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Our Priests

Thank you to all the holy priests who have ministered to all the people who have come to our conferences and retreats
over the years, and who have guided us as our ministry has grown.

We love you so very much!

Click on any name below to learn more about a priest, and to read our personal tribute.

• Fr. Andrew Apostoli
You are a beautiful priest with a reverence beyond all telling, always lifting us up and encouraging us.

Fr. Andrew Apostoli is a very dear and holy priest of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal led by Fr. Benedict Groeschel. Ordained by Bishop Fulton Sheen in 1967, he has been active in teaching and preaching retreats and parish missions and in giving spiritual direction. He is the author of several books and is frequently featured on EWTN. He now acts as Vice-Postulator for the Cause of Canonization for Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.

• Fr. Anthony Gramlich, MIC
You are a dear and holy priest filled with fire of the Holy Spirit and an overflowing zeal for bringing God to the people.

Fr. Anthony Gramlich is a member of a religious community called “The Marians of the Immaculate Conception”. For two years, he worked as the Director of Vocations. For six years, he worked first as the Assistant Rector and then as the Rector of the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, MA.

Fr. Anthony is currently the Assistant Director of Evangelization and the coordinator of the Divine Mercy lay apostolates.

Fr. Anthony has conducted numerous parish missions, retreats and healing Masses around the country. He is the Director of the Diocesan Charismatic Renewal for the Springfield, MA and the local chaplain for the Mother of Divine Mercy prayer group. He is also the chaplain for the New England Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries (a pro-life healing retreat for men & women who have experienced an abortion). Fr. Anthony also has a certification in spiritual direction and is the Provincial Liturgist for his religious community. He has been a priest for 10 years.

• Fr. Bill McCarthy
You are a special priest with a song always in your soft and gentle heart. We are honored and privileged to know you and to be a witness to your holy priesthood.

Fr. Bill McCarthy was ordained a priest in Rome and has been serving the Lord in the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut. He is now a member of the Holy Apostles Community, and is the co-founder and codirector of "My Father's House" Spiritual Life and Retreat Center in Moodus, Connecticut. For more than 20 years, Fr. Bill has served the Lord with his Spirit filled teaching by giving retreats, parish missions, and spiritual direction. He has also authored several books which include "The Our Father," "The Joy of Being Catholic," "Mary in the Church Today," "A Personal Relationship with Jesus," and "Listening to God." Mary Alice Rossini, NP, a registered nurse and a team member of "My Father's House", often accompanies Fr. Bill, offering her spiritual insights and wisdom on inner healing.

• Fr. Chad Ripperger
Fr. Chad Ripperger
Rev. Chad Ripperger was born and raised in Casper, WY to Catholic parents. He attended public school and entered Conception Seminary College. After one year there, he completed the following education: Doctorate and Licence in philosophy and Masters of Theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome.
 
He began exorcism work in 2005 and in 2007 he became the diocesan exorcist for the archdiocese of Omaha.  He continued as an exorcist outside of Coer d'Alene, ID for the dioceses of Omaha and Tulsa.

He continues as a consultant to exorcists and dioceses.

During the past year, he receive the permission of Bishop Edward Slattery to found a semi contemplative society of priests to do work in exorcism.
He has published an excellent book:  Introduction to the Science of Mental Health, Sensus Tradionis Press.
He has also published over a dozen articles on a variety of topics.



• Fr. Daniel Balizan
Fr. Daniel Balizan

Father Balizan said he was "called to more than celebrating Mass" about 15 years ago when people started inviting him to speak at conferences and retreats. He keeps especially busy during Lent but is supported by his own parish throughout the year. He comes from a family of 10 brothers and one sister, most of whom live in Wyoming. Fr. Daniel Balizan is a very energetic and enthusiastic speaker with a special gift for encouragement and exhortation and is in great demand as a conference speaker, for Workshops, Retreats and Days of Renewal. He has spoken at many Charismatic Conferences, conducted Parish Missions and Retreats, and celebrated many Masses of Healing.  Fr. Daniel Balizan was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in 1989. He is currently pastor of Santa Maria de la Paz in Santa Fe, NM.

• Fr. Delix Michel
A humble thank you Father for your direction and encouragement while you were our pastor at Mother of Dolors. May God bless you in your new assignment.

Fr. Delix Michel is a native of Grande Riviere, Haiti, 140 miles north of Port-au-Prince. His seminary school was Grande Seminaire Notre Dame in Haiti. He left Haiti in 1990 and studied in Rome four years before coming to the United States.

