Former Seton Hall priest turns negative into many positives
The Rev. Warren Hall has not let his removal from his position as Director of the Office of Campus Ministry last year slow him down. He is currently working at two parishes nearby— The Catholic Community of Saints Peter and Paul in Hoboken and St. Lawrence Church in Weehawken, N.J.
“Hoboken is a very vibrant and diverse community so it fits my interests and style very well,” Hall said in an email. “There are many young professions and many young families with children. Our parish has a fantastic family mass which is a lot of fun to be a part of.”
Hall is also going back to school at Montclair State University to study alcohol and drug addiction counseling so he can use it in his ministry.
Hall said he is working on ways to incorporate his interest in sports and spirituality into the Church by writing and forming a running group, this interest was a “big part” of his ministry at Seton Hall.
“I miss SHU a lot. I loved my time ministering with the students and particularly with the student athletes,” Hall said. “My course on Sports and Spirituality was great fun to teach and I think the students enjoyed its unique take on everyday spirituality as well.”
On how leaving Seton Hall has impacted who he is today, Hall said, “Challenging situations will happen in all of our lives whether we are 20 years old, 50 years old and beyond. The key is to learn from the challenges and use what we have learned to better ourselves and our approach to life.”
Hall was recently named as having one of the most powerful coming out stories of 2015 by Towleroad, a LGBT news source.
“I’ll begin by saying that in the list of achievements I have hoped for my life, being named a ‘powerful coming out story’ was not on my radar. However, if it means that my story can help other LGBT people with self-acceptance as well as help parents to understand and accept their children than I’ll gladly take it,” Hall said.
“I have received literally hundreds of messages from LGBT people and a lot of parents seeking my thoughts and advice so this has become an opportunity for me to ‘minister’ in an unexpected way,” he added.
Hall’s gay orientation was something he said he has understood since high school.
“Given the circumstances of my firing from SHU I felt it was time to put it out there (publicly). I did not consider myself “closeted” but neither did I feel the need to share it,” Hall said.
When asked to elaborate on being named one of the most powerful coming out stories, Hall said, “Is it easy to come out? No. However, is it necessary for a healthy sense of self to live freely? Yes, especially in spite of what others, including religions may say. Hopefully the day will come when there is no such thing as ‘powerful coming out stories’ because they will just be ‘stories about people.”
The Rev. Robert McLaughlin, director of Campus Ministry, took Hall’s position when he left. McLaughlin, who goes by “Father Mac,” came from St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Cedar Grove, N.J.
“It’s never an easy thing for someone to criticize themselves, but I think it’s going pretty well,” McLaughlin said in regard to the transition.
He added, “There’s a certain loyalty to the bishop and he moves priests around according to the needs of the diocese so Fr. Hall was moved out and I was moved in.”
Heather Stocking, a junior early childhood elementary and special education and English major, said that Hall left an impact on her life.
This impact Stocking said was made through Hall “always being a present member of the community, being super involved with campus ministry, and just always being that friendly person to come to mass or stop and talk to you on your way to class.”
Alexandra Gale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org