NOTRE DAME, IN — Holy Cross Father Neil Wack, pastor of Christ the King Parish in South Bend, IN, has been appointed director of vocations for the Congregation of Holy Cross, effective July 1. Fr. Wack carries on the work of Fr. James Gallagher, C.S.C., who has been appointed director of campus ministry at the University of Portland.

“The United States Province is proud and grateful for the work Fr. Jim has done with vocations the last six years, and we are likewise eager for Fr. Wack to help young men discern God’s call in their lives – especially as a priest or brother in the Congregation of Holy Cross,” said Holy Cross Father Thomas J. O’Hara, provincial superior. Fr. Wack will also coordinate vocation promotion efforts in Holy Cross campuses, parishes, and other apostolates across the U.S.

Fr. Wack’s vocation story in his own words

Fr. Wack is the youngest of 10 children and has spent the last seven years as pastor of the parish he lived just two blocks from growing up. Christ the King Parish grew under his pastoral leadership to over 1,400 families and more than 500 students.

“That vitality is phenomenal and we are equally excited for that spiritual stamina to carry over into our Vocations Office,” Fr. O’Hara said.

Priests early on in Fr. Wack’s life, paved his own religious vocation. A great uncle was a priest with the Congregation of Holy Cross. He also followed what his brother, Fr. Bill Wack — who once served as director of André House in Phoenix — was doing during his seminary and early priestly life.

Fr. Wack was ordained 11 years ago and has spent his entire ministry in parish life. He once earned a “Distinguished Pastor” honor by the National Catholic Education Association for his outstanding support of Catholic education. Christ the King School has continued to be one of the flagship schools in the Diocese of Fort Wayne/South Bend under his leadership.

Fr. Wack intends to follow Blessed Father Basil Moreau mission to “Educate the mind and the heart, but never educate the mind at the expense of the heart.”

“Prospective seminarians most certainly have a need for information and education on the mission of Holy Cross, but I think it’s equally, if not more important, to convey the heart, or charism of Holy Cross, to prospective seminarians,” Fr. Wack said in a statement. “I look forward to helping young men identify and embrace the call of the Holy Spirit, and helping them apply for formation.”

“I have tried to echo Mary’s ‘yes’ to the angel Gabriel in what I do as a religious and priest,” Fr. Wack said.

Fr. Wack earned a degree in computer science before entering the seminary in 1997.