Father is still very involved with the school he built in Haiti in 2001. This was before his assignment to Vandalia, IL to lead the faithful at Mother of Dolors Catholic Church. In July, 2009, Fr. Michel was transferred to St. Kevin's Catholic Church in Rosewood Heights and subsequently to Sts. Peter & Paul's in Alton, IL. On January 13, 2010, an earthquake destroyed most of Haiti, but Fr. Michel's church is still standing. Praise God!

• Fr. Dwight Longenecker
Your priesthood is a true gift to us. We are very grateful for your friendship and encouragement to continue our work here, with your support and blessing. Thank you for your witness to us!

Fr. Dwight Longenecker is a former Anglican priest converted and ordained Catholic priest. He holds a degree with Bob Jones University in Speech and English, he went to study theology at Oxford University and as an Anglican priest, served as a curate, a school chaplain in Cambridge and a country parson. In 1995 Fr. Dwight and his family were received into the Catholic Church, where he has spent ten years working as a freelance Catholic writer, contributing to over twenty-five magazines, papers and journals in Britain, Ireland and the USA. Fr. Dwight is the editor of a best-selling book of English conversion stories called "The Path to Rome - Modern Journeys to the Catholic Faith". He has written "Praying the Rosary for Inner Healing" and "Listen My Son", a daily Benedictine devotional book which applies the Rule of St. Benedict to the task of modern parenting, along with many others. He is a powerful speaker, hosting healing masses all over the country.

• Fr. Emmerich Vogt, O.P
You are a true joy to be around and your dedication to spreading your apostolate is inspiring. Thank you for your example and for your unique humor.

Fr. Emmerich Vogt, O.P. is a Dominican priest of the Western Dominican Province and is currently Prior Provincial for the Province. Educated by the Dominican Order at its seminary in California, Fr. Emmerich went on to receive a MA degree in Theology from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and a graduate degree in Near Eastern Religions from University of California.

For several years he was a teacher: a high school teacher in Oregon and Los Angeles, and a college teacher at Holy Rosary College in Fremont, California. Fr. now holds retreats regarding The Twelve-Steps toward freedom from addictions of all kinds and maintains the ministry The 12-Step Review, Christian Friends in Recovery. He has written many books pertaining to the spiritual life, prayer and conquering addictions. Many of his lectures are available on audio cd's and DVD's.

• Fr. Greg Cleveland, O.M.V.
We are grateful for your priesthood and for sharing the wisdom of St. Ignatius of Loyola with us!
Fr. Cleveland presently is a teacher and spiritual director at the Lantieri Center for Igntatian Spirituality in Denver, Colorado. Previously he served for seven years as Rector and Novice Master of Our Lady of Grace Seminary for the Oblates of the Virgin Mary in Boston, MA. He is a native of Chicago and graduated from the University of Illinois.

After college, Fr. Greg headed in the direction of a career in business as a market manager for a Midwestern railroad. After experiencing God’s call to priesthood in 1987, he joined the Oblate seminary in Boston. He was ordained in 1995 with an M.A. in Spiritual Theology. His thesis was “The Experience of Wholeness and Integration in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.” He was then assigned to parish work in New Jersey with a wide range of ministries to the poor, disabled and imprisoned.

Fr. Cleveland obtained certification in Spiritual Direction from the Center for Spiritual Development in New York City before heading to Boston to work in seminary formation. He enjoys helping people to God through retreats, parish missions and individual spiritual guidance and works closely with Fr. Tim Gallagher. Fr. Gallagher is an authority regarding the discernment of spirits around us and has authored six books on the teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola.


• Fr. Joe Whalen
Fr. Joe, you are so dear to us, and we are grateful for your healing ministry that has touched thousands!
Fr. Joseph Whalen, M.S. was born in Quincy, Massachusetts and received his call to the priesthood late in life. He entered Pope John XXlll Seminary, a seminary for delayed vocations, and completed four years of advanced graduate studies. On September 9, 1989, at the age of 66, he was ordained a Roman Catholic priest by Bishop Alfred Hughes and became a La Salette Missionary. His dramatic life story is a story of "how God writes straight with crooked lines!" His ministries are many and he is a champion of the sick, the elderly, drug addicts, alcoholics, families, and those in need.

He gives us a tremendous story of Almighty God's love, grace and mercy in the circumstances of his own life; he is also the founder of the renowned Archangel St. Raphael Holy Healing Ministry. Father’s message is to realize that It’s Never Too Late to Live. Fr. Whalen conducts many healing services every year and his St. Raphael Healing Ministry is international. Fr. Whalen has spent his entire priesthood witnessing Christ’s healing presence and helping countless people to find hope in the midst of life's many challenges.

