Manhattan — While many new faces will arrive at the St. Isidore Catholic Student Center when school begins, a new face to the diocese was welcomed June 18 when Father Drew Hoffman began as the parochial vicar and assistant chaplain. “I was very much impacted by Catholic ministry as a student, so I have a real heart for that,” said Father Hoffman, who concluded two years as Parochial Vicar at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. He is assigned to the Salina Diocese for two years. “If it’s a young man discerning the priesthood, a young woman discerning religious life or young man and woman discerning married life, it’s a hope the presence (at a college campus) will continue to promote vocations.”
He joins Father Gale Hammerschmidt, who is the co-vocation director for the Salina Diocese. “The Diocese of Salina is very grateful to Bishop Kemme and his personnel board for allowing Father Hoffman to minister at St. Isidore's in Manhattan,” Bishop Jerry Vincke said. “I am also grateful for Father Hoffman’s ‘Yes’ to spend time in our diocese. He will be a great blessing to the many students and others who attend St. Isidore’s.”
Father Hammerschmidt said 13 individuals from K-State departed the campus to pursue either a priestly or religious vocation last year. Father Hoffman said three young men from K-State entered the seminary for the Wichita Diocese last year. “The work of the priests at K-State has been bearing much fruit,” he said. “I pray that continues.” “The Diocese of Wichita is a Stewardship Diocese and as such, we are called to entrust our resources to God, who can never be outdone in generosity,” said Wichita Bishop Carl Kemme. “In sharing Father Drew Hoffman and allowing him to serve at St. Isidore’s on the campus of Kansas State University for two years, we are trying to be good stewards of the many blessings God has bestowed upon us, including the blessings of good, holy and healthy young priests.”
One aspect of evangelization on the K-State campus is the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) missionaries. Father Hoffman said FOCUS missionaries greatly influenced his willingness to explore seminary studies. “My last year at KU was FOCUS’s first year,” he said. “They were instrumental in my discernment of my vocation. Many of my close friends are FOCUS missionaries. I have a debt of gratitude, I’m excited to be a part of them.”
In addition to the FOCUS connection, both of Father Hoffman’s siblings attended K-State. “They loved St. Isidore’s,” he said. “As an older brother, similar to a parent, you hope your younger siblings will practice the faith as they grow. To see both of them go through St. Isidore’s and see them come out as good, practicing Catholics, I owe a debt of gratitude.” Additionally, his brother, Nate, is the Stewardship and Development Administrator at St. Isidore’s.
As a diocesan priest, Father Hoffman said doing work outside of the diocese in a missionary capacity was not on his radar. “It definitely was a surprise,” he said of his new assignment. “This is not something I thought would be a possibility, but it’s a thrill to learn about it.” Because many students in Manhattan grew up in Wichita, the assignment is a logical one.
Father Hoffman is the oldest son of Mark and Sue Hoffman. He grew up in Wichita, and attended Bishop Carroll Catholic High School before attending the University of Kansas for two years. He then attended Conception Seminary College in Conception, Mo. and Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis. He was ordained a priest May 27, 2017, by Bishop Carl Kemme in Wichita.
“I’m very excited about being a part of the K-State community, the St. Isidore’s community and the Salina Diocese,” Father Hoffman said. “My heart is on fire for this opportunity.”