meinrad to continue to serve the Church in new and different ways, and his compassion and selflessness for those he serves in parish ministry made me want to be a better priest.”
For most of your priesthood, you have been involved with the Teens Encounter Christ retreats in the Diocese of Toledo – helping young people better hear God’s call in their lives. You’ve also served as dean for the St. Francis of Assisi Deanery in the diocese, on the Ethics Committee at the Blanchard Valley Health System and as chairman of the Ecumenical Ministerial Association in Findlay.
Through all your hard work and dedication to God’s people, you surely have made many of your mentors and teachers proud – the likes of Br. Lawrence, Fr. Hilary, Fr. Aurelius, Archbishop Daniel and many others. As has often been said, and as you often say, whenever someone spends time at Saint Meinrad, they leave with a new insight gained and a deepening in their relationship with God.
We would like to bestow on you Saint Meinrad’s Distinguished Alumnus Award for the insight you’ve given to Saint Meinrad, for your many years of service to your alma mater and for helping God’s people in countless ways deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ.