All Things New with St. Vincent DePaul & St. Pius V
We have a profound opportunity to revitalize & re-imagine the way we engage in ministry & mission as a Parish - in ways that promote & value lay leadership - & we need everyone involved.
As we anticipate the All Things New announcements of Pentecost Sunday, we are pleased to share some news that will help to get us ready for the collaborations that have been made possible for the parishes of St. Pius V and
St. Vincent DePaul.
As you know, in the All Things New plan, the current pastors of St. Vincent and St. Pius will be reassigned.
Their new placements will take effect this summer. Fr. Tony Dosen, CM, will begin a long planned sabbatical and research duties on July 1, and Fr. Paul Niemann will begin a new assignment, likely around August 1, which will be announced on Pentecost. And you know that the Vincentians of the Western Province have been entrusted with pastoral leadership in our planning region, which includes both St. Vincent Parish and St. Pius V Parish.
Although we await the Archbishop’s announcement of the exact configuration of our planning region, we are already excited about how collaboration and partnership between our two parishes may shape a vibrant Catholic presence, community, formation, liturgical life, justice, advocacy and community service in South St. Louis.
We are happy to be able to share that Fr. Patrick McDevitt, CM, the Provincial of the Vincentians, has appointed Fr. Rich Wehrmeyer, CM to be the Pastor who will serve our parishes beginning July 1. In addition, the Vincentians are supporting the appointment of a lay Parish Life Coordinator who will serve as a leadership partner with Fr. Rich. Celeste Mueller has been serving at St. Vincent as the Interim Parish Life Coordinator and will continue until a full time appointment has been made.
What does this mean for us as we continue to celebrate the Easter Season and await Pentecost?
1. Knowing that we have a Pastor assigned, and a Parish Life Coordinator already at work, can give us a sense of assurance that the changes we are awaiting can be smooth. In the immediate time of transition, both Fr. Paul and Fr. Tony will be on hand to help facilitate the change process.
2. Knowing that we will have a Leadership Team that includes a Pastor, who will be responsible for the diverse Pastoral needs of the community, and a Parish Life Coordinator who will be responsible for the organizational needs of the community–including staff, Parish Council and coordination of ministries and activities allows us to begin to think creatively about what organizational structures and processes will best enable us to flourish as a community.
3. Because Celeste is already working with lay leaders at St. Vincent, and with a transition team that represents the Parish Council and the All Things New Steering Committee from St Pius, together with representatives from St. Vincent, we are able to create pathways and processes for the voices of parishioners to be heard, for parishioners to become actively involved in listening sessions and discernment of ways that we can work together for the sake of the community of the faithful and those in our community who most need the healing and compassion of Christ.
4. Above all, this news invites us to pray together: to be close to Christ in the Eucharist in whom we discover our Mission, and in whom we realize that we are always already one people–in communion with God and each other.
Next week in the bulletin and on our two websites, we will publish some background information on Fr. Rich and Celeste, and, in the weeks to come, they both will be present at Masses at our two parishes and will remain after to give everyone a chance to meet them. We will alert you soon about those dates and times. As we move ahead, there will be more to share as we listen to the ideas, needs and hearts of parishioners, and we will have additional opportunities to be together for fun and for prayer!
We realize that news during a time of transition often generates more questions than it answers. Do not hesitate to send your questions and suggestions to Jessi at email@example.com or Celeste at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even if we do not yet have answers, it is important to hear what is on your mind and heart.
In St. Pius V and St. Vincent DePaul,
Grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ evangelizing the poor be with you always! We are glad to be able to
provide brief introductions from the team preparing to lead our communities: Rev. Rich Wehrmeyer, CM and
Celeste Mueller, D.Min.
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 fifteen 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 thirty plus years of my ordained life I have served twenty‐two 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, 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
We are grateful for the opportunity to serve with each of you!!