Being the youngest of any group can be tough, but Father Daniel Kredensor, 32,—the youngest priest to be named a pastor in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia—says he’s up for the challenge.
“This is going to be an exciting adventure. I know there are and will be difficulties but the coolest part about this is, me and the parishioners, we’re going to go through this journey together,” Kredensor said.
“Me being the youngest pastor in the history of the archdiocese, that’s pretty exciting, but I always try to keep myself humble and that’s knowing that I’ve been given a great task to do the work of a pastor.”
Kredensor, a native of Lansdale, Pa., most recently served as a theology teacher at Archbishop Carroll High School in Radnor.
His appointment as pastor of the newly merged St. Ignatius and Our Mother of Sorrows Parishes in West Philadelphia gives him the difficult task of facilitating the remnants of the Parish merger while also adjusting to the shift from teaching to pastoring, and from suburbia to inner-city living.
“From a Parish standpoint we had somewhat of a falling out with the merge. So, we have to work to regain or invite them back and say hey we want you to worship with us again,” he said.
“West Philly, other than being over there with some of my friends when we were in college, I didn’t really know much about it. Just walking around I can see that, wow, it’s an area that needs a lot of work.”
The “work” Kredensor mentions—inner-city ministry—is an area he has both unique experience and passion for.
As a young priest, Kredensor got the opportunity to shadow his uncle’s ministerial efforts when he was a pastor in inner-city Kingston, Jamaica. Following that experience, Kredensor spent some time doing ministry at St. Martin de Porres Church in North Philadelphia. Both experiences, he said, broadened his perspective on ministering to people from all walks of life.
“I spent ten weeks down there ministering with my uncle and it was a great experience. That’s where my mind was blown open about church and at that point, when I got to Jamaica, my idea of church was no longer the church of the suburbs for me, it now was a worldwide church,” Kredensor said.
“I also saw the poverty and the violence and hurt in a place that’s very poverty stricken. That, for me, reinforced the whole mission of the church which is to bring the gospel of Christ, but also to serve everybody, the poor, the rich, the physically deformed, whoever it may be, we should be there.”
Monsignor Michael Picard, pastor of Saint Andrew Parish in Newtown, Pa., served as a mentor to Kredensor during his early years in the priesthood.
Picard says Kredensor’s passion for people and his past experiences make him the right man for the job.
“He is very energetic, very generous with his time and efforts and very considerate of people and their needs and he certainly has the intelligence to manage the logistics of bringing two parishes together. He certainly was prepared for that early on, doing inner-city ministry. He had expressed that as a primary desire, on his part, to do that kind of work and he is now being given an opportunity to develop those skills at this Parish,” Picard said.
Kredensor enters the archdiocese following a landmark priest-abuse case that led to the removal of three of its veteran priests. With regard to the diocese’s tainted history, he says, the best way to deal with the past is to move forward.
“I’ve always said that I felt that my era, my year of priests in the priesthood, we’re more or less gonna be the maintenance men of the church,” he said. “We’re gonna have to clean up. We’re gonna have to polish, throw things out, in the sense of the things that were bad. And I knew that five years ago when I got ordained that that’s what I was going to be called to do; figure out how to do things in new, and better ways.”