Augustinian of Note’s Keynote Address ‘Pierces Heart of Passion’

Fr. Kevin DePrinzio, O.S.A., vice president for mission and ministry at Villanova University and a member of Merrimack College’s Board of Trustees, gave this year’s lecture.
Photo of Fr. Kevin DePrinzio, O.S.A., speaking at the Collegiate Church of Christ the Teacher.
The Augustinian of Note speaker series aims to introduce the Merrimack community to the reach of the Order of St. Augustine while showcasing to Augustinian leaders how the Order’s mission and values are being lived out by Merrimack students.

Fr. Kevin DePrinzio, O.S.A., is no stranger to Merrimack College.

After graduating from Washington Theological Union in 2004, he was assigned to serve on campus until 2007 and is currently a member of the College’s Board of Trustees. On Wednesday, March 20, as vice president for mission and ministry at Villanova University, he was welcomed back as this year’s Augustinian of Note.

He began his keynote address in the Collegiate Church of Christ the Teacher with an unconventional twist – by showing a viral video of two toddlers arguing. One said their mother told them it was “raining” outside while the other said their mother said it was “drizzling.”

When he first saw the video, Fr. DePrinzio said this toddler tête-à-tête reminded him of current cultural disagreements between grown adults.

“Oftentimes it’s one-sided based on information that is given by other people,” he explained. “How often do we have strong opinions on something but really don’t have any information on it – just based on what was told to us?”

The video ended with one toddler poking the other in the chest, which led the accosted to proclaim, “You poked my heart!”

Fr. DePrinzio said he immediately saw the connection between this and Saint Augustine’s teachings. The source of Augustinian values, Fr. DePrinzio explained, is heartbreak. He quoted a line from Confessions, Book X, that reads “With your word, you have pierced my heart and I fell in love with you.”

“The love that Augustine is talking about…is the deepest kind of heartache,” he said. “It’s the source of passion. The word passion and its etymology in its Latin and Greek rendering means suffering, hurt, ache.”

Fr. DePrinzio continued that in order to “poke” one’s heart, we need to tap into their passions.

“That is, to really get in touch with what pokes everyone’s heart,” he continued. “In other words, when you find yourself in conversations like (those toddlers) – when things are getting angry, everything becomes one-sided and no one is really listening to each other – perhaps the real work in those moments is…to go underneath all of it and try to understand what makes their heart ache.”

The Augustinian of Note speaker series aims to introduce the Merrimack community to the reach of the Order of St. Augustine while showcasing to Augustinian leaders how the Order’s mission and values are being lived out by Merrimack students.

“I’ve had the privilege of knowing Fr. Kevin for many years,” said Fr. Daniel Madden, O.S.A., director of the Austin Scholars Formation. “When I was a senior at Villanova he really helped me discover my path (to the Augustinian brotherhood).”

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