Meet Fr. Rich Wehrmeyer, CM and Celeste Mueller, D.Min.
We are glad to introduce Fr. Rich Wehrmeyer, CM and Celeste Mueller, D.Min. who will lead our Pastorate beginning in July.
I am Fr. Rich. If all things go according to the plan of All Things New, I will become the next Pastor of the Pastorate of St. Pius V Church and St. Vincent DePaul Church beginning July 1, 2023. I am very excited to be a part of this new reality for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. My excitement stems from the fact that these two parishes have unique vibrancies that make them what they are. Additionally, I foresee a sharing of these vibrancies with each other - further expanding the partnership that already exists between the two parish communities. Do you share in this excitement?
I was born and baptized in the year 1961 within the small southern Illinois town of Metropolis. I began my Vincentian seminary formation at the high school level and it continued for 15 years. A few of the highlights during those years were the taking of Vows in 1984, ordination as a transitional deacon in 1990, and in 1991, I was ordained a priest.
Of the 30 plus years of my ordained life I have served 22 as a parish priest, either as Associate Pastor or Pastor. Many of those years I was located in the state of Colorado. The other 10 years of my priesthood I fulfilled the duties of a Director of Formation mainly in the East African country of Kenya. The missionary nature of the Vincentians suits me well!
I am Celeste. With the support of the Vincentian Province, I have been asked to serve in an interim capacity to establish the role of a Lay Parish Life Coordinator (PLC) for our Pastorate. This exciting collaboration between Fr. Rich and a Lay PLC highlights the importance of collaboration between clergy and laity and will invite greater lay leadership for the life and ministries of our parishes. I have already begun in this role, working with Fr. Tony Dosen, CM, at St. Vincent DePaul.
My background for this role comes from 10 years of high school theology teaching and campus ministry, 10 years of teaching theology at St. Louis University and practical theology and ministry at Aquinas Institute of Theology, and 10 years of serving in an executive role doing leadership development and spiritual formation in Ascension Healthcare; along with volunteer parish ministry as well as ministry addressing food insecurity, serving at-risk youth, and supporting women in transitional housing.
I share Fr. Rich's excitement about the road ahead for our communities. I have been passionate throughout my years of ministry about equipping the people of God for their share in the mission of the church - to enable the faithful to see their discipleship as leadership. I am convinced that together our communities can grow in faith and be an even more vital presence of the compassion, mercy and justice of Christ in South St. Louis.
The two of us are committed to listening deeply to all the parishioners of our parishes and to developing pathways for collaborative discernment in all that lies before us, including the selection of a full time Parish Life Coordinator. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve with each of you!!