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 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.

After 13 years in the seminary, Fr. Balaji Boyalla — known as Fr. B — was incredibly excited to be ordained a Pallottine priest on April 18, 1999. On that day, he kept hearing the same verse from John 15: “You did not choose me, but I chose you.”

“The Lord had chosen me to be at that altar,” Fr. B says. “I wanted to tell everyone, all those people who helped me and touched my life, how much I appreciated their support in my vocation to the priesthood.”

Throughout Fr. B’s journey to the priesthood, so many different individuals impacted his vocation, beginning with his family.

“I was born a third-generation Catholic in India, and the faith was very important to us,” Fr. B says. “My grandfather used to wake us in the mornings with his loud prayers! That’s how the faith was implanted in us during a time when India didn’t have many priests.”

Fr. B also remembers the importance of his parish priest from his hometown in India and his parish catechist.

“My faith was strong because of all these people,” Fr. B says. “The priest used to carry all the children and would tell us parables. There was also a catechist who would help us get ready for Mass, and I would hold his hand and walk with him.”

Because of these positive influences in his life, Fr. B first felt the calling to the priesthood at the young age of 7 or 8.

“I realized when I was receiving my First Communion that I had a vocation, but then I forgot about it until about 10th grade,” Fr. B says. “My cousin was joining the Pallottine order and asked me to come with him. I did, and when he left after one week, I continued my journey.”

After his ordination, Fr. B taught as an instructor at the seminary, served as Pastor at a parish in India and served at Holy Family Parish in Fort Worth, before serving as Pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes in Mineral Wells and St. Francis of Assisi in Graford.

Fr. B has always enjoyed reading and spending time with his friends. As a priest, he most enjoys working with those in greatest need.

“A priest is for God and people,” Fr. B says. “I enjoy being the Pastor, visiting the sick and being with those who have lost their beloved family members.”

In a time when our young people are encouraged to consider being doctors, lawyers and teachers, Fr. B reminds us to consider the religious life.

“We need people of God,” Fr. B says. “My advice to all men and women discerning their vocation would be not to think about one’s self, but to think about our faith and our Church. Understand that God is calling us, and think about others too.”

On July 1, Fr. B formally became our new Pastor here at St. Michael’s. He would like the faith community of St. Michael’s to know that he is always available for them and wants to visit personally with the families of the parish.

“I am your Pastor, and I want to be the Good Shepherd,” Fr. B says. “I don’t usually call my parish a ‘parish,’ but I call them my family. Allow me time to learn, and I will give 100 percent as part of our family.”

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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