From St. Louis Review Online
by Barbara Watkins
Archbishop Raymond L. Burke will ordain nine men to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of St. Louis at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 24, at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, Lindell Boulevard and Newstead Avenue in the Central West End.
The Sacrament of Holy Orders will be conferred after the reading of the Gospel of the Mass. An announcement of the new priests’ assignments will be in an upcoming issue of the Review.
The soon-to-be-ordained priests will be Fathers Matthew Barnard, Patrick Driscoll, Brian Hecktor, Michael Houser, Eric Kunz, Edward Nemeth, Kevin Schroeder, James Theby and Noah Waldman.
All have earned master of divinity degrees and master of arts in theology degrees from Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. For the past year, all have served as transitional deacons, which carries the title "Rev. Mr."
This is the largest number of men to be ordained priests for the Archdiocese of St. Louis since nine men were ordained in 1987. In addition, another five Kenrick-Glennon seminarians are being ordained in coming weeks for other dioceses.
Following ordination there will be more than 100 men enrolled at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, more than half of them studying to be priests for the St. Louis Archdiocese.
Four men were recently ordained as transitional deacons for the archdiocese.
FR. MATTHEW BARNARD
Rev. Mr. Barnard, 29, is the son of Bill and Debbie Barnard of Oxford, Ind. His home parish is Little Flower in Richmond Heights.
An Indiana native, he attended Oxford Elementary School and Benton Central Junior/Senior High School in Oxford. After attending St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind., and Greenville College in Greenville, Ill., he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Louis University.
He served his supervised ministry at Loyola Academy in St. Louis, Assumption Parish in Mattese and Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Ferguson. His transitional deacon assignment was at Holy Trinity Parish in St. Ann.
He will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 25, at Little Flower Parish, 1264 Arch Terrace in Richmond Heights. Concelebrants will include Msgr. John Leykam and Fathers Lawrence Herzog, Theodore Rothrock and Christopher Weldon. Father Rothrock will be the homilist. A reception will be held following the Mass at Little Flower School.
Rev. Mr. Barnard said he first discerned a call to the priesthood as an altar boy, a call that continued through his school years. In his sophomore year at college, he decided to "give it a try" and spent two years at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.
"After that I left for a time, spending two years away from the seminary for further discernment. I graduated from St. Louis University and taught at St. Vincent High School in Perryville. During my time in Perryville, I decided to return to the seminary, as I finally realized what God was calling me to do and be.
"In spring of 2007 I transferred to the Archdiocese of St. Louis and was ordained to the transitional diaconate on Nov. 3. Since then I have been assigned at Holy Trinity Parish in St. Ann. Serving the people there has been a great joy, as well as a beneficial training ground for priestly ministry. As priesthood ordination approaches, I am very excited and continually affirmed in my vocation. I am grateful to God for the many gifts he has given me, most especially the gift of serving Him and His Church as a priest," Father Barnard said.
FR. PATRICK DRISCOLL
Rev. Mr. Driscoll, 48, is the son of James Driscoll and the late Loretto Driscoll and the stepson of Margaret Driscoll. His parents reside in Carlsbad, Calif. His home parish is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.
A California native, he is a graduate of elementary school and Santa Barbara High School there. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in public relations from the School of Journalism at San Jose State University, both in California. He attended St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, Calif.
He served his supervised ministry at St. Peter Parish in Kirkwood and St. Angela Merici Parish in Florissant. His transitional deacon assignment was at St. Mark Parish in Affton.
He will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 25, at the Shrine of St. Joseph, 11th and Biddle streets in Downtown St. Louis. Concelebrants will include Fathers William Pegnam, Robert McDermott and Thomas McDermott, OP. Father Thomas McDermott will be the homilist. A reception will follow the Mass.
Discussing his vocation, Rev. Mr. Driscoll said, "The Franciscan Friars at the Mission of Santa Barbara and the Jesuit Fathers at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, along with the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, were very positive influences. I received my first Holy Communion in 1967. It was a time, I would learn later, of great upheaval. But the Friars and Jesuits assigned to my parishes were men of great faith, and the Liturgy was always celebrated with much beauty and solemnity. This made a lasting impression upon me when I was a young altar boy and this I believe was the sowing of my vocation.
"Archbishop Burke has also been a tremendously positive influence upon me by his example of courage, compassion and holiness," Father Driscoll said.
FR. BRIAN HECKTOR
Rev. Mr. Hecktor, 32, is the son of Paul and Suzanne Hecktor of Marthasville. His home parish is St. Ignatius Loyola in Concord Hill, where his father serves as permanent deacon.
He attended St. Ignatius Loyola School and Washington High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in German language and culture from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau. He minored in business administration and worked two years in the business consulting industry with Accenture prior to attending the seminary.
He served his supervised ministry at St. Mark Parish in Affton and St. Gianna Parish in St. Charles County and his transitional diaconate assignment at Ascension Parish in Chesterfield.
He will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 25, at St. Ignatius Loyola Church, 701 Mill Road in Concord Hill. The homilist will be Msgr. Patrick Hambrough. A reception will be held in the parish hall following Mass.
