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Building the City of God

Msgr. Chanel Jeanty

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Born Feb. 10, 1972, in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Father Jeanty came to the U.S. in April 1990 to join his parents, who were already living in Pompano Beach. He began studying accounting at Broward Community College while working full time, but entered the seminary in August 1996. He was ordained for the archdiocese on May 15, 2004, and served as associate pastor at St. Bartholomew Parish in Miramar until 2006, when he went to Rome to study canon law. He was named archdiocesan chancellor for canonical affairs in September 2010, and also serves as a judge in the Metropolitan Tribunal and pastor of St. Philip Neri Parish in Miami Gardens.

Currently Msgr. Jeanty is Pastor at St. James Church.

When he knew he wanted to be a priest:

"It was only after I came here. I was doing everything else — pursuing a career, I had a girlfriend, I was involved in youth ministry and church. … There was a void in my heart calling me, as if this wasn’t enough.” The climax of his discernment came, by “God-incidence,” on the same date he would later be ordained a priest, May 15: “Jesus appeared to me in a dream. He said, ‘Chanel, come to me.’ I woke up from the dream; never slept the rest of the night. I called up the vocations director that morning and said, ‘I’m entering the seminary"

Person or event that triggered his vocation:

"It’s all a mystery to me. The seed was planted in my heart."

What he would be doing if he had not become a priest:

"Probably a college professor, teaching philosophy or something that has to do with humanity, with the arts. I love philosophy."

What the seminary did not prepare him for:

"There’s no way that I would imagine that I would end up being the chancellor of the archdiocese. The seminary doesn’t prepare you for that."

Most difficult aspect of being a priest:

"To stand in the threshold of being the very incarnation of God is so mind-boggling. Hopefully you know your limitation."

"To stand in the threshold of being the very incarnation of God is so mind-boggling."

His description of the ideal priest:

"To be able to satisfy the hunger that everyone has for the infinite, the divine, for God. That’s where I come in."

Priestly stereotype that should be discarded:

"I know people expect a priest to be a role model and a great human being. That’s as it should be. But we’re certainly not supermen. All of us have to struggle with our limitations."

What he does on his day off:

"He likes to go to the beach. “I simply enjoy the outdoors, read a good book."

What he does on his day off:

Favorite movie:

"Kingdom of Heaven,” “Gladiator,” “Avatar” and other epic-type movies whose message is, “What good would it be for a man to live in this world and not make it a better world?"

Father Jeanty, seen here during a Pastoral Center Christmas party, taught himself to play the guitar while in the seminary. Eventually, he bought an acoustic guitar for $1,200. “It’s still my companion. It was a great investment.

Favorite TV series:

"I don’t have time."

Favorite book:

"The Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck

Favorite type of music:

"As long as it sounds good, that’s me. Give me a good sound, a good lyric and I love it already"

Person he most admires:

"My mother. She wouldn’t expect from me anymore than what she knows I can do. But she accepts me even when I don’t do what she knows I’m capable of. If I could live up to her, I would wake up a better man every day."

His greatest disappointment:

"To not have made the best of the opportunities I have had as a person."

His greatest joy:

"Whenever I say ‘yes’ to a call to serve, it’s going to be the place of (my) greatest joy."

His harshest critic:

“"People who aren’t as easygoing as I am. I drive them nuts. They say I’m too relaxed, too peaceful. I’m always keeping my cool"

Regrets:

"None. The stupid things that I’ve done have brought me to be the person that I am now and helped me to see a different perspective, to be a better human being for others"