In Labors of Love, Father Jack Wall conducted a roundtable interview about three building projects happening across the mission dioceses. Now you can learn a little more about the people behind those projects and hear a little more about what has made these building projects so special.
Jim Romer, attorney Jamestown, Tennessee
A native of Rochester, New York, Jim Romer has a long history of service to the Church. After spending time with the Glenmary Home Missioner’s in Cincinnati, Jim attended Catholic University and earned degrees in Theology and Moral Pastoral Theology.
Jim shared a bit of his ministry background with Father Jack Wall:
I wanted to come South where the Church wasn’t as strong – Glenmary introduced me to that. So I came to Tennessee, where they were starting an ecumenical project in Morgan and Scott counties called the Morgan-Scott Project for Cooperative Christian Concerns. It focused on different projects like health and education, and was run by Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists and the United Churches of Christ. I wanted to bring a Catholic presence into it.
Jim, on what the building project has meant to the faith experience of the community:
In addition to the investment our parishioners have had in the process of the building, we have also been able to broaden our ministry. We are in our third year of Hispanic Communion Service on Sunday mornings. A bilingual layman leads it and it is beginning to draw people in the double digits. This Easter, we had eight people receive the Sacraments. And the women of our parish have formed a Mother Teresa Guild to provide further outreach into the community.
Father Steve Biegler, Pastor Our Lady of the Black Hills, Piedmont, South Dakota
Father Steve Biegler is a priest of the Diocese of Rapid City. A native of the diocese, he has been a priest for 19 years. Father Biegler has served in a variety of assignments during his priesthood: on a Native American reservation, as a school chaplain and as Diocesan Administrator when the diocese was without a bishop.
When speaking further about his building project, Father Biegler had this to say:
Basically, we have always held our retreats at retreat centers run by other denominations. But now, for the people in our diocese, there is a real feeling that they have their own Catholic Retreat Center.
The Extension grant helped us remodel the convent where the sisters slept. These are small rooms, 10’ X 12’, and people already love them. They feel that this space is a great place to come and be prayerful. To find another retreat center like this, you need to go 260 miles north to North Dakota! It is a great place for a Catholic experience – of getting away and growing your faith.
Father Tim Paulsen, OMI, Pastor St. Eugene de Mazenod, Brownsville, Texas
When Father Tim Paulsen joined the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Texas, he was required to learn Spanish. While in the seminary, he spent two summers in Mexicali, Mexico, studying the language and working in the missions. Through total immersion with the people he calls “very kind, welcoming and hospitable,” he became fluent. The language has since become an integral part of his ministry to the predominately Hispanic St. Eugene de Mazenod community. Father Paulsen shared an important way this new Church will impact the future of the parish community:
Once we have the new church I would like to start a Mass for the youth. We have so many children in CCD on Saturdays that we fill up the buildings. The Fire Marshalls are not going to allow us to put any more kids in the space we have. We even have to send some to other parishes. Once we have the new church, it will create a lot of space in our old building, and we’ll be able to accept all the children in the neighborhood into our CCD program. We are really looking forward to that.