Monsignor MankelA few of you who are regular readers may know that before Nicole and I moved from Knoxville to White Pine, we were members of Holy Ghost Catholic Church on Central Avenue. The pastor at Holy Ghost is Father Xavier Mankel, OP. In addition to being pastor at Holy Ghost, Father Mankel serves as the Vicar General of the Diocese of Knoxville. Father Mankel does and has done so much work for the Catholic community in East Tennessee that I have long thought that he deserved a title that reflected the life of service to others that he has lived. Since I know how humble Father Mankel is, I somehow doubt that the thought of receiving the honors due to exceptional clergy ever crossed his mind.
It certainly crossed my mind. Considering that Father Mankel serves not only as pastor of Holy Ghost but also serves as Vicar General of the Diocese (that makes him Bishop Kurtz' right hand man, for those of you who aren't Catholic) he is a busy man. Shortly before we moved, Father Mankel was helping to oversee a renovation project that will make it even easier for persons with disabilities to access the church at Holy Ghost. When there is a diocesan function, you are likely to find Father Mankel there. Yet in spite of his busy schedule, Father Mankel makes time for everyone. He serves as chaplain for the Knoxville Council #645 of the Knights of Columbus, and he rarely misses a meeting. Father Mankel always takes the opportunity to visit the sick who are in the hospital and who need to know that the Church is praying for them. The parish community at Holy Ghost has coffee and doughnuts twice a month in the church basement. Father Mankel always comes down and visits each table and says hello and asks how you are doing and tends to ask specific questions-largely because if there are problems in your life, Father Mankel needs to know about them. Need to get your spiritual life in order? Its okay, Father Mankel will make time to hear your confession and bring the Lord's forgiveness into your life-nevermind what else he had planned.
In this day an age when the priesthood is mocked and maligned by our selfish culture, and priests are viewed with suspicion or hatred, Father Mankel is one of those who can be held up as an example of what being a priest is supposed to be. Some months ago, I remember having a conversation with Nicole shortly before we moved after Mass one Sunday, and we talked about all the things Father Mankel does for the Catholic community. I commented "Father Mankel does so much, they ought to make him a Monsignor."
The title of Right Reverend Monsignor makes a priest a member of the papal household, and is a great honor for any priest who has not been elevated to the office of Bishop. In years past, it was a bit more common for priests who had rendered many years of service to the Church to receive the honor-today it is far less common.
Apparently, word has gotten to Rome that Father Mankel might deserve a little recognition. It was announced today at Mass that several Catholics in the Diocese of Knoxville will be receiving Papal Honors for service to the Church and the community. Among these would be two clergy, one of which was Father Xavier Mankel, OP, V.G., who will receive the honors of the title of Right Reverend Monsignor.
Monsignor Mankel recently celebrated his 50th anniversary in the priesthood. I can't think of a better anniversary present or a more deserving priest for this honor in our local Church.
Congratulations, Monsignor Mankel!
Monsignor Xavier Mankel, OP
Vicar General of the Diocese of Knoxville
Labels: Holy Mother Church