From Our New Pastor
Dear Epiphany Family,
Praised be Jesus Christ! In the midst of the challenges we face we can still praise Jesus because He is truly Lord of all; He is in control and has defeated hatred, sin, division, fear, anxiety, and death through the victory of His passion, death, and resurrection. He is our life, He is our hope, He is our all.
Since I was appointed to serve as your pastor back in mid-March I have been praying for you all. I humbly ask that you keep me in your daily prayers that God would guide, bless, and strengthen me to be a good shepherd for you all. I have heard so many good things about you all already. I have been looking forward to meeting you and getting to know you to better follow after Jesus with you. Certainly the times may make this more difficult but regardless we will remain united in prayer. I would like at least to introduce myself to all of you, my new family.
I grew up in the small village of Landeck, five miles southwest of Delphos (the southwest corner of our diocese) as the third of four kids. I have two older brothers (Dan lives near Landeck and Dave in Findlay), both married and each with two boys and a girl and a younger sister (Heidi lives in Tipp City) also married with three boys and a girl (with all those boys hopefully there will be another priest in the family!). My parents, Ralph and Gerry, continue to reside in Landeck and stay busy around the house, my dad’s farm (the family farm he bought after the death of my grandma), and chasing around their 10 grandchildren.
I was very blessed to grow up a short walk from St. John the Baptist Church. Growing up I never imagined myself becoming a priest (more about that another time), but I sure did serve a lot of Masses and was inspired by many faithful parishioners, especially my grandma. I attended little Landeck Elementary school (across the street from the church and which closed a year ago) and was blessed to receive religious education in the school and attend Mass weekly on Tuesdays after the official end of the school day. I then attended Delphos St. John’s for grades 7-12, graduating in 1995. I was very blessed by my Catholic education through both schools.
I attended the University of Findlay, graduating in 1999 with a bachelors in Environmental and Hazardous Materials Management also from the University of Toledo in 2001 with a masters in Chemical Engineering. My vocation story unfolded during my college and graduate school years. I worked for two years after being at UT, one year as an engineer and then another as a substitute teacher while I applied to become a seminarian for our diocese. I was very blessed to attend St. Meinrad Seminary in the rolling hills of southern Indiana. The Benedictine monks there were a great example of faithful work and prayer. I graduated there and was ordained for our wonderful diocese in 2009.
I have been blessed to serve as associate pastor of Norwalk St. Paul and chaplain of Norwalk Catholic school for three years, associate pastor of the Catholic Parishes of Sandusky (Holy Angels, St. Mary’s, and Sts. Peter & Paul) for two years, associate pastor of St. Joseph and St. Ann, Fremont, as well as chaplain of Bishop Hoffman Catholic school and presbyteral moderator of St. Michael’s, Kelleys Island, and Our Mother of Sorrows, Put-in-Bay, for one year. The past five years I was so blessed to serve as pastor of St. John’s in Defiance. I grew and learned so much and the Lord and His people there helped better form my heart as shepherd. I am now humbled to be able to love, serve, and walk with you.
I hope to meet you all soon. Let’s pray for one another, our Church, and our world.