Catholic Priest and Author Receives John King Mussio Award from Franciscan University of Steubenville
Father Jeffrey Kirby, STD has been named the 2017 recipient of the prestigious Bishop John King Mussio Award for Faithful Service to the Church by Franciscan University of Steubenville. Named after the university’s founding bishop, the award is given annually to an alumnus in recognition of distinguished or faithful service to the Church through vocational ministry in the local church, church organizations, or through missionary work.
Kirby graduated from the university in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in history. In 2001, he was granted a master’s degree in philosophy and was peer-elected the “Graduate Student of the Year.”
While in Steubenville, Kirby served in the local transportation unit of the Army National Guard. He received an Honorable Discharge after completing his enlistment.
Kirby attended the Pontifical North American College in Rome and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Charleston, SC, in 2007. After ordination, Kirby served in multiple parishes throughout South Carolina.
In 2010, Kirby was named the vocation director by Bishop Robert Guglielmone. In this assignment, he was responsible for finding men and women for the seminary and convent. Kirby served six years in this position and worked extensively with local communities and young adults throughout South Carolina. These efforts won the attention of then-Governor Nikki Haley, who granted Kirby the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian honor.
Since 2013, Kirby has worked with Saint Benedict Press and Catholic Scripture Study International on parish-based adult formation programs. These various programs, Doors of Mercy, Luke: The Gospel of Mercy, and Jesus Revealed have been trailblazers in the field of adult catechetics. They have been nationally acclaimed and received awards from the Catholic Press Association and the Association of Catholic Publishers. In 2018, Kirby’s newest program, Kingdom of Happiness, will be released.
Kirby is the spirituality Contributor for the Crux news site. He is an adjunct professor of theology at Belmont Abbey College and Pontifex University. He is currently the parish priest of Our Lady of Grace in Indian Land, SC, which is one of the newest and fastest growing Catholic parishes in the southeast United States.
Kirby’s vocations work among young adults and his programs in adult catechetics were the areas identified in the citation granting him the award.
The award ceremony was held during the university’s homecoming in early October. Kirby was unable to attend, however, due to a previous speaking invitation on the university’s campus in late October.
Kirby will be speaking on the spiritual challenge in a secular culture during the annual conference of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists and will be presented with the John King Mussio Award during the Society’s banquet on Oct. 27.
Franciscan University of Steubenville is a private, co-educational Catholic university in eastern Ohio. It is run by the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular. It was founded in1946 and currently has about 2,700 students, 97 percent of which self-identify as Catholics.