Home Diocesan News Deacon Scott Kopp: ‘There was always part of me that wanted more’
Deacon Scott Kopp: ‘There was always part of me that wanted more’ Print E-mail
Written by Pete Sheehan   
Friday, 16 June 2017 14:19

When he was a child, Deacon Scott Kopp recalled, “I used to play priest.

“I’d flatten pieces of Wonder Bread for hosts and I cut a hole in my mother’s hand-knit afghan for a chasuble,” he said with a grin. “I don’t think my mother ever found out.”

Still, it took years and many twists and turns for young Scott Kopp’s imaginative forays into the priesthood to become reality. Deacon Kopp and Deacon Zachary Coulter (see related story, this page), are set to be ordained priests by Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., at 10:30 a.m. June 17 in St. Columba Cathedral, Youngstown.

Deacon Kopp grew up in Dover, Ohio. His father, David Kopp, is a retired steel worker. His mother, Mary Lou Comignaghi, works at a credit union. His stepfather, Michael Comignaghi, runs an insurance agency. He has one brother, David Kopp.

He attended Dover public schools and was very involved in his parish, St. Joseph, run by Capuchin Franciscan Friars.

He studied theater at the University of Akron, performing at E.J. Thomas Hall and the Akron Civic Theatre. So successful were his theatrical pursuits that he received an internship at the Santa Fe Opera – one of the bigger regional theater programs in the country, Deacon Kopp said.

Despite his theatrical successes, “I had problems with the moral environment” he encountered. He hoped that in larger programs the atmosphere would be different “but it was the same in Santa Fe.”

Although his boyhood interest in the priesthood had waned, Deacon Kopp said, that interest was reignited his junior year when “I was trying to figure out what was my faith, what was life, what did I believe.”

After graduating from Akron in 1997, Deacon Kopp decided to pursue a priestly vocation. From his association with the Capuchins at his parish, he applied to that community.

For one year, he studied at the Capuchin program at Borromeo Seminary, Wickliffe, Ohio, and lived in a couple of other Capuchin communities before advancing to a Capuchin novitiate near Pittsburgh.

Yet, after two years “I began to see that my calling was not to religious life.” So, he withdrew from the Capuchins and began “trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life,” as well as looking for gainful employment.

He got a job at St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Parma, as a youth minister. “I learned that I really liked youth ministry.”

One problem was “that I had to wait for the kids to get out of school to work with them and after school they might have other conflicts.” So, after two years he became a campus minster at Akron Archbishop Hoban High School, where he remained for a decade.

“It was wonderful,” Deacon Kopp said. He arranged retreats, talks, and service activities with the students and spent time with individual students. He found the students and the school community in general supportive of his endeavors.

“There were always people who were willing to help,” Deacon Kopp said. One project, which took students into the Akron inner city to help homeless and poor people, always had more students ready to sign up than there were openings.

In addition, because Hoban is sponsored by the Holy Cross Brothers, there were connections with Holy Cross communities around the world, offering opportunities for him to bring in speakers as well as for his students to visit other cultures.

“I took students to Mexico, to West Africa,” Deacon Kopp said.

While at Hoban, he also pursued graduate studies in theology at Walsh University, North Canton.

Though he enjoyed Hoban, Deacon Kopp noted, “there was always part of me that wanted more. It took me a while to figure it out,” but eventually he discerned a calling to the diocesan priesthood.

His home parish is in the Columbus Diocese but because Dover lies on the outskirts of that diocese, Deacon Kopp said, he felt closer to the Youngstown Diocese – particularly through his connection to Walsh.

He applied in 2012 and was accepted and began his studies at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati. Progressing through the seminary, he spent his parish internship at Kent St. Patrick. “It’s great parish with a lot of opportunities to do great things.”

Ordained a deacon last year, he finished his final year at the seminary in May and looks forward to beginning his priestly ministry. “I really want to get back to work.”

Deacon Kopp has a suggestion for anyone who might be thinking about their vocation – whether as a priest, deacon, religious, married person, or single person.

“Everyone has a calling but it has to be discerned,” Deacon Kopp said. He suggested that of the three basic things that most active Catholics do – going to Mass, prayer, and volunteer work – “just increase it a little.”

Rather than just going to Mass on Sunday, go one more day a week. If you pray five minutes a day, try 10. If you volunteer once a month, try increasing it to twice a month or once a week, he advised.

“Prayer, Mass, and service to others are all ways that God speaks to us,” Deacon Kopp said. Engaging in these practices, in addition to offering more opportunities to hear God’s voice, “will transform you to better hear Him even at other times.”


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