As he marks the first anniversary of his installation as pastor at St. Timothy’s Church, Father John Meyer exudes the peaceful air of one who knows he’s where he’s meant to be.
“It’s going well,” he said. “I love it here.”
Rating his first year in Maple Lake as “great,” Father Meyer also described it as a time of adjustment to the parish community, to the town and to his role in both.
“Initially,” he said, “it’s like going into a party where you don’t know anybody.”
Happily, twelve months hence he is well-acclimated to his adopted community, and expresses sincere appreciation for the local people who helped him to feel a part of things from his earliest days in town.
“The people here have been very welcoming,” he said. “They’ve been very kind and hospitable. They really have welcomed me with open arms.”
Shepherding a flock that includes 821 families -an estimated 2,600-2,700 individuals -has afforded him many opportunities to get better acquainted with his congregants. And as he has come to feel at home here, he’s also come to recognize some of his new community’s more admirable traits.
“Maple Lake is a place of deep roots, of strong families and traditions,” he observed. “It’s been a great blessing to get to know everybody this past year. It’s a wonderful community to be a part of. Serving Mass, going to visit the school, you see people you know. You see people whose background you know. Whether it’s casual or formal, whether I’m serving Mass or playing cards, it’s great to get to know people. I truly love it here. It’s a great parish to be serving.”
A priest’s preparation Father Meyer, 31, has
one brother three years his senior, and often spends his day off visiting his parents in Woodbury, where he was raised and attended high school.
“I never thought about the priesthood until I was 19,” he said.
While attending the University of Minnesota (where he received a degree in history and Latin), he says he read Saint Augustine's “Confessions” and found himself profoundly moved by Saint Augustine's words.
“I felt a strong push from God,” he said. “And after about three more years of discernment, talking to people and praying –mostly praying –I entered seminary at 21.”
Enrolling at Saint Paul Seminary in 2002, he studied philosophy for two years and theology for four. Ordained as a priest in 2008, Father Meyer has previously served as parochial vicar at the Cathedral of Saint Paul, as well as at Saint Charles Borromeo in Saint Anthony.
The assignment to St. Timothy was his first as pastor. The experience, he reports, is everything he’d hoped it would be.
“It’s been great,” he repeated. “No surprises.”
While in seminary, he explained, he’d been able to gain a sense of parish life through various assignments along the way. In retrospect, he believes those experiences ultimately served their highest purpose.
“The hope is to get the
continued on page 9