Houston, we have a pastor... er, um... St. Anthony's, we have the name of our new pastor: Fr. Jeff Meeuwsen, born and raised just next door in Roy, OR. Here's a brief bio. offered from our Archdiocese newspaper, the Catholic Sentinel:
Reverend Mr. Jeff A. Meeuwsen was born in 1977 in Hillsboro. He is the son of Allen “Sam” H. and Kelleen Meeuwsen. He is one of four children. Jeff attended elementary school at St. Francis of Assisi school in Roy and graduated from Valley Catholic High School. He attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies in 1999. He taught at Visitation School in Verboort prior to entry into Mount Angel Seminary.
As part of his ministry training Jeff’s assignments have included placement at St. Joseph parish in Roseburg, Sacred Heart School in Gervais, assisting with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at St. Joseph the Worker parish in Portland, Blanchet High School in Salem, St. Cecilia parish in Beaverton, St. Henry parish in Gresham, and St. John the Baptist parish in Milwaukie. Meeuwsen was ordained a deacon by Archbishop Vlazny in May 2006. He earned a Master of Arts degree and a Master of Divinity degree at Mount Angel Seminary in May 2007.
That's his basic resume. However, if you want to get to know him a bit better, check out this link to watch him offer his vocation story to a confirmation class at his current parish of Sacred Heart in Medford.
On a personal note, I had the pleasure of being Fr. Jeff's supervisor when I was the parochial vicar at St. Joseph in Roseburg, and he was a new seminarian on a summer internship at our parish. At that time, he showed an incredible talent for preaching as well as an easy going demeanor which drew many parishioners to him. He is a simple person with a infectious laugh that puts people at ease.
I am very excited that he will be coming to our parish as my replacement. He will certainly carry on our mission and encourage many more to journey with the community of St. Anthony's. He has good Spanish skills and has a love for the youth. I know he wanted a parish with a school. While we don't have a parochial school, there are four Catholic grade schools nearby as well as his alma mater, Valley Catholic where he can offer his priestly service. This is an excellent choice for St. Anthony's and I am certain that Fr. Jeff will be received with open arms and loved!
July 1, 2009 is the official date for all new assignments. His coming to our parish makes me feel so much better about leaving. Thank you Jesus!
Welcome Fr. Jeff Meeuwsen!
May God bless you all!
Fr. William Holtzinger