Augustinians of Villanova: Father Kevin DePrinzio

(Left to Right) Fr. Kevin DePrinzio, O.S.A., Ph.D. with Fr. Carlos Urbina, O.S.A. and Fr. Joe Narog, O.S.A.

“Our spirit comes alive when we are together,” Father Kevin DePrinzio, O.S.A., Ph.D., said, describing the Order of St. Augustine. 

This week, Fr. Kevin offers Villanovans a glimpse into his life as an Augustinian at the University in the Augustinians of Villanova Column.

A native to the area, Fr. Kevin grew up about a half hour from Villanova in Delaware County. He attended Monsignor Bonner & Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High School from 1990-1994. During his junior year, he felt a calling to the Augustinian life given that he was surrounded by 10 inspiring Augustinian friars who taught at the school. Although these friars all had unique personalities and gifts, Fr. Kevin admired their strong, almost tangible friendship with one another. This brotherhood and sense of community attracted Fr. Kevin to the Augustinian life.

During Fr. Kevin’s Senior Year Retreat with the Augustinians, he spoke with an Augustinian priest about his interest in joining the Order of St. Augustine. Given that Fr. Kevin was going to attend Saint Joseph’s University, a private Jesuit university in Philadelphia and Lower Merion, the Augustinian priest suggested they stay in touch. 

As a student at Saint Joseph’s University, Fr. Kevin studied English and Secondary Education. He also had a passion for extracurricular activities on campus. Fr. Kevin worked as the Copy Editor for The Hawk, St. Joseph’s student-run newspaper, and he was very involved with Campus Ministry. Fr. Kevin attended and helped coordinate retreats while also participating in weekly Mass as a lector and Eucharistic Minister. During his time at Saint Joseph’s, the Jesuit priests would often speak with Fr. Kevin and confirm how God was calling him to the priesthood. 

“It was funny that the Jesuits at St. Joe’s knew that although I was being called to religious life, they knew that I was meant to be an Augustinian, not a Jesuit,” Fr. Kevin said.

After graduation, Fr. Kevin reconnected with the Augustinian priest from his high school and entered the Community in 1998, given his passion for secondary education and teaching, as well as his love for the Order of St. Augustine.

When he entered the Formation process, often referred to as the Seminary, he spent four years in Theological study and participated in a year-long retreat called the Novitiate. During the Novitiate, Fr. Kevin and others interested in becoming Augustinian friars prayed together, asking God if He was calling them to the Augustinian way of life. Fr. Kevin then spent his Pastoral year in ministry by returning to his old high school where he became the school’s minister and taught religion classes.

After Fr. Kevin’s Final Profession and Ordination, he was sent on his first official assignment to work in Campus Ministry at Merrimack College from 2004-2007. He then joined the Villanova community in 2007 in Campus Ministry and as the Vocation Director. Fr. Kevin reminisces often about his time as Villanova’s Vocation Director from 2007-2012 because he is grateful to have helped guide Villanova students who are now ordained, Augustinian priests: Fr. Bill Gabriel, Fr. Bryan Kerns and Fr. Dan Madden.

From 2012-2017, Fr. Kevin was sent to the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. where he studied and received his doctrine in Spirituality and Historical Study. He returned to Villanova afterwards as a full-time professor in Theology. 

“During my first year or so here at Villanova, I taught the introductory course for Theology, THL 1000,” Fr. Kevin said. “I loved having deep, theological conversations with the students. I always compare these classes to the Emoji with the exploding head because, as a class, we would open our minds to wonderful theological concepts and learn something new.”

Although he continues to teach THL 1000, Fr. Kevin recently accepted the role of Vice President of Mission and Ministry in 2020. 

“I love my job,” Fr. Kevin said. “I have the privilege of working with wonderful people in Mission and Ministry such as those in Campus Ministry, the Center for Peace and Justice, Catholic Relief Services and the Center for Faith & Learning.”

In his new role, Fr. Kevin helps ensure that the mission of Villanova reflects Augustinian values in every aspect. For example, Fr. Kevin and his team in the Office for Mission and Ministry frequently meet with alumni, benefactors and colleges on campus to help translate what Augustinian values look like in their organizations. During Homecoming Weekend, Fr. Kevin spent time with the Villanova Alumni Board to investigate how Augustinian values can be best applied to the 21st century. 

“To be an Augustinian is to be highly relational,” Fr. Kevin said. “I believe that there is a strong spirit of Augustinian community in the Villanova network.”

Fr. Kevin’s favorite part of working and teaching at Villanova is the strong sense of community. As a community, Fr. Kevin admires how Villanovans work together to become better individuals in whichever vocation God is calling them to. For those interested in pursuing religious life, Fr. Kevin encourages those men and women to be open to it because God might be asking them to dig a bit deeper.

“Don’t be afraid to explore that calling,” Fr. Kevin said. “It is a wonderful life of prayer, community, inclusivity, and service. It is a life worth exploring and living.”

Finally, Fr. Kevin is an avid fan of the three television shows “Ted Lasso,” “Game of Thrones” and “Lost.” Given that “Lost” frequently analyzes certain theological concepts and themes, Fr. Kevin often incorporates the television show into his homilies at Sunday Mass and in his Theology class discussions.