Bishop W. Shawn McKnight
Jefferson City Diocese
Bishop W. Shawn McKnight, born in 1968, grew up in a large Catholic family and attended Catholic schools.
He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Wichita on May 28, 1994. He earned a Master of Arts degree and a Master of Divinity degree from the Pontifical College Josephinum (1993-1994) and earned a Licentiate of Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome in 1999.
Bishop McKnight served as chaplain at Newman University in Wichita from 2000 to 2001, where at the same time he was an adjunct professor of theology and visiting scholar at the university’s Bishop Gerber Institute of Catholic Studies. In 2001, he earned a Doctor of Sacred Theology, also from the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm, and wrote a dissertation on the permanent diaconate. He later taught liturgy and homiletics at the Pontifical College Josephinum seminary from 2003 to 2008, where he also served as director of liturgy, dean of students, director of formation in the school of theology, and vice-president for development and alumni relations.
From 2010 to 2016, he served in Washington, D.C., as executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.
Bishop McKnight also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from the University of Dallas.
He was pastor at the Church of the Magdalen in Wichita, Kansas from July 2016 to January 2018.
CEO and President of 40 Days For Life
Shawn began as a volunteer in the pro-life movement while still in college. During this time, he helped lead the first ever local 40 Days for Life campaign. After graduating from college, Shawn was asked to serve as the executive director of the Coalition for Life, a local pro-life organization in Texas, made up of more than 60 churches. From its beginning, Shawn has been instrumental in growing 40 Days for Life nationally and then internationally.
Shawn is a regular media spokesperson, and his work has been featured on hundreds of outlets, including Fox News, The Laura Ingraham Show, The Drudge Report, The Guardian, USA Today, and Christian media including The Christian Post, National Catholic Register, Sirius XM Catholic Radio, EWTN Radio, and Focus on the Family.
Shawn is one of the most sought-after pro-life speakers, addressing audiences coast-to-coast and internationally. He has executive produced award-winning pro-life documentaries. Shawn co-authored the #1 top-rated Christian book: 40 Days for Life: Discover What God Has Done … Imagine What He Can Do and the new book What to Say When: The Complete New Guide to Discussing Abortion. He also wrote the bestselling books The Beginning of the End of Abortion and To the Heart of the Matter. Shawn lives in Texas with his wife and eight children.