Saturday, May 24, 2003

Six new priests to be ordained today



By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

ANDERSON TWP. - J. Daniel Schuh has two children, five grandchildren. And today, the 52-year-old will become a priest.

Schuh, who lost his wife, Gail, to complications from Hodgkin's disease, entered Mount St. Mary Seminary at the Athenaeum of Ohio in Anderson Township six years ago.

"Over time, little by little, things affirmed my choice," Schuh said. "I've been blessed with faith in God, and I find it exciting that I have the opportunity to share it.

Schuh and five others will be ordained for the Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati by Archbishop Daniel Pilarcyzk at 11 a.m. today at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains, Eighth and Plum streets. A seventh graduate of Mount St. Mary's, Anthony M. Pelak, 32, will be ordained later in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The Masters of Divinity graduates represent the largest class of priests the archdiocese has had since 1990. And many of them, like Schuh, represent a growing trend in the priesthood, older men leaving professional careers for the clergy, said Walt Schaefer, communications director for the Athenaeum.

The median age nationwide is now in the early 30s, but the numbers overall are growing.

Schuh, who worked for Kroger for 25 years with 16 of them as a manager in Fairborn, said he returned to the seminary when he saw that it wasn't unusual for older men to pursue the priesthood.

For Martin E. Fox, 41, finding the priesthood late in life was like finding a home. The Walnut Hills High School and University of Cincinnati graduate served as director of public affairs for a Washington, D.C., nonprofit organization before entering the seminary.

Also being ordained today are Ronald P. Combs, 38, a Roger Bacon High School and Kentucky Wesleyan graduate who worked for Fifth Third Bank; Thomas E. Dorn, 30, a St. Xavier High School and UC graduate who worked as an accountant for Northern Kentucky University; Lawrence M. Gearhart, 54, a systems engineer from Fairborn; and Stephen J. Mendiek, 47, an engineering manager from Dayton.




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