• Fr. John Larson, MIC
You have such a sincere and loving heart. You are filled with holy goodness and gifts.

Fr. John Larson, M.I.C., a priest of the order of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, was ordained a priest on February 11, 2006, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, at the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. He serves as the Assistant Postulant Master for the Marian House in Steubenville, OH. Fr. John has a special oneness with our Blessed Mother and is an inspiration to many.

• Fr. John Titus
You are a dear friend in every way, a model of virtue and an inspiration to us to always reach higher.

Fr. John Titus is the pastor of St Charles Borromeo Parish and chaplain to the Newman Center at Eastern Illinois University, both in Charleston, Illinois. He earned a Masters of Divinity degree from Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts, and was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Springfield in 1989. Fr. John is a priest with a gentle manner, delivering heartfelt talks that speak directly to the heart. He draws souls closer to Christ with his genuine, sensitive, and approachable style, and with the depth of his love for Our Lord and Blessed Mother.

• Fr. Ken Hummel
Your charismatic and daredevil nature endear you to us in a special way. You are a special gift to us.

Fr. Ken Hummel has been the Chaplain of St. Francis of Assisi Newman Center at Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL since 2002. He earned a bachelor's degree in theology at Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH, and received his Master's in Divinity at Mt. St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD. Fr. Hummel was ordained to the Roman Catholic Priesthood in 1998.

• Fr. Meinrad Miller, OSB
A gentle and caring priest and mentor to many. Your affability creates such an ease that people are drawn to and wish to emulate your holiness and goodness.

Fr. Meinrad Miller, OSB, is Sub prior, Vocations Director, and has been College Chaplain at St. Benedict's Abbey in Atchison, KS since July, 1994. He is well-known for his expertise in Sacred music, which he partially gained through undergraduate studies at Benedictine College.

Father Meinrad graduated from Benedictine College, completed his studies at St. Vincent's Seminary in Latrobe, PA, and was ordained a priest in 1994.

• Fr. Pablo Straub
What a joy and blessing you are to us, with heart of Jesus, and the glow of the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Pablo Straub is a missionary priest of St. Alphonsus Liguori's Redemptorist order. Ordained in the Hudson Valley in 1958, he now lives in Mexico and helped found two religious orders there. He has traveled to many countries, giving retreats and missions. As a major television personality, Fr. Straub has preached hundreds of retreats and homilies and has hosted a number of weekly television series. Fr. Straub adores Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, loves the Virgin Mary, and preaches with a passion born of love.

• Fr. Peter Mary Rookey
Because of your holy priesthood, our ministry was born.

Although a number of interesting books have been written about Fr. Rookey and his charism of healing, when asked about his gift, Father simply says, "It is God's work, not mine - He does all the healing, I just pray."

In 1948, after having been healed miraculously from blindness as a child, Fr. Peter Mary Rookey joined the Servite Order in Ireland. Father has traveled the world using his charism, including many trips to Medjugorje. Fr Rookey continues to be active at his International Compassion Ministry near Chicago, and is still traveling to holy sites and in the footsteps of Jesus.

• Fr. Stefan Starzynski
Fr. Stefan Starzynski

Fr. Stefan Starzynski is a diocesan priest from Arlington, VA. who is well known for his healing masses. His book, Miracles: Healing for a Broken World recounts his many personal experiences of miracles. It will inspire you and renew your hope.

• Fr. Stephen Sotiroff
We are gratefully indebted to you for the success of OSMM, and for the privilege of doing God's work here on earth.
Fr. Steve was the parish priest at Mother of Dolors when Our Sorrowful Mother's Ministry first began. His support, advice and help were instrumental to the ministry taking off.
• Fr. Tom McCarthy
Your gentle kindness and loving ways touched our hearts. You were a holy gift to us. Rest in peace.

Fr. Tom was a gentle, loving Irishman, a Viatorian priest who served in the Boston, MA area. He was very active in Marriage Encounter, helping hundreds of couples realize the many blessings available through God's gift of marriage.

On June 5, 1996, 75 year old Fr. McCarthy was concelebrating Mass in the little chapel in the home of Audrey Santo in Worchester, Massachusetts. At the moment of the elevation, a small host lying on the paten began to bleed. Father McCarthy witnessed this event with his own eyes. His life would never be the same. He stepped out of retirement and started proclaiming the True Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist through his book "Forever A Priest" and by giving talks about his experience.

Fr. Tom passed away on Christmas Day, 2007. May he rest in peace.

• Fr. Tony Dittmer
Your love of your priesthood is an inspiration to us and to many. We thank you for answering your call so enthusiastically! Your unrelenting support is a great help to us.

