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Father Paul Koetter Honored by NCEA

Talk about an experience I will never forget! I was in Pittsburgh this week for the National Catholic Education Association Convention, a gathering of thousands of workers in the vineyard—bishops, priests, central office personnel, school administrators, teachers, catechists, and volunteers. On Tuesday night, I attended an awards program as “one of our own” received a Distinguished Pastor Award for his support of Catholic education at the local level.

Monsignor Paul Koetter, or Father Paul, Pastor of Holy Spirit Church on the Eastside, deservedly and humbly received this national award. Father Paul is a tremendous servant of God. His pastoral heart, keen mind, and administrative abilities are wonderful gifts that strengthen Holy Spirit Parish and Scecina Memorial High School. As the masters of ceremonies were describing Father Paul, they testified to his collaborative style, vision, and commitment to Catholic education for children of a wide range of backgrounds and talents.

I felt very grateful to have worked alongside Father in recent years. As Dean of the East Deanery, Father Paul’s role includes being an advisor to the President of this high school—and an important part of my annual goal-setting and performance appraisal process along with the members of our Board of Directors and the archdiocesan Office of Catholic Education. If it is good to be in the midst of many smart and dedicated people, then I have no worries!

The evening was a great reflection of family and community. Father Paul’s sisters, brother, and in-laws were present to support him. Principal Rita Parsons of Holy Spirit Parish (a 1976 Scecina graduate); archdiocesan education leaders Harry Plummer, Gina Fleming, and Rob Rash; and other friends attended the awards program, too.

When you see Father Paul, give this Distinguished Pastor a pat on the back for being the true servant of God and supporter of Catholic education that he is!