Fr. Rich Wehrmeyer serves as pastor for St. Vincent/St. Pius V in St. Louis

This article initially appeared in the winter 2023 edition of our quarterly newsletter, The Vincentian. 

Fr. Rich Wehrmeyer, C.M., started his ordained ministry 33 years ago as a transitional deacon at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in St. Louis. He returned there earlier this year as pastor of the parish and of St. Pius V, which was paired with St. Vincent’s in the All Things New reorganization not long before.

Fr. Rich said that formational time as a deacon, preaching for the first time, was critical to shaping who he would become as a priest, learning through trial and error what to say and not to say.

“What really helped me was that the people here made me feel very at-home and actually let me into their homes for meals and family gatherings,” Fr. Rich said. “It established a certain comfort level with parishioners in my parochial ministry. I attribute that to St. Vincent’s people.”

Fr. Rich says the parish today has changed in that the high-rise low-income housing projects it used to serve are now gone, though he said the number of people in need of assistance is still great. In a recent 11-day period, the parish served 1,250 meals to guests of the Meals Program. It operates a wealth of other services for the poor, including clothing, housing, laundry, and much more.

Sharing duties with Parish Life Coordinator Cheryl Archibald, also new to the job, he can focus on opportunities for evangelization and collaboration between the two parishes as a single faith community.

“That sharing of liturgical experiences and activities is already happening,” he said. “We’d like to see that and other ministries continue to develop that way, especially in terms of the Vincentian spirit.”