Join us in welcoming Father Matt Cannon to Trinity! Father Matt will join Father Kenneth Roth at Trinity as a co-chaplain! Father Matt serves as parochial vicar at Saint Theresa Parish and will be at Trinity every Wednesday starting on February 8. Father Roth already joins us every Tuesday. We are so blessed to have their priestly presence in our school with our students.
When did you first hear or consider the call to be a priest?
For me, it was as early as fifth grade. I heard the call for the first time around 10 years old. At the time, I didn’t really know what to think of it. I had always been in touch with the faith and had been excited about my faith. I always remember sitting in the school Mass on Fridays and really just being amazed at what the priest did on the altar, and being in awe of what he did.
That feeling really carried with me as I got older. In high school, I had a good friend and we started talking, and that’s how I found out he was discerning the priesthood at the same time. This was the first time that, other than my family, that I had someone my own age that I could talk to and share with about what I was feeling.
As I got to the end of high school, I wasn’t ready to make that final decision, that final jump into seminary. I really prayed and asked our Lord, “Lord, I’m really not sure what you’re calling me to do right now, but I know you’re definitely calling me to something special, whatever that is.” So I went through a year of college at St. Vincent’s and got involved in campus ministry. My experience there was good, but I never really felt fulfilled. I really sat down and started praying, asking the Lord what to do. That’s when it was clear to me that I should enter seminary and discern the priesthood, and thirteen years later, here I am.
You’re very involved with Saint Theresa School. What do you like about working with kids and about the Catholic school environment?
For me, the kids are the now and future of the Church, and as much as I can give a presence to them as a priest, the better. As they are able to know me more as a person and see that a priest is someone who has fun, who has hobbies, will come to their house for dinner, will cheer them on at their sports and events, the more they are able to connect me, and the priesthood, and the Church to their everyday.
A ministry of presence has always been important to me, especially with kids, and as I expand my work to Trinity, I’ll get to be with teens regularly as well as the younger kids at Saint Theresa. From a personal standpoint, when I’m with the kids at school I can see how joyful and happy they are, and that gives me strength and renewal. Being with kids is a gift to me.
What are you looking forward to at Trinity? How are you hoping to impact students?
I’m really looking forward to starting this new adventure. When I was in seminary, I helped at Delone Catholic, especially with the Kairos retreat and with visiting classes. Teenagers are at a different stage than the elementary kids. They’re at an important time in their lives, trying to figure out their next steps, what their vocation is, and what kind of person they’re going to be. Anything that I can do to help them discern their path and grow in their idea of themselves, I’m really thrilled to be part of that and I’m happy to help them grow in that way.
What do you feel are some of the challenges facing teenagers today, especially as regards their faith?
One of the biggest challenges is that many kids don’t feel comfortable talking about their faith. Even with peers who are Catholic, they can often feel self-conscious. One of the things that they’ll hopefully come to realize is that being Catholic and being a person of faith doesn’t mean you need to be this uber-religious person. God works through all sorts of people and activities and events. You don’t need to fit into a certain mold in order to be a Catholic, and it’s an important moment, when kids realize just how much God loves them, and in turn, how much they can love him right back.
What are some personal details about you, Father Matt?
I am the oldest of three brothers, and I’m going to be an uncle for the first time in June. I’m a huge Philadelphia sports fan, particularly of the Phillies and Eagles. My favorite TV shows are Blue Bloods and the Rookie. I also like to exercise and watch stand-up comedy (particularly Jim Gaffigan, Brian Regan and Tim Hawkins).