Fr. Antonio G. Dittmer, S.T.L. was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Peoria on July 12th, 1997. He has a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy from St. Mary's University in Winona, MN, and went on to study Theology in Rome, Italy graduating with a Sacred License degree in Theology from the John Paul II Institute of Marriage and Family in Rome. He has served as the parochial vicar at Holy Cross Church in Champaign, IL, and later became chaplain at the High School of Saint Thomas More. Fr. Dittmer has a great love for the Apostles of the Interior Life, and spent 2 years as a member of the AIL. He is now at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, MN. His gentleness and compassion are evident in all that he does and he holds a special place in the hearts of the OSMM Community.

• Fr. William Casey, C.P.M.
Fr. Bill, we are honored and blessed that you are a faithful friend and supporter of our ministry. Your courage and perseverance are an inspiration to us and help us to continue this work.

Father Bill Casey is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and a 1979 graduate of Temple University. After graduating from college, he served as an officer in the U.S. Army. Upon leaving the Army, he entered the Congregation of the Fathers of Mercy. He studied Philosophy at Christendom College and Theology at Holy Apostles Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1991. In 1997, Fr. Casey was elected the Superior General of the Congregation. Father attributes his call to the priesthood to the Mercy of God, his love for the study of Sacred Scripture, and his strong devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Father Casey is a nationally renowned speaker and a frequent guest on EWTN.

• Fr. Wolfgang Seitz
You are a dear priest and friend who is a great man of virtue. You have been a great blessing to our ministry and to us. Your holiness and your prayerfulness are an inspiration that sets a Godly example for all.

Fr. Wolfgang Seitz is originally from Germany. He is a member of the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross, an international Order which has its Mother House in Austria. Father Seitz is the Superior of the Community in Detroit and the national Director of Opus Angelorum. He studied at the seminary of the Order in Anapolis, Brazil, after which he was ordained a priest in 2002. After his ordination he was sent to Detroit, for a pastoral year at Assumption Grotto Parish. Since then, he has been giving retreats and conferences throughout the United States.

• Msgr. Stuart Swetland
Because of your holy priesthood and friendship, we are forever blessed.

Msgr. Swetland is a member of Envoy Magazine's editorial committee. He was ordained a priest in 1991 for the Diocese of Peoria. He received his undergraduate degree in physics from the United States Naval Academy, and was elected a Rhodes Scholar in 1981. He entered the Catholic Church while studying at Oxford. He has a B.A. and M.A. in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford; an M.Div. and M.A. from Mt. Saint Mary's Seminary, and earned his S.T.L. and S.T.D. degrees from the Pontifical Lateran University where he studied at the John Paul II Institute in Washington, D.C.

He currently serves as director of homiletics and pre-theology at Mount St. Mary's Seminary and is the special counsel to the President for Catholic Identity and Mission and interim chaplain at Mt. St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

He has served as a theological advisor to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Illinois and currently is the executive secretary for the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. Msgr. Swetland was named a Prelate of Honor in 2000 by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, is a Knight Commander for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher, and is a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus.

Reverend Monsignor Stuart Swetland leads the President’s Council for Catholic Identity that promotes on-going discussions about implementing faith in everyday life across campus. He is the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Endowed Chair for Christian Ethics. The chair is responsible for investigating moral truth both in the light of human reason and the light of the Catholic faith.

OSMM has committed to praying daily for all priests, but especially those priests who have come
to minister in Vandalia, as well as our future priests, our beloved seminarians:

Msgr. John Esseff, Msgr. Stuart Swetland, Fr. Andrew Apostoli, Fr. Andy Davy, Fr. Anthony Gramlich, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Fr. Ben Luedtke, Fr. Bill Casey, Fr. Bill McCarthy, Fr. Bob Vennetti, Fr. Carl Schmidt, Fr. Chris Crotty, Fr. David Wilton, Fr. Delix Michel, Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Fr. Emmerich Vogt, Fr. Joe Whalen, Fr. John Hampsch , Fr. John Titus, Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea, Fr. Joseph Havrilka, Fr. Ken Hummel, Fr. Michael Lightner, Fr. Michael Sarquah, Fr. Pablo Straub, Fr. Patrick Greenough, Fr. Peter Rookey, Fr. Philip Scott, Fr. Richard McAlear, Fr. Stefan Starzynski, Fr. Stephen Sotiroff, Fr. Tim Byerley, Fr. Tony Dittmer, Fr. Ubald, Fr. Wolfgang Seitz, Fr. Zach Edgar, Braden Maher, Martin Smith, Wayne Stock

Please join us in praying daily for all priests, that they may serve Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother faithfully!