Fr. Michael is Entering a Time of Discernment to Consecrated Life



Cleveland, May 4, 2018 – Fr. Michael Denk is entering into a time of discernment to consecrated life.  The Diocese of Cleveland has granted Fr. Michael Denk a leave of absence to pursue formation in the Voluntas Dei Institute.  Father Michael remains a priest of the Cleveland Diocese but is granted a release from diocesan assignment.

The Voluntas Dei Institute’s motto is: “Voluntas Dei per Mariam Immaculatam” – “God’s Will through Mary Immaculate.”  The Institute is composed of baptized people, both lay, married, and ordained, who live the evangelical counsels of obedience, poverty, and chastity in the midst of the world to be “salt of the earth,” “light of the world,” and “leaven in the dough.

During this time of discernment Fr. Michael will become an aspirant. This stage allows the Institute to get to know the candidate (aspirant), his qualities, suitability, and dispositions at the same time the aspirant will become acquainted with the institute, this new way of life, and Apostolic objectives while deepening his vocation.

Secular Institutes are a new form of consecrated life, officially recognized since 1947 when Venerable Pope Pius XII gave official approval to secular institutes as an original form of consecrated life within the Catholic Church.  It is an Institute of “Pontifical Right” which means it was either created by the Holy Father or has his approval and blessing.

“I am deeply and forever grateful,” Fr. Michael affirms, “for the formation that I received in the Diocese of Cleveland, for my eleven years of service in parish ministry, and especially for my call to the priesthood – I truly love being a priest!  And in recent years I have increasingly felt God urging me to a “call within my call” as a priest – to dedicate myself and my priesthood more deeply to evangelizing with modern media. I am grateful that the Diocese has permitted me to this time to pursue discernment for consecration with Voluntas Dei, and I am delighted that Voluntas Dei has accepted me into the process of formation.”

Secular institutes are Catholic organizations that function much like religious communities of priests, brothers, or sisters, though usually without a house or building of any kind.  Most members of secular institutes do not live together (though some do), and they lead their lives in the world while dedicating themselves to God. Each member gives witness to the Christian life through whatever profession or work he or she has been called to do.  A secular institute has a range of members in a variety of occupations. But, like yeast added to the dough, members of secular institutes make Christ known and loved wherever they are and in whatever they do, ever-deepening their commitment to God and the church along with others in their institute

As a member of Voluntas Dei Institute, Fr. Michael will live the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.  Every member of the Institute must provide for himself or herself, as the Institute does not provide any compensation or financial assistance, and during his leave, the Diocese will not be contributing to Fr. Michael’s sustenance, salary, insurance, or retirement.  The Prodigal Father will be assisting in his basic needs. Fr. Michael believes that this is God’s call for him and that God will provide for his living and sustenance.

During this time, and with the Voluntas Dei Institute’s permission, Fr. Michael will continue the work he has been doing with The Prodigal Father.  Father will be using this time to discern the apostolic field where he can be the priest that God has called him to be, as well as to live out his specific “call within the call” in service to the entire Church.  He will live, work and minister wherever it best allows him to pray, write, create, develop, and go out to help people experience the wonderful life of prayer. He can live and evangelize anywhere in the country and all over the world.

Information on the Voluntas Dei Institute is available at voluntasdeiusa.org.  Information on secular institutes generally can be found at the United States Conference of Secular Institutes at secularinstitutes.org, and with the World Conference on Secular Institutes at cmis-int.org/en.  A collection of the Vatican’s documents concerning secular institutes is accessible at Vatican.org (Search Secular Institutes)

Fr. Michael’s five-year leave of absence commences on June 12, 2018, and his final weekend at his current diocesan assignment – St. Gabriel Church in Concord Township – will be June 2 & 3.

The Prodigal Father is eager to help Fr. Michael brings this ministry to new places throughout the country and all over the world.  Please e-mail support@TheProdigalFather.org for information on Father bringing his ministry to you.

The Prodigal Father Productions, Inc., is a tax-exempt Section 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation incorporated in the State of Ohio.  The Articles of Incorporation of The Prodigal Father Productions, Inc., filed with the Office of the Ohio Secretary of State, provided that The Prodigal Father Productions, Inc., is an organization functioning in accord with the traditions and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.  Although The Prodigal Father Productions, Inc., is located in the Cleveland, Ohio, area, it is not affiliated with the Diocese of Cleveland. A primary contributor of content to The Prodigal Father Productions, Inc., is Father Michael J. Denk, a priest of the Diocese of Cleveland, but The Prodigal Father Productions, Inc., does not speak for Fr. Denk, and The Prodigal Father Productions, Inc., and Fr. Denk are two separate and distinct entities.  All of the content used by The Prodigal Father Productions, Inc., is used with permission of, and under license with, all original authors, including Fr. Denk. ###

Image Credit: Sunshine Path on a Windy Road

About the Author Fr. Michael Denk

Fr. Michael was ordained into priesthood in the Diocese of Cleveland on May 12, 2007. He is dedicated to helping others encounter Christ through the celebration of the Eucharist, preaching, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, spiritual direction, and prayer.

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I'm Father Michael J. Denk, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. I am a contributor of content to The Prodigal Father Productions, Inc., a non-profit corporation functioning in accord with the traditions and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The corporation and I are separate, it doesn't speak for me, the parish, or on behalf of the Diocese of Cleveland, and I do not speak for it.