Rev. Mr. Hecktor said he began thinking about the priesthood at about age 10 but didn’t take it seriously until his mid-20s. "After several years in the seminary, I came to discover the joy of committing yourself to doing God’s will, whatever that might be."
He was influenced in his vocation by the late Father John Morse, who had been pastor of St. Ignatius Loyola, his parents and his siblings, all of whom prayed for him and encouraged him.
"One of the things I’ve learned in the seminary is that our faith is infinitely deep. I look forward to exploring these amazing depths as a priest and helping others to find fulfillment in their own exploration," Rev. Mr. Hecktor said.
FR. MICIHAEL HOUSER
Rev. Mr. Houser, 26, is the son of Dr. Michael and Shirley Houser of Chesterfield. His home parish is Ascension in Chesterfield.
He attended Gateway Academy in Hazelwood (now located in Chesterfield) and Immaculate Conception Apostolic School in Center Harbor, N.H. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and classics at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. He also studied abroad in Gaming, Austria and Oxford, England.
He served his supervised ministry at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis and Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Bissell Hills and his transitional diaconate assignment at St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Parish in Oakville.
He will celebrate two Masses of Thanksgiving on Sunday, May 25. He will celebrate Mass (in the extraordinary, or Tridentine Latin, form) at 10 a.m. at St. Francis de Sales Oratory, 2653 Ohio Ave. in South St. Louis, and at 3 p.m. at Ascension Church, 230 Santa Maria Drive in Chesterfield.
The homilist at the 10 a.m. Mass will be Father Michael Monshau, OP, and the homilist at the 3 p.m. Mass will be Msgr. Joseph Pins. A reception will be held at 4:30 p.m. at Ascension Parish.
Rev. Mr. Houser said, "My parents were the first to influence my vocation by the devoted way in which they lived their Catholic faith in their everyday life. I learned from them the importance of daily prayer, and came to desire a personal friendship with Jesus and Mary."
His discernment continued through high school and college before he made the decision to come to Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.
"Throughout my years at Kenrick, I have been blessed by my interaction with the seminary faculty, who have helped me to develop my gifts in many different ways. I have also always been inspired and encouraged by the example of Archbishop Burke and by the personal concern he has shown for me and all the seminarians. Through my interaction with dedicated priests, especially in my year at the Cathedral Basilica, I grew ever more confident that God was calling me to serve his people in the priesthood.
"I recognize how, in my own life, priests have served as bridges for me to encounter Jesus Christ in the sacraments. I pray that I will be able to be such a bridge, and always lead people to a closer encounter and friendship with Jesus Christ, who offers us the fulfillment of all our deepest desires," he said.
FR. ERIC KUNZ
Rev. Mr. Kunz, 27, is the son of Beverly Kunz-Straatmann of Union. His home parish is Immaculate Conception in Union.
He attended Immaculate Conception School in Union and Our Lady of Lourdes School and St. Francis Borgia Regional High School in Washington. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Louis University.
He served his supervised ministry at St. Alban Roe Parish in Wildwood and Queen of All Saints Parish in Oakville. His transitional diaconate assignment was at St. John the Baptist Parish in South St. Louis.
He will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 25, at Immaculate Conception Church, 100 N. Washington Ave. in Union. Father Joseph Havrilka will be the homilist. A reception will be held at the parish following Mass.
Discussing his vocation, Rev. Mr. Kunz said, "I believe that when a person is called to the sacred priesthood, he is called from the beginning of his life. Some of us are blessed to hear that call earlier than others. I heard the Lord calling me at a very early age when I was in grade school at Immaculate Conception." He continued to hear that call throughout his school years.
"I have had many great priestly examples along the way. From all of them, I have learned that for a priest to be a good priest, he must be a holy priest. It does not matter so much if he is a great preacher or a great money manager or a great intellectual. Those are important to a degree, but most importantly of all is that he is a holy priest, a real and true friend of Jesus Christ. That will make him a good priest and that is what I hope to be," Rev. Mr. Kunz said.
FR. EDWARD NEMETH
Rev. Mr. Nemeth, 26, is the son of Diane Nemeth of St. Louis Hills and the late Edward J. Nemeth. His home parish is St. Gabriel the Archangel in St. Louis Hills.
He attended Our Lady of Good Counsel School in Bellefontaine Neighbors, CBC High School in Clayton (now located in Town and Country) and Russell High School in Ashland, Ky. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Louis University.
He served his supervised ministry at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, St. Sabina Parish in Florissant and St. Mary’s High School in South St. Louis. As a transitional deacon he served at St. Joseph Parish in Imperial and as chaplain at S-F Boy Scout Ranch.
He will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 25, at St. Gabriel the Archangel Church, 6303 Nottingham Ave. in St. Louis Hills. Father C. Eugene Morris will be the homilist. A reception will be held in the school gym after Mass.
Rev. Mr. Nemeth said, "I consider it a great honor to be called by God to serve as one of His priests. As His representative to the Church and the people’s representative to God, I am struck with the awesomeness of this responsibility, and I pray to be worthy of this calling.
