Alumnus Will Serve as Chaplain for University Ministry

July 29, 2016

A Saint Leo alumnus has returned home to the university. The Reverend Kyle Smith has been named chaplain of University Ministry, and he will serve and nurture the spiritual needs of Saint Leo University’s students, faculty, and staff.

A Florida native, Smith was raised in Land O’ Lakes, FL, and graduated from Land O’ Lakes High School. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in middle grades education with a focus on teaching mathematics from Saint Leo in 2007.

Father -Kyle

“In college, I began to discern about the priesthood, and I started seminary in the fall of 2007 at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami, FL,” Smith said. 

Discernment is a time of prayer and discovery, when a man or woman examines his or her life to determine if there is a religious calling.

In the spring of 2009, Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and moved on to St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, FL, to begin his study of theology.

Smith earned his Master of Divinity in 2014. “I enjoyed my time in seminary and recall many excellent experiences there. I was ordained to the sacred priesthood in May of 2014 for the Diocese of St. Petersburg.”

He celebrated his first Mass at his home church of Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Land O’ Lakes. Since his ordination, he has served as the parochial vicar at St. Cecelia Catholic Church in Clearwater, FL.

“I am excited to be returning to Saint Leo,” Smith said.  “Campus ministry is an exciting place to be right now. Programs throughout the country are doing incredible work with university students.

“Here in Florida alone, we have amazing campus ministry programs at Florida State University, the University of Florida, University of Central Florida, and the University of South Florida,” he continued. “If we can parallel the results they have achieved at other universities around the state at Saint Leo, I would consider us very fortunate.”

There are six aspects of a campus ministry, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. These include: forming community; appropriating faith; forming conscience; educating for peace and justice; personal development; and developing leaders for the future. And Smith hopes to incorporate all of these in University Ministry.

“I appreciate that students come from all walks of life and different faith experiences,” he said. “If a student wants to live their faith, I would like to help give him or her the tools that allow the student to be successful in that desire. If they are struggling with their faith, to enter into the struggle with them. If they have no faith, to let them know that they have a listening ear in times of need, if nothing else.”