Our Lady of Lourdes parishioners learned this weekend that their pastor, the Very Rev. Michael Boehm, V.F., will be leaving this summer.
Father Mike, who has served as pastor for the past five years, made the announcement at the Saturday night and Sunday morning Masses.
Archbishop Robert J. Carlson has appointed Father Mike as the Vicar for Priests for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He will assume his new role in June.
Father Mike will replace the Reverend Monsignor Richard E. Hanneke, who has served as Vicar of Priests since 2005.
In his new role, Father Mike will serve all priests in the Archdiocese by overseeing assignments, assisting with ongoing education and addressing health issues. He will represent the Archbishop in all matters pertaining to priests.
“Father Boehm will provide counsel to me . . . and assist me in providing for the material and spiritual needs of our priests,” Archbishop Carlson stated in a memo sent Monday to all priests and deacons in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
Father Mike told The Missourian accepting the reassignment was not an easy decision and one that required a lot of prayer and consideration, but he takes his promise of obedience very seriously.
“I absolutely have loved my time here at Our Lady of Lourdes. It’s one of the most supportive parishes I know of with such a high level of involvement by parishioners who are willing to pick up the ball and run with it,” he said. “Being here has inspired me and helped me to become a better priest.”
Father Mike said it was hard not to get emotional when he made the announcement. Tears also were shed by many parishioners during the Masses.
“I’m sad to be leaving, but I am thankful for the five years I’ve had here,” he said. “I said at all of the Masses that it’s better to have served here, even for a short time, than not at all, and I really mean that.
“I feel my time here has been too short, but I will walk with my memories of Our Lady of Lourdes all of my life,” he added. “And I will try to stay connected to the parish and visit as much as I can.”
In addition to his church family, Father Mike also will be saying goodbye to the Washington Fire Department, where he has served as chaplain and a volunteer fireman.
“I will have to give up my firefighting duties, but I still hope to carry out some chaplain duties when I can,” he said. “I am thankful for this training and I think I will truly use it in different ways going forward.”
Father Mike said the fire department, just like the parish, has become a family to him and he will miss it greatly.
“On so many levels, it’s hard to leave,” he said, adding that he loves the Washington community.
As far as his replacement at Lourdes, Father Mike said that decision would likely come this spring.
Ordained for the Archdiocese of St. Louis on May 28, 1994, Father Mike’s pastoral assignments have included associate pastor of St. Peter Parish in Kirkwood, Holy Infant Parish in Ballwin, and St. Francis Borgia Parish in Washington. He has served as parochial vicar of Ascension Parish in Chesterfied and pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in St. Louis.
In addition to serving as pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes, Father Mike serves as the dean for the Washington Deanery.