Rev. Shawn O. Malarkey is the son of Thomas J. and Lesley E. Malarkey of West Sunbury, Pennsylvania. He is a 1992 graduate of Moniteau High School, West Sunbury. He earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary and kindergarten education from Pennsylvania State University in 1996 and a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from Duquesne University in 1998. In 2001 he earned the master of arts degree from Saint Vincent Seminary, with highest honors. He also received the Sacred Scripture Award, chosen by the Sacred Scripture faculty. It is given to the graduating student who has demonstrated excellence in the study of Sacred Scripture. In 2002 he earned the master of divinity degree with high honors, and the Omer U. Kline, O.S.B., Homiletics Award.
This article is from The Pittsburgh Catholic of June 28, 2002.
By John Franko
PITTSBURGH — Father Shawn Malarkey was working toward a degree in elementary education at Penn State University’s main campus when he really began to feel a call to the priesthood.
He began to discern his call through personal prayer and by looking to the example of priests in his life, among them Father Fred Byrne, a chaplain at Penn State.
He said the process was stressful at times, and it wasn’t until he took some time to hike along the Appalachian Trail following graduation that he was able to come to a firm decision. He entered St. Paul Seminary in the fall of 1996.
Father Malarkey’s road to the priesthood ended when he was one of five men ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Donald Wuerl June 22 at St. Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood.
He said the ministry and service of his seminary experience helped him grow in his ability to empathize with the plight of others.
He found strength in his prayer life and through the support of family and friends. He said prayer helped give him a clear perspective on how he should live out his call.He also spoke of the influence of Fathers Edward Burns and Bob Connolly, vice rectors at St. Paul. “They were two solid figures during the tough times,” he said.
Father Malarkey completed the pre-theology program at St. Paul in 1998 and entered the theology program at St. Vincent College in Latrobe that fall.
His formation included pastoral experience at St. Columbkille in Imperial and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Bellevue. He said the experience of working with parishioners highlighted the distinct difference between intellectual formation and the practical application of ministry.
“When you’re there on weekends, you’re really living your ministry,” he said.
Father Dennis Buranosky, pastor of Assumption, said Father Malarkey is an outstanding pastoral person whose greatest forte is people.
“He was a joy to mentor,” he said. “He’s going to be an outstanding parish priest.”
Father Malarkey is eager to begin his ministry and share in the lives of his new parishioners.
He said the call to the priesthood can be lost in the noise of today’s world. He said those considering a call must open their hearts to the Lord.
“God does call,” he said. “It’s our responsibility to do our best to listen.”
Father Malarkey is the son of Lesley and Thomas Malarkey of West Sunbury. His home parish is St. Alphonsus in Boyers / Murrinsville. He is a 1992 graduate of Moniteau High School.