"I look forward to being the vessel for the dispensation of God’s graces through the sacraments, especially in Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist. I am thankful for all the priests and faithful who have influenced me along the way to the priesthood, especially those in the parishes in which I served and in the seminary."
FR. KEVIN SCHROEDER
Rev. Mr. Schroeder 26, is the son of Stephen and Victoria Schroeder of St. Peters. His home parish is St. Cletus in St. Charles.
After being home-schooled, he attended St. Thomas Preparatory High School Seminary in Hannibal, Mo. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Louis University.
He served his supervised ministry at St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Parish in Florissant and his transitional diaconate assignment at St. Joseph Parish in Cottleville.
He will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 25, at St. Cletus Church, 2705 Zumbehl Road in St. Charles. Father Brian Fischer will be the homilist. A reception will be held at the parish after Mass.
Rev. Mr. Schroeder reflected on his discernment to the priesthood, crediting first his parents for their example of faith and generosity, as well as many priests.
"My time in seminary has been very fruitful and I have learned so much since I began 11 years ago. I know that prayer is indispensable, both for personal holiness and effective ministry as a priest. My time as a deacon in Cottleville has shown me the great love the people of God have for their priests and the high expectations they have for their personal holiness.
"As a priest, I look forward to serving God’s people and investing myself in their spiritual care. I can’t wait to be assigned to a parish and dive into the many opportunities to offer Mass, hear confessions, celebrate the sacraments, promote vocations, etc. I hope to share the many blessings God has given to me, and I desire to lead people closer to Christ, who is calling us to be his friends and co-workers in the work of saving souls," he said.
FR. JAMES THEBY
Rev. Mr. Theby, 29, is the son of Stephen and Susan Theby of Chesterfield. His home parish in Incarnate Word in Chesterfield.
He attended the parish elementary school and DeSmet Jesuit High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Louis University.
He served his supervised ministry at St. Norbert Parish in Florissant and St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Oakville and served his transitional diaconate assignment at St. Francis of Assisi.
He will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 25, at Incarnate Word Parish, 13426 Olive Blvd. in Chesterfield. Father Edward Rice will be the homilist. A reception will be held at the parish following Mass.
Discussing his vocation to the priesthood, Rev. Mr. Theby said, "Since I was in high school at DeSmet and got involved in Life Teen at Incarnate Word, I felt called to service in the Church. The examples of many holy priests, the encouragement of family and friends, and prayerful discernment before the Blessed Sacrament led me to choose this vocation as a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
"I am looking forward to serving God as a priest, especially in preaching the Gospel and celebrating the sacraments. It will truly be a privilege to serve people and to be there with them at the most important times in their lives," he said.
FR. NOAH WALDMAN
Rev. Mr. Waldman, 39, is the son of Nancy Waldman of West Des Moines, Iowa, and the late Barry Waldman. His home parish is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.
He attended Rydal Elementary School in Meadowbrook, Pa., and Abington High School in Abington, Pa. He earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture at Princeton University in New Jersey and a master’s degree in architecture at Notre Dame University in Indiana.
He served his supervised ministry at St. Ferdinand Parish in Florissant and St. Peter Parish in Kirkwood and was a transitional deacon at St. Clement of Rome Parish in Des Peres.
He will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 25, at St. Clement of Rome Church, 1510 Bopp Road in Des Peres. Concelebrants will include Msgr. James Pieper, Msgr. Robert McCarthy, Father John Johnson and Father John Hunthausen, SJ. Father Johnson will be the homilist. A reception will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. in the church hall.
Rev. Mr. Waldman described his faith journey to the priesthood as "atypical," because he was raised in a Jewish home and has attended three Catholic seminaries.
"By my ordination, I will have spent nearly 10 years in seminary. My seminary years have been rewarding, but in many ways very difficult, but I cherish all the difficulties I have encountered, since they have made me a more faithful and humble man, one who is much more reliant on the Lord."
He continued, "As you might imagine, my Jewish mother was not exactly thrilled to have her only son become a Catholic priest. However, she has seen the happiness I have experienced in my vocation thus far; and she has also experienced my own increase in love and appreciation for her. And because of these, she and the rest of my family have grown in understanding and appreciating my vocation. This is the work of the Holy Spirit.
He spoke with fondness of his diaconate service, saying, "I have cherished this time at St. Clement of Rome, and despite the great joy of my ordination day, it will be marked by some sadness, since it will also signify the end of my assignment there. Many of the members of the parish community have been dealt great sufferings — sickness and tragedy — over the years, and I have seen with my own eyes how these men and women have responded with great faith.
Also the pastor, Msgr. Pieper, has shown me by example how to be a good and holy pastor."
If you are actively discerning a vocation to the Priesthood, Diaconate, Consecrated Life, or Marriage and you are looking for information to help in your discernment, BE SURE TO CHECK the section at the bottom of the right sidebar for the "labels" on all posts. By clicking on one of these labels it will take you to a page with all posts containing that subject. You will also find many links for suggested reading near the bottom of the right sidebar. Best wishes and be assured of my daily prayers for your discernment.