Father David Anderson Excited To Bring Byzantine Liturgy To WCC Students As Newest College Chaplain

The chaplaincy of Wyoming Catholic College has always sought to nurture the spiritual life of students through the sacraments and liturgy by providing daily opportunities for confession and the Eucharist, giving spiritual direction and retreats, and offering the Mass in both the Ordinary and the Extraordinary Forms. This next year, however, the liturgical life of the College will deepen further through the services of our new chaplain, Fr. David Anderson, a priest of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. While Wyoming Catholic has periodically held Byzantine liturgies in the past, the 2019–2020 school year will see a unique flourishing of the College’s liturgical life as Fr. David joins our current chaplain, Fr. Paul Ward. 

Fr. David first heard of Wyoming Catholic College at its inception, yet he never envisioned one day serving as its chaplain. For the past twenty years, he has been the pastor of a small Eastern Catholic mission in Ukaih, California, and has loved leading its intimate community. But in April 2018, when Fr. David lead his yearly retreat for the monks of Christ in the Desert Monastery, he met Kyle Washut, the College’s Acting Academic Dean, on retreat with his family. During a conversation with Mr. Washut and Fr. Simeon (formerly Fr. Robert Cook, one of the College’s three founders) about how beneficial it would be for Wyoming Catholic to have a Byzantine chaplaincy, Fr. David was directly asked if he’d be interested—and he accepted. “As I go around the country leading retreats, many people ask if I’d be interested in helping with such projects. Most of the time, I never hear from them again. But in September 2018, Kyle began calling me. And so began the process of coming here.”

Although there are many logistical challenges in bringing regular Divine Liturgy to the College community—“the Byzantine liturgy is expansive and needs room,” which is difficult to find in a small community—Fr. David is excited to surmount these difficulties so that “the fullness of the Church’s tradition can be offered to the students.” “It is wonderful,” says Fr. David, “to have the ability, even for a short period of one’s life, to be immersed in an expression of the same Faith through a different colored window. It widens and deepens one’s understanding of the Faith’s reality.” The College has a unique opportunity to provide the necessary immersion, since it is not bound to the same liturgical constraints as a parish: “The College has a chance to do liturgies well, both externally and internally. Going to a different rite only once in a while is like visiting the zoo or botanical gardens. You must go often to learn about its heart.” 

Born in Jamestown, New York, Fr. David graduated from Wadhams Hall College with a B.A. in philosophy. In 1983, he was ordained to the priesthood for the Orthodox Church and served for four years as pastor of St. Michael Church in Portage, PA, before helping develop the newly-created Antiochian Evangelical Orthodox Mission in 1987. For the next eleven years, he served at parishes in Washington and California before being received into the Ukrainian Catholic Church in January, 1999. Since then, he has lived in Ukaih, California, serving as the administrator of St. Peter Eastern Catholic Mission and an instructor of philosophy at Mendocino College. Fr. David has taught many classes on the early Church Fathers and the liturgy for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, the Magdala Apostolate, and the Monastery of Christ in the Desert, and has extensive experience translating for St. Vladimir Seminary Press (including their editions of St. Basil’s On the Holy Spirit and St. John Damascene’s On the Divine Images). He has also translated liturgical texts for the Orthodox Church in America, and filmed several catechetical series for the Christian Activist. The entire college community looks forward to welcoming him in the upcoming year. 

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