At a young age, Father David Kashangaki, CSC, began to feel the call of the Holy Spirit leading him toward a priestly vocation. That call that would take him across oceans fueled a strong desire to lead others to the Catholic faith. “I had a sense of the calling from about third grade, and I just began to look for ways to be as true to that as possible,” he recalled. This year, Father Kashangaki is celebrating 25 years of priesthood.
Attending Mass, daily prayer and many hours in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament through the coming years continuously strengthened his desire for priesthood, he continued. The question remained, where would he live out this vocation?
Although born and raised in the East African City of Nairobi, Kenya, he was not a Kenyan citizen. This meant he would not be able to go through the typical vocations process in the Archdiocese of Nairobi. His new task would be to discern what religious community he would be joining. This would be no simple feat, as he was surrounded by many, all of them influential in his life of faith. “Most of the contact I had growing up was with religious community members. We had the Spiritans, the Consolata Missionaries, the Guadalupe Fathers, and that influence was constantly present in my life,” he fondly recollects.
With this thought in mind, he set off for the United States, where he began his undergraduate studies in Washington, D.C. Here, he would come across the Congregation of the Holy Cross. After learning of their ministries in East Africa, and with several visits to the University of Notre Dame, he knew this was the community the Holy Spirit was calling him to join.
He returned to East Africa and joined the Congregation in 1989. He completed formation and his theology degree in Kenya and Uganda. In 1997, he was ordained a priest in his home city of Nairobi, where he remained for the next three years and became a candidate in the CSC formation program to help other young men discerning their vocations. He then returned to the University of Notre Dame to complete his Master’s Degree in Political Science. Upon completion, he returned to Uganda to teach philosophy. Once again, the call of the Holy Spirit pulled him back to the United States.
In 2011, he found a home in the South Bend community, as Parochial Vicar at St. Patrick and St. Hedwig parishes, where he has remained to this day. Among the many powerful and life-changing moments in Father Kashangaki’s life as a Holy Cross priest, directing the St. Patrick RCIA program has been one of the most important and rewarding.
“Those one-on-one or two-on-one encounters of bringing people to the faith have been so incredibly valuable to me,” he shared.
While Father Kashangaki’s priestly journey has taken him much further than most, his home of the last 10 years holds an incredibly special place in is heart.
“I think the people I have met over the last 10 years and being in this community have been hugely vital to my growth.”
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