Helene Paharik Joins Seminary Faculty


For Helene Paharik of Greensburg, Saint Vincent Seminary has been a part of her life for a long time. A member of the Class of 2007, she earned a master of arts degree in New Testament Theology, magna cum laude. Now she has returned as a member of the adjunct faculty.

“My years here spanned about a decade,” she said. “I started here part-time while my four children were small and I was working in the Diocese of Greensburg. I liked the prayer life and I had a great time in my classes.”

She recalls Father Thomas Acklin, O.S.B., Brother Elliott Maloney, O.S.B., Brother Benedict Janecko, O.S.B., and Father Demetrius Dumm, O.S.B., as particular favorites. “It was a joy to be here,” she added.

She brings a breadth of experience to the classroom. She has been an adjunct professor of theology at Saint Vincent College since 2016, and is currently engaged in doctoral studies at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, with an anticipated completion date of 2020. Her dissertation, which is about one-third completed, is in Dogmatic Theology and entitled “An Ontological Hermeneutic of Missiology as Friendship Love.”

“I have always been interested in Catholic-Jewish Dialogue and Catholic social doctrine,” she said, noting a desire to foster reverence and reconciliation in Jerusalem.

During the fall semester she has been teaching Ecclesiology, Missiology and Ecumenism, which draws on her doctoral research and her experience with interfaith dialogue. In addition to the theoretical aspects of the topic, she is also integrating resources, via group projects within the classroom, so that the seminarians will be able to develop resources to take with them to parishes when they are ordained.

Paharik has published numerous articles in The Catholic Accent and Pittsburgh Catholic, as well as a recent article in The Priest magazine.

She has received Seton Hill University’s Dolan Prize for Excellence in Theological Study and its Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award, is a member of the theology academic honor society Theta Alpha Kappa, and the academic honor society, Alpha Lambda Delta. She received the Salt and Light Award from the Diocese of Greensburg in 2005 for the “Bethlehem Project,” a ministry to prevent homelessness; and has received two ecclesial honors, the Dame of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Seplucher, 2011, and Commander of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher, 2015. She has also received a Humanitarian Award from the Pittsburgh Islamic Center for leadership in the Beit Benedict Peace Academy.

A member of Saint Vincent Basilica Parish, she is married to Dr. James G. Paharik. They are the parents of four children.