Richard Eldredge is an ordained Catholic priest friar of the Franciscan Order from the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Loretto, PA).  He was born in Jersey City (NJ) on May 2, 1941.  He received his B.A. from Seton Hall University (South Orange, NJ) in May of 1964, majoring in classical languages, philosophy and psychology, and his M.Div. from Saint Francis Seminary (Loretto, PA) in May of 1979.  He has also earned his M.A. in phenomenological psychology and philosophy in December of 1970 and his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA) in May of 1985.

Since 1965, his professional training includes pastoral psychology, spiritual direction, and depth psychotherapy and consciousness research.  His employment experience includes parish and hospital ministry, directed and group retreats, diagnostic assessments in private and government treatment centers, counseling and psychotherapy in state institutions and private practice, professional programming and workshop facilitation, group therapy in the hospice program, speaking engagements in religion and psychology, and teaching in higher education.  Having held the position of associate professor of psychology, he taught at the Community College of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh, PA), St. Francis University and Seminary (Loretto, PA), Franciscan University (Steubenville, OH), and Washington Theological Union (Silver Spring, MD).  He has also been a staff member at the Franciscan Center for spiritual renewal (Winchester, VA) from which he had ministered and traveled to conduct retreats and conferences.  He later held the position of Director of St. Francis Seminary in Toronto, Canada, for his province in the United States and then became religious minister and Director of ministerial formation for his Franciscan community in Washington, D.C.  Subsequently, he was Director of Mission Effectiveness for his province as well as part-time faculty member for the graduate department of Pastoral Ministry and adjunct professor for the continuing education program at St. Francis University (Loretto, PA).  At that time he worked on the Peace and Justice Commission of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown in Pennsylvania.

In 1995, he began full-time pastoral ministry in the Diocese of Fort Worth.  His ministry has been in Stephenville, Dublin, De Leon, Comanche, Arlington, Fort Worth, Seymour and Megargel.  And in 2007, he became pastor of Good Shepherd Catholic Community in Colleyville.   His professional specialty has been psychological consultation in Human and Spiritual Integration.  He has also served on several boards, held professional memberships in psychological and counseling associations, and has written several articles.  Currently, his pastoral and professional concerns center on identifying the needs of the parish and community, and developing a partnership and programs between them.

John Swistovich was raised in Binghamton, in the diocese of Syracuse, New York. After high school, he attended Wilkes College and studied history, where he also played basketball. Father John graduated in 1968, and took a job in banking for three years in his home town. After that he became a traveling salesperson for Endicott-Johnson Shoe Company. He was initially assigned to work a territory east of the Mississippi, but, as Father John stated, “You are where are because you are supposed to be. Everything happens for a reason.” When a salesman was let go in Houston, Father John was given that position.
 
Father stayed with the shoe company for a few years, but he was traveling a lot – his territory was from Beaumont to Del Rio and everything south of that line. He then accepted a position with Shopper’s Charge, a credit card company out of Indiana. He worked up from a sales position to Vice President of Marketing in their Houston office. He was still traveling a lot, but on planes instead of on the road. After a few years, he moved on to Lanier Corporation, a world-wide office products company with a district office in Houston. It was this company which brought Father John to the Fort Worth area. He was sent to Dallas as a regional trainer, and then worked in the Abilene and San Angelo areas for a time, then to Fort Worth for about 10 years. He was very successful in the business world- he was salesman of the month 44 times and salesman of the year six times!
 
Father John came to St. Michael as a parishioner in 1986, when Monsignor Schumacher was pastor. Even as a child at St. Thomas Aquinas in Binghamton, he thought about a vocation in the Church. Although very shy as a child, he had taken public speaking classes for his past positions in business, so he was prepared when he responded to an ad about vocations in the St. Michael newsletter in 1991. Father John was ordained as a priest on May 23, 1998.
 
After spending two years as parochial vicar at St. Matthew’s in Arlington and then one year at St. John the Apostle in North Richland Hills, Father John was assigned as pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace in Wichita Falls in June 2001. His mission at his new parish was clear: the parish had been holding Mass in the elementary school’s gymnasium for over 50 years, and a church needed to be built. In July 2009, the beautiful, 1,000 seat church was dedicated. For this project, the parish did not borrow any money from the diocese. The parish also remodeled the elementary school, the parking lots, and several other items before the projects were finished in July 2011, just before Bishop Vann assigned Father John to be the new pastor of St. Michael.
 
Father John is very thankful for the extraordinary welcome he has received at St. Michael. In return, Father John has something to share that he learned in seminary. One of the tasks given to new seminarians was to write an autobiography, focusing on five-year segments of your life. What were the important events and people at that time of your life? As you review your autobiography, you will see how all things work together to form your life’s journey. Also, you will be able to see if you have gotten off track and change your path to get back to where you need to be. Everything is part of God’s plan, and all things happen for a reason.

Fr. James Flynn became pastor of St. Francis of Assisi in the summer of 2013. Fr. Flynn was raised in Arlington, Texas and graduated from Granbury High School in Granbury, Texas.  He spent 4 years on active duty the U.S. Army and was stationed in Kentucky, Germany, California and North Carolina.

After his service in the Army, he went to Texas A&M and received a degree in Engineering and played Rugby for Texas A&M.  Upon graduation he worked in the commodities for Cargill Incorporated for three years and at the age of 29 started his seminary formation with the Dominican Friars in Denver and St. Louis.

In 2000, he was accepted as a seminarian for the Diocese of Ft. Worth and finished his theology studies at Assumption Seminary in San Antonio. Fr Flynn was ordained to the priesthood on May 13, 2006.  He served as an associate pastor at Immaculate Conception in Denton and St. John the Apostle in North Richland Hills before becoming the pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas in Pilot Point.  On August 1, 2013, he was assigned as the pastor of St. Francis of Assisi.

Fr. Richard, pastor of Good Shepherd, leads the students in a blessing.

 

Fr. John, pastor at St. Michael, says the Eucharistic Prayer at a recent school mass.

 

Fr. James Flynn, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi, helps the students understand the message of the Gospel during a weekly mass.

 

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