Four men ordained to the priesthood for archdiocese

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson ordained four men to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of St. Louis at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 28, at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, Lindell Boulevard and Newstead Avenue
in the Central West End.

They are Father Timothy Foy, Father Anthony Gerber,Father Michael Grosch and Father Henry Purcell.


Their stories


Multimedia by Lisa Johnston | Photos by Lisa Johnston and Sid Hastings

All four have attended Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, the archdiocesan seminary in Shrewsbury, and earned master of divinity degrees and master of arts in theology degrees from the seminary.  Another 12 Kenrick-Glennon seminarians are being ordained priests for other dioceses in coming weeks. Kenrick-Glennon Seminary has more than 110 seminarians in Kenrick School of Theology and Cardinal Glennon College, and enrollments continue at high levels. After current renovations — being funded through the successful “Faith for the Future” capital campaign — are complete, seminary capacity will be 130 seminarians. Renovations are expected to be completed in late November 2012. Until then the seminary is using off-site locations for classrooms and residences for the seminarians. The clergy assignments of the new priests will appear in an upcoming issue of the St. Louis Review.

Father Timothy Foy 

Father Foy, 30, is the son of Tom and Diane Foy of Kirkwood. His home parish is St. Peter in Kirkwood. 

As an elementary student, he attended Our Lady School in Festus, Cynthia Anne Parker Elementary School in Houston and St. Peter School in Kirkwood. A graduate of DeSmet Jesuit High School, he earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Parks College of St. Louis University. He worked eight months as a flight test engineer on the KC 767 Tanker program with the Boeing Co. in Wichita, Kan., and 11 months as a pilot student in the U.S. Air Force. His transitional diaconate assignment was served at St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Parish in Oakville. He served his supervised ministry at Holy Name of Jesus, St. Dominic Savio, St. Ferdinand, St. Gabriel the Archangel, St. Cecilia and Ste. Genevieve du Bois Parishes.     

Discussing his journey of discernment to the priesthood, Rev. Mr. Foy told the Review, “‘Quo Vadis?’ Where are you going? This is not only a question, but the title of a book that I was given by my sister and brother-in-law while I was home for Christmas about six and a half years ago. 

“I had been wandering after my own goals in life for as long as I could remember, trying to find the most exciting way to live and do things according to my own ideas. This book however, portrayed characters in ancient Rome who joined a new group of people known as Christians. They gave up everything they had known in life to follow Christ — even when they could be killed. In effect, their adventure really started when they turned their future over to God and lived or died for the faith.” 

A few months after reading “Quo Vadis?” he was living and working in Wichita, Kan. “A friend invited me to go on a retreat. It was called Quo Vadis. I felt an immediate urge to find out more about the retreat and whether there was any connection with the novel. To my shock, it was a vocations retreat, and although the priesthood had not been in my plans, I decided to go and see where God might be leading. Sure enough, the retreat made me realize that true adventure is not found by planning out life according to my own scheme. 

“Quo Vadis, Domine? Where are You going, Lord? Asking this question and allowing Jesus to lead me has been the answer to my searching. Truly, the more that I have sought to find His path rather than blaze my own the greater the challenge has been, but His road is always more fulfilling — and exciting.” 

After ordination, the new Father Foy will celebrate his first Mass at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 29, at St. Peter Church in Kirkwood. Principal concelebrants will be Msgr. John Costello and Father Michael Esswein. The homilist will be Father Edward Richard, MS. A reception will be held following Mass.  

Father Anthony Gerber 

Father Gerber, 30, is the son of Carolyn Gerber and Ron Slattery of South St. Louis County and the late Gary Gerber. His home parish is St. Simon the Apostle in Green Park. 

He attended St. Catherine Laboure School in Sappington and is a graduate of St. Louis University High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Washington University in St. Louis and master’s degree in theology and catechetics from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. He worked at Bishop Luers High School in Fort Wayne, Ind., as a full-time religion teacher and was studying abroad at the Angelicum (the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Dominican university of Rome) when Pope Blessed John Paul II died and Pope Benedict XVI was elected. He is an avid soccer player and was a referee for CYC soccer. 

He served his transitional diaconate assignment at St. Gerard Majella Parish in Kirkwood. His supervised ministry assignments included St. Michael the Archangel, St. Alban Roe, St. Patrick and Immacolata Parishes. 

Father Gerber recalled growing up with friends who shared his love for the Church. “We’d stay out late, go bowling and do silly things like play kickball at midnight in a parish parking lot. But on occasion we’d stop in at the Adoration Chapel. I had been introduced to adoration by my mom, who took a young me — kicking and screaming, mind you — to the Blue Army all-night vigil.” He and his friends spent time in adoration, where “in silence we offered our hearts to Him. Little did we know the adventures that would bring us!” 

