Schenck grew up in a Jewish home. At 16, he was baptized in the Niagara River by a Salvation Army officer and later became a Protestant pastor, eventually founding his own New Covenant Tabernacle church in a Buffalo suburb. He later joined the Reformed Episcopal Church, serving several years as rector at an Anglican church in Catonsville, Md. Schenck converted to Catholicism in 2004. He has a BA from the Elim Bible Institute and a masters from Catholic University.
Fr. Schenck is best known as the head of the National Pro-Life Action Center and in 1992 was featured on the cover of Life magazine confronting a pro-choice demonstrator. He is married and the couple have eight children: Leah Crowne, Ari, Abraham, Jordan, Miriam, Marta, Isaac, and Eva.
Schenck had been ordained for only a few minutes when he administered communion for the first time as a Catholic priest. The first person to step forward and receive: Rebecca Schenck, his wife of 33 years.
Fr. Schenck will continue to work as the Diocese of Harrisburg's director of the Office of Respect Life Activities, and he will be an associate pastor at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament in Harrisburg.