Hi Parish Family!
Who is the priest who celebrates Mass every week? Where is from? What does he like to do?
I thought, “If I don’t know anything about him after living here for a year, maybe someone else doesn’t know him either.”
From reading his bio on the parish website and sitting down with him, I learned he grew up in southeast Grand Rapids where his mother still resides along with his sister, Cathy and her family.
Fr. Dave volunteered in and around his church growing up including participating in Mass as an altar server, mowing the grass, and lots of volunteering around the parish. His first job was on the maintenance staff of St. Stephen
Growing up in southeast Grand Rapids was a normal, simple, middle-class experience filled with driveway basketball, open field golfing, and playing catch.
Vacations were occasional and included attending the Cherry Festival with family who resided in Traverse City as well as visiting a cottage on Lake Michigan with friends.
Fr. Dave studied education at the University of Michigan and completed his student-teaching in Ann Arbor.
As a teacher, Fr. Dave took advantage of the summer vacations and travelled around to different music concerts and especially to Nashville several years in a row for a summer country music festival.
He always had a vocation to the priesthood in the back of his mind growing up, but it wasn’t until his time serving in campus ministry with his students that he more seriously considered it.
Fr. Dave studied at Mundelein Seminary north of Chicago and absolutely loved his time there. The campus is situated on 900 acres and includes a retreat center, hosts many visitors, and a big lake.
A lake that is supposed to be relaxing and peaceful for most and allows for canoeing and kayaking was only enjoyed once by Fr. Dave.
“Early on in my first year there,” says Fr. Dave, “I took a canoe out on the water and in maneuvering around or trying to get back to dock, I capsized the canoe and because the lake is mostly mud on the bottom, got pretty stuck. It took about an hour to get out of the lake and return the canoe and that was the last time I tried that.”
So, maybe don’t invite Fr. Dave out to canoe with you on Spring Lake.
His other more enjoyable memories from seminary include playing in and coaching for the basketball tournament, winning about half the time.
Now, if sports ever return to normal, he enjoys refereeing basketball games and coaching track and cross country, if he’s available.
Fr. Dave lives alone and is responsible for feeding himself so he gets by with simple meals like cereal and milk every morning for breakfast. He does eat out at our local restaurants like Ted’s and Two Tony’s but he doesn’t drink alcohol so don’t ask to get a drink with him at Stan’s. He said he does enjoy being invited to parishioners’ houses for dinner so if anyone would like to spend time with him, extend the invitation!
He takes off from official duties as Pastor on Mondays so he can grocery shop, clean his residence, or go visit his family in Grand Rapids.
The hardest thing about being pastor?
“Balancing all the responsibilities without shortchanging anyone,” he says. “I would love to celebrate more with parishioners and the school,
but the business part of it requires making sure the nitty gritty details are taken care also.”
I look forward to inviting Fr. Dave over for dinner soon, knowing my wild and chaotic children will be thoroughly entertaining for him.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share with me and I hope some of you learned something about the priest that you see every week at Mass.
Love and prayers to you all,
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