After college, he taught high school religion in Indiana.”As I happily did a job that I loved, there was still something missing.” One of his old friends emailed him a line from when Pope John Paul II visited St. Louis. “It said, ‘Christ is calling you; the Church needs you; the Pope believes in you and he expects great things of you!’ Great things from me? I was single and every now and again I was asked if I had considered the priesthood.” He would reply, “No, it’s not for me.” 

But, Rev. Mr. Gerber continued, “I remembered serving holy Mass growing up, and the joy after Confession, and incense and the Tantum Ergo. I read a book by Fulton Sheen, ‘A Priest Is Not His Own,’ and I was convinced: I had to offer my heart to the Lord once more. 

“I’ve learned that every day is a chance for us to offer our hearts to the Lord, to receive His Sacred Heart, and then to give His love to others. In this way, our hearts are set on fire. This is what I hope to be as a priest: one who’s heart is on fire for Jesus and His Church.” 

After ordination, the new Father Gerber will celebrate his first Mass at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 29, at St. Simon the Apostle Church in Green Park. The homilist will be Msgr. James Ramacciotti. A reception will follow the Mass. 

Father Michael Grosch 

Father Grosch, 26, is the son of Richard and Mary Grosch of Ballwin. His home parish is St. Joseph in Manchester. 

He attended St. Joseph School in Manchester and is a graduate of St. Louis University High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Louis University through the Cardinal Glennon College program. He has been involved since childhood in Scouting, from Tiger Cubs through Eagle Scout, and last summer served as chaplain at S-F Scout Ranch near Farmington. 

He served his transitional diaconate assignment at St. Joseph Parish in Cottleville and his supervised ministry at St. Joseph Parish in Imperial. 

Rev. Mr. Grosch explained, “I first seriously considered a vocation to the priesthood after my freshman year in high school. A friend of mine told me about one of the camps he did over the summer called Kenrick-Glennon Days, and so I called the vocation director, Father Michael Butler, to ask about helping out as a junior counselor. It was on that week that I realized the great joy that comes with being a priest, which seemed to be standing there before me in the example of the priests and seminarians. 

“I spent some time in the following years looking into actually entering the seminary to see if that was where God was calling me. In those years, and even throughout my childhood, I was greatly influenced by the lives of my uncle, who had been a Marianist brother, and my grandmother, a very devout Catholic and daily Mass-goer. I think their prayers and support for me were what I really needed to have the clarity of discernment to enter the seminary out of high school and put everything I had into formation throughout (Cardinal Glennon) College and (Kenrick School of) Theology.” 

He credited his service as a deacon at St. Joseph in Manchester with inspiring him through seeing the holiness and faith of the people. “In an age where faith seems to have less and less of an impact on people’s lives and actions, it has been shown to me time and time again that the people of God are a people of great faith. And as a result, I find myself drawn more and more to live a priesthood of total dedication through pastoral ministry and the administration of the sacraments, not just to provide people something to do on Sunday, but to help them to grow in their love of God and their longing to be nourished by Christ in the Eucharist. It is on reflection of these truths that I realize what a blessing priesthood is to me, and when I can say with the Dominican poet Lacordaire, ‘My God, what a life; and it is yours, O Priest of Jesus Christ!’” 

After ordination, the new Father Grosch will celebrate his first Mass at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 29, at St. Joseph Church in Manchester. The homilist will be Msgr. C. Eugene Morris. A reception will follow the Mass. 

Father Henry Purcell 

Father Purcell, 24, is the son of Dr. Henry and Sharon Purcell of South St. Louis. His home parish is St. Gabriel the Archangel in South St. Louis. 

He attended St. Gabriel the Archangel School and graduated from St. Louis University High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Louis University through the Cardinal Glennon College program. 

He served his transitional diaconate assignment at Ascension Parish in Chesterfield. His supervised ministry assignments included Holy Name of Jesus, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and Annunziata Parishes and St. Mary’s High School. 

Reflecting on his vocation, he said, “I discerned that our Lord desired that I enter the seminary in my final year of high school. 

“A priest asked me a simple question: ‘Do you want to be a priest?’ Although at first I refused to consider it, I could not get the question out of my mind. Throughout my senior year, whenever I was quiet and in prayer, I could hear it echoing and our Lord inviting me to discern formally in the seminary. Finally, in the last months of high school, while in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, I decided to enter the seminary. I am very thankful that I did, because our Lord has blessed me greatly throughout my time in the seminary. 

“I pray that, as a priest, I am open to the work of the Holy Spirit so that I may serve our Lord’s flock well. Through my time in the seminary, I have always been blessed with prayers of priests, religious and many lay faithful — prayers which have obtained for me the grace to joyfully embrace this vocation. I am very excited to have the opportunity to serve as a priest, most especially in offering Holy Mass for the people of God.” 

After ordination, the new Father Purcell will celebrate his first Mass at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 29, at St. Gabriel the Archangel Church in South St. Louis. Principal concelebrants will be Father Paul Rothschild and Father Robert Samson. Father Rothschild will also be the homilist. A reception will follow the Mass.






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