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Unplugged and on fire: Alumni profile

Unplugged and on fire: Alumni profile

Michael Dunekacke June 15, 2018

Father Daniel Reehil ’87 will tell you his path to priesthood wasn’t necessarily a pretty one.

“Me and my classmates, we are a part of the first generation to be constantly bombarded by images and sounds,” Reehil said.  “Living in all that noise is the biggest threat to people’s faith in 2018.”

In the late ’90s, Reehil was in the thick of the noise. He was working as a sales director for a major public relations firm on Wall Street, but he was depressed and suffering from the same nightmare every night.

Father Daniel ReehilA friend asked him to go with her to the town of Medjugorje, a popular site of Catholic pilgrimage, because she was nervous about traveling to Bosnia alone. Reehil happened to be renting a villa in Italy just across the Adriatic Sea from Medjugorje at the time, and he thought, how different could it be?

“I thought it would be like a vacation,” Reehil said. “It wasn’t. There were no hotels there at that time. You stayed in the homes of the people who lived there.

There were certainly no TVs or anything like that. In fact, there wasn’t even a whole lot of heat.”

But there was definitely a lot of faith. Every day the entire town (a couple of thousand people) attended Mass together.

“It inspired me to go to confession for the first time in 20 years. When I was finished, the priest told me he thought I was being called. Frankly, I thought he hadn’t understood my English that well.”

Twenty years later, as pastor of St. Edward Parish in Nashville, Tennessee, Reehil is fired up about fighting the noise.

“People tell me that they don’t know how to pray,” said Reehil. “Well, first you have to unplug for at least 20 minutes. Prayer needs to be all consuming. Contemplative. I wish everyone